Posts

September 23, 2014

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4:00 AM | Brookhaven Lab's National Synchrotron Light Source II Approved to Start Routine Operations
Milestone marks transition to exciting new chapter.

September 22, 2014

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3:40 PM | The Jargonaut: 2,4-D? Come Again?
By Brian Palmer 2,4-D (n.): an herbicide popular in both agriculture and lawn care Farmers and weeds are in an arms race. Soon after a new herbicide emerges, weeds start evolving ways to defeat it. Eventually, the product becomes useless, forcing manufacturers to concoct an even more powerful pesticide. Roundup, the world’s most famous herbicide, hit the U.S. market in 1976. Paired with crops genetically engineered to tolerate it—such as […]
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1:51 PM | Hey-Hey! Ho-Ho! Climate Change Has Got to Go!
By Susan Cosier The largest climate protest in history took place yesterday, with 400,000 folks filling four miles of New York City streets (around 600,000 people took part worldwide). Participants in the People’s Climate March, who included notables like U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Bill McKibben, Jane Goodall, Kevin Bacon (note: all marchers are now within one degree of him), and this guy. They marched, waved banners, chanted, and twerked, […]

September 19, 2014

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5:26 PM | Obama to Superbugs: We're Watching You
By Susan Cosier Antibiotic-resistant microbes, strains of bacteria that fight off drugs, are a serious problem. Two million people a year in the United States get sick with those so-called superbugs, and at least 23,000 of them die. Yesterday President Obama signed an executive order to begin addressing this growing public health issue.Under the new order, a task force led by the departments of health and human services, defense, and agriculture will […]
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2:51 PM | Bloomberg's Climate Challenge
By Andrew Revkin Michael R. Bloomberg has been one of the most vocal leaders, at any level of government, when it comes to sounding the alarm about what climate change is doing, and will continue to do, to our planet—including exposing the deep vulnerability that human communities face from climate extremes and coastal flooding. As the mayor of New York City during Hurricane Sandy, Bloomberg was tasked with handling not just one but two disasters of […]
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1:50 PM | Louisiana’s Boot Is Shrinking in Size
By Susan Cosier When learning the states as I child, I always remembered Louisiana as the “boot-shaped” one. But as you can see in the illustration on the right, the sole of that boot is wearing thin as the Gulf coastline disappears, thanks to oil and gas drilling, canal channeling, and sea-level rise (see "Losing Lousiana"). Between 1932 and 2000 the state lost nearly 1,900 square miles of land, and an area the size of a football field […]
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4:00 AM | A Nanosized Hydrogen Generator
Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory have created a small scale “hydrogen generator” that uses light and a two-dimensional graphene platform to boost production of the hard-to-make element.

September 18, 2014

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7:27 PM | Thar They Blow!
By Brian Palmer The Earth almost lost its largest living creature in the last century. Whalers killed more than 350,000 blue whales worldwide, nearly hunting the species to extinction. But according to a recent study, a group of these behemoths living off the West Coast has recovered to almost pre-whaling levels.Worldwide, only 10,000 to 25,000 blue whales remain today, and few communities of these mammals—which can be found in all of the […]
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2:35 PM | The UN Is About to Get Wild
By Susan Cosier Ahead of the Peoples’ Climate March in New York City on Sunday, the Ocean Preservation Society will begin projecting endangered species onto the side of the United Nations Headquarters (where eight days of international climate talks will kick off on Tuesday). These animals—chimpanzees, whales, parrots, and more—will move across the building on the east side of Manhattan, highlighting how humans are contributing to mass […]
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4:00 AM | Novel Capability Enables First Test of Real Turbine Engine Conditions
Manufactures of turbine engines for airplanes, automobiles and electric generation plants could expedite the development of more durable, energy-efficient turbine blades thanks to a partnership between the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory, the German Aerospace Center and the universities of Central Florida and Cleveland State.
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4:00 AM | Improving Plant-based Battery with Neutrons and Simulations
Researchers at ORNL and the University of Tennessee are studying the structure of plant-based battery materials by combining neutron experiments and supercomputer simulations.
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4:00 AM | Pursuit of Dark Matter Progresses at AMS
A possible sign of dark matter will eventually become clear, according to promising signs from the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer experiment.

September 17, 2014

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8:15 PM | NRDC Names New Leader
By The Editors Rhea Suh, an assistant secretary in the U.S. Department of Interior, was today named the new president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, one of the nation’s leading environmental advocacy groups (and the publisher of OnEarth). Suh is the Interior Department’s assistant secretary for policy, management and budget, appointed to the post by President Obama in 2009. She oversees the agency’s $12 billion budget and more […]
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2:36 PM | What’s Inside a 13-foot Colossal Squid? There’s Only One Way to Find Out…
By Susan Cosier It’s an octopus! It’s a giant squid! No, no … it’s a colossal squid, a species so mysterious and elusive that humans rarely get a glimpse of one (outside of their nightmares). But now you can see the second intact specimen ever caught—though, this dissection video shows the squid becoming very much less intact. If you can handle it, skip to minute 6:57 for all the gooey goodness. Fishermen hauled up the […]
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1:13 PM | To Catch a Predator
By Mary X. Dennis This week marks the beginning of black bear-hunting season across much of upstate New York, with wildlife officials permitting the "sport" in some parts of the state for the first time in decades.At last count, New York had as many as 8,000 black bears, and many of them have been venturing out of remote territories in the Adirondack, Catskill, and Allegheny mountains to more populated places in central New York, increasing the number of […]
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4:00 AM | How Chemicals Spread in Soils
A group of researchers from multiple institutions including EMSL, the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories and Los Alamos National Laboratory have developed models of how water and chemicals flow in soils, which could help capture the spread of underground contaminants.

September 16, 2014

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4:36 PM | faulty cement well casings cause of fracking related contamination
A new study finds that the well casing – the cement that seals the drill holes – to be the cause of fracking related water contamination.  It has been a little unclear if the well casings were the cause of … Continue reading →
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2:39 PM | Fore! Critically Endangered Bat Hits the Putting Green...
By Susan Cosier The Miami Bat Squad (not the Vice squad, though we wish) just found what could be the first known roost of the critically endangered Florida bonneted bat in decades. The bat is one of the rarest mammals in the world, and scientists don’t know much about them—except that only a few hundred remain, thanks to pesticides and habitat destruction (a.k.a. development). But without swampy forests and wetlands, these mysterious night […]
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4:00 AM | Elusive Quantum Transformations Found Near Absolute Zero
Brookhaven Lab and Stony Brook University researchers measure the quantum fluctuations behind a novel magnetic material's ultra-cold ferromagnetic phase transition.
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4:00 AM | Decoding Virus-Host Interactions in the Oxygen-Starved Ocean
In a first of its kind study, exploiting the unique strength of single-cell genomics, the DOE Joint Genome Institute and collaborators at the University of Arizona and the University of British Columbia explored virus-host dynamics to reveal that viruses appear to be much more key to marine microbial ecology below sunlit surface waters than suspected.
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4:00 AM | Want to Print Your Own Cell Phone Microscope for Pennies?
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has developed a sleek, simple and inexpensive way to turn a cell phone into a high powered, high quality microscope that can be used to identify biological samples in the field.

September 15, 2014

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4:52 PM | Forging a New Path
By Kim Tingley More than a century ago, as America’s first national parks began taking shape out West, there really wasn’t too much else out there. Few people back then could imagine a day when those vast swaths—2.2 million acres for Yellowstone; one million for Glacier; three-quarters of a million for Yosemite—would come to seem more like specks amid an ever-growing expanse of human settlement. But at the very least, people thought, […]
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2:12 PM | Will Scotland Bet the Kingdom on Offshore Oil?
By Susan Cosier Scots will vote Thursday on whether to remain in the United Kingdom, and many separatists are hoping to rely on revenue from offshore oil rigs—like this one off the Scottish Highlands—to power the country and fund its schools, health care, and social welfare programs. There’s just one problem: the oil beds off Scotland's coast are drying up. Four decades of drilling in the North Sea has substantially decreased the amount of […]
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4:00 AM | Imaging Fuel Injectors with Neutrons
A team from the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory is attempting to make the first-ever neutron images of cavitation, the physical event that leads to bubble/gas formation, inside the body of a gasoline fuel injector.
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4:00 AM | Study Sheds New Light on Why Batteries Go Bad
Rapid charging and draining doesn’t damage lithium ion electrode as much as thought.

September 12, 2014

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6:59 PM | Saving a Sea of Strange
By Jason Bittel Coral is weird stuff. Reefs can stretch for miles, but the actual animal (yes, coral’s an animal) is pretty tiny—a single polyp attaching itself to other polyps to form massive undersea ecosystems. Coral have tentacles, mouths, and exoskeletons. Some look like fans. Some look like trees. Others look like brains. And they range from the rock-hard to the soft and slimy. But many of the 6,000-plus coral species have at least one […]
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2:30 PM | Canada Lynx Protections Slink into New Mexico
By Susan Cosier The Fish and Wildlife Service announced yesterday that it will protect the Canada lynx in New Mexico. Yay! The big cat—which lives in forested areas of Canada (duh), New England, the Northwest, and the Rockies down to New Mexico—is now considered "threatened" throughout the Lower 48. The agency, however, did not designate any critical habitat for the species in the southern Rockies or New England. This means hunting the animal […]

September 11, 2014

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4:08 PM | Chalk Like an Egyptian
By Brian Palmer The year is 9014. While digging up the remains of our civilization, our distant descendants happen upon the painting below. You may recognize the work as Edward Hicks’ The Peaceable Kingdom, but what will future humans—or perhaps the mutant rats that have inherited the Earth—think of it? Many big-cat species may not survive two more decades, let alone seven millennia. What will future beings think of those two enormous […]
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2:23 PM | Jiminy Crickets! These Aren’t Your Grandma’s Insects
By Susan Cosier
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1:54 PM | Fast Track to a Spill?
By Susan Cosier An oil pipeline called Flanagan South that is currently under construction would stretch nearly 600 miles across four Midwestern states, over three major rivers, and through about 2,000 wetlands. The pipeline would carry diluted bitumen, or dilbit—a corrosive and sticky type of oil derived from Canadian tar sands that’s difficult to clean up. And it would be owned by Enbridge, a company notorious for spilling dilbit. Yet a […]
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