• Great Progress in Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Accident Remediation Efforts

    United Nation experts are encouraging the Japanese government to better communicate contamination goals with the public but are otherwise very positive about the progress that has been made in the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident remediation efforts in Japan. The experts are from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) a U.N. task force who oversees and reviews remediation efforts. They have been conducting ongoing reviews of the situation since the 2011 earthquake. >> Read the Full Article
  • How life in ocean sediments responds to climate change

    Traces of past microbial life in sediments off the coast of Peru document how the microbial ecosystem under the seafloor has responded to climate change over hundreds of thousands of years. For more than a decade scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology and their colleagues at MARUM and the University of Aarhus have investigated microbial life from this habitat. This "Deep Biosphere," reaching several hundred metres below the seafloor, is exclusively inhabited by microbes and is generally considered as stable. Nevertheless, only little is known about how this system developed over millennia and how this microbial life influences the cycling of carbon in the oceans. In a new study appearing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) Dr. Sergio Contreras, a palaeoceanographer, and his Bremen colleagues use a careful examination of drill-cores from the continental shelf of Peru to actually show how surprisingly dynamic this deeply buried ecosystem can be. >> Read the Full Article
  • High school student finds 'Joe', the dinosaur!

    High school student Kevin Terris, from Claremont, CA has found the smallest and most complete known fossilized skeleton at the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah. The dinosaur would have grown to about 25 feet in length if it had been able to reach adulthood. This plant eating baby tube-crested dinosaur Parasaurolophus would have lived about 75 million years ago and roamed across much of the western portion of North America. The duck-billed (hadrosaurid) Parasaurolophus featured a long hollow bony tube on top of its head, which paleontologists speculate would have been used to emit a trumpet like sound to communicate. >> Read the Full Article
  • Liquid air technology could boost the role of renewable energy

    Liquid air technologies could help Britain tackle some of its toughest energy challenges, says a new report launched at Parliament today. The report, "Liquid Air Technologies – a guide to the potential," shows how liquid air could help balance an electricity grid increasingly dominated by intermittent renewables; provide strategic energy storage to keep the lights on; sharply reduce CO2 and tail-pipe emissions from vehicles; and convert low grade waste heat into usable energy throughout the economy. >> Read the Full Article
  • Pattern of light from early universe detected by NASA

    Does light leave tracks? How is it possible for scientists to observe light that originated billions of years ago? These are questions that intrigue us and we are amazed when scientists figure out a way to observe what to most of us is un-observable. The journey of light from the very early universe to modern telescopes is long and winding. The ancient light traveled billions of years to reach us, and along the way, its path was distorted by the pull of matter, leading to a twisted light pattern. This twisted pattern of light, called B-modes, has at last been detected. The discovery, which will lead to better maps of matter across our universe, was made using the National Science Foundation's South Pole Telescope, with help from the Herschel space observatory. >> Read the Full Article
  • Red Smog alert chokes northern China

    A red alert has been issued for several cities in northern China including Changchun and Harbin. A red alert is the highest level on the four-tiered alert system and is defined as serious air pollution for three consecutive days. According to Xinhuanet News, "the density of PM 2.5 -- airborne particles measuring less than 2.5 microns in diameter, exceeded 500 micrograms per cubic meter on Monday morning." Visibility is presently less than 50 meters in the downtown capital city of Harbin of Heilongjiang Province. >> Read the Full Article
  • Park Your Electric Truck on a Manhole Cover to Charge It

    Wireless electric vehicle charging is beginning to trickle into the market, which adds an appealing convenience factor that conventional gas-powered cars just can’t match. Meanwhile, consolidation in the retail gas sector has resulted in a long-term decline in the number of gas stations, while the number of public, private, and workplace EV charging stations has been skyrocketing. >> Read the Full Article
  • Stricter Standards are Needed for Cruise Ship Sewage Treatment

    Cruise ships are no doubt engineering marvels that are meant to provide vacationers a luxurious and entertaining vacation. In 2012, there were approximately 200-300 active cruise ships, and with most of these ships operating 24 hours/day year-round, one can imagine all of the resources that go into daily operations. From the endless buffets and drinks available to staff making sure guests have access to clean drinking water and amenities, these floating cities are faced with some other hidden issues – one being what to do with all that sewage. While cruise ships operating are required to discharge only treated wastewater within three miles of the shore, beyond that limit, pretty much anything goes in terms of sewage discharge. According to Friends of the Earth (FoE), the Environmental Protection Agency estimates an average cruise ship with 3,000 passengers and crew produces 21,000 gallons of sewage daily — and this is a conservative estimate, since some new ships can carry as many as 8,000 passengers and crew. >> Read the Full Article
  • The Yeti: A hoax or an ancient polar bear species?

    The purported Yeti, an ape-like creature that walks upright and roams the remote Himalayas, may in fact be an ancient polar bear species, according to new DNA research by Bryan Sykes with Oxford University. Sykes subjected two hairs from what locals say belonged to the elusive Yeti only to discover that the genetics matched a polar bear jawbone found in Svalbard, Norway dating from around 120,000 (though as recent as 40,000 years ago). >> Read the Full Article
  • Some meteorites that hit Earth ARE from Mars!

    Examination of the Martian atmosphere by NASA's Curiosity Mars rover confirms that some meteorites that have dropped to Earth really are from the Red Planet. For some time, scientists have postulated that some of the many meteorites striking Earth originated on Mars! How this may have happened is unknown, but the composition of some meteorites found on Earth gave rise to this theory. A key new measurement of the inert gas argon in Mars' atmosphere by Curiosity's laboratory provides the most definitive evidence yet of the origin of Mars meteorites while at the same time providing a way to rule out Martian origin of other meteorites. The new measurement is a high-precision count of two forms of argon -- argon-36 and argon-38 -- accomplished by the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument inside the rover. These lighter and heavier forms, or isotopes, of argon exist naturally throughout the solar system. On Mars the ratio of light to heavy argon is skewed because much of that planet's original atmosphere was lost to space. The lighter form of argon was taken away more readily because it rises to the top of the atmosphere more easily and requires less energy to escape. That left the Martian atmosphere relatively enriched in the heavier isotope, argon-38. >> Read the Full Article