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Breakthrough in Hydrogen Production
December 10, 2013 04:05 PM - Deep Carbon Observatory
Scientists in Lyon, a French city famed for its cuisine, have discovered a quick-cook recipe for copious volumes of hydrogen (H2). The breakthrough suggests a better way of producing the hydrogen that propels rockets and energizes battery-like fuel cells. In a few decades, it could even help the world meet key energy needs -- without carbon emissions contributing to the greenhouse effect and climate change.
Driving Declines in US Urban Areas, Public Transit and Biking on the Rise
December 10, 2013 10:20 AM - ENN Staff
A new report by the U.S.PIRG Education Fund details reduced driving miles and rates of car commuting in America's most populous urbanized areas. The study also finds a greater use of public transit and biking in most cities. The report, "Transportation in Transition: A Look at Changing Travel Patterns in America's Biggest Cities," is the first ever national study to compare transportation trends for America's largest cities and lists results for each.
Conventional satellite imagery may underestimate forest clearing for subsistence agriculture
December 10, 2013 09:02 AM - Rhett Butler, MONGABAY.COM
Analysis of forest cover using medium-scale satellite imagery may miss deforestation for small-scale subsistence agriculture, finds a study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters. The study, which involved researchers from the University of Maryland, the State University of New York and Woods Hole Research Center, is based on change in forest cover in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which accounts for the bulk of the world's second largest tropical rainforest.
Alzheimer’s Disease and Lead Exposure
December 10, 2013 07:10 AM - Science
Researchers striving to understand the origins of dementia are building the case against a possible culprit: lead exposure early in life. A study spanning 23 years has now revealed that monkeys who drank a lead-rich formula as infants later developed tangles of a key brain protein, called tau, linked to Alzheimer's disease. Though neuroscientists say more work is needed to confirm the connection, the research suggests that people exposed to lead as children—as many in America used to be before it was eliminated from paint, car emissions, water, and soil—could have an increased risk of the common, late-onset form of Alzheimer’s disease. Even in small doses, lead can wreak havoc on the heart, intestines, kidneys, and nervous system. Children are especially prone to its pernicious effects, as it curbs brain development. Many studies have linked early lead exposure with lower IQs. Researchers estimate that one in 38 children in the United States still have harmful levels of the metal in their systems, but evidence linking this exposure to dementia later in life has been tenuous.
UN shows how mobile-phone data can map human need
December 9, 2013 01:00 PM - Jan Piotrowski, SciDevNet
Tracking people’s movements after the Haiti earthquake, mapping malaria spread in Kenya, evaluating Mexico’s government policies on flu outbreak, improving national census surveys in Latin America and Africa... These are just a few examples of how mobile-phone data has been used in development, as highlighted by a recent UN report.
Scientists record primates regularly using caves for the first time
December 9, 2013 12:15 PM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
After playing, feeding, and socializing in trees all day, some ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) take their nightly respite in caves, according to a new study in Madagascar Conservation and Development. The findings are important because this is the first time scientists have ever recorded primates regularly using caves. "The remarkable thing about our study was that over a six-year period, the same troops of ring-tailed lemurs used the same sleeping caves on a regular, daily basis," said the lead author, Michelle Sauther, with the University of Colorado Boulder.
Amazon Promotes "Frustration-Free Packaging Initiative"
December 9, 2013 09:54 AM - Allison Winter, ENN
Just in time for the gift-giving season, the world's largest online retailer, Amazon.com continues to promote it's Frustration-Free Packaging initiative. This initiative is a five-year effort to not only make products easier to open, but to create sustainable and recyclable packaging. In a 2008 letter written to customers, Amazon founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos describes "wrap rage" as the frustration we feel when trying to free a product from a nearly impenetrable package. And we've all experienced it - from cutting through thick plastic and scraping our fingers against sharp edges, to pulling packaging apart with all our might, the process of opening up a present has become a chore.
A farm in Snowdonia has joined a pioneering European project which aims to transform problematic habitats into clean energy and new income sources for farmers. Research has begun at the National Trust farm, Hafod y Llan, to trial the use of a new technology, developed in Germany, which could turn soft rush, gorse and bracken crops into viable biomass fuel.
Europe's biggest renewable energy plant completes switch from coal to biomass
December 9, 2013 08:07 AM - ClickGreen Staff, ClickGreen
Britain’s largest coal-fired power station is set to become one of Europe’s biggest renewable electricity generators today, with the potential for new future generation on the site to be based on truly clean coal. Energy Secretary Ed Davey opened the Drax coal-to-biomass conversion plant, and announced the Government was awarding funding to further the White Rose CCS project, also based at the site.
Good News for African Elephants
December 8, 2013 07:03 AM - Alicia Graef, Care2
Representatives from 30 countries came together to discuss the poaching crisis and potential measures to save Africa’s elephants at the African Elephant Summit. As the summit convened, new numbers were released by the Convention in International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which found that if poaching continues at its current rate, Africa will likely see at least a fifth of its elephants disappear in the next ten years. Heartbreaking stories of entire elephant families dying continue to make the news, while poachers continue to sink to ruthless new lows to take them out, including using cyanide to kill them. The level of horror caused by poachers was recently highlighted by a gut-wrenching recording from the Wildlife Conservation Society that accidentally captured the sounds of elephants being killed as they tried to escape from their killers.