Top Stories

UK faces higher risk of flooding and droughts as water crisis looms

The risk of flooding and water shortage in 2013 has increased because the Government is too slow in changing the way we manage our water, environmental leaders warn. The authors of the Blueprint for Water report say that after two dry winters, it took Britain’s wettest ever summer to narrowly avert a serious drought. They warn that despite this summer’s flooding, another series of dry winters would put Britain right back under serious risk of drought. >> Read the Full Article

Ancient Global Warming Extinction Impact

The Permian–Triassic extinction event, informally known as the Great Dying, was an extinction event that occurred 250 million years ago. Some 57% of all families and 83% of all genera became extinct. Because so much biodiversity was lost, the recovery of life on Earth took significantly longer than after any other extinction event. Researchers have discovered why plants and animals had a hard time recovering from the largest mass extinction in Earth’s history 250 million years ago. The reason was global warming. Because of environmental consequences of rising temperatures, those species that survived the extinction didn’t fully recover for 5 million years. >> Read the Full Article

Shocking Number of Squatters Found in Sumatran National Park

Sumatra's Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park—home to the Critically Endangered Sumatran rhinos, tigers, and elephants—has become overrun with coffee farmers, loggers, and opportunists according to a new paper in Conservation and Society. An issue facing the park for decades, the study attempted for the first time to determine the number of squatters either living in or farming off Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; the rough census—over 100,000 people—shocked scientists. "In some parts of the Park the squatters are so numerous that the area looks more like a Javanese countryside," lead author Patrice Levang with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) told mongabay.com. >> Read the Full Article

Malaysian dam project will set precedent on how to treat indigenous people

The controversial Murum dam in Malaysia is the first big overseas project for the China Three Gorges Project Company (CTGC) which is building hydro- and coal-fired power stations in 23 countries. So how it resolves its current conflict with the protesting Penan tribe will set an important precedent as to how other Indigenous people are treated. Sarawak is one of two Malaysian states on the island of Borneo and is covered in ancient rainforest. This pristine oasis is home to many rare species, including the Slow loris, Clouded leopard, eight species of Hornbill as well as the iconic Orang-utang. Logging practices in the Sarawak region have decimated the habitat of these, and thousands of other unique species, and caused irreparable damage to valuable peat lands. >> Read the Full Article

Combatting Indoor Air Pollution from Downtown Cities

Air is constantly being circulated in large cities as air conditioning and heating units intake city air and use it to heat and cool their offices and residential buildings. As urban populations expand, and as downtown buildings grow higher and higher, we often forget about the growing pollution within the downtown areas. And because these buildings are so close together, neighboring buildings are often forced to intake polluted air into their indoor air systems. To combat this issue, researchers from Concordia University have modeled scenarios and have figured out a way to solve a portion of circulating polluted air. >> Read the Full Article

Escalating Trade Disputes for Chinese-made Solar Panels

China has become the world's largest producer of solar panels, and the European Union has become the largest consumer of solar panels. Due to the economic climate within Europe, it is natural for them to bolster their own solar industry in the interest of keeping and adding employment and growth. However, China which is Europe's largest supplier has been accusing the EU of protectionist actions which go against the rules of the World Trade Organization. China's primary complaint centers on Rome and Athens, where a new policy allows for higher electricity prices to solar companies which use locally sourced components. >> Read the Full Article

Cancer Treatment Breakthrough

Several substances inhibiting so-called HDAC enzymes have been studied in trials searching for new anti-cancer drugs in recent years. "Trials have shown that HDAC inhibitors are very effective in arresting growth of cultured cancer cells. But apart from a very rare type of lymphoma, these drugs unfortunately do not clinically affect malignant tumors," says Prof. Dr. Olaf Witt, who heads a research department at DKFZ and is pediatrician at the Center for Child and Adolescent Medicine of Heidelberg University Hospital. In the cell, histone deacetylases (HDAC) are responsible for removing small chemical tags called acetyl groups from histone proteins. Histones serve as coils the genetic material wraps around in the nucleus. The presence or absence of acetyl tags determines where genetic material is accessible and can get transcribed. >> Read the Full Article

Hurricane Sandy Highlights Stormwater Management, New Industrial Discharge Permit

The aftermath of Hurricane Sandy highlights why coastal flooding and stormwater control can be expected to receive increased regulatory attention. As the New York metropolitan area struggles to regain its footing, regulators can be expected to take a closer look at plans to manage industrial stormwater runoff, which can carry chemicals, oil, and other pollutants. In fact, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has already made industrial stormwater runoff a high priority. >> Read the Full Article

The Lasting Health Effects of the Breakfast Sandwich

People around this country love to eat their hot breakfast sandwiches like pork roll, sausage, or bacon, egg, and cheese on a bagel or hard roll. While very delicious and quite satisfying, the iconic breakfast sandwich is also laden with a tremendous amount of fat. According to the head of cardiac science at the University of Calgary, eating just one of these a day, and "your blood vessels become unhappy." Diets associated with high-fat meals are associated with atherosclerosis, the narrowing of the arteries over a lifetime. But the new research shows that the ill effects of a high fat breakfast can be felt well before lunchtime of that very day. >> Read the Full Article

The Ever Changing Surface of Vesta

Vesta is one of the largest asteroids in the Solar System, with a mean diameter of about 525 kilometers (326 miles). It is a rock floating in space. Quite unexpectedly its surface seems quite active and changing for a dead rock. The protoplanet Vesta is continually stirring its outermost layer and presenting a young face. New data from NASA's Dawn mission show that a common form of weathering that affects many airless bodies like Vesta in the inner solar system, including the moon, surprisingly doesn't age the protoplanet's outermost layer. The data also indicate that carbon-rich asteroids have been splattering dark material on Vesta's surface over a long span of the body's history. >> Read the Full Article