Sierra Nevada snowpack at historic low

On April 1, California Governor Jerry Brown stood in a Sierra Nevada meadow atop parched, brown grass — at an elevation of 6,800 feet, where there would normally be five feet of snow at that time of year — and announced the state’s first-ever mandatory water restrictions.The Golden State is still in the grip of a severe drought that began in 2012, and new research suggests it is one of the worst in centuries.The day Gov. Brown announced the statewide water restrictions, snowpack in the Sierra Nevadas was reported to be at just 5 percent of its historical average, as calculated from records dating back to the 1930s.

Could Mealworms Help Solve our Styrofoam Waste Problem?

Plastic waste is out of control in this country, and Styrofoam is one of the worst offenders. Americans toss out 25 billion Styrofoam cups each year. Over two million tons of the stuff ends up in landfills, where it does not biodegrade. Scientists think they may have found a solution for our Styrofoam problem, though: feed it to the worms!

Antibacterial vs. Plain Soap

A survey by the American Cleaning Institute and the industry-run Personal Care Products Council revealed that 74 percent of Americans use antibacterial soap.Fifty-six percent of them use it regularly, and, reportedly, 75 percent of moms with children in the household said they would be “angry” if antibacterial soap was no longer on the market.

Do you favor hotels that ask you to reuse your towels?

Hotels across the globe are increasingly encouraging guests to embrace green practices. Yet while guests think they are supporting the environment by shutting off lights and reusing towels, they may in fact be victims of "greenwashing," a corporation's deceitful practice of promoting environmentally friendly programmes while banking the extra profits.Greenwashing practices, such as a sign that reads "save the planet: re-use towels," coupled with claims of corporate social responsibility, have soiled the trust of American consumers who are increasingly recognizing hotels' green claims may be self-serving. This could cause hotels to lose valuable repeat customers.

Cancer drug found to sharpen memory, potential for Alzheimer's treatment

Can you imagine a drug that would make it easier to learn a language, sharpen your memory and help those with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease by rewiring the brain and keeping neurons alive?People with a dementia such as Alzheimer's disease lose their memory when brain cells shrink and die because connections can no longer transfer information.New Rutgers research published in the Journal Neuroscience found that a drug – RGFP966 – administered to rats made them more attuned to what they were hearing, able to retain and remember more information, and develop new connections that allowed these memories to be transmitted between brain cells.

New Sensor Tag Technology Could Link Animal Behavior and Conservation Science

For wild sockeye salmon, the trip upriver from the ocean to their spawning grounds is fraught with peril and hardship. But quantifying exactly how obstacles along the way, fluctuations in water temperature and other factors impact fish survival has long eluded researchers. New advances in biological sensor tags are now allowing scientists to precisely measure animals’ energetics, their interactions with humans, and their responses to rapidly changing environments.In 2014, for example, Nicholas Burnett and colleagