• Newly Discovered Modifier Protein Could Stimulate Plant Growth Under Environmental Stress

    Whether or not you have a green thumb, if a plant is not completely happy with the right about of water, sunlight, or even the right make-up of soil, plants will slow their growth or even stop growing altogether in order to save energy. But according to new research led by scientists at Durham University, plants contain a natural mechanism that could stimulate their growth even under stress, which could potentially lead to better crop yields. >> Read the Full Article
  • Popularity of plug-in vehicles on the rise

    Good news for those living at the intersection of manufacturing and environmentalism. Here in the U.S., sales of plug-in electric and hybrid vehicles almost doubled between 2012 and 2013 with an 84 percent jump to 96,600 of the vehicles sold. That’s 49,000 plug-in hybrids (like the Volt) and 47,600 pure battery powered plug-in vehicles sold. >> Read the Full Article
  • Glowing fish!

    As a scuba diver, I have seen all kinds of colorful fish. I have done a few night dives and seen some amazing things, like giant crabs! But I have never seen glowing fish. Perhaps the light I carried on night dives overpowered their glow. Perhaps it takes special techniques for humans to see the glow? With the help of blue light and special long-pass filters, scientists have uncovered more of the undersea world's secrets. A study published today describes more than 180 species of marine fishes that glow in different colors and patterns, via a process known as biofluorescence. Scientists already knew that some marine organisms fluoresce, including corals and jellyfish, but this is the first reported evidence of widespread biofluorescence among fishes. >> Read the Full Article
  • Tree Island restoration

    Worldwide, large swaths of land lay barren in the wake of agricultural expansion, and as global forest cover continues to decline, carbon and water cycles, biodiversity, and human health are impacted. But efforts to restore abandoned pastures and agricultural plots back into functioning forest ecosystems are often hindered by high costs and time requirements. Fortunately, scientists have developed a new method for a more cost effective solution to forest restoration, the establishment of "tree islands." >> Read the Full Article
  • "Super-Earths" May Be More Earth-y After All

    Super-Earths are massive terrestrial planets that are fairly common in the Milky Way. While the name implies that these extrasolar planets would be similar to Earth, the name only refers to the mass and does not imply anything about the surface conditions or habitability. However, Northwestern University astrophysicist, Nicolas B. Cowan and Dorian Abbot, a University of Chicago geophysicist, report the odds of these planets having an Earth-like climate are much greater than previously thought. The researchers new model challenges the conventional wisdom, which says super-Earths would be a waterworld, with its surface completely covered in water. They conclude that most tectonically active super-Earths, regardless of mass, store most of their water in the mantle and will have both oceans and exposed continents, enabling a stable climate such as Earth's. >> Read the Full Article
  • Spitting Sulfates!

    In 1991, Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines erupted in one of the largest volcanic blasts of the 20th century. It spat up to 20 million tons of sulfur into the upper atmosphere, shielding the earth from the sun's rays and causing global temperatures to drop by nearly half a degree Celsius in a single year. That's more than half of the amount the planet has warmed due to climate change in 130 years. >> Read the Full Article
  • Giant wave of understanding in South China Sea

    Their effect on the surface of the ocean is negligible, producing a rise of just inches that is virtually imperceptible on a turbulent sea. But internal waves, which are hidden entirely within the ocean, can tower hundreds of feet, with profound effects on the Earth's climate and on ocean ecosystems. Now new research, both in the ocean and in the largest-ever laboratory experiments to investigate internal waves, has solved a longstanding mystery about exactly how the largest known internal waves, in the South China Sea, are produced. The new findings come from a team effort involving MIT and several other institutions, and coordinated by the Office of Naval Research (ONR). >> Read the Full Article
  • Record Winds Cause Energy Prices to Fall in Europe

    Electricity prices across Europe dropped last month as mild temperatures, strong winds and stormy weather produced wind power records in Germany, France and the UK, according to data released by Platts. The Platts Continental Power Index (CONTI) fell 0.4% in December 2013 to €46.80 per Megawatt hour (/MWh) compared to the November 2013 rate of €47.00/MWh, when calmer winds and colder temperatures suppressed wind power and boosted electricity prices. Year-over-year the index was up 8.8%. >> Read the Full Article
  • Global warming debate rages on

    Harsh summer weather that maroons researchers in the Southern Ocean near the South Pole feeds the global warming debate. With the group of global warming doubters on one side and the believers on the other, some say it is ironic imagery juxtaposed with some rather convincing scientific graphs. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, and by now you might have seen dramatic images of passengers on stranded icebreaker Akademik Shokalskiy being rescued by helicopter last Friday after becoming lodged in Antarctica sea ice on Christmas Eve. Another type of picture - the graph - plays a major role in science. No one could look at the graph below, which shows the extent of arctic ice during the past 1,450 years, without realizing that the polar ice cap has been melting at a rapid and wholly unprecedented rate over the past few decades. >> Read the Full Article
  • Wild deep-freeze warming techniques

    With much of the northern hemisphere embedded in a deep freeze, one wonders how cold weather animals remain alive through frigid temperatures. Energy supplies are drained in the cold making it necessary to have a good solid cache of warming survival skills. Some animals have adaptive features and other animals have found adaptive techniques. Some of their creative adaptations are listed: >> Read the Full Article