• An Antarctica Sub

    Submersible vessels have been around since the 19th century. However, none is more likely to go a stranger place than this one. Called the Micro-Submersible Lake Exploration Device, the instrument was a small robotic sub about the size and shape of a baseball bat. Designed to expand the range of extreme environments accessible by humans while minimally disturbing the environment, the sub was equipped with hydrological chemical sensors and a high-resolution imaging system. The instruments and cameras characterize the geology, hydrology and chemical characteristics of the sub's surroundings. Behar supervised a team of students from Arizona State University, Tempe, in designing, developing, testing and operating the first-of-its-kind submarine vessel. >> Read the Full Article
  • The Third Van Allen Belt

    The Van Allen radiation belt is supposedly composed of two torus-shaped layers of energetic charged particles (plasma) around the planet Earth, held in place by its magnetic field. The belt extends from an altitude of about 1,000 to 60,000 kilometers above the surface, in which region radiation levels vary. On Aug. 30, NASA launched the Radiation Belt Storm Probes mission, since renamed the Van Allen Probes mission, to learn more about the belts, which are known to be hazardous to satellites and astronauts. Each probe carries a Relativistic Electron-Proton Telescope, or REPT, designed and built at CU-Boulder’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, known as LASP. When CU-Boulder scientists turned on the instruments, just a few days after launch, they were shocked by what they found: a third storage ring radiation belt. >> Read the Full Article
  • Spinning Holes

    How fast does a black hole spin? And how does it matter? An international team including Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists has definitively measured the spin rate of a supermassive black hole for the first time. The findings, made by the two X-ray space observatories, NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) and the European Space Agency's XMM-Newton, solve a long-standing debate about similar measurements in other black holes and will lead to a better understanding of how black holes and galaxies evolve. >> Read the Full Article
  • eRecycling Corps: 10 Million Cell Phone Trade-Ins Since 2009

    Few press releases cause me to say, "Wow." Yesterday's press release about eRecyclingCorps (eRC) achieving 10 million cell phone trade-ins since 2009 is an exception. eRC, a leader in mobile device trade-ins, began in 2009 when Ron LeMay, from Sprint, and David Edmondson, from Radioshack, launched the company. Edmondson is now the CEO and LeMay is the Chairman. eRC allows in-carrier and retail stores to offer instant-credit that a customer can apply to the purchase of a new phone. It also allows carriers to make money from their e-waste. It’s a clichéd win-win situation for both customers and carriers. What does eRC do with the devices collected by in-store operators and retail programs? They are repaired to "like new" quality and resold. That keeps them out of landfills. >> Read the Full Article
  • New Smartphone Technology Reveals US Stream and River Conditions

    Oh the things your smartphone can do! For the first time, data on current conditions on thousands of rivers and streams across the country, can be accessed from your smartphone, using USGS' latest system WaterNow. WaterNow makes the water conditions monitored by more than 16,000 stream gages and other sites across the country available via text or email. Stream gages refer to sites along a stream where information for streamflow, groundwater levels, springs, water quality, and lake levels are measured. They are used by hydrologists and scientists for monitoring purposes, although this data can be accessible to anyone who is interested. >> Read the Full Article
  • 9 Energy-Efficiency Questions to Ask Your Realtor

    From the threat of high-impact storms like Sandy to the destruction of natural habitats, climate change affects everyone. It’s clear that we all need to reduce our carbon footprint to minimize global warming. Fortunately, more Americans are reducing greenhouse gases through better choices in home energy use – and saving money, too. In 2008, Americans saved more than $19 billion and prevented the emission of greenhouse gases equivalent to 29 million cars through energy-efficiency measures, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. >> Read the Full Article
  • Capturing Carbon Dioxide with a "Solar Sponge"

    A new smart material called a MOF (metal organic framework) has the ability to adsorb carbon dioxide and release it when exposed to sunlight thus creating a new breakthrough in a way to recycle CO2 emissions using renewable energy. The process is known as dynamic photo-switching which refers to the reversible light-induced switching of floor or intensity. This capture-and-release method is extremely energy efficient and only requires UV light to trigger the release of CO2 after it has been captured from the mixture of exhaust gases. >> Read the Full Article
  • Why Long Necked Dinosaurs

    Dinosaurs often are depicted with very long necks. Nowadays we have the giraffe with a long neck who seem to have evolved this feature due to the need to eat leaves higher up. So why and how the dinosaur with its long neck? Researchers say the how is helped by hollow neck bones. The largest creatures to ever walk the Earth were the long-necked, long-tailed dinosaurs known as the sauropods. These vegetarians had by far the longest necks of any known animal. The dinosaurs' necks reached up to 50 feet in length, six times longer than that of the current world-record holder, the giraffe, and at least five times longer than those of any other animal that has lived on land. >> Read the Full Article
  • Siberian Stalactites and Stalagmites Suggest Permafrost Thawing

    One of the greatest concerns of global warming is the effects temperature will have on snow and icecaps. With Arctic ice melt, many scientists predict sea levels rise, affecting coastlines and populations around the world. Not only will warmer temperatures affect ice caps, but according to a new study the thawing of permafrost in colder regions could eventually lead to the release of 1,000 giga-tonnes of greenhouse gases into the air which has the potential to further accelerate global warming. >> Read the Full Article
  • Tracing Individual Particulate Pollutants

    Air borne particulates come from both natural and man made sources. Their effects are similar from a health and esthetic point of view. Particle size is even more important. Scientists at the University of California, Davis, have, for the first time, developed a system that can determine which types of air particles that pollute the atmosphere are the most prevalent and most toxic. Previous research has shown that air pollution containing fine and ultrafine particles is associated with asthma, heart disease and premature death. This new study, released today by the California Air Resources Board and the Electric Power Research Institute, marks the first time that researchers have conducted source-oriented sampling of these particles in the atmosphere. >> Read the Full Article