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Triple insulated windows: Baby, it's cold outside!
December 4, 2013 11:20 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN
Boasting a savings of 12% whole house energy consumption savings it is tempting to immediately order new highly insulated windows for the whole house. But before you do, consider the payback. Sure, you will be snug as a bug inside the house but according to the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), it takes two decades or more for these highly insulated windows to provide a utility bill return on investment.
A whale of a tale in the North Pacific
December 4, 2013 10:00 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN
Five distinct humpback whale populations have been identified in the North Pacific clearing the way for these great mammals to be designated as distinct populations segment by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The study is an internationally collaborative effort including United States, Japan, Russia, Mexico, Canada, the Philippines, Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua and Guatemala under the byline SPLASH (Structure of Populations, Levels of Abundance and Status of Humpbacks).
Reversing local extinction: scientists bring the northern bald ibis back to Europe after 300 years
December 4, 2013 09:15 AM - Federica Di Leonardo, MONGABAY.COM
The northern bald ibis (Geronticus eremita), also called the hermit ibis or waldrapp, is a migratory bird. Once, the bald ibis lived in the Middle East, northern Africa and southern and central Europe, but due to hunting, loss of habitat and pesticide-use, the birds disappeared from most of these areas and is currently considered Critically Endangered. It became extinct in Europe 300 years ago; the bird is almost gone in Syria, with only a single individual recorded at the country's lone breeding site in 2013; and the only stronghold left is a small population of around 500 birds in Morocco. But now, a team of scientists from Austria is working to reestablish a self-sustaining, migratory population of bald ibis in Europe.
Arctic Peregrines impacted by increasing precipitation
December 4, 2013 07:01 AM - ScienceDaily
Rain, crucial to sustaining life on Earth, is proving deadly for young peregrine falcons in Canada's Arctic. A University of Alberta study recently published in Oecologia shows that an increase in the frequency of heavy rain brought on by warmer summer temperatures is posing a threat not seen in this species since before pesticides such as DDT were banned from use in Canada in 1970. The study is among the first to directly link rainfall to survival of wild birds in Canada.
Jupiter's Great Red Spot Explained
December 3, 2013 11:46 AM - Allison Winter, ENN
The Great Red Spot on Jupiter is a persistent anticyclonic storm that just won't die, making it one of the solar system's most mysterious landmarks. Earth observations estimate that the storm has been around for centuries and it is not known how long the storm and spot will last — even when fluid dynamics prove that the storm must die. However, for the first time, researchers have made progress on divulging the secrets of the giant storm's longevity.
Orangutan as fashionista
December 3, 2013 09:36 AM - Nicole Rycroft, The Ecologist
"Do you have these pants in black?" a question generally heard from the changing rooms of clothing retailers. However over the coming months more of the queries that you'll hear echoing in boutiques and malls will be, "Is this shirt made from Orangutan or Caribou habitat?" Canopy, an environmental not-for-profit organization dedicated to protecting the world's forests, species and climate recently launched a campaign to ensure endangered forests do not end up in clothing. Rayon, viscose and modal fabrics are made from pulped trees. Canopy is raising awareness that much of today's fast fashion and haute couture comes at a cost to the forests we love.
Geminids Meteor Shower Caused by Rock Comet
December 3, 2013 09:12 AM - ENN Staff
The Geminids are a fast, bright, and reliable meteor shower that can be observed every December (with the morning of the 14th usually marking the peak of highest intensity.) During this time, the sky fills with flashes of light shooting out of the constellation Gemini. But where exactly do the meteors come from? Meteor showers are supposed to come from comets, yet there is no comet that matches the orbit of the Geminid debris stream. Instead, the orbit of the Geminids is occupied by a thing called "3200 Phaethon" - a five-kilometer diameter asteroid. Resembling a rocky asteroid, Phaethon swoops by the sun every 1.4 years, much like a comet would, but it never sprouts a dusty tail to replenish the Geminids. That is, until now.
December 3, 2013 06:48 AM - Andy Wallace, Clean Techies
The Chevrolet Volt, Nissan Leaf and Ford C-Max Energi are the top three electric vehicles on the roadways, but what about our waterways? Electric cars aren’t the only vehicles transforming sustainable and economical transportation. Electric boats are also traversing historic waterways and canals that have been polluted with oil and noise. Electric boats may be the only watercraft permitted on municipal waters by 2020, and New Electric is already influencing the electric vehicles industry as an electric-conversion business dedicated to battery-powered boats. About 700 million gallons of oil pollute oceans every year, according to Clean Technica. Engine-exhaust from conventional boats and ships only worsens the harmful environmental effects. Not only is the ocean and air polluted, marine animals suffer from intense noise pollution. Watercraft are actually detrimental to sea life, such as orcas and dolphins, because of their sensitivity to loud sounds. Electric-converted watercraft are quieter and produce no air pollution.
Another rotten Grinch tale
December 2, 2013 03:50 PM - Robin Blackstone, ENN
Seemingly working in concert with the Grinch, Phytophthora root rot is taking hold in the roots of Christmas tree farms throughout Oregon and North Carolina. Phytophthora root rot is a rapidly moving fungus found in poorly drained soils. It causes a slow decline in a tree first destroying the feeder roots and then turning the needles light green or yellow. The pathogen infects the root cortex first depriving the remainder of the root and the plant from its nutrients. Pytophthora root rot is difficult to detect and is only verified with laboratory analysis.
Developing technology for the developing world: Earthquake detection via smartphone
December 2, 2013 01:01 PM - Fred Furtado, SciDevNet
Countries that do not have or cannot afford earthquake detection systems may soon have an alternative thanks to a new technology being developed in the United States and discussed last week at the 6th World Science Forum (WSF), in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.