Posts

July 08, 2014

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8:00 PM | Endangered Manatees Face a New Threat: Lawsuits
What do manatees and bureaucracy have in common? They both have a tendency to move slowly—sometimes painfully slowly. In Florida manatees’ own lethargy puts the animals at risk of being killed... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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8:00 PM | Fabrication Process to Make Chemical Separations More Efficient
Scientists at Georgia Tech have developed a new fabrication process that could make large-scale energy-intensive chemical separations cheaper and more efficient.
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6:56 PM | [Review] 3 Clean Energy Startups to Watch in 2014
Startups come and go. In the age of the internet it's becoming a quick game to play. All to often we hear about new apps, tech and gadgets that create million dollar business overnight. Unfortunately with clean-tech business it seems to take much longer because of the lengthy development cycles. So when new startups come on to the market they've probably been in development for several years prior. You have to be more patient with clean-tech startups, and let them grow.
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6:43 PM | Smart Meters Get All the Press, but 'Dumb' Meters Need Love, Too
By Kim Tingley If your vision of an artificially intelligent future is based on multiple viewings of The Terminator, you may have overlooked the inherent genius of your thermostat. But Skylar Tibbits hasn’t. A researcher in MIT’s department of architecture, Tibbits thinks the little metal coil inside this common household appliance is far more likely to take over the world than any army of self-aware cyborgs. Tibbits studies how best to […]
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6:00 PM | An Introduction to Electricity Markets
So many debates about our transforming electricity system surround the economics of electricity production. The solar advocates continually remind us that the price breakthrough for solar panels is... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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5:55 PM | Stuff I wrote elsewhere – the Cooper’s hawks of Albuquerque
From this morning’s newspaper, a column about a day with a research team studying the Cooper’s hawks that are making an increasingly comfortable living around my city: Cooper’s hawks are primarily woodland birds, and we have built an expansive urban forest across the Northeast Heights. The urban neighborhoods on the east side of the river ...Continue reading ‘Stuff I wrote elsewhere – the Cooper’s hawks of Albuquerque’ »
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5:46 PM | The Dose Makes the Poison – or does it?
By Kacee Deener When I was a graduate student, one of the first lectures in my toxicology class was about the history and basic principles of toxicology. We learned about Paracelsus, the 16th century physician-alchemist known as the father of toxicology, and how he coined the phrase “the dose makes the poison.” This has been […]
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5:44 PM | Lake Mead at 1,081.89 feet above sea level and dropping: Is this unprecedented?
update: With the latest hourly reading, the elevation of Lake Mead has dropped to 1,081.84 feet above sea level, the lowest it has been since the reservoir was being filled in the 1930s: Previously: Last night at midnight, the surface elevation of Lake Mead dropped to 1,081.89 feet above sea level, half an inch above ...Continue reading ‘Lake Mead at 1,081.89 feet above sea level and dropping: Is this unprecedented?’ »
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5:23 PM | School of Ants
Scientists from North Carolina State University and the University of Florida have combined cookies, citizen science and robust research methods to track the diversity of ant species across the United States, and are now collaborating with international partners to get a global perspective on how ants are moving and surviving in the modern world.The so called School of Ants (SoA) project was developed at North Carolina State University to help researchers get a handle on the […]
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3:55 PM | Welcoming Robert to the Plugged In writing desk!
Today, the Plugged In writing desk is pleased to announce that Robert Fares will be joining the discussion here on Plugged In for the next few months as a regular contributor. He has been a frequent... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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3:55 PM | Robot Hands Can Become 40% More Energy Efficient
Scientists at the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) have found a way to save up to 40% energy in the propulsion of flexible robot joints without losing precision.
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3:12 PM | Oklahoma: Ready to Rumble
By Susan Cosier Oklahoma has had a whole lot of shaking going on during the last six years. Seismic activity in the state has risen dramatically, from just over a dozen earthquakes recorded back in 2008 to more than 100 in 2013. And here we are only halfway through 2014, and already the number of Oklahoma quakes with a magnitude of 3.0 or higher has surpassed the number of such earthquakes in California—a state famous for its big temblors. What on […]
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2:42 PM | The Tar Sands Diet, Ebola and the Environment, Giant Salamander Hits the City
By Jason Bittel False balance: Trustees of the BBC have told the British news network to reevaluate the way it covers global warming and other scientific issues. Specifically, the trustees wrote in a progress report that the BBC needs to give less air time to climate deniers and that the “over-rigid application of editorial guidelines on impartiality” was giving “undue attention to marginal opinion.” In other words, stop booking […]
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2:25 PM | New Electrochemistry Tech Makes Batteries Last Longer
Scientists at the University of Alberta have used a process called induced fluorination to create faster-charging, longer-lasting batteries.

