Top Stories

The Growth of Efficient Buildings

The area of building efficiency affords tremendous opportunities for both economic growth and reduced environmental impacts. Buildings are the single largest emitters of greenhouse gases. According to a UNEP study titled "Towards a Green Economy," homes and businesses are responsible for 40 percent of the climate change causing carbon pollution. There is significant room for improvement in new construction and retrofits in homes, businesses, schools and other organization. >> Read the Full Article

America's Electric Vehicle Workplace Charging Challenge

Sales of plug-in Electric Vehicles (EV) in the U.S. more than tripled in 2012 and continue to grow. The Obama administration has invested $7.5 billion, and billions more have been invested by car manufacturers, including companies like Ford, Nissan and BMW, who are putting out eight more new models of plug-in vehicles on U.S. roads this year. Nissan has invested $5 billion in electric cars while General Motors has invested a $1 billion. This continued support for the mass adoption of the EV is crucial, particularly as environmentalists believe it will help to control greenhouse gas emissions. All this means getting American drivers to think about what they are driving. >> Read the Full Article

Lower Weight Babies Mostly Catch Up by Teens

Human babies have one of the longest development times of any living thing on planet Earth. And each baby is a unique individual and they develop at their own rate. Parents track the progress of their babies, who are compared to "normal" weight tables at each doctor's visit. When a baby is "below normal" parents are often concerned. They shouldn't worry too much. New research from the Children of the 90s study at the University of Bristol shows that most babies who are slow to put on weight in the first nine months of life have caught up to within the normal range by the age of 13, but remain lighter and shorter than many of their peers. There are significant differences in the pattern of 'catch-up', depending on the infant's age when the slow weight gain occurs. >> Read the Full Article

Tigers Get the Conservation Love in India

Nearly half of India's wildlife budget goes to one species: the tiger, reports a recent article in Live Mint. India has devoted around $63 million to wildlife conservation for 2013-2013, of which Project Tiger receives $31 million. The Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) is currently listed as Endangered by the IUCN Red List; however India is also home to 132 species currently considered Critically Endangered, the highest rating before extinction. After tigers, elephants receive the next greatest amount: $4 million or 6 percent of the total. Combating the illegal wildlife trade—one of the gravest threats to many of India's species—is funded with just $1 million. Many of the nation's species receive no government funding whatsoever. >> Read the Full Article

Mystery of Dog Evolution Solved

How did modern dogs evolve from wolves or other predecessor canines? Scientists have long thought that modern dogs evolved from wild wolves that became accustomed to human interaction and then were deliberately bred by early humans as pets. Part of the ancient mystery of the makeup of the modern Western dog has been solved by a team led by researchers at the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine. Several thousand years after dogs originated in the Middle East and Europe, some of them moved south with ancient farmers, distancing themselves from native wolf populations and developing a distinct genetic profile that is now reflected in today’s canines. These findings, based on the rate of genetic marker mutations in the dog's Y chromosome, supply the missing piece to the puzzle of when ancient dogs expanded from Southeast Asia. The study results are published online this month in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution. >> Read the Full Article

Tracing Individual Particulate Pollutants

Air borne particulates come from both natural and man made sources. Their effects are similar from a health and esthetic point of view. Particle size is even more important. Scientists at the University of California, Davis, have, for the first time, developed a system that can determine which types of air particles that pollute the atmosphere are the most prevalent and most toxic. Previous research has shown that air pollution containing fine and ultrafine particles is associated with asthma, heart disease and premature death. This new study, released today by the California Air Resources Board and the Electric Power Research Institute, marks the first time that researchers have conducted source-oriented sampling of these particles in the atmosphere. >> Read the Full Article

Mutated Moth Genes May Lead to Environmentally Friendly Pest Control

Pheromones are chemical substances secreted or excreted by species that when released into the environment can affect the behavior or physiology of others. Basically, these chemicals trigger social responses and are crucial to the mating systems in a wide range of organisms. According to a new study led by researchers from Sweden’s Lund University, a single gene mutation found in the moth genus, Ostrinia, has led to the species’ ability to produce an entirely new scent. >> Read the Full Article

Stress makes organic tomatoes more nutritious, sweeter

Organic tomatoes are sweeter (more sugar) and more nutritious (more vitamin C and anti-oxidants) than tomatoes grown with pesticides and chemical fertilizers, according to a new study published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE. The scientists theorize that stress may be why organic farming produces a more nutritious and tastier tomato. >> Read the Full Article

Electric Flowers

Flowers are pretty and attractive for a variety of reasons. These all just means of communicating to likely pollinators. Flowers' methods of communicating are at least as sophisticated as any devised by an advertising agency, according to a new study, published today in Science Express by researchers from the University of Bristol. However, for any advert to be successful, it has to reach, and be perceived by, its target audience. The research shows for the first time that pollinators such as bumblebees are able to find and distinguish electric signals given out by flowers. >> Read the Full Article

Europe's Unexpected Immigration Problem - Wildlife!

Animals and plants brought to Europe from other parts of the world are a bigger-than-expected threat to health and the environment costing at least €12 billion a year, a study said on Thurday (21 February). More than 10,000 'alien' species have gained a foothold in Europe, from Asian tiger mosquitoes to North American ragweed, and at least 1,500 are known to be harmful, the European Environment Agency (EEA) said. >> Read the Full Article