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Supernova Stars Start With a Pre-Event

Supernova stars are spectacular stars which suddenly get much brighter. This occurs in certain stars that are reaching the end of their lifetime. Before they go all-out supernova, certain large stars undergo a sort of "mini-explosion," throwing a good-sized chunk of their material off into space. Though several models predict this behavior and evidence from supernovae points in this direction, actually observations of such pre-explosion outbursts have been rare. In new research led by Dr. Eran Ofek of the Weizmann Institute, Rehovot, Israel, scientists found such an outburst taking place a short time – just one month – before a massive star underwent a supernova explosion. >> Read the Full Article

LED Criteria

A light-emitting diode (LED) is an efficient semiconductor light source. LEDs are used as indicator lamps in many devices and are increasingly used for other lighting. It is not just enough to be energy efficient; LED lighting also must be consistently high quality and reliable to win over consumers. That message, from the California Lighting Technology Center at the University of California, Davis, helped prompt the California Energy Commission to include quality criteria for LED replacement lamps in its first-in-the-nation energy efficiency directive on Dec. 12, 2012. Now, the CLTC is urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR program to create similar criteria for LEDs on a national scale. >> Read the Full Article

Desert bacteria could help boost crop yields

Desert soil microbes could help halt desertification and boost agriculture in arid regions of the Middle East and North Africa, according to a study. Scientists from the United Arab Emirates [UAE] have isolated local salt- and drought-tolerant strains of Rhizobia, soil bacteria that fix nitrogen when they become established inside the root nodules of legumes. >> Read the Full Article

Sri Lanka to give poached ivory to Buddhist temple, flouting international agreements

The Sri Lankan government is planning to give 359 elephant tusks to a Buddhist temple, a move that critics say is flouting the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). The illegal tusks were seized in Sri Lanka last May en route to Dubai from Kenya; they are believed to stem from hundreds of butchered elephants, including juveniles, inside Africa, possibly Uganda. The decision comes after a high-profile National Geographic article, Ivory Worship, outlined how demand for ivory religious handicrafts, particularly by Catholics and Buddhists, is worsening the current poaching crisis. >> Read the Full Article

Omega and Liver Inflammation

Omega-3 fatty acids are fats commonly found in marine and plant oils. Research at Oregon State University has found that one particular omega-3 fatty acid has a powerful effect in preventing liver inflammation and fibrosis – common problems that are steadily rising along with the number of Americans who are overweight. Some of the other potential health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids supplementation remain controversial. They are considered essential fatty acids, meaning that they cannot be synthesized by the human body but are vital for normal metabolism. >> Read the Full Article

Rhino Poaching Crisis Expands

India Monday lost its ninth rhino to poaching so far this year within the northern state of Assam. The greater-one horned, or Indian rhino, was found shot dead with its horn removed in Kaziranga National Park. Seven other rhinos have already been killed in the park during 2013, and an additional rhino was poached last month in Manas National Park. Officials are concerned about the increasing use of sophisticated weapons by poachers. Many of the Assam's rhinos have been gunned down by Kalashnikov rifles. The state has approximately 2,500 rhinos remaining after losing 21 to poachers last year. >> Read the Full Article

The Mighty Earthworm in Climate

An earthworm is a tube-shaped, segmented animal that is commonly found living in soil. It is one of the more harmless creatures on Earth. Earthworms are long revered for their beneficial role in soil fertility, but with the good comes the bad: they also increase greenhouse gas emissions from soils, according to a study published Feb. 3 in Nature Climate Change by a research team that includes a University of California, Davis, soil scientist. >> Read the Full Article

Federal Agencies Announce New Initiative to Improve Indoor Health Hazards

Several agencies including the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Surgeon General, Department of Energy (DOE), and White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) got together yesterday at the National Building Museum. The purpose of their meeting was to unveil a new initiative titled Advancing Healthy Housing – A Strategy for Action. The initiative involves addressing America's health and economic costs associated with preventable hazards within the home. It urges taking preemptive action to reduce the health and environmental risks inside the home, a place where the average American spends about 70 percent of their time. >> Read the Full Article

Natural Gas and Pure Water

Water is always precious. Increased natural gas production is happening ion the US. But natural gas wells have problems: Large volumes of deep water, often heavily laden with salts and minerals, flow out along with the gas. That so-called produced water must be disposed of, or cleaned. Once cleaned it has beneficial reuse in often arid regions. >> Read the Full Article

TaKaDu: Using The Power Of Math To Solve The World's Water Leaks

According to the Asian Development Bank, Asia loses around 29 billion cubic metres of urban treated water every year due to leaking pipes, valued at nine billion dollars annually. The bank says that "by cutting physical losses to half the present level, 150 million people could be supplied with already treated water." >> Read the Full Article