COLLEGIATE CORNER: The faults of fracking
March 3, 2014 11:41 AM - Reid Short, Class of 2015, Wakefield High School, Arlington, VA
Hydraulic Fracturing is a process that sends pressurized liquid down to a target depth to fracture rock and draws out liquids, such as natural gas. This process is used to retrieve the gas from rock formations beneath the earth that were previously thought to be unsuitable for gas production (Helman) (Rao). Fracking is now being implemented all over the world. Many countries have turned to this method of extracting gas to lower fuel costs and balance their trade deficits, but these countries, including the United States, are allowing fracking to cause major damage to the environment. The water pollution, and air pollution that are caused by fracking, and the law exemptions it has, are inexcusable because of the damage and danger they cause to the environment.
Doubling the flood loss projections in Europe
March 3, 2014 10:36 AM - ENN Staff
As development and climate change continue, losses from extreme floods throughout the world skyrocket. Researchers from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), in Austria have projected that the losses in Europe could more than double by 2050. In the new study which is published in the journal Nature Climate Change, they contend that understanding the risk posed by large-scale floods is of growing importance and will be key for managing climate adaptation.
The dangers of chemicals used in food packaging
March 2, 2014 08:32 AM - Jo Adetunji, The Ecologist
The long-term effects of synthetic chemicals used in packaging, food storage and processing food could be damaging our health, scientists have warned. Jo Adetunji reports. We actually know very little about how chemicals affect bodily functions or promote disease, or at what life stage we are susceptible. In a paper published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, the authors said most of these potentially damaging chemicals were found in "food contact materials". These include the coatings on the inside of cans, laminates on cartons, and glass jar seals.
And the spotted seal said, "Say whaaaat?"
February 28, 2014 03:26 PM - Tim Stephens, University of California – Santa Cruz
Two spotted seals orphaned as pups in the Arctic are now thriving at UC Santa Cruz's Long Marine Laboratory, giving scientists a rare opportunity to learn about how these seals perceive their environment. In a comprehensive study of the hearing abilities of spotted seals, UCSC researchers found that the seals have remarkably sensitive hearing in both air and water.
Melting summer ice in Antarctica
February 28, 2014 01:53 PM - , ClickGreen
Antarctica's Ross Sea is one of the few Polar Regions where summer sea-ice coverage has increased during the last few decades, bucking a global trend of drastic declines in summer sea ice across the Arctic Ocean and in two adjacent embayments of the Southern Ocean around Antarctica. But now, a modeling study led by Professor Walker Smith of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science suggests that the Ross Sea's recent observed increase in summer sea-ice cover is likely short-lived, with the area projected to lose more than half its summer sea ice by 2050 and more than three quarters by 2100.
Scientists advocate protective deep-sea treaty
February 28, 2014 10:00 AM - Nick Kennedy, SciDevNet
A new international agreement is needed to police the exploitation of the deep ocean because of the rising threats of deep-sea mining and bottom trawling for fish, say scientists. Speakers at a symposium this month (16 February) urged the UN to negotiate a new treaty for the deep ocean to supplement the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Electric cars and the grid
February 28, 2014 07:31 AM - Click Green Staff, ClickGreen
Car owners in the United States last year bought more than 96,000 plug-in electric cars, a year-on-year increase of 84 percent from 2012. However, this growing fleet will put a lot of new strain on the nation’s aging electrical distribution systems, like transformers and underground cables, especially at times of peak demand — in the evening when people come home from work.
Potential new source of renewable energy found in humidity
February 27, 2014 12:15 PM - Kristin Kusek, Harvard University
A new type of electrical generator uses bacterial spores to harness the untapped power of evaporating water, according to research conducted at the Wyss Institute of Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. Its developers foresee electrical generators driven by changes in humidity from sun-warmed ponds and harbors.
One state addresses potholes through a new pothole alert system
February 27, 2014 10:43 AM - ENN Staff
As much of the northern hemisphere looks forward to the second half of the winter season, municipalities and regional governments are faced with rudimentary task of repairing potholes. Rutgers University instructor Wansoo Im, no doubt frustrated with the infrastructure meltdown himself, launched an app and website to map the biggest ones in his own home state of New Jersey. Aptly called NJPothole, the website plots potholes on maps to alert motorists (and maybe even municipal departments of public works dispatchers) of impending undercarriage attack.
Sizing up early birds
February 27, 2014 08:37 AM - University of Bristol News Room
According to new research from the Universities of Bristol and Sheffield into the Paraves, the key characteristics that allow birds to fly, their wings and small size, arose much earlier than previously thought. The first birds and their closest dinosaurian relatives lived 160 to 120 million years ago.