• Steep-Terrain Rover To Explore Other Planets, Help Back On Earth

    Engineers from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and students at the California Institute of Technology have designed and tested a versatile, low-mass robot that can rappel off cliffs, travel nimbly over steep and rocky terrain, and explore deep craters. This prototype rover, called Axel, might help future robotic spacecraft better explore and investigate foreign worlds such as Mars. On Earth, Axel might assist in search-and-rescue operations. >> Read the Full Article
  • U.N. chief says domestic politics undermine climate fight

    NEW DELHI (Reuters) - A climate deal at Copenhagen may not be possible unless politicians take tough decisions without worrying about winning elections and compulsions of their domestic politics, the U.N. Secretary-General said on Thursday. Ban Ki-moon said the situation had been compounded by the global financial downturn that was making it more difficult for the political leadership to take unpopular decisions. >> Read the Full Article
  • Obama's energy secretary outlines dire climate change scenario

    Unless there is timely action on climate change, California's agricultural bounty could be reduced to a dust bowl and its cities disappear, Barack Obama's energy secretary said yesterday. >> Read the Full Article
  • Projecting the future of nitrogen pollution

    Heavier rainfall due to climate change will exacerbate the effects of increased fertilizer use for corn-based ethanol production, causing a significant increase in nitrogen levels in rivers, according to a new study in ES&T (DOI 10.1021/es801985x). The good news is that if farmers choose organic practices and reduce fertilizer use, the impact of heavy rains will lessen and nitrogen pollution levels might drop to below present-day levels, the study concludes. >> Read the Full Article
  • India Planning $10 Laptop

    You thought the $100 laptop was cheap? How about a $10 laptop? That's the promise of the unfortunately named Sakshat computer (it actually means "before your eyes"), to be built in India as soon as the designers get a manufacturer signed up. >> Read the Full Article
  • Google Earth allows web users to explore world's oceans in 3D

    The Ocean tool combines renderings of underwater terrain with expert content from marine biologists and oceanographers, allowing web surfers to swim around virtual underwater volcanoes, watch videos about exotic marine life, read about nearby shipwrecks, and contribute photos and videos of their favourite diving spots. Google said that humans had only ever explored around five per cent of the world's oceans, which cover more than 70 per cent of the earth's surface and contain 80 per cent of all life. >> Read the Full Article
  • Solar Stocks: Wall Street Heavyweight or Punching Bag?

    It doesn't matter to them that that cumulative installed solar capacity is forecast to grow 374% between now and 2015. It doesn't matter to them that an Obama and Chu-led energy administration will mandate renewable portfolio standards (RPS) with a solar requirement while providing long-term guidance for tax incentives and credits. It doesn't matter to them that capping U.S. emissions, which will happen in the next two years, will make carbon a liability and give it price, making renewables all the more sought after and competitive. >> Read the Full Article
  • Discovery Fleshes Out Metabolism Of Key Environmental And Energy Bacteria

    An international collaboration of researchers has discovered a new enzyme in a species of bacteria with potential environmental cleanup and energy roles. This is the first multi-protein enzyme of its kind. Although many microbes use a single-protein version to consume certain food, the new study suggests that dozens of bacteria use only the multi-protein one instead. This advance in understanding of the microbe's metabolism will help researchers use the bugs to clean up toxic or radioactive pollutants. >> Read the Full Article
  • Freezers produce 25% of supermarkets' carbon footprint

    Supermarket fridges and freezers are environmentally unfriendly, spewing out bad gases that make up more than a quarter of the companies' total carbon footprint. The HFCs (hydrochlorofluorocarbons) can have as much as 4000 times more impact on global warming than carbon dioxide, say green campaigners. None of the 10 high-street stores fared well in a survey that had Iceland scoring an alarming -1 out of a hundred, closely followed by rivals Lidl (0 points) and Aldi (+1). >> Read the Full Article
  • Tigers 'Took The Silk Road' To Russia

    In a study recently published in PLoS One the team show that the Caspian tiger from Central Asia, which became extinct in 1970, was almost identical to the living Siberian, or Amur, tigers found in the Russian Far East today. The discovery not only sheds new light on how the animals reached Central Asia and Russia but also opens up the intriguing possibility that conservationists might repopulate tiger-less Central Asia with Siberian tigers from Russia or China. >> Read the Full Article