Top Stories

How will offshore wind farms affect bird populations?
September 28, 2015 08:42 AM - University of Leeds

Offshore wind farms which are to be built in waters around the UK could pose a greater threat to protected populations of gannets than previously thought, research led by the University of Leeds says.

It was previously thought that gannets, which breed in the UK between April and September each year, generally flew well below the minimum height of 22 metres above sea level swept by the blades of offshore wind turbines.

Insect protein and our food
September 27, 2015 07:00 AM - Laurie Balbo, Green Prophet

A start-up business focused on finding new ways of using insect protein in food products is a finalist in this year’s MassChallenge, the Boston-based start-up competition and world’s largest accelerator program. Get over your squeamishness, because bug-based foods will soon infest our markets.

The “elevator pitch” for Israel-based The Flying Spark states their intent to manufacture protein powder based on insect larvae that can be added to a wide range of food products, replacing today’s protein powders – commonly made from whey, soy, or casein. Insects contain extremely high protein, fiber, micro-nutrients and mineral content. They’re also naturally low in fat, and cholesterol-free. The tipping point for this product’s potential is that insect protein will cost less to produce than any other source of animal protein.

El Niño's role in Pacific Ocean sea level rise
September 26, 2015 06:35 AM - Universtiy of Hawaii

Many tropical Pacific island nations are struggling to adapt to gradual sea level rise stemming from warming oceans and melting ice caps. Now they may also see much more frequent extreme interannual sea level swings. The culprit is a projected behavioral change of the El Niño phenomenon and its characteristic Pacific wind response, according to recent computer modeling experiments and tide-gauge analysis by scientists Matthew Widlansky and Axel Timmermann at the International Pacific Research Center, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, and their colleague Wenju Cai at Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Australia.

During El Niño, warm water and high sea levels shift eastward, leaving in their wake low sea levels in the western Pacific. Scientists have already shown that this east-west seesaw is often followed six months to a year later by a similar north-south sea level seesaw with water levels dropping by up to one foot (30 cm) in the Southern Hemisphere. Such sea level drops expose shallow marine ecosystems in South Pacific Islands, causing massive coral die-offs with a foul smelling tide called taimasa (pronounced [kai’ ma’sa]) by Samoans.

Horse Owners Can Manage Flies with Wasps
September 25, 2015 09:49 AM - Entomological Society of America

Horses need help when it comes to insect pests like flies. But, unfortunately, horse owners are in the dark about how best to manage flies because research just hasn't been done, according to a new overview of equine fly management in the latest issue of the Journal of Integrated Pest Management, an open-access journal that is written for farmers, ranchers, and extension professionals.

Pesticide use leads to endocrine disrupters in French lettuce
September 25, 2015 07:33 AM - Journal de environnement by Romain Loury translated by Samuel White via EurActiv

An investigation has found that the majority of French lettuce contains traces of hormone disrupting chemicals, some of which are banned. Journal de l Environnement reports. 

The French NGO Générations Futures released the results of an inquiry into chemical contamination in food products on Tuesday (22 September). After examining the contaminants in strawberries in July 2013, the NGO published a report this week entitled EXPPERT 5, examining lettuce, the fourth most popular vegetable in France.

The findings were less than impressive: of the 31 products bought in supermarkets in the French departments of the Oise and the Somme, grown on conventional farms, over 77% contained traces of at least two pesticides, and only 19% were pesticide-free.

How does Aspirin work its miracles?
September 24, 2015 03:46 PM - Rutgers University

A recent study led by researchers at the Cornell University-affiliated Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI) in collaboration with colleagues at Rutgers and Italy’s San Raffaele University and Research Institute, shows that aspirin’s main breakdown product, salicylic acid, blocks the protein, HMGB1, which could explain many of the drug’s therapeutic properties.

The findings appear Sept. 23, 2015, in the journal Molecular Medicine.

“We’ve identified what we believe is a key target of aspirin’s active form in the body, salicylic acid, which is responsible for some of the many therapeutic effects that aspirin has,” said senior author Daniel Klessig, a professor at BTI and Cornell University. “The protein, HMGB1, is associated with many prevalent, devastating diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, sepsis and inflammation-associated cancers, such as colorectal cancer and mesothelioma,” he said.

Nearly half of US seafood supply is wasted
September 24, 2015 03:13 PM - Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health

As much as 47 percent of the edible U.S. seafood supply is lost each year, mainly from consumer waste, new research from the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF) suggests. The findings, published in the November issue of Global Environmental Change, come as food waste in general has been in the spotlight and concerns have been raised about the sustainability of the world’s seafood resources.

Emissions from Melting Permafrost Could Cost Trillions
September 24, 2015 03:03 PM - Leon Kaye, Triple Pundit

While rain forests have long scored attention for their role in trapping carbon, discussions concerning the Arctic have centered on whether or not, or how much, we are going to allow companies to drill for oil far up north. Now, scientists are suggesting the Arctic should have renewed focus for another reason: Climate change, accelerated by the melting of permafrost and resulting greenhouse gas emissions, could cost the global economy, in the long run, as much as $43 trillion.

Just how much waste are Americans creating?
September 23, 2015 09:09 AM - Tex Dworkin, Care2

A new Yale-led study reveals that we’re disposing of more than twice as much solid waste as we thought we were here in the good ol’ U.S. of A.

Published on Sept. 21 in the Nature Climate Change journal and co-authored by Yale professor Julie Zimmerman and University of Florida professor Timothy G. Townsend, this study found that based on landfill measurements instead of government estimates, analysis of figures revealed that America tosses five pounds of trash per person per day.

Let that soak in for a moment. Five pounds of garbage. Per day. Per person. But it gets better, and by better, I mean worse.

'Wisdom index' indicates we are not prepared for tsunamis
September 23, 2015 08:51 AM - Northwestern University

The world may not be well prepared for the next significant tsunami, reports Northwestern University tsunami expert Emile A. Okal in a new study that includes a “wisdom index” for 17 tsunamis since 2004.

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