Month: September 2010

  • Mice, Men and Exercise

    To exercise or not to exercise, that is the question. Perhaps it is not a question. Working on mice in the lab, researchers have found that activity level can be enhanced with “selective breeding” – the process of breeding plants and animals for particular genetic traits. Their experiments showed that mice that were bred to be good runners produced good running offspring, indicating that the offspring had inherited the trait for that activity which may be called exercise.

  • A New Earth?

    The ultimate in astronomical matters would be the discovery of a new planet similar to the Earth. This would be a whole new environment, whole new species as well as many other intriguing philosophical matters. Astronomers have found a new, potentially habitable Earth-sized planet. It is one of two new planets discovered around the star Gliese 581, some 20 light years away from our own. The planet, Gliese 581g, is located in a “habitable zone”—a distance from the star where the planet receives just the right amount of stellar energy to maintain liquid water at or near the planet’s surface.

  • Rivers worldwide in peril

    Dams, agricultural runoff, pesticides, sewage, mercury pollution from coal plants, invasive species, overconsumption, irrigation, erosion from deforestation, wetland destruction, overfishing, aquaculture: it’s clear that the world’s rivers are facing a barrage of unprecedented impacts from humans, but just how bad is the situation? A new global analysis of the world’s rivers is not comforting: the comprehensive report, published in Nature, finds that our waterways are in a deep crisis which bridges the gap between developing nations and the wealthy west. According to the study, while societies spend billions treating the symptoms of widespread river degradation, they are still failing to address the causes, imperiling both human populations and freshwater biodiversity.

  • 2nd Annual China Solar Energy Technology and Investment Congress 16-17 September 2010, Kunming, China

    Due to declining international feed-in tariff rates and increased local incentives, China has begun transitioning from exporting a majority of its finished solar products to installing them locally. With the fast development of the global economy, energy sustainability has become increasingly prominent and as a clean, safe and economical energy source, solar power is attracting more attention from the international community. With abundant solar resources, Kunming is located in the Central Yunnan – Guizhou Plateau. In recent years, the solar PV industry is one of the key new hi-tech industries being supported by the Kunming Municipality in order to develop Kunming into a key solar energy industrial base in China. Following the success of Noppen’s first solar energy event held in Inner Mongolia, the 2nd Annual China Solar Energy Technology and Investment Congress was held on 16-17 September 2010 in Kunming, China. In co-organization with the Kunming Municipal Government and supported by EUROSOLAR Turkey and the American General Business Association the event was attended by over 120 government officials, experts and scholars, senior executives, and professionals who gather together to discuss how to capitalize on current changes while clarifying new governmental support policies, technical advances in PV production/installation as well as providing a detailed overview of project developments across China.

  • The Bears are hungry in the Rockies

    A shortage of berries and other foods that hungry bears normally rely on to bulk up before hibernation has sent conflicts with humans spiraling to unprecedented levels in the Rocky Mountain West. Wildlife officials in parts of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming say they are experiencing a record year for so-called problem bears, which wander from the wilds into civilization — and into trouble. State and federal bear biologists say they are overrun this season with reports about errant grizzly and black bears foraging in everything from garbage cans to garages, in every place from golf courses to city centers.

  • Solar Planes

    Boeing is one of the most recognizable names in the aviation industry, so when they come up with a new design it generates a great deal of attention and fanfare. In this case the new design is of a solar powered plane. Others have proposed similar in the past. Perhaps Boeing will generate enough interest for long term support of the concept.

  • High Blood Pressure and Dementia

    Blood is obviously important for the body well being. Blood flow through the brain is essential for the delivery of nutrients such as glucose and oxygen that are needed for nerve cells to function. During the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease patients can suffer from high blood pressure and blood flow through the brain is reduced: the greater the reduction, the worse patients’ dementia may become.

  • Israeli Air Force Fighter Pilots Dodge Migrating Storks

    Droves of migrating birds strike a remarkable sight as they swirl above head in flocks of some 5,000 birds at a time over the Judean Desert. There are about seven hundred million birds flying over Israel twice every year during migration season, 600,000 of them white storks, explains Noam Attias. Attias, a birdwatcher for the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, is perched atop a rocky hilltop overlooking the Jordan River Valley. She is also a former air force air traffic controller. “When you see a pack of storks, even if it is small, or very, very big you see this mass of birds which are going up. Pelicans will do it in a very nice order. Storks will do it in all kinds of directions as they go up. And when they get to the top of this thermal that’s when they begin to glide. That is when they are in a really nice order and I can count them really easily and I can count them 10, 20, 30, 40 and so on,” says Attias.

  • NYC to curb water runoff with blue and green roofs

    New York City wants to catch and store rainwater temporarily in new roof systems to stop heavy storms sending sewage spilling into city waterways. The catchment systems would consist of “blue” roofs that have a series of drainage pools and “green” or grass- or ivy-covered roofs, under a plan unveiled by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg estimates the city could save $2.4 billion over 20 years if the state allows it to use this kind of green technology instead of relying on so-called grey infrastructure, such as storage tanks and tunnels.

  • New Sea Slug

    Slug is not an appetizing term but they are part of the world ecology and can be quite colorful, Strange new species are also not just found in exotic and isolated locales. In this case a new species of sea slug is claimed to have been found in a California tidal pool.