• Plastic constituent discovered on Saturn's moon Titan

    Seems like we are addicted to plastic on earth. We use it everywhere, and it has wonderful properties that make it ideal for may products. It is also a concern when used in food packaging and preparation and an issue in landfilles since some forms don't bio-degrade easily. I thought plastic was an invention of chemists and petrochemical companies. So it is a surprise that propylene, a key component of plastics, has been discovered on a moon of Saturn! This is the first definitive detection of the plastic ingredient on any moon or planet, other than Earth. A small amount of propylene was identified in Titan's lower atmosphere by Cassini's composite infrared spectrometer (CIRS). This instrument measures the infrared light, or heat radiation, emitted from Saturn and its moons in much the same way our hands feel the warmth of a fire. >> Read the Full Article
  • The Naked Mole Rat's Secret to a Long and Healthy Life

    Naked mole rats live approximately 30 years, which doesn't seem too big of a feat to humans, but compared to the rest of the animal kingdom, this is an exceptionally long time. What's also impressive is that these mole rats pretty much stay healthy until the end of their lives. Reports even say that this species is cancer-proof. So what's their secret? According to new research conducted by biologists at the University of Rochester, better-constructed proteins provide the key to this species' longevity. >> Read the Full Article
  • Crossing the Northwest Passage: Cargo Ship Navigates Arctic Route

    The Northwest Passage is a 900-mile long sea route through the Arctic Ocean that connects the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean. Access through this passage would allow many short cuts and benefits for the shipping industry. However, it's frozen waters and dangerous ice caps have proven to be obstacles for transport. That is, until now. This passage has become more accessible because of melting sea ice that has opened up the waterways, which many say is due to global warming. While other reports have discussed viable trans-Arctic shipping lanes between North America and Russia or Asia, only small vessels have been able to cross the region in summer months when the ice is less. However, earlier this month, a 75,000 ton Danish-owned cargo ship known as the Nordic Orion traversed the passage, entering history books as one of the first bulk carriers to navigate these icy Arctic waters. >> Read the Full Article
  • Norway Devotes Big Bucks To Crop Diversity

    Earlier this week, the government of Norway pledged US$23.7 million to conserve and sustainably manage some of the world's most important food crops, citing the critical need for crop diversity at a time when populations are soaring and climate change is threatening staples like rice and maize, according to the Global Crop Diversity Trust (GCDT). "In just 10 years we will have a billion more people at the global dinner table, but during that same time we could see climate change diminish rice production by 10 percent with a one-degree increase in temperature," said Marie Haga, executive director of the GCDT. "Our best hedge against disaster is to make sure we have a wide array of food crops at our disposal to keep harvests healthy in the bread baskets of the world." >> Read the Full Article
  • An Account of the Climate as Told by the Trees

    Researchers at the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences in Potsdam, Germany are reconstructing temperature data from trees in Turkey to better define and understand the climactic conditions. Researchers have confidently chronicled a block of time that reflects the medieval warm period including a little ice age between the 16th and 19th centuries up to the transition into the more modern warm phase in the mountains near Antalya, the coastal Mediterranean coastal region of Turkey. Researchers led by Ingo Heinrich from the GFZ have studied this time series using carbon isotope ratios reflected in the tree rings of the region. >> Read the Full Article
  • Could payphones be converted to EV charging stations?

    In an intriguing development across New York City there is speculation that the authorities may soon look at converting existing payphones into electric car charging stations. On the surface this may look like yet another crazy idea connected with the electric vehicle industry but if you take a step back, consider the options, it may just be feasible. In yet another sign that the electric vehicle industry is set to go mass-market, people are now actually looking at converting existing payphone units into electric vehicle charging stations. But what are the potential problems and drawbacks? Perhaps the major problem which the EV industry will encounter when converting existing payphones into electric vehicle charging stations is their location. The vast majority are located in situations which are not amenable to parking cars to recharge their batteries although there are some which could be transformed with very little fuss. It will be interesting to see how the authorities tackle this particular problem. >> Read the Full Article
  • Space weather

    The weather is important to everyone. Will it rain today, will I need a jacket? But what is space weather? Is there really "weather" in outer space? Isn't space almost a perfect vacuum? UCLA has been studying this for some time and recently completed a study that sheds important light on space weather. Solar storms — powerful eruptions of solar material and magnetic fields into interplanetary space — can cause what is known as "space weather" near Earth, resulting in hazards that range from interference with communications systems and GPS errors to extensive power blackouts and the complete failure of critical satellites. >> Read the Full Article
  • Power Move in Support of Lowering Power Plant Emissions

    Power plants are the largest concentrated source of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in the U.S., accounting for about one-third of all domestic GHG emissions. Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued new proposals for carbon pollution standards for new power plants. Twenty-two major companies signed a letter in support of the proposed standards. The companies include Unilever, Levi Strauss, Symantec and Patagonia. All of the 22 companies that signed the letters have signed the Ceres Climate Declaration, which calls for a coordinated effort to tackle climate change. In fact, the 22 companies are the largest companies among the over 600 that signed the Declaration. >> Read the Full Article
  • The Importance of a Sustainable Energy Plan

    Creating a Sustainable Energy Plan is a simple, systematic way to examine, refine, and act on one of the most important aspects of a sustainable business. A plan lets you see where you are, decide what immediate positive changes your company can make, and create long-term practical and actionable goals. Why create a plan specifically about energy? Energy use is your most important environmental impact. >> Read the Full Article
  • An Electric Fish Tale

    Emanating from the highest peaks of the Merume Mountains in Guyana the Mazaruni River has been protecting the privacy and discovery of a previously unknown electric fish. The Akawaio penak represents the newly discovered genus and species of fish. Nathan Lovejoy, professor at the University of Toronto Scarborough and his team of international researchers, made the discovery. >> Read the Full Article