• Backing Up Wind Power: The Policy Issues Associated with Hydroelectricity

    What happens when there's no wind and wind turbines stop turning? What provides the back up power for this clean energy source on calm, windless days? While wind may be the fastest growing renewable energy source in the US, in order for us to rely on wind power, there needs to be some backup technology to fill in when wind does not blow. >> Read the Full Article
  • Are We Living Through a Shale Bubble?

    On May 24th, J. David Hughes and Deborah Rogers gave a briefing to summarize the findings of two new reports dismantling the myth of a "shale revolution". We've heard about it in the media, on both sides of the political aisle: shale gas and oil are the future of US energy. Indeed, natural gas prices dropped thanks to hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) and horizontal drilling, which helped lower the country's carbon emissions by reducing coal consumption. >> Read the Full Article
  • Horse Genome

    In the movie Jurassic Park dinosaurs were cloned from old DNA genome that had miraculously survived from millions of years ago, In practice this is not very likely. The oldest genome so far from a prehistoric creature has been sequenced by an international team, led by scientists from the Natural History Museum of Denmark (University of Copenhagen). The team, which included Dr Jakob Vinther of the University of Bristol, sequenced and analyZed short pieces of DNA molecules preserved in bone-remnants from a horse frozen for the last 700,000 years in the permafrost of Yukon, Canada. >> Read the Full Article
  • Half the Oil Plan

    With the consumption and price of oil on an upward trend, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) has come up with a realistic plan that will help cut the United State's projected oil use in half over 20 years. The plan hopes to dramatically reduce US oil consumption while saving consumers billions of dollars and making the United States a global leader in transportation technology. >> Read the Full Article
  • How many near-earth asteroids are there?

    When we hear about another asteroid that will pass by close to Earth, I wonder how many such objects there are, how many we have not identified, and how NASA finds them and calculates their orbits around the sun. More than 10,000 asteroids and comets that can pass near Earth have now been discovered. The 10,000th near-Earth object, asteroid 2013 MZ5, was first detected on the night of June 18, 2013, by the Pan-STARRS-1 telescope, located on the 10,000-foot (convert) summit of the Haleakala crater on Maui. Managed by the University of Hawaii, the PanSTARRS survey receives NASA funding. Ninety-eight percent of all near-Earth objects discovered were first detected by NASA-supported surveys. "Finding 10,000 near-Earth objects is a significant milestone," said Lindley Johnson, program executive for NASA's Near-Earth Object Observations Program at NASA Headquarters, Washington. "But there are at least 10 times that many more to be found before we can be assured we will have found any and all that could impact and do significant harm to the citizens of Earth." During Johnson's decade-long tenure, 76 percent of the NEO discoveries have been made. >> Read the Full Article
  • Knobby Pareiasaurs

    During the Permian era, the Earth was dominated by a single supercontinent called Pangea – "All-Earth". Animal and plant life dispersed broadly across this land, as documented by identical fossil species found on multiple modern continents. But a new study published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology supports the idea that there was an isolated desert in the middle of Pangea with a fauna all its own. Roaming this desert in what is now northern Niger was a very distinctive creature known as a pareiasaur. >> Read the Full Article
  • Chipotle Makes History by Becoming First Fast Food Chain to Tag GMOs

    Let's face it, it's good to be first, at least if you happen to be the first to do something worthwhile. In the ongoing debate about the safety of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in our food, Denver, CO-based Chipotle Mexican Grill made what may turn out to be an important food history "first" in the United States. >> Read the Full Article
  • The Produce is Alive!

    The fruits and vegetables we buy in the grocery store are actually still alive and according to new research from Rice University and the University of California at Davis, produce may be healthier for us depending on the time of day. "Vegetables and fruits don't die the moment they are harvested," said Rice biologist Janet Braam, lead researcher of the study. Once picked, produce can continue to metabolize and survive independently for some time. Even when they are cut, their cells remain active and alive. >> Read the Full Article
  • New study tests Red Queen Hypothesis

    In Lewis Carroll's "Through the Looking Glass," the Red Queen described her country as a place where "it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place." From this, the Red Queen hypothesis has been formed. Also referred to as the Red Queen Effect, this evolutionary hypothesis proposes that organisms must constantly adapt, and evolve not only to reproduce, but also to survive against all opposing organisms that are evolving in an ever-changing environment. >> Read the Full Article
  • A Catalyst to Convert CO2 to Fuel

    Carbon dioxide is the result of burning fuel to make things like cars work. Plants slowly convert that CO2 back to something organic to begin the process again. Working in his lab in the University of Delaware's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Joel Rosenthal and doctoral student John DiMeglio have developed an inexpensive catalyst that uses the electricity generated from solar energy to convert carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas, into synthetic fuels in a far faster manner for powering cars, homes and businesses. >> Read the Full Article