Healthy Food or Junk?

Parents of some obese children could save up to £6.58 (about $10) each week by changing their shopping habits and opting for a healthier diet, according to research published in the latest issue of the British Journal of General Practice. The study on the theme of obesity shows that healthier eating does not have to be more expensive, challenging one of the commonly cited barriers to dietary change. The figures showed that healthier eating could cost no more than £2.31 ($4) extra a week, and that in some cases, savings of up to £6.58 ($10) a week could by made by switching.

Joint USA-Canada Arctic Ocean Survey Comes to an End

Yesterday marked the completion of a five year collaboration between the United States and Canada to survey the Arctic Ocean. As the changing Arctic climate causes the ice to melt, this region will become more accessible to resource recovery. The project's goal was to delineate the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles from the coastline. According the Convention of the Law of the Sea, each nation has sovereign rights to natural resources on or above the seabed on the extended continental shelf (ECS).

After 40-year decrease, figures show rise in UK acid rain pollution

The UK Government has revealed a year-on-year increase in the amount of sulphur dioxide emissions, which reverses a 40-year downward trend. For the first time since the Seventies, official statistics show a small increase in the emissions of the sulphur dioxide of 2.3 per cent between 2009 and 2010.

Geospatial initiative shows the way

GeoSUR, a Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) open access and web-based initiative for geospatial data-sharing, has received a boost at the Eye on Earth Summit in Abu Dhabi (12-15 December). The conference "Networks of Networks" working group accepted GeoSUR – one of the first such regional networks in the developing world – as a "case model".

Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant finally in cold shutdown

Japan declared its tsunami-stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant to be in cold shutdown on Friday in a major step toward resolving the world's worst nuclear crisis in 25 years. The Fukushima Daiichi plant, 240 km (150 miles) northeast of Tokyo, was wrecked on March 11 by a huge earthquake and a towering tsunami which knocked out its cooling systems, triggering meltdowns, radiation leaks and mass evacuations. In making the much-anticipated announcement, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda drew a line under the crisis phase of the emergency at the plant and highlighted the next challenges: post-disaster clean-up and the safe dismantling of the plant, something experts say could take up to 40 years. "The reactors have reached a state of cold shutdown," Noda told a government nuclear emergency response meeting. "A stable condition has been achieved. It is judged that the accident at the plant itself has ceased," he added, noting radiation levels at the boundary of the plant could now be kept at low levels, even in the event of "unforeseeable incidents."

Biochar Value to Glacial Soils and Green House Gases

Adding a charred biomass material called biochar to glacial soils can help reduce emissions of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists. Studies by scientists with USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) are providing valuable information about how biochar-the charred biomass created from wood, plant material, and manure-interacts with soil and crops. As part of this effort, ARS scientists in St. Paul, Minn., are studying biochar activity in soils formed from glacial deposits. ARS Soil and Water Management Research Unit in St. Paul, found that amending glacial soils with biochar made from macadamia nut shells reduced a range of greenhouse gas emissions.

Super Hospital Disinfection

One of the nastier things to happen to a hospital patient is to go to be cured but end up being infected by something from the hospital. A Queen’s University infectious disease expert has helped in the development of a disinfection system that may change the way hospital rooms all over the world are cleaned as well as stop bed bug outbreaks in hotels and apartments. "This is the future, because many hospital deaths are preventable with better cleaning methods," says Dick Zoutman, who is also Quinte Health Care’s new Chief of Staff. "It has been reported that more than 100,000 people in North America die every year due to hospital acquired infections at a cost of $30 billion. That’s 100,000 people every year who are dying from largely preventable infections." The new technology involves pumping a mix of ozone and hydrogen peroxide vapor gas mixture into a room to completely sterilize everything – including floors, walls, drapes, mattresses, chairs and other surfaces. It is far more effective in killing bacteria than wiping down a room.

Weather experts warn of second huge storm to hit length and breadth of UK

A second hurricane-strength storm is heading for the UK and this time the entire country looks set to suffer. Forecasters say the next severe storm is now brewing in the North Atlantic and will bring with it cold air, snow and sleet as well as hurricane-strength winds from Monday evening.

More Shrubbery in a Warming World

ScienceDaily (Dec. 8, 2011) — Scientists have used satellite data from NASA-built Landsat missions to confirm that more than 20 years of warming temperatures in northern Quebec, Canada, have resulted in an increase in the amount and extent of shrubs and grasses.

How global finance fuels a secretive and unethical land grab in Africa

Global banks, investment houses and pension funds are gobbling up farmland in poor countries for food and biofuels production. GRAIN, winners of the 2011 Right Livelihood Award, says this secretive and unjust practice needs to stop.