Top Stories

Electric vehicles getting even "Greener"
September 16, 2014 03:01 PM - Union of Concerned Scientists

Sixty percent of Americans now live in regions where electric vehicles (EVs) produce fewer heat-trapping global warming emissions per mile than the most efficient hybrids, according to an updated analysis from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). In 2012, that number was just 45 percent. "Electric vehicles are doing more and more to fulfill their technological promise," said Don Anair, research director for UCS's Clean Vehicles Program. "If we want to reduce transportation pollution and oil use, a big part of the answer is to be like Bob Dylan and go electric."

Protected Areas Do Work, Says Study
September 16, 2014 12:17 PM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM

Protected areas are working. That's the conclusion of a new analysis of over 80 different studies on the efficacy of parks and nature reserves in safeguarding wildlife. Published in the open access journal, PLOS ONE, the new study finds that in general protected areas house higher abundances of wildlife as well as greater biodiversity than adjacent areas.

Study shows eating high-fat dairy lowers diabetes risk
September 16, 2014 09:08 AM - Diabetologia via EurekAlert

New research presented at this year's annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) in Vienna, Austria, shows that people with the highest consumption of high-fat dairy products (8 or more portions per day) have a 23% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those with the lowest consumption (1 or less per day). The research is by Dr Ulrika Ericson, Lund University Diabetes Center, Malmö, Sweden, and colleagues. Dietary fats could affect glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity and may therefore have a crucial role in the development of type 2 diabetes (T2D). Studies have indicated that replacing saturated fat with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats might be favourable in the prevention of T2D. In line with this, plant sources of fat have been suggested to be a better choice compared with animal sources. Indeed, high intakes of red meat and meat products have been shown to increase the risk of T2D. Nevertheless, several epidemiological studies have indicated that a high intake of dairy products may be protective. Subsequently, the importance of dietary fat content and food sources of fat remains to be clarified. In this new study, the authors aimed to examine intakes of main dietary fat sources, classified according to fat content, and their association with risk of developing T2D.

National Chicken Council to Phase Out Some Poultry Antibiotics
September 16, 2014 08:47 AM - Jan Lee, Triple Pundit

Only about 10 percent of the antibiotics used in chicken are actually used in humans, says the National Chicken Council. Its statement comes on the heels of a controversial report by Reuters indicating increasing proof that the prophylactic medications used in chickens are fueling antibiotic resistance not just in fowl, but in humans as well.

Air pollution found harmful to young brains
September 15, 2014 04:19 PM - University of Montana via EurekAlert

Findings by University of Montana Professor Dr. Lilian Calderón-Garcidueñas, MA, MD, Ph.D., and her team of researchers reveal that children living in megacities are at increased risk for brain inflammation and neurodegenerative changes, including Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. Calderón-Garcidueñas’ findings are detailed in a paper titled "Air pollution and children: Neural and tight junction antibodies and combustion metals, the role of barrier breakdown and brain immunity in neurodegeneration."

Japan: 'solar islands' replace nuclear power
September 15, 2014 08:41 AM - Jon Major, The Ecologist

As Japan seeks to end reliance on nuclear power, one of the answers is floating 'solar islands', writes Jon Major. A 70MW solar island opened last year, and two additional plants have just been announced. Two companies in Japan recently announced they are to begin building two large solar power islands that will float on reservoirs.

Most Polluted Countries
September 15, 2014 07:38 AM - Lizabeth Paulat, Care2

The WHO has released a new study ranking countries with the worst air pollution. When we consider air pollution most of us will automatically think of China. However, it was nowhere to be found in the top 10 offenders. This, by the way, is not because they’ve suddenly cleaned up their act, but rather because this study ranked countries as a whole, rather than cities. So here are the top 5 countries with the worst air pollution, and what they are trying to do to combat it. 1. Pakistan Pakistan made #1 on the list with a PM 2.5 pollution level of 101 ug/m3. Now, that might not make sense so let me break it down: PM 2.5 stands for the size of the particles of pollution. The size (2.5) is frequently cited as the most detrimental because it can travel deep into lungs and cause a variety of ailments. Good examples of these particles are smoke, mold and dust. The ug/m3 part stands for micrograms per unit meter of air. So Pakistan has 101 micrograms of PM 2.5 pollutants per unit meter of air.

Clouds of water found on "near" planet
September 14, 2014 07:32 AM - Ken Croswell, Science

Astronomers have found signs of water ice clouds on an object just 7.3 light-years from Earth-less than twice the distance of Alpha Centauri, the nearest star system to the sun. If confirmed, the discovery is the first sighting of water clouds beyond our solar system. The clouds shroud a Jupiter-sized object known as a brown dwarf and should yield insight into the nature of cool giant planets orbiting other suns. Kevin Luhman, an astronomer at Pennsylvania State University, University Park, recently discovered the nearby object by using images from NASA’s WISE infrared space telescope, which scanned the sky from 2010 to 2011. A brown dwarf is a failed star and has so little mass that it can't sustain nuclear reactions, so after its birth it fades and cools. This brown dwarf, named WISE J0855-0714, is the coldest known. Its temperature is slightly below the freezing point of water, so it's colder than Earth's mean temperature but warmer than Jupiter’s.

Australia to end shark cull
September 13, 2014 08:59 AM - Alicia Graef, Care2

In a major win for sharks and their advocates, Australia’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recommended Western Australia (WA) end its controversial shark killing program. After a series of fatal attacks, WA's government proposed a new program in an effort to keep beachgoers safe that involved setting out baited drum lines, which consist of a large baited hook attached to a buoy and an anchor to hold it in place, in designated zones along popular beaches with the intention of killing great white sharks, bull sharks and tiger sharks who were larger than three meters.

Northern Lights Dazzle Skies Tonight
September 12, 2014 10:20 AM - Allison Winter, ENN

If you live in one of the visible areas on this map, you may be in for a treat tonight! According to AccuWeather.com, the solar flares of the Northern Lights are ranked as an X-class tonight, the highest class for a solar flare which may make the Northern Lights display as far south as Maryland on the East Coast, and as far down as Nebraska, further west.

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