Cui X, Chen J, Wang T & Chen W (2014). Rechargeable Batteries with High Energy Storage Activated by In-situ Induced Fluorination of Carbon Nanotube Cathode., Scientific reports, 4 5310. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24931036

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1:30 PM | Improving IRIS: Please Join the Conversation
By Kacee Deener Over the past few years, EPA has embraced a major new effort to enhance its Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) Program to improve the scientific foundation of assessments, increase transparency, and improve productivity. IRIS is a human health assessment program that evaluates information on health effects that may result from exposure to […]
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1:00 PM | Climate change will alter fire patterns, push caribou herds around
It’s not just the heat. Climate change will find (is finding) many creative ways to mess with wildlife and challenge conservationists. One such way is to change the patterns of fires that burn across animal habitats; in many areas, drought and heat have led to increases in fire frequency and severity. New research suggests that these

July 07, 2014

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9:45 PM | Field Studies
By Tracie McMillan A few early-summer visits to the local farmer’s market are usually all it takes to turn us into cheerleaders for the American farm. But if you really want to know about the current state of farming in the U.S.A. (as opposed to merely knowing the current state of this summer’s heirloom tomatoes), you’ll need some real, hard facts.For that, you'll want to turn to the latest Census of Agriculture (COA). Chances are […]
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7:09 PM | DNA Barcoding and the Neutral Theory
COI barcode variation within avian species is uniformly low regardless of census population size. This finding directly contradicts a central prediction of neutral theory and is not readily accounted for by commonly proposed ad hoc modifications. As an alternative model consistent with empirical data including the molecular clock, we propose extreme purifying selection, including at synonymous sites, limits variation within species and continuous adaptive evolution drives the molecular […]
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7:05 PM | Advanced Modular Hydrogen Tank for Vehicles Created
The German Aerospace Center (DLR), together with its partners in the SSH2S European research project, has developed an advanced hydrogen tank for vehicles. The new hydrogen tank is suitable for holding hydrogen in a compact space under moderate pressure and at ambient temperature.
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5:52 PM | NENT: Petroleum Research Still Ethical, Unless It Impedes Renewables
Norway’s National Committee for Research Ethics in Science and Technology (NENT) has concluded that petroleum research is still relevant and ethical, as long as it doesn’t impede renewables expansion and energy-savings.
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5:39 PM | The Good, the Bad and the Anthropocene (Age of Us)
A three-way conversation about how to think about, and respond to, evidence that Earth is in our sway.
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5:08 PM | Do exotic, invasive, aliens keep you up at night? Are they in your neighborhood? by Madhusudan Katti
Most of us live in cities now, which must seem like rather exotic, alien habitats to other denizens of our planet, full of strange creatures they’ve never encountered before. By which I mean not just us hairless apes, but many other species too, from distant corners of the Earth. For we also tend to fill our […]
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4:32 PM | IEA: $80 Billion Wasted on Energy for Online Devices Annually
According to the latest report by the International Energy Agency (IEA), the world’s 14 billion online electronic devices waste around $80 billion per year due to low energy efficiency.
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4:00 PM | How Efficient Is Your Sprinkler?
Irrigating your lawn can waste 50 percent of the water you use, but state agencies offer a handful of solutions
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3:05 PM | How much should we worry about exotic species in urban zones? How do we reduce damage from exotic invasives when management resources are limited? Are there conflicts between management or eradication efforts and building general support for urban biodiversity?
 
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2:57 PM | Interested in air sensors? Tune in to our webinar!
By Dustin Renwick Sensors are everywhere these days. Some determine whether the ball has crossed the goal line in the World Cup. Others help EPA, state and local agencies, and communities take a more in-depth look at air quality. Commercial manufacturers continue to develop low-cost air sensors that are portable and can relay data in […]
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2:41 PM | Natural hazard event reporting in the global media
Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience Blog - Making a difference to how we live with hazard and risk. by Alex Holden Effective communication of risk is essential to its management [3]. As the media, in particular internet-based media, is considered the first source of information regarding risk for most people, it is vital to understand how it is [...] The post Natural hazard event reporting in the global media appeared first on Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience Blog.
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2:41 PM | Mathematical Model Helps Identify Gas Hydrate Pockets
Scientists at Rice University have developed a mathematical model that simulates gas hydrate and free gas accumulation under the ocean floor.

Chatterjee, S., Bhatnagar, G., Dugan, B., Dickens, G., Chapman, W. & Hirasaki, G. (2014). The Impact of Lithologic Heterogeneity and Focused Fluid Flow upon Gas Hydrate Distribution in Marine Sediments, Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, DOI: 10.1002/2014JB011236

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2:20 PM | Deniers in the Desert, Funky Fish, Pallas's Cat Peek-a-Boo
By Jason Bittel What happens in Vegas: Las Vegas this week will host the “biggest gathering of global warming skeptics in the world.” The conference is basically the Heartland Institute’s version of Burning Man—in other words, a big ol’ nihilistic party in the desert where participants go to escape reality. The reality here, of course, is that the rest of the world is no longer debating climate change and instead […]
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1:13 PM | Setting the Table for Migrating Monarch Butterflies
Property owners can help provide migrating and struggling monarch butterflies with a milkweed buffet and then map the insects' arrival.
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