Top Stories

Date Palm Leaves Could Improve Water Treatment Across the Middle East

Date palm leaves — currently a waste product of date farming — could be used to remove pharmaceutical chemicals and dyes from hospital wastewater, say researchers from Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) in Oman. The first hospital wastewater treatment pilot project is due to start in Oman early next year, and scientists are working to use this technology in both drinking water filters and for industrial wastewater treatment. >> Read the Full Article

Shale Oil and How It Changes the World

Oil shale, also known as kerogen shale, is an organic-rich fine-grained sedimentary rock containing kerogen (a solid mixture of organic chemical compounds) from which liquid hydrocarbons called shale oil can be produced. Shale oil is a substitute for conventional crude oil and the USA has a lot of it. The global energy map is changing, with potentially far-reaching consequences for energy markets and trade. It is being redrawn by the resurgence in oil and gas production in the United States due to shale and could be further reshaped by a retreat from nuclear power in some countries, continued rapid growth in the use of wind and solar technologies and by the global spread of unconventional gas production. >> Read the Full Article

CO2 Output Hits Record High

Around the world, we are emitting more carbon dioxide than ever. For 2012, according to new projections by the Global Carbon Project, there is likely to be a 2.6 percent rise in global CO2 emissions from the burning of fossil fuels compared to the year before. That puts emissions of the gas at 58 percent higher than 1990 levels. >> Read the Full Article

Planning for Climate Change

The Metcalf Institute at the University of Rhode Island recently held the second in series of seminars on climate change. Here are a few noteworthy points that were offered Nov. 30 by 15 scientists, engineers, planners and other experts: Snowpack in the Northeast has decreased its annual volume by 11 percent since 1900. Sea level is projected to rise between 2.5 and 6 feet by 2100. "If you want to see what 5 feet of sea level rise will look like, you look at Hurricane Sandy," said Bryan Oakley, a URI researcher and professor of earth sciences at Eastern Connecticut State University. >> Read the Full Article

Sea Turtles Rescued on Cape Cod This Weekend

Endangered sea turtles are becoming stranded on Massachusetts' Cape Cod shores so frequently in recent weeks that wildlife rescuers are scrambling to cope with what could be a record influx. In the past four days, some 67 sea turtles suffering from hypothermia have been brought to the New England Aquarium's Animal Care Center care facility near Boston, aquarium spokesman Tony LaCasse said Friday. They are among 120 sea turtles that arrived since early November. Turtle strandings in Cape Cod Bay typically begin in November during the annual winter migration back to the Gulf of Mexico, LaCasse said. In early summer, the reptiles will migrate back up the eastern seaboard to forage for crab, he said. >> Read the Full Article

Electronic Waste - the Asia-Pacific Problem

Instead of limiting imports of electronic waste, the Asia–Pacific region should set up a robust recycling system, says Crispin Maslog. Garbage in, garbage out is a phrase to describe what happens when computers find the wrong solution in response to the wrong input data. But when computers and other electronic products have outlived their usefulness, they literally do become rubbish and join an ever-growing mass of e-waste or e-scrap. Up to 50 million tonnes of this waste is generated worldwide every year. The biggest exporters of e-waste are Europe, Japan and the US. And much of it is being dumped on developing nations. >> Read the Full Article

At UN Climate Talks, Researchers Insert Facts on How Food is Driving-and is Driven by-Climate Change

Applying scientific answers to the consumer question, "What do our food choices have to do with heat, hurricanes, floods, and droughts?", the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) is launching today a set of "Big Facts" that highlight the complex relationship between agriculture and climate change. This effort illustrates not only the profound and diverse impacts of the changing climate on marine fisheries, livestock, forests, biodiversity and food crops but also the effects of agricultural activities, including emissions from biofuel production, on climate change. >> Read the Full Article

Mercury Water

Mercury is the innermost planet in the Solar System. It is right next door to the very hot sun. Water boils and evaporates very easily so how much water could possible be on this very hot planet? Instruments aboard NASA's MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft studying the planet Mercury have provided compelling support for the long-held hypothesis the planet harbors abundant water ice and other frozen volatile materials within its permanently shadowed polar craters. >> Read the Full Article

The Invasion of the Boa Constrictors

Boa constrictor is a species of large, heavy-bodied snake. It is a member of the family Boidae found in North, Central, and South America, as well as some islands in the Caribbean. Non-native boa constrictors, which can exceed 10 feet and 75 pounds, have established a breeding population in Puerto Rico, one that appears to be spreading, according to research published in the journal Biological Invasions. While boa constrictors and two species of pythons have established invasive populations in Florida, this research is the first to document a large constrictor species established in the United States or its territories outside of Florida. The new population appears to be spreading from its likely point of origin in the western part of the island around the city of Mayagüez. In the last year alone, more than 150 boas have been found in the wild on the island. >> Read the Full Article

Study finds multiple pollutants in women, can be passed on to babies

Our bodies accumulate toxins and chemicals throughout our lifetime. From what we eat, to what we breath, environmental toxins like lead, mercury and PCBs that do not easily break down can be stored in our own fatty tissues. While it is unsure whether the co-exposure of these chemicals is more harmful that to each one separately, a new study shows that several risk factors are associated with a higher chance of median blood levels for these contaminants. In an analysis of data on over three thousand women, Brown University researchers concluded that all but 17.3 percent of the women aged 16 to 49 were at or above the median blood level for one or more of these chemicals, which can then passed to fetuses and babies. >> Read the Full Article