Top Stories

Bush draws fire at climate talks

Some of the world's biggest greenhouse polluters took aim at President George W. Bush on Friday, calling him "isolated" and questioning his leadership on the problem of global warming.

Bush, who convened the two-day meeting of the 17 biggest emitters of climate-warming gases, stressed new environmental technology and voluntary measures to tackle the issue.

>> Read the Full Article

Magnitude 7.4 quake hits near New Zealand

A strong earthquake with a magnitude of 7.4 hit some 500 km (300 miles) southwest of New Zealand on Sunday, but there were no reports of damage and authorities discounted the risk of a major tsunami.

The quake occurred at around 6:24 p.m. local time, and was felt throughout the south of New Zealand's South Island, said Warwick Smith of state agency GNS Science.

>> Read the Full Article

Ground Beef Recall Expanded Across U.S.

The Topps Meat Co. on Saturday expanded its recall of frozen hamburger patties to include 21.7 million pounds of ground beef that may be contaminated with E. coli bacteria that sickened more than a dozen people in eight states.

The recall of products distributed to retail grocery stores and food service institutions in the United States was a drastic increase from the 332,000 pounds recalled Tuesday. >> Read the Full Article

Consumers worried about plastic bags' impact on the environment

They're initially used for mere minutes, they cost only pennies to make and are rarely given much afterthought.

But more and more consumers and communities are thinking twice about the everlasting life of plastic bags.

They offer a convenient carry-all for everything from cereal to CDs to cosmetics.

But then what?
>> Read the Full Article

Ozone shuts down early immune response in lungs and body

As policy makers debate what levels of ozone in the air are safe for humans to breathe, studies in mice are revealing that the inhaled pollutant impairs the body’s first line of defense, making it more susceptible to subsequent foreign invaders, such as bacteria. >> Read the Full Article

Wasp Study Suggests Altruism Evolved From Maternal Behavior

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Researchers at the University of Illinois have used an innovative approach to reveal the molecular basis of altruistic behavior in wasps. The research team focused on the expression of behavior-related genes in Polistes metricus paper wasps, a species for which little genetic data was available when the study was begun. Their findings appear today online in Science Express.

Like honey bee workers, wasp workers give up their reproductive capabilities and focus entirely on nurturing their larval siblings, a practice that seems to defy the Darwinian prediction that a successful organism strives, above all else, to reproduce itself. Such behaviors are indicative of a eusocial society, in which some individuals lose, or sacrifice, their reproductive functions and instead work to benefit the larger group.
>> Read the Full Article

Nanowire generates power by harvesting energy from the environment

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — As the sizes of sensor networks and mobile devices shrink toward the microscale, and even nanoscale, there is a growing need for suitable power sources. Because even the tiniest battery is too big to be used in nanoscale devices, scientists are exploring nanosize systems that can salvage energy from the environment.

Now, researchers at the University of Illinois have shown that a single nanowire can produce power by harvesting mechanical energy. Made of piezoelectric material, the nanowire generates a voltage when mechanically deformed. To measure the voltage produced by such a tiny wire, however, the researchers first had to build an extremely sensitive and precise mechanical testing stage.

“With the development of this precision testing apparatus, we successfully demonstrated the first controlled measurement of voltage generation from an individual nanowire,” said Min-Feng Yu, a professor of mechanical science and engineering, and a researcher at the university’s Beckman Institute. “The new testing apparatus makes possible other difficult, but important, measurements, as well.”
>> Read the Full Article

Eggshells Help Make Hydrogen Fuel.

COLUMBUS , Ohio -- Engineers at Ohio State University have found a way to turn discarded chicken eggshells into an alternative energy resource.

The patented process uses eggshells to soak up carbon dioxide from a reaction that produces hydrogen fuel. It also includes a unique method for peeling the collagen-containing membrane from the inside of the shells, so that the collagen can be used commercially.
L.S. Fan

L.S. Fan, Distinguished University Professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at Ohio State, said that he and former Ohio State doctoral student, Mahesh Iyer, hit upon the idea when they were trying to improve a method of hydrogen production called the water-gas-shift reaction. With this method, fossil fuels such as coal are gasified to produce carbon monoxide gas, which then combines with water to produce carbon dioxide and hydrogen.

The eggshell plays a critical role.
>> Read the Full Article

China Suspends Soybean Imports From US , Beetle Infestation Discovered

Beijing, China - China's quality control administration said on Friday that it found live khapra beetles in soybeans imported from the United States. The beetle is a much-feared pest that can destroy soybean stores.

A statement from the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said the 460 tons of soybeans shipped by the U.S.-based Scoular Company contained the beetles and "other species of harmful insects," without elaborating. Ragweed seeds were also detected in the 21 containers. >> Read the Full Article

Researchers Challenge Assumptions Of GMO Agriculture

Manhatten, Kansas - A  researcher is challenging the assumption that genetically engineered plants are the great scientific and technological revolution in agriculture and the only efficient and cheap way to feed a growing population. They are working on non-GMO methods to accelerate plant breeding. It's called "market-assisted selection". The research is focused on breeding methodology, finding more efficient ways to breed better varieties of corn, sorghum, wheat or barley that yield higher, require less irrigation and are resistant to diseases in farmers' fields. The work was recently published in an edition of the scientific journal Crop Science.
>> Read the Full Article