Top Stories

Beware Spice Abuse

While you're busy putting finishing touches on the holiday meal, your teenagers and pre-teen kids might have other ideas about how to use the season's aromatic spices and other ingredients. And the results could be dangerous. >> Read the Full Article

200,000 Acres Protected for Southwestern Willow Flycatchers in California, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Nevada

In response to litigation by the Center for Biological Diversity, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife today designated 208,973 acres, along 1,227 miles of river, as protected critical habitat for endangered southwestern willow flycatchers, small, rare songbirds that depend on desert rivers to survive. The protected habitat was established in six states — California, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Nevada — along several well-known rivers, including the Rio Grande, Gila, Virgin, Santa Ana, San Diego and others. >> Read the Full Article

Addressing Climate Change Will Cost Less if Done Sooner

An agreement by almost 200 nations to curb rising greenhouse gas emissions from 2020 will be far more costly than taking action now to tackle climate change, a new report says. Quick measures to cut emissions would give a far better chance of keeping global warming within an agreed UN limit of 2o Celsius above pre-industrial times to avert more floods, heatwaves, droughts and rising sea levels. "If you delay action by 10, 20 years you significantly reduce the chances of meeting the 2º target," said Keywan Riahi, one of the authors of the report at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Austria. >> Read the Full Article

Geo-Engineering

With policymakers and political leaders increasingly unable to control global climate change, more scientists are considering the use of other engineering approaches other than control at the source to reduce warming impact. The problem is whatever you do, it will have some impact somewhere and somehow. The impact may be good but it also may be bad. U University of Iowa law professor believes the legal ramifications of this kind of geo-engineering need to be thought through in advance and a global governance structure put in place soon to oversee these efforts. >> Read the Full Article

Extreme Weather Delays Efforts to Regain Control of Run-aground Oil Rig

On Monday night, an oil drilling rig owned by Dutch Royal Shell ran aground on Sitkalidak Island in southern Alaska, prompting fears of an oil spill. As of yesterday no oil was seen leaking from the rig according to the Coast Guard, but efforts to secure the rig have floundered due to extreme weather. The rig, dubbed Kulluk, contains over 140,000 gallons of diesel fuel. The incident occurred when harsh weather caused the rig to break free from a ship that was towing the Kulluk from the Arctic back to its winter headquarters in Seattle, Washington. Rescuers quickly evacuated. >> Read the Full Article

Early Predictor for Glaucoma Identified

Glaucoma is an eye disease which involves damage to the optic nerve. It can lead to permanent vision damage and lead to blindness if left untreated. Glaucoma often, but not always, involves increase fluid pressure inside the eye, known as intraocular pressure. A new study has found that certain changes in blood vessels in the retina may be an early warning that an individual has an increased risk of glaucoma. Researchers from the Australian Blue Mountains Eye Study showed that people with abnormally narrow retinal arteries at the beginning of their 10-year study were most likely to develop glaucoma by the end of the study. >> Read the Full Article

Jellyfish on Boom-Bust Cycle Worldwide

Though some reports suggest jellyfish are taking over the world's oceans, long-term records of these gelatinous animals fail to show a global increase in jellyfish blooms likely caused by pollution, warming, coastal development and other human influences. >> Read the Full Article

Comet ISON

Comets come and go over the ages. Some are bright enough to scare while others sort of dribble off into the inky cosmos. They are hard to predict but they can be detected a long way off. The newest discovery was made at the International Scientific Optical Network by two amateur astronomers in Russia who are credited with finding the object, and was subsequently named Comet ISON to give credit to the group who discovered it. It will be visible on Earth in late 2013 and the first few weeks of 2014. it has the potential of being bright and only time will tell. So something to think about as the year progresses. >> Read the Full Article

Climate Change Finally Getting Our Collective Attention

It's that time of year when we look back and reflect on the past year and make silly lists. ENN Affiliate, TriplePundit has assembled a Top Five list of the reasons that Climate Change is finally getting more attention. This list is far from silly – it is quite sobering news for many of us to accept. In 2012, climate change came to the forefront. Here are 5 reasons why: 5) 2012 was the hottest year on record. A December 2012 report by the independent non profit organization Climate Central states: "There is a 99.99999999 percent chance that 2012 will be the hottest year ever recorded in the continental 48 states, based on our analysis of 118 years of temperature records through Dec. 10, 2012." Not that we won't see more days with below freezing temperatures and chilling winds, but those days are becoming less frequent. While this is good news for those that hate the cold, it is bad news for the planet, as sea levels rise and arctic habitats disappear. >> Read the Full Article

Happy New Years! How about a new you?

As we welcome in the New Year around the world I’m sure many of us will be making resolutions for the months ahead. The 1st of January marks a fresh start and a great opportunity to set personal challenges to improve ourselves, our lifestyles, and perhaps make a difference to the world around us too. However, we all know that sticking to resolutions can be tricky, so if you need a little inspiration just take a look at our favourite role models from the animal kingdom. Get active Many of us will promise to get a little more exercise, but despite our best intentions it is easy for motivation to fade as the months tick by. However, in the natural world being active is the key to many species' survival. The bee hummingbird is not only the world’s smallest species of bird, it is also one of the most energetic. In order to hover and feed on the nectar of flowers it must beat its wings around 80 times per second, and to perform its intricate courtship display this rate increases to an incredible 200 beats a second. Just think about that next time you are struggling to do a few more reps in the gym. >> Read the Full Article