Sea Lion Keeps the Beat
April 2, 2013 02:07 PM - Allison Winter, ENN
A California sea lion named Ronan is now being known as the first non-human mammal that can keep the beat while rocking out to music. Scientists at the Long Marine Laboratory at the University of California, Santa Cruz have trained Ronan to bob her head in time with rhythmic sounds. Not only has she learned how to keep with the tempos, but she can transfer this skill to music she hasn't heard before.
The Next Great Urban Vehicle
April 2, 2013 09:01 AM - Maya Yarowsky, NoCamels
Many of the frustrations that come from living in big cities are ultimately tied to our vehicles. Dirty and dusty air, foggy skies, crowded streets, fights over parking spots and traffic jams can all damper our moods. For many, other methods of personal transportation, such as bicycles and Segways, have become preferred solutions. Taking easy transportation into a new direction, Israeli-native Amir Ziad invented a personal transportation vehicle called muvE that picks up where the Segway and the electric scooter left off.
Using 'Biochar' To Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions
April 1, 2013 08:32 AM - Allison Winter, ENN
'Biochar' is the name for charcoal when it is used as a soil amendment. People add charcoal to land in order to increase soil fertility and agricultural productivity. In addition to these benefits, researchers are now saying that biochar has potential to mitigate climate change as it can help sequester carbon and thus cut our greenhouse gas emissions.
Ancient Global Firestorm
March 29, 2013 09:23 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
When a big rock hits the Earth, it will cause a lot of damage. The asteroid sized rock that is believed to have killed off the dinosaurs is one extreme example. A new look at conditions after a Manhattan-sized asteroid slammed into a region of Mexico in the dinosaur days indicates the event could have triggered a global firestorm that would have burned every twig, bush and tree on Earth and led to the extinction of 80 percent of all Earth’s species, says a new University of Colorado Boulder study. Led by Douglas Robertson of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, or CIRES, the team used models that show the collision would have vaporized huge amounts of rock that were then blown high above Earth’s atmosphere. The re-entering ejected material would have heated the upper atmosphere enough to glow red for several hours at roughly 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit -- about the temperature of an oven broiler element -- killing every living thing not sheltered underground or underwater.
Martian Hit! or ?
March 28, 2013 09:02 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
When Jupiter’s tides ripped Comet Shoemaker—Levy 9 to shreds, what remained hit the thick atmosphere and disintegrated. They really did not hit the ground, Occasionally astronomers have caught a glimpse of a rock hitting the moon. How about Mars? Astronomers think there’s a chance of a cosmic ruck hitting Mars in the near term future. This is a comet that is predicted as having a chance of hitting Mars. And Mars is under observation by us humans on the ground and by telescope and camera.
March 27, 2013 09:56 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
What is the impact of a single factor such as climate change on the ecosystem? Ecology is a complex science with multiple and interrelated factors. According to a new study led by scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, the forces behind the sardine mystery are a dynamic and interconnected moving target. Publishing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Scripps graduate student Ethan Deyle, professor George Sugihara, and their colleagues argue that problems lie in seeking answers one factor at a time, as scientists have done for decades. What is the singular impact of climate or overfishing? Focusing on single variables in isolation can lead to misguided conclusions, the researchers say. Instead, using novel mathematical methods developed last year at Scripps, the researchers argue that climate, human actions and ecosystem fluctuations combine to influence sardine and other species populations, and therefore such factors should not be evaluated independently
Majority of US Streams and Rivers are in 'Poor Condition,' says EPA Survey
March 26, 2013 12:32 PM - Allison Winter, ENN
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has just released the results of a comprehensive survey that looks at the health of thousands of stream and river miles across the country, and frankly the results are not very encouraging. The survey was conducted as part of an ongoing effort by the EPA to determine which rivers and streams are healthy, which are improving, and which require more protection and restoration efforts.
The Great Lunar Cataclysm
March 26, 2013 09:19 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
The Late Heavy Bombardment (commonly referred to as the lunar cataclysm) is a hypothetical event around 4.1 to 3.8 billion years ago. During this event a very large number of the impact craters on the Moon would have formed, and by inference on Earth, Mercury, Venus and Mars as well. The evidence for this event comes primarily from the dating of lunar samples brought back by the Apollo astronauts, which indicates that most impact melt rocks formed in this rather narrow interval of time. While many hypotheses have been put forth to explain a spike in the flux of asteroids or comets in the inner Solar System at this time, no consensus yet exists as to its cause. Scientists from NASA's Lunar Science Institute (NLSI) in Moffett Field, Calif., discovered that the same population of high-speed projectiles that impacted our lunar neighbor four billion years ago, also hit the giant asteroid Vesta and perhaps other large asteroids. The research unveils an unexpected link between Vesta and the moon, and provides new means for studying the early bombardment history of terrestrial planets. The findings are published in the March issue of Nature Geoscience.
Triassic End Times
March 25, 2013 10:22 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
The End Triassic extinction event was an extinction event that occurred over 200 million years ago. At least half of the species known to have been living on Earth at that time went extinct. This event vacated terrestrial ecological niches, allowing the dinosaurs to assume the dominant roles in the Jurassic period. This event happened in less than 10,000 years and occurred just before Panagea started to break apart. Scientists examining evidence across the world from New Jersey to North Africa say they have linked the abrupt disappearance of half of earth’s species 200 million years ago to a precisely dated set of gigantic volcanic eruptions. The eruptions may have caused climate changes so sudden that many creatures were unable to adapt—possibly on a pace similar to that of human-influenced climate warming today. The extinction opened the way for dinosaurs to evolve and dominate the planet for the next 135 million years, before they, too, were wiped out in a later planetary cataclysm. This study provides the tightest link yet, with a newly precise date - 201,564,000 years ago, exactly the same time as a massive outpouring of lava.
Verizon Introduces 'MAGIC' Buses to Reduce Carbon Footprint
March 25, 2013 08:58 AM - Editor, Justmeans
To help reduce traffic congestion and carbon dioxide emissions in New York City, and better serve customers, Verizon has rolled out a fleet of 25 buses that will pick up company technicians at central locations throughout the city and then transport them to local job sites. The fleet - known as MAGIC, which stands for Mobile Area Garage Installation Center - removes approximately 250 Verizon trucks from the city's roads and frees up the same number of parking spots.