Plato was good at keeping secrets too

The Greek philosopher Plato has been revered as a great thinker for millennia. It turns out, his writings are even more valuable than we have thought. A science historian at The University of Manchester has cracked "The Plato Code" – the long disputed secret messages hidden in the great philosopher’s writings. Plato was the Einstein of Greece's Golden Age and his work founded Western culture and science. Dr Jay Kennedy's findings are set to revolutionize the history of the origins of Western thought. Dr Kennedy, whose findings are published in the leading US journal Apeiron, reveals that Plato used a regular pattern of symbols, inherited from the ancient followers of Pythagoras, to give his books a musical structure. A century earlier, Pythagoras had declared that the planets and stars made an inaudible music, a "harmony of the spheres". Plato imitated this hidden music in his books.

Green Products

Life is confusing. When buying a product one has to consider whether it is green, inexpensive, actually works, and so forth and so on. There is also the life cycle of the product to consider. Is the product beneficial to the environment in the long run? For example, Marcal Manufacturing has just introduced new packaging to all of its Small Steps brand products this week, which places an environmental facts panel on the front of all product packaging. The panel resembles a nutrition label for food products and highlights the environmental performance of its 100% recycled paper products.

Mid Ocean Life

For those without a green thumb, it takes several things to make plants (or algae grow). These are sunlight, nutrients, and water. In the middle of the ocean there is plenty of water and on the surface plenty of sunlight, the problem is lack of nutrients. For almost three decades, oceanographers have been puzzled by the ability of microscopic algae to grow in mid-ocean areas where there is very little nitrate, an essential algal nutrient. In a recent issue of Nature, oceanographer Ken Johnson, along with coauthors Stephen Riser at the University of Washington and David Karl at the University of Hawaii, show that mid-ocean algae obtain nitrate from deep water, as much as 800 feet below the surface.

Oil spill hits Mississippi shore

Thick oil from BP Plc's Gulf of Mexico spill washed ashore in Mississippi for the first time as tropical storm Alex moved into the Gulf, posing a threat to the cleanup operation. Alex, the first named storm of the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season, had sustained winds of 45 mph and was about 60 miles west-southwest of Campeche, Mexico. The system was moving west-northwest at 7 mph. Forecasters from the U.S. National Hurricane Center say Alex could become a hurricane in the next 48 hours. They predict Alex will make landfall as a hurricane on Wednesday between Brownsville, Texas, and Tuxpan de Rodriguez Cano in Mexico, sparing BP's oil collection efforts at its ruptured deep-sea well.

Oil spill efforts ramp up as storm eyed anxiously

The first named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season is posing an uncertain threat to the Gulf of Mexico, even as efforts to contain the worst oil spill in U.S. history are set to ramp up. For now, Tropical Storm Alex, which is hitting the western Caribbean with rain and high winds, is not expected to pass close to BP Plc.'s blown-out well off the Louisiana coast. But even a miss that only generates large waves could greatly complicate clean-up efforts from Louisiana to Florida. Current official estimates suggest between 35,000 to 60,000 barrels a day are leaking from the rogue well. BP collected over 24,000 barrels on Friday and about 11,640 barrels in the first half of Saturday, the company estimated. New equipment being moved to the site of the leak in the coming week could raise the daily collection rate to 53,000 barrels a day, U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, who is coordinating the U.S. oil spill response, said on Saturday.

Canada to phase out older coal-fired power plants

Canada will phase out older coal-fired power plants to cut the country's greenhouse gas emissions, Environment Minister Jim Prentice said on Wednesday, as it moves to make natural-gas fired plants the new clean-power standard. The new standards, expected to be firmed up by early 2011, will force electricity producers to phase out older, high-emitting coal-fired plants and require newer facilities to match the lower greenhouse-gas emissions of more efficient natural-gas fired plants. Canada has 51 coal-fired units producing 19 percent of the country's electricity and 13 percent of its greenhouse gas emissions. However, 33 of those plants will reach the end of their economic lives by 2025. Unless the operators make substantial investments to cut emissions from the aging facilities, they'll be required to shut down.

Middle school project discovers cave skylight on Mars

The 16 students in Dennis Mitchell's 7th-grade science class at Evergreen Middle School in Cottonwood, Calif., chose to study lava tubes, a common volcanic feature on Earth and Mars. It was their class project for the Mars Student Imaging Program (MSIP), a component of ASU's Mars Education Program, which is run out of the Mars Space Flight Facility on the Tempe campus. They went looking for lava tubes on Mars — and found what may be a hole in the roof of a Martian cave.

Coffee’s Mysterious Benefits Mount

From lowered cancer risks to a sharper memory, more studies are showing that coffee is good for you - but why? Regular coffee drinkers have a 39 percent decreased risk of head and neck cancer, according to a new study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. Those who drank an estimated four or more cups a day had significantly fewer cancers of the mouth and throat than non coffee drinkers, the study found. Scientists are still trying to determine exactly what it is about coffee that gives it its disease-fighting properties, but recent research is getting closer to unlocking the mysterious power behind the energizing brew.

Telepresence Could Save Business $19 Billion by 2020

According to a new study of large companies using telepresence technology, U.S. and U.K. businesses that substitute some business travel with telepresence can cut CO2 emissions by nearly 5.5 million metric tons in total – the greenhouse gas equivalent of removing more than one million passenger vehicles from the road for one year – and achieve total economy-wide financial benefits of almost $19 billion, by 2020.

First BP relief well has blown-out well in sights

Concern over its ability to pay the rapidly escalating cost of the worst spill in U.S. history continued to weigh on its shares, however, sending its London stock to a 14-year low and further hitting its credit profile. BP said in a statement on Friday the first of two relief wells had successfully detected the MC252 well and would continue to a target intercept depth of 18,000 feet, when "kill" operations would begin. As concern grows that bad weather could hamper clean-up operations, BP said 37,000 people, 4,500 vessels and 100 aircraft were helping the response effort, and that almost 850,000 barrels of oil and "oily liquid" had been captured or burned off the sea.