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Chevron Moving Forward on Permits for Shale Gas Projects in Romania

The county council in Vaslui County, Romania awarded last December Chevron the right to drill an exploratory well for shale gas in a locality within the Barlad concession that covers some 600,000 hectares in North East Romania. Chevron will drill its first exploratory well in the Paltinis village, within the Bacesti locality in rural Vaslui. People in this region took to the streets three times last year to protest the exploitation of shale gas through franking. Dumitru Buzatu, president of the Vaslui county council, said that Chevron's permitting is legal. >> Read the Full Article

Gym or Raking Leaves?

How important is rigorous gym exercise versus ordinary work day exercise/tasks? New research at Oregon State University suggests the health benefits of small amounts of activity – even as small as one- and two-minute increments that add up to 30 minutes per day – can be just as beneficial as longer periods of physical exercise achieved by a trip to the gym. The nationally representative study of more than 6,000 American adults shows that an active lifestyle approach, as opposed to a structured exercise routine, may be just as beneficial in improving health outcomes, including preventing metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. >> Read the Full Article

Peatland Forest Loss and Climate Change

The destruction of tropical peatland forests is causing them to haemorrhage carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, scientists say. The research, published in Nature, suggests peatland contributions to climate change have been badly underestimated. 'If you don't consider carbon lost through drainage then you underestimate the carbon losses from these deforested sites by 22 per cent,' says Dr Vincent Gauci of the Open University, one of the study's authors. 'And that's a conservative estimate; it could be much higher.' >> Read the Full Article

Study: Risk of Heart Disease Down 32 Percent for Vegetarians

Meat consumption around the world has been on the rise as incomes have grown. In the United States, more meat is consumed than anywhere else. For many, a meal simply is not a meal if it does not have at least a half-pound of flesh on it. Vegetarianism has been in practice by large groups for quite a long time for both health and moral reasons. According to a new scientific study from the University of Oxford, vegetarians have new ammunition in their anti-meat crusade. The study claims that the risk of hospitalization or death from heart disease is 32 percent lower for vegetarians than for people who eat meat and fish. >> Read the Full Article

'Biotic Pump' Theory Suggests Forests Drive Wind and Rain

It took over two-and-a-half-years for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics to finally accept a paper outlining a new meteorological hypothesis in which condensation, not temperature, drives winds. If proven correct, the hypothesis could have massive ramifications on global policy—not to mention meteorology—as essentially the hypothesis means that the world's forest play a major role in driving precipitation from the coast into a continent's interior. The theory, known as the biotic pump, was first developed in 2006 by two Russian scientists, Victor Gorshkov and Anastassia Makarieva of the St. Petersburg Nuclear Physics, but the two have faced major pushback and delays in their attempt to put the theory before the greater scientific community. >> Read the Full Article

The Strange World Around Fomalhaut

Fomalhaut b is a confirmed extrasolar object and planet orbiting the A-type main sequence star Fomalhaut, approximately 25 light-years away in the constellation of Piscis Austrinus. The object was discovered in 2008. Newly released NASA Hubble Space Telescope images of a vast debris disk encircling the nearby star Fomalhaut and a mysterious planet circling it may provide forensic evidence of a titanic planetary disruption in the system. Astronomers are surprised to find the debris belt (a really big asteroid belt when compared to the one between Mars and Jupiter) is wider than previously known, spanning a section of space from 14 to nearly 20 billion miles from the star. Even more surprisingly, the latest Hubble images have allowed a team of astronomers to calculate the planet follows an unusual elliptical orbit that will carry it on a potentially destructive path through the vast dust ring. >> Read the Full Article

Study reveals climate patterns have impact on flu epidemics

The flu season has been hitting hard this winter all across the country with nearly 30 states reporting flulike activity and over 2,200 people being hospitalized according to government health experts. Whether or not you have gotten your flu shot, chances are you or someone you know someone has come down with flu-like systems. So what can we attribute the current spike in flu cases? According to one report, climate change is starting to play an interesting role. >> Read the Full Article

Water from an Antarctica Lake

In an amazing feat of science and engineering, a National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded research team has successfully drilled through 2,600 feet of Antarctic ice to reach a subglacial lake and retrieve water and sediment samples that have been isolated from direct contact with the outside world for many thousands of years. Scientists and drillers with the interdisciplinary Whillans Ice Stream Subglacial Access Research Drilling project (WISSARD) announced January 28th that they had used a customized clean hot-water drill to directly obtain samples from the waters and sediments of subglacial Lake Whillans. Upon study this may reveal an unique perspective on life and how it evolves. >> Read the Full Article

Carbon Capture Technologies that Could Help Fight Climate Change

Evolving technology could make cleaning the air more profitable than fouling it, says Columbia Univ economist In the wake of the hottest and driest summer in memory throughout much of North America, and Super-storm Sandy that flooded cities and ravaged large swaths of the Mid-Atlantic coast, many now recognize that the climate change isn’t just real, but that it is already at our doorstep. As this realization continues to sink in, the political will may ripen to take more aggressive action to put a brake CO2 emissions. Already, President Obama, who had remained mostly silent on the issue during his reelection campaign, has made it clear that tackling climate change will be among his top second-term priorities. But the fact remains that even if the entire world switched magically to 100 percent solar and other non-polluting power sources tomorrow, it’s too late to roll back some of the impacts of climate change. The current level of carbon dioxide in the air is already well beyond what scientists regard as the safe threshold. If we remain on our present course, scientists say, CO2 levels will continue to rise — sharply— for years to come. >> Read the Full Article

Exterior Air Bags Protect Cyclists From Cars

Few people would argue with the need for air bags on the inside of a car. But on the outside? The idea comes from TNO, a car company in the The Netherlands, where there are now 1.3 bicycles for every resident. Amsterdam alone is home to a half a million riders daily. >> Read the Full Article