• Discovery finds waste sulphur can boost electric car industry

    A new chemical process can transform waste sulphur into a lightweight plastic that may improve batteries for electric cars, reports a University of Arizona-led team. The team has successfully used the new plastic to make lithium-sulphur batteries and discovered other potential applications, including optical uses. >> Read the Full Article
  • Is Ice Loss by Glaciers Abnormal?

    In the last few decades, glaciers at the edge of the icy continent of Antarctica have been thinning, and research has shown the rate of thinning has accelerated and contributed significantly to sea level rise. New ice core research suggests that, while the changes are dramatic, they cannot be attributed with confidence to human-caused global warming, said Eric Steig, a University of Washington professor of Earth and space sciences. Previous work by Steig has shown that rapid thinning of Antarctic glaciers was accompanied by rapid warming and changes in atmospheric circulation near the coast. His research with Qinghua Ding, a UW research associate, showed that the majority of Antarctic warming came during the 1990s in response to El Niño conditions in the tropical Pacific Ocean. >> Read the Full Article
  • Arctic Nutrient Balance

    The first study of its kind to calculate the amount of nutrients entering and leaving the Arctic Ocean has been carried out by scientists based at the National Oceanography Center, Southampton. Their results, which are published this month in the Journal of Geophysical Research, show that there is a mismatch between what goes into the Arctic Ocean and what comes out. This is the first study to look at the transport of dissolved inorganic nutrients nitrate, phosphate and silicate together, all of which are essential for life in the ocean. The study combined measurements of nutrient concentrations with measurements of how much water was transported across the main Arctic gateways – Davis Strait, Fram Strait, the Barents Sea Opening and Bering Strait during the summer of 2005. >> Read the Full Article
  • New Camera Takes Better Pictures of Snowflakes

    Winter may be over for most of us in the Northern Hemisphere, and hopefully we will not be expecting any more snowfall, but that doesn't mean we still can't marvel at the intricacies of the snowflake. A team of researchers at the University of Utah have developed a new high-speed camera system that records 3-D images of these snowflakes in hopes of improving radar for weather and snowpack forecasting. Funded in part by NASA and the US Army, the team studied falling snow and how it interacts with radar in order to improve computer simulations. As a result, the research has revealed more about how snowy weather can degrade microwave (radar) communications. >> Read the Full Article
  • Britain's love affair with bottled water

    Leading academic brands industry a "scam" as campaigners condemn our growing thirst for bottled water. The UK bottled water industry releases 350,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year. One of Britain's leading authorities on water supplies has branded the bottled water industry a scam, backing campaigners' claims of wasted millions and environmental pollution at a time when tap water standards have never been higher. Professor Paul Younger, Rankine Chair of Engineering at Glasgow University, has highlighted growing fears that our increasing consumption of bottled water is damaging the environment while raising huge profits for the big brands, despite Britain having one of the best mains water supplies in the world. >> Read the Full Article
  • Charged Saturnian Rain

    There is more interaction than one would think between interplanetary bodies. In this case a new study tracks the "rain" of charged water particles into the atmosphere of Saturn and finds there is more of it and it falls across larger areas of the planet than previously thought. The study, whose observations were funded by NASA and whose analysis was led by the University of Leicester, England, reveals that the rain influences the composition and temperature structure of parts of Saturn's upper atmosphere. The paper appears in this week's issue of the journal Nature. >> Read the Full Article
  • mHealth 'could save a million African lives by 2017'

    Mobile health (mHealth) applications such as text messages could save more than a million lives in Sub-Saharan Africa over the next five years, according to a report. The report, produced by consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) India, says that mobile phone interventions to ensure patients comply with treatment, medical stock is available and healthcare workers stick to treatment guidelines could save some of the three million lives lost each year across Africa to HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB), malaria and pregnancy-related conditions. >> Read the Full Article
  • Faster Than the Speed of Light

    Quantum entanglement is a very weird phenomena that occurs when particles such as photons and electrons interact physically and instantaneously even when separated. It may be the only environmental phenomena that works faster than the speed of light. Repeated experiments have verified that this works even when the measurements are performed more quickly than light could travel between the sites of measurement. Recent experiments have shown that this transfer occurs at least 10,000 times faster than the speed of light. In a new study, the Institute of Physics and German Physical Society's New Journal of Physics, researchers have proposed using the International Space Station (ISS) to test the limits of this "spooky action" and potentially help to develop the first global quantum communication network. Their plans include a so-called Bell experiment which tests the theoretical contradiction between the predictions of quantum mechanics and classical physics, and a quantum key distribution experiment which will use the ISS as a relay point to send a secret encryption key across much larger distances than have already been achieved using optical fibres on Earth. >> Read the Full Article
  • New Materials Promise to Dramatically Drop Photovoltaic Prices

    What is the single most significant barrier to widespread use of alternative energy? Is it the right wing climate change skeptics? No. It's economics. If there is not money to be made at the same scale as in the fossil fuel industry, and if renewable, clean energy does not become cheaper than fossil fuels, alternative energy doesn't stand a chance in the free market. >> Read the Full Article
  • Tyson Foods and Ammonia

    Tyson foods is all about chickens. Well that is not quite so. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Justice announced a Clean Air Act (CAA) settlement with Tyson Foods, Inc. and several of its affiliate corporations to address threats of accidental chemical releases after anhydrous ammonia was released during incidents at facilities in Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, and Nebraska, resulting in multiple injuries, property damage, and one fatality. Ammonia, in this case is often used for refrigeration systems. >> Read the Full Article