Did Quiet Sun Cause Little Ice Age After All?

BOSTON—For decades, astronomers and climatologists have debated whether a prolonged 17th century cold spell, best documented in Europe, could have been caused by erratic behavior of the sun. Now, an American solar physicist says he has new evidence to suggest that the sun was indeed the culprit.

Australia’s burping cows more climate friendly than thought

Australia's huge cattle herd in the north might be burping less planet-warming methane emissions than thought, a study released on Friday shows, suggesting the cows are more climate friendly. Cattle, sheep and other ruminant livestock produce large amounts of methane, which is about 20 times more powerful at trapping heat than carbon dioxide. One cow can produce about 1.5 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions a year. Half of New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture and most of that is from sheep and cattle. Most of the cattle and sheep emissions are, contrary to popular belief, from burping. Scientists at Australia's state-backed research body the CSIRO say the amount of methane from cattle fed on tropical grasses in northern Australia could be nearly a third less than thought.

Fuel Economy Labels by EPA

What car is better at least in terms of fuel use, costs and environmental benefits. The decision will never be simple. The U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have released new fuel economy labels that will help consumers take advantage of the increased efficiency standards achieved under the Obama Administration. The new labels, which are the most dramatic overhaul to fuel economy labels since the program began more than 30 years ago, will provide more comprehensive fuel efficiency information, including estimated annual fuel costs, savings, as well as information on each vehicle’s environmental impact. These improvements will give consumers better, more complete information to consider when purchasing new vehicles that are covered by the increased fuel economy standards. Starting with model year 2013, the improved fuel economy labels will be required to be affixed to all new passenger cars and trucks – both conventional gasoline powered and “next generation” cars, such as plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles

Seattle Seahawks Building Washington’s Largest Solar Installation

May 20, 2011 - Professional sports teams the Seattle Seahawks and Sounders FC announced they will install the largest solar energy array to date in the state of Washington on the roof of Qwest Field Event Center. The solar installation will cover over 2.5 acres, or approximately 80% of the Event Center roof.

Net-Zero in Vermont: Putney School a Model for Sustainability

In the unassuming rural community of Putney, Vermont, students and faculty at the Putney School are proud of their new field house. Not only does the new building expand the opportunities for the students at the private high school, it's also the only net-zero school building in the country, and one of only a handful that are LEED Platinum certified.

On the edge of extinction, Philippine eagles being picked off one-by-one

Down to a few hundred individuals, every Philippine eagle is important if the species is to survive. However, the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) has recently announced that people continue to illegally trap and keep eagles captive. Since December the organization has taken in four confiscated Philippine eagles (Pithecophaga jefferyi), according to The Philippine Star. One died of a fungal infection after confiscation, while two others have suffered serious injuries.

How Seafood Fraud Hurts Our Oceans, Our Wallets and Our Health

Seafood fraud is the practice of misleading consumers about their seafood in order to increase profits. Along with ripping off shoppers, these actions can have negative impacts on marine conservation efforts and human health. Types of seafood fraud include substituting one species for another without changing the label, including less seafood in the package than is indicated on the label, adding too much ice to seafood in order to increase the weight and shipping seafood products through different countries in order to avoid duties and tariffs.

The best Job in the World? Filming in the Jungle, new from BBC Earth

Often the attraction of working in natural history is the thrill of the wild. The untamed, the undomesticated, the possibility of discovering the unknown! However even as a dedicated natural history program maker, there are certain hostile and remote locations where it is essential to have your super-human senses switched on. As a cameraman, crouching down to get that perfect shot on the dark and damp forest floor. It is your ears you need to rely on above all else, as often the only proof of the vast amounts of animal life around you…is what you hear! The high humidity of this environment creates ideal conditions for the strangest animals to live, breed and sing! Through the cacophony of rival mating calls, warning cries, sharing the location of a known food source and social interaction; the sounds of the wilderness could leave you overwhelmed. But it is a specific sound you are listening out for… As an enthusiastic drummer of the jungle, the chimpanzee has worked out a less stressful way of communicating with each other than exhaustive calls...which transpires is also a highly enjoyable one! While scouring the forest in search of their next meal, the troops will use buttress roots and hollow trunks to sound out! Drumming as they pass, the chimpanzee’s will make distinctive bass sounds (some even repeatedly on their favorite trees!) using their hands and feet to make clear - who is where, and how successful each party has been with their search.

Worlds Between Stars

A planet, historically, is a celestial body orbiting a star or stellar remnant that is massive enough to be rounded by its own gravity, is not massive enough to cause thermonuclear fusion, and has cleared its neighboring region of planetesimals. Astronomers, including a NASA-funded team member, have discovered a new class of Jupiter-sized planets floating alone in the dark of space, away from the light of a star. The team believes these lone worlds were probably ejected from developing planetary systems. The discovery is based on a joint Japan-New Zealand survey that scanned the center of the Milky Way galaxy during 2006 and 2007, revealing evidence for up to 10 free-floating planets roughly the mass of Jupiter. The isolated orbs, also known as orphan planets, are difficult to spot, and had gone undetected until now. The new found planets are located at an average approximate distance of 10,000 to 20,000 light-years from Earth.

Don’t fry day is coming, protect your skin!

It’s natural to want to get out in the sun once the weather warms up. It should also be natural to take steps to protect your skin from the sun when you go outside. That’s why the Friday before Memorial Day is designated Don’t Fry Day – a day to raise awareness of sun safety and encourage everyone to take steps to protect their skin. Ultraviolet (UV) rays -- from the sun and other sources like tanning beds -- are the primary cause of skin cancer, the most common cancer in the United States. But shielding your skin with clothing, sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher, and shade can help lower your risk. The American Cancer Society has lots of information on how to protect your skin at cancer.org/sunsafety, along with a description of all our skin cancer prevention activities.