Stink Bugs: Friend or Foe

Stink bugs are fierce prehistoric looking bugs. Some are indeed quite fierce and others stink more than they bite! In many parts of the world including their native range of China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan the brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys) is considered an agricultural pest. Yet other genera of stink bugs, specifically the Podisus nigrispinus (Dallas), are considered an important biological control agent for other insect pests in the cotton, soybean, tomato, corn, and kale fields.

Forecasting storms using lightning!

An alternative to costly radar-based weather services could soon be operational in developing nations, to help them detect severe storms more cheaply and quickly. The technology, which uses lightning detection to forecast when and where storms will strike, has already proven successful in demonstration projects in Brazil, Guinea and India. Next year, Earth Networks — one of the companies at the forefront of the technology — will conduct further trials in Haiti. As more developing nations increase their numbers of mobile phone masts, which are ideal locations for mounting the lightning sensors on, the proportion of countries using the technology looks set to increase, according to the US company.

2014 National Defense Authorization Act is huge win for LEED green building system

President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2014 in Honolulu last Thursday and while most observers noted that the bill cracks down on sexual assaults in the military and eases restrictions on transferring detainees from Guantanamo Bay, the bill also is a huge win for the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED green building rating system. By way of background, the Air Force, Army, Marines, Navy and other instruments of the Department of Defense own and operate 299,000 buildings and 211,000 additional structures, making it the largest owner of buildings in North America, but it is also the owner of more green buildings and more LEED certified buildings than anyone else.

Catching Weevils with Different Colored Traps

The weevil is a type of beetle that is known for damaging crops. Whether they damage stored grain or dried food products, or attack cotton crops, the many types of weevils can cause problems for farmers and consumers alike. In an effort to develop more eco-friendly control methods for the weevil, researches have discovered that different colored traps attract more sweet potato weevils than other colors.

COLLEGIATE CORNER: Saving Earth from Space

When we think of the environment, we do not immediately jump to thinking of outer space. The environment usually conjures up images on Earth of breathless beauty, but this does not mean a solution to renewable energy is bound to the limits of our planet.

Tracking tracks yields old, old story

Scientists in the UK have dated a set of footprints found in 1961 in the Chihuahuan desert in northeastern Mexico helping us understand the climate conditions in this area more than 7,000 years ago. The footprints were excavated while workman were building a road and placed in the Museo del Desierto in Saltillo, Coahuila. The age of the footprints peeked the interest of researchers at the John Moores University in Liverpool. In 2006 their curiosity yielded a second set of prints in a Cuatro Ciénegas quarry.

Scientists uncover hidden river of rubbish flowing through London

A team of scientists has discovered a hidden torrent of rubbish flowing through London after collecting thousands of pieces of plastic submerged along the river bed of the upper Thames Estuary. The sheer amount of plastic recovered shows there is an unseen stream of trash flowing through the capital which could be a serious threat to aquatic wildlife.

Mangroves Shift North along Florida’s Coast

New analysis of 28-years of satellite imagery has shown that mangrove forests have been expanding northward along the Atlantic coast of Florida for the last few decades. While one might assume that this may be occurring because of a general warming trend, researchers are claiming that this northern expansion is likely because cold snaps there are becoming a thing of the past.