• EPA Finalizes Clean Air Standards for Boilers and Incinerators, Makes Progress in Protecting Public Health

    Today, the U.S. EPA finalized changes to Clean Air Act standards for boilers, incinerators, and cement kilns which are used by industries for everything from power generation, heating, treating waste, and manufacturing. These changes will achieve extensive public health protections by reducing toxic air pollution, while at the same addressing concerns and feedback from industry and labor groups, increasing the rule’s flexibility and dramatically reducing costs. As a result, 99 percent of the approximately 1.5 million boilers in the U.S. are not covered or can meet the new standards by conducting periodic maintenance or regular tune-ups. >> Read the Full Article
  • Scientists Reveal Findings on Sutter's Mill Meteorite

    A meteorite that exploded over California's Sierra foothills this past spring was among the fastest, rarest meteorites known to have hit the Earth. After collecting and studying fallen pieces of the meteorite, an international team of scientists is ready to announce their research, reporting on everything from the meteorite's age, to it's travelled course and original size. The researchers found that the meteorite that fell over Northern California on April 22 was the rarest type known to have hit the Earth — a carbonaceous chondrite. It is composed of cosmic dust and presolar materials that helped form the planets of the solar system. >> Read the Full Article
  • NOx Removal with Paint

    NOx is a pollutant that comes from all combustion emissions. It can be minimized but not eliminated at the stack. Painted surfaces (a very common urban surface area) with photo-catalytic characteristics may be able to clean the air of nitrogen oxides and other health-endangering substances. Using a new testing procedure, Fraunhofer researchers can find out how the coatings behave during a long-term test. They will introduce the new test at the booth of the Fraunhofer Building Innovation Alliance January, 2013, in Munich, Germany. >> Read the Full Article
  • Therizinosaurs

    How well did the dinosaurs perceive their environment? A new study of the brain anatomy of therizinosaurs, plant-eating dinosaurs that lived during the Cretaceous Period, has revealed interesting sensory links with their notorious meat-eating cousins Tyrannosaurus rex and Velociraptor. An international team of scientists, including PhD student Stephan Lautenschlager and Dr Emily Rayfield of the University of Bristol, found that the senses of smell, hearing and balance were well developed in therizinosaurs and might have affected or benefited from an enlarged forebrain. These findings came as a surprise to the researchers as exceptional sensory abilities would be expected from predatory and not necessarily from plant-eating animals. >> Read the Full Article
  • Leeches...and Limpets...and Worms...Oh My!

    Genome sequencing not only helps scientists decode genes, but also helps us understand how genes work together to direct the growth, development, and maintenance of an entire organism. Understanding the genes of other organisms allow scientists to compare these creatures not only to one another but to the human genome which may give vital insight into our own genetic secrets. Furthering this genome progress is a team of scientists who have completed the genome sequence of an organism with the "yuck factor": the leech. >> Read the Full Article
  • Which State Leads the the Solar Power Race?

    According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, in the second quarter of 2012, California again led the nation in installed solar capacity, with a total of 217 MW. The state is expected to lead the nation in the solar race again in 2013. According to new research from the California-based NPD Solarbuzz, California is projected to keep its position at number one in 2013, much thanks to its combination of policy initiatives and citizen motivation. >> Read the Full Article
  • Mayan Calendar End

    The End is coming, maybe and again. End of the world events are common throughout history. The current one is the Mayan Calendar prediction for December 21. There is nothing in the Maya or Aztec or ancient Mesoamerican prophecy to suggest that they prophesied a sudden or major change of any sort in 2012. The notion of a Great Cycle coming to an end is completely a modern invention. Tongue in cheek is the best way Payson Sheets, a CU-Boulder anthropologist, tries to explain the supposed Mayan calendar prophecy of doom and gloom or spiritual enlightenment, depending on which side of the calendar fence you sit on. A specialist in ancient societies of Mesoamerica, Sheets knows a tad bit about Mayan culture and has this to say about what will happen on Dec. 21, 2012. "I might surprise my academic colleagues a little bit by saying there actually will be a perceptible, maybe even significant change, from December 21 to December 22. And that is a change of one number – 21 to 22." >> Read the Full Article
  • The Salinity Fingerprint

    Salinity is the saltiness or dissolved salt content (such as sodium chloride, magnesium and calcium sulfates, and bicarbonates) of a body of water. Salinity is an ecological factor of considerable importance, influencing the types of organisms that live in a body of water. As well, salinity influences the kinds of plants that will grow either in a water body, or on land fed by a water (or by a groundwater). For ages salinity was mostly affected by slow geologic type processes. The ocean's salinity field is driven primarily by evaporation, precipitation, and river discharge, all key elements of the Earth's hydrological cycle. Observations show the salinity field has been changing in recent decades but more rapidly than expected and by mad made effects. >> Read the Full Article
  • From Landfill to Energy: UK Partnership Converts Methane Gas to Electricity

    A new partnership has started providing enough clean, green energy to power 2,000 homes across North Yorkshire after establishing an innovative way to capture and recycle the energy produced by a landfill site. The Walled Garden Partnership was set up by former landfill owners Tony and Gill Eyers 18 months ago to look at investing in machinery and technology to make the most of energy produced by a landfill site. >> Read the Full Article
  • Fruit Flies and Alcoholism

    Drosophila is a genus of small flies whose members are often called fruit flies a reference to the characteristic of many species to linger around overripe or rotting fruit. One species of Drosophila in particular, D. melanogaster, has been heavily used in research in genetics and is a common model organism in developmental biology. Scientists have shown how the common fruit fly Drosophila, which possess similar electrophysiological and pharmacological properties as humans, could now be used to screen and develop new therapies for alcohol-related behavioural disorders and some genetic diseases. Researchers from the University’s School of Physiology and Pharmacology have been using the fruit fly to study the effects of alcohol on a particular gene found within potassium channels in the brain. The results, published in PLOS ONE, have validated the fruit fly’s compatibility with this type of analysis to pave the way for further study in this area. >> Read the Full Article