Unreported Green House Gas Emission in Europe?

European chemical manufacturers are covertly venting huge quantities of the powerful super greenhouse gas HFC-23, according to a study by the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (EMPA). The report, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, says that Western Europe's emissions of HFC-23s – an 'F' or fluorinated gas mainly used as a refrigerant – are between 60-140% higher than officially reported. Italy alone was found to be emitting 10-20 times more HFC-23s than it officially reports. The greenhouse gas has a global warming potential which is 14,800 times higher than CO2.

Scientists call for better management of the deep sea

The deep sea is in trouble. A recent study has found that it's being damaged by human activities, and that this is only likely to get worse. Scientists are now calling for better management and conservation of entire deep-sea ecosystems.

Scientists discover massive underground river 13,000 feet beneath the Amazon

Researchers at Brazil's National Observatory have discovered evidence of a massive underground river flowing deep beneath the Amazon River, reports the AFP. Presenting this week at the 12th International Congress of the Brazilian Geophysical Society in Rio de Janeiro, Elizabeth Tavares Pimentel reported the existence of a 6,000-kilometer-long (3,700-mile) river flowing some 4,000 meters (13,000 feet) under the Amazon.

US East coast braces for Irene

As North Carolina braced on Friday for a direct hit from Hurricane Irene, cities along the east coast were on alert and millions of beach goers cut short vacations to escape the powerful storm. With more than 50 million people potentially in Irene's path, residents stocked up on food and water and worked to secure homes, vehicles and boats. States, cities, ports, oil refineries and nuclear plants scrambled to activate emergency plans. "I filled my tank up with gas in case I need to leave in a hurry or something, and get a lot of food supplies, taking everything out of my yard ... anything that can fly into a window," said Patricia Stapleton of Newport, North Carolina. Irene lashed the low-lying Bahamas on Thursday and was expected to hit North Carolina on Saturday before heading up the coast to New York and beyond.

Smart Phones and Fuel Efficiency

In July, at the Association for Computing Machinery’s MobiSys conference, researchers from MIT and Princeton University took the best-paper award for a system that uses a network of smartphones mounted on car dashboards to collect information about traffic signals and tell drivers when slowing down could help them avoid waiting at lights. By reducing the need to idle and accelerate from a standstill, the system saves gas: In tests conducted in Cambridge, Mass., it helped drivers cut fuel consumption by 20 percent. Cars are responsible for 28 percent of the energy consumption and 32 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions in the United States, says Emmanouil Koukoumidis, a visiting researcher at MIT who led the project. "If you can save even a small percentage of that, then you can have a large effect on the energy that the U.S. consumes," Koukoumidis says.

Pacific Walruses Studied as Sea Ice Melts

ScienceDaily (Aug. 25, 2011) — USGS Alaska Science Center researchers, in cooperation with the Native Village of Point Lay, will attempt to attach 35 satellite radio-tags to walruses on the northwestern Alaska coast in August as part of their ongoing study of how the Pacific walrus are responding to reduced sea ice conditions in late summer and fall.


Hurricane Irene strengthened on its path toward the continental United States in late August 2011. This is a relatively rare hurricane that threatens all of the US east coast. Residents of the U.S. East Coast braced for the first hurricane to seriously threaten the country in three years. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this natural-color image at 2:15 p.m. local time (18:15 UTC) on August 24. Storm clouds hide the Turks and Caicos Islands, and extend westward over The Bahamas. Clouds also linger over the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) reported that Irene was a Category 3 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 120 miles (195 kilometers) per hour.

The most painful sting in the world

Steve Backshall and the Deadly 60 team trek deep into the hot and muddy jungle to seek out one of the world’s most elusive birds of prey. But no Deadly 60 trip is without its surprises, and when Steve meets an old enemy his nerves truly are put to the test. What's the most painful sting in the insect world? In the jungles of Panama Steve faced his fear and handled a mind blowingly painful stinger – the bullet ant. A sting from most ants is nothing more than a painful nip, often with a bit of formic acid thrown in. But not the bullet ant. As its name suggests, a sting from one of these is like being shot! In 1984, a man named Justin Schmidt published a paper in the journal Archives of Insect Biochemistry and Physiology. He subjected himself to the stings of 78 different insects which resulted in the Schmidt Pain Index with stings rated from 0 (no effect) to a maximum of 4 (most painful). Here are some of his pain ratings and his amusingly vivid descriptions. 1.0 - Sweat Bee: Light, ephemeral, almost fruity. As if a tiny spark has singed a single hair on your arm.

Doctors Join Fight Against Livestock Antibiotics

A number of doctors are beginning to express concerns about the growing incidence of antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria in humans. Much of this proliferation is believed to be the result of the widespread use of antibiotics in livestock as a preventative measure in response to the overcrowded and often unsanitary conditions that the animals are often kept in. According to the Worldwatch Institute's 2006 State of the world report, 74 percent of the world's poultry, 43 percent of beef, and 68 percent of eggs are now produced this way.

BrightSource Glad to See Carbon “Tax” Down Under

Israel's BrightSource Energy is among the large-scale solar developers happy with the Australian government's new carbon "tax" that was just carefully shepherded through parliament by Prime Minister Julia Gillard despite the sort of astroturfing hysteria normally perpetrated only in American media.