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Orphaned Rhino being tenderly cared for

An Indian rhino calf that lost its mother to poachers is clinging to life with the help of conservationists, according to WWF staff assisting with its care. The two week old male is in critical condition after its mother was gunned down by poachers Tuesday and her horn chopped off. The shocking incident is the latest in a surge of poaching plaguing India's Assam province where 16 greater one-horned rhinos have been killed already this year. A team of frontline staff from WWF, the government and partner organizations joined community members to search Manas National Park for the orphan after the carcass of its mother was discovered earlier this week. The group was determined to prevent the calf’s death imminent from starvation, which would surely occur without the nourishment of its mother's milk. >> Read the Full Article

U.S. CO2 emissions falls to lowest level since 1994

Carbon dioxide emissions from energy consumption in the United States during 2012 fell to the lowest level since 1994, finds a new report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, a branch of the Department of Energy. The assessment concludes that some 5.3 billion metric tons of CO2 were emitted from coal, natural gas, and oil consumption during the year, a 3.7 percent decline relative to 2011 and 12.1 percent below the peak of 6 billion tons hit in 2007. The EIA cited increased use of natural gas and falling consumption of coal as the primary reason for the drop in emissions of the greenhouse gas. >> Read the Full Article

Origin of the Primordial Soup of Life

Researchers at the University of Leeds may have solved a key puzzle about how objects from space could have kindled life on Earth. While it is generally accepted that some important ingredients for life came from meteorites bombarding the early Earth, scientists have not been able to explain how that inanimate rock transformed into the building blocks of life. There have been many theories. There is no standard model of the origin of life on Earth. This new study shows how a chemical, similar to one now found in all living cells and vital for generating the energy that makes something alive, could have been created when meteorites containing phosphorus minerals landed in hot, acidic pools of liquids around volcanoes, which were likely to have been common across the early Earth. >> Read the Full Article

Fracking: The Solution? Or The Problem?

Fracking advocates proclaim a natural gas revolution, but are they simply perpetuating our catastrophic fossil fuel dependence? >> Read the Full Article

Real Time Forest Monitoring System Uses New Tech to Fight Deforestation

Global Forest Watch 2.0 (GFW 2.0) is a powerful near real-time forest monitoring system launching this spring that combines satellite technology, new algorithms, cloud computing, mobile phone technologies, maps and human networks around the world to fight illegal logging and deforestation. GFW 2.0 is a major breakthrough, as it will create fast, online alerts that show when deforestation is taking place, particularly in remote locations. Currently, by the time satellite images of deforestation are viewed, the criminals are often far away as it takes around three to five years to produce a national forest cover map. >> Read the Full Article

Air pollution-caused deaths total over one million per year in China

In January, NASA revealed satellite images showing dramatic visuals of air pollution over China. Consequently, a new analysis is reporting that more than 1 million people are dying prematurely every year from air pollution in China alone. We reported earlier that air pollution, especially around Beijing has greatly been influenced by coal-fired power stations. However, population growth along with increasing development is causing the nation into an air pollution crisis. >> Read the Full Article

Samoa Air Charging Passengers by Weight. Good idea?

Should bigger passengers pay more to fly on Samoa Air? Flying has long lost its glamour appeal for a bevy of reasons–among them the pesky charges airlines impose on baggage, meals and pillows–some air carriers charge to pick your own seat ahead of time. Now Samoa Air has stepped into new territory: the tiny South Pacific airline has a new policy charging passengers by how much they, and their luggage, weigh. We road warriors all have our airline stories, including ones of sitting next to someone who is, well, on the portly side. During a 14-hour flight last year my six-foot frame was wedged between an enormous oil rig worker whose mass, well, impinged on my seat. Not that I was going to say anything: it was a long flight, I had a few supplements and prescriptions to knock me out, and anyway he was flying home because his brother "had too much vodka and decided to play Russian roulette with his rifle." Mental amputation, not confrontation, was the better bet for me on that long and very uncomfortable haul. >> Read the Full Article

Why Galaxies Spiral

A spiral galaxy is a certain kind of galaxy originally described by Edwin Hubble in his 1936 work The Realm of the Nebulae[1] and, as such, forms part of the Hubble sequence. Spiral galaxies consist of a flat, rotating disk containing stars, gas and dust, and a central concentration of stars known as the bulge. As the shapes of galaxies go, the spiral disk — with its characteristic pinwheel profile — is by far the most pedestrian. Our own Milky Way, astronomers believe, is a spiral. Our solar system and Earth reside somewhere near one of its swept-back arms. And nearly 70 percent of the galaxies closest to the Milky Way are spirals, suggesting they have taken the most ordinary of galactic forms in a universe with billions of galaxies. Despite their common morphology, how galaxies like ours get into a spiral shape and maintain their characteristic arms has proved to be an enduring puzzle in astrophysics. How do the arms of spiral galaxies arise? >> Read the Full Article

Want to Reduce Your Risk of Heart Conditions? No need to run, walking will do!

Walking briskly can lower your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes as much as running can, according to surprising findings reported in the American Heart Association journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology. Researchers analyzed 33,060 runners in the National Runners' Health Study and 15,045 walkers in the National Walkers' Health Study. They found that the same energy used for moderate intensity walking and vigorous intensity running resulted in similar reductions in risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and possibly coronary heart disease over the study's six years. "Walking and running provide an ideal test of the health benefits of moderate-intensity walking and vigorous-intensity running because they involve the same muscle groups and the same activities performed at different intensities," said Paul T. Williams, Ph.D., the study's principal author and staff scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Life Science Division in Berkeley, Calif. >> Read the Full Article

Pliocene El Nino

The Pliocene Epoch is the period in the geologic timescale that extends from 5.3 million to 2.6 million years before present. The global average temperature in the mid-Pliocene was 2-3°C higher than today, global sea level 25 meters higher and the Northern hemisphere ice sheet ephemeral. A few years ago, however, Brierley’s team found evidence suggesting that the tropical Pacific was even warmer during the Pliocene than anyone had expected. The results were found in sediment cores drilled from the ocean floor. By analyzing the chemical properties of the sediment, researchers were able to determine the ocean’s temperature in the past. Their findings showed that a huge pool of warm water covered the vast majority of the Pacific and that the temperature gradient of sea surface was smaller than previously predicted—that is, the warm pool in the central Pacific was larger and more uniform in temperature. This warm pool is similar to the effects of the periodic El Niño phenomenon, which causes warming of the Pacific near South America. However, because the Pliocene pool was sustained, it has been dubbed a permanent El Niño. >> Read the Full Article