Top Stories

Coffee, Starchy Snack foods may contain acrylamide

Bread, buns and coffee can be dangerous as they might contain the chemical compound acrylamide, which the Technical University of Denmark's (DTU) National Food Institute now links to cancer. EU food safety authorities have been asked to investigate. Acrylamide is a chemical compound that typically forms in starchy food products such as potato crisps, chips, bread, biscuits and coffee, during high-temperature processing (above 120°), including frying, baking and roasting. "We can with a great probability say that there is a link between food products which contain alcrylamide and cancer," Jørgen Schlundt, director of DTU's National Food Institute, told Danish TV. >> Read the Full Article

Oil Shale Strategy

Humans have used oil shale as a fuel since prehistoric times, since it generally burns without any processing. Oil shale, also known as kerogen shale, is an organic-rich fine-grained sedimentary rock containing kerogen (a solid mixture of organic chemical compounds) from which liquid hydrocarbons called shale oil (not to be confused with tight oil—crude oil occurring naturally in shales) can be produced. As part of President Obama’s strategy to continue to expand safe and responsible development of the nation’s energy resources, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced the Department’s final plan for encouraging research, development and demonstration (RD&D) of oil shale and tar sands resources on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. The Record of Decision and plan amendments make nearly 700,000 acres in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming available for potential oil shale leasing and about 130,000 acres available for potential tar sands leasing in Utah. >> Read the Full Article

Man Caught Smuggling Over 10% of Tortoise Species' Population

On Friday, March 15th Thai authorities arrested a 38-year-old man attempting to collect a bag containing 54 ploughshare tortoises (Astrochelys yniphora) and 21 radiated tortoises (Astrochelys radiata) in Suvarnabhumi International Airport. Found only in Madagascar both species are listed as Critically Endangered and protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), but have become lucrative targets for the black-market pet trade given their scarcity and beauty. >> Read the Full Article

Triassic End Times

The End Triassic extinction event was an extinction event that occurred over 200 million years ago. At least half of the species known to have been living on Earth at that time went extinct. This event vacated terrestrial ecological niches, allowing the dinosaurs to assume the dominant roles in the Jurassic period. This event happened in less than 10,000 years and occurred just before Panagea started to break apart. Scientists examining evidence across the world from New Jersey to North Africa say they have linked the abrupt disappearance of half of earth’s species 200 million years ago to a precisely dated set of gigantic volcanic eruptions. The eruptions may have caused climate changes so sudden that many creatures were unable to adapt—possibly on a pace similar to that of human-influenced climate warming today. The extinction opened the way for dinosaurs to evolve and dominate the planet for the next 135 million years, before they, too, were wiped out in a later planetary cataclysm. This study provides the tightest link yet, with a newly precise date - 201,564,000 years ago, exactly the same time as a massive outpouring of lava. >> Read the Full Article

Verizon Introduces 'MAGIC' Buses to Reduce Carbon Footprint

To help reduce traffic congestion and carbon dioxide emissions in New York City, and better serve customers, Verizon has rolled out a fleet of 25 buses that will pick up company technicians at central locations throughout the city and then transport them to local job sites. The fleet - known as MAGIC, which stands for Mobile Area Garage Installation Center - removes approximately 250 Verizon trucks from the city's roads and frees up the same number of parking spots. >> Read the Full Article

Solar Cell Power Breakthrough

Scientists from the Nano-Science Center at the Niels Bohr Institut, Denmark and the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland, have shown that a single nanowire can concentrate the sunlight up to 15 times of the normal sun light intensity. The results are surprising and the potential for developing a new type of highly efficient solar cells is great. Due to some unique physical light absorption properties of nanowires, the limit of how much energy we can utilize from the sun's rays is higher than previous believed. These results demonstrate the great potential of development of nanowire-based solar cells, says PhD Peter Krogstrup on the surprising discovery that is described in the journal Nature Photonics. >> Read the Full Article

Earth Hour 2013 Inspires Many Around the World

WWF's Earth Hour has just concluded another record sweep around our planet from Samoa on one side of the International Date Line to the Cook Islands on the other, with hundreds of millions again uniting to send a clear message - we are determined to create a sustainable future for our planet. The event was observed in more than 7000 cities, towns and municipalities in more than 150 countries and territories, with many of the world's best known human and natural landmarks going dark as the backdrop to a multitude of "beyond the hour" activities and initiatives generating outcomes for the movement and the planet on which we live. "What is most important is the ever increasing extent to which Earth Hour's supporters are participating in or taking actions themselves," said Earth Hour CEO and Co-Founder, Andy Ridley. >> Read the Full Article

World Meteorological Day March 23rd

Today is World Meteorological Day. This day is not celebrated as a world holiday, but is designated to focus attention on the importance that meteorology, weather, and climate forecasts play in our lives. The United Nations recognizes the importance of weather, climate and meteorological forecasting to the natural environment and human well-being. World Meteorological Day, observed on 23 March, celebrates the creation of WMO in 1950 to promote international cooperation in the field of weather, climate, water and other related sciences. This year's theme, "Watching the Weather to Protect Life and Property," focuses on the crucial role that meteorological and water services play in alerting people to natural hazards such as floods, topical cyclones and droughts. >> Read the Full Article

Dams and Levees

Dams generally serve the primary purpose of retaining water, while other structures such as floodgates or levees (also known as dikes) are used to manage or prevent water flow into specific land regions. The average age of the 84,000 dams in the US is 52 years old. The nation’s dams are aging and the number of high-hazard dams is on the rise. Many of these dams were built as low-hazard dams protecting undeveloped agricultural land. The average age of the 84,000 dams in the country is 52 years old. The nation’s dams are aging and the number of high-hazard dams is on the rise. Many of these dams were built as low-hazard dams protecting undeveloped agricultural land. Both are in sad shape and rated a D for dams and a D- for levees by the American Society of Civil Engineers who are the engineers who build them. If they go, homes and vast stretches of land will be flooded and the environment literally drenched. >> Read the Full Article

Sinkhole Threatens Louisiana Community

Sinkholes have been making headlines in the news lately like when earlier this month, a Florida man was unfortunately pulled to his death because of the mysterious land collapse. Florida in particular is prone to sinkholes because of underground limestone caverns in which the rock is extremely porous and dissolves easily in water. This softening causes land to sink and the event has the ability to collapse without warning, swallowing whatever lies above ground causing fatal destruction. While sinkholes are naturally occurring depressions in the Earth’s surface that vary in both diameter and depth, they can also be caused by man-made industries, and consequently, a massive sinkhole in Louisiana is threatening an entire community. >> Read the Full Article