Sci/tech

Polar bear genome reveals adaptations to high-fat diet
May 9, 2014 08:02 AM - Allison Winter, ENN

Living its life in the high Arctic, polar bears have developed extreme adaptations to survive in this cold sea ice environment. One important trait is their thick layer of blubber. Like other arctic animals, this layer of fat helps insulate species from the cold. Consequently, polar bears have adapted to subsist on a blubber-rich, high-fat diet of marine species. But is a high-fat diet healthy for the species?

National Priorities List of Superfund sites adds seven
May 9, 2014 07:18 AM - Editor, ENN

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is added seven hazardous waste sites to the National Priorities List (NPL) of Superfund sites. They include two facilities in York, NE and single facilities in Norphlet, AK; Windham, ME; Fairfield, NJ; Ridgewood, NY and Collierville, TN. Superfund is the federal program that investigates and cleans up the most complex, uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites in the country to protect people's health and the environment.

Predicting red tide blooms with ESP
May 8, 2014 10:54 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

Red tide poisoning is an aquatic phenomenon caused by a rapid increase/accumulation in the water column of reddish colored algal bloom (large concentrations of aquatic microorganisms) comprising a few species of toxic dinoflagellates. Forecasting the phenomenon has been critical for coastal communities. This year though, WHOI is introducing a new tool called Environmental Sample Processors (ESP) to measure bloom concentration and associative toxins for real-time reporting to land based researchers.

Seafloor container ecology
May 8, 2014 09:54 AM - Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute Press Room

Thousands of shipping containers are lost from cargo vessels each year. Many of these containers eventually sink to the deep seafloor. In 2004, scientists at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) discovered a lost shipping container almost 1,300 meters (4,200 feet) below the surface of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. In the first-ever survey of its kind, researchers from MBARI and the sanctuary recently described how deep-sea animal communities on and around the container differed from those in surrounding areas.

Climate Change vs. Natural Variations: Why is Greenland Melting?
May 8, 2014 06:48 AM - Allison Winter, ENN

The climate change debate continues. Are anthropogenic causes of global warming responsible for melting ice and rising seas or are natural cycles and climate variations to blame? There's no question that Greenland's glaciers are in fact melting. And while the obvious culprit may be global warming caused by rising carbon dioxide emissions, University of Washington atmospheric scientists have estimated that up to half of the recent warming in Greenland and surrounding areas may be due to climate variations. The kicker? These climate variations originate in the tropical Pacific and are not connected with the overall warming of the planet.

A dinosaur's evolution of the claw
May 7, 2014 11:02 AM - University of Bristol Newsroom

How did the evolution of the dinosaur claw evolve into the current bird form? A new University of Bristol study into the claws of a group of theropod dinosaurs, known as therizinosaurs, has revealed a great versatility in their usage. Theropod dinosaurs, a group that includes such famous species as Tyrannosaurus rex and Velociraptor, are often regarded as carnivorous and predatory animals, using their sharp teeth and claws to capture and dispatch prey. However, the detailed look at forelimb claws demonstrates that these claws were very likely to have been used for other tasks.

Releasing the cork in Wilkes Basin Antarctica yields unstoppable sea-level rise
May 6, 2014 04:51 PM - Editor, ENN

Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) latest study shows that if East Antarctica's Wilkes Basin's rim of ice lets go, it is likely to trigger a persistent ice discharge into the ocean, resulting in unstoppable sea-level rise for thousands of years to come. Using the ground profile under the ice, the researchers used computer ice flow simulations under the ice sheet.

Which Diamondback terrapin turtle is not like the others?
May 6, 2014 04:33 PM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

Until now little has been understood about the genetic variations of terrapin turtles. Terrapins have been designated a species of special concern in some areas and not in others. They are listed as an endangered species in Rhode Island and threatened in Massachusetts. Terrapins are the only North American turtle that spends its entire life in coastal marshes and mangroves.

U.S. Federal Government Amps Up E-Waste Reuse and Recycling
May 6, 2014 07:59 AM - Leon Kaye, Triple Pundit

The U.S. federal government is the nation's largest consumer and disposer of electronics. Considering the number of federal employees—about 2.7 million at last count, not including the military or courts—U.S. government employees contribute a massive portion to the approximate 2.4 million tons of electronic waste, or e-waste, that is discarded annually. Not only are those monitors, printers, cell phones and all those peripherals leeching chemicals into soil and water supplies, government (as well as companies) leave money on the table thanks to all of those rare earth minerals allowing them to function in the first place.

2015 Volkswagen Jetta Diesel Jumps to 45 MPG on Highway
May 5, 2014 02:02 PM - CleanTechies Guest Author, Clean Techies

Volkswagen unveiled the latest updates to its popular VW Jetta line at this year’s New York International Auto Show. The car will get a few minor styling tweaks, but what interests us are the improvements under the hood—where fuel efficiency counts.

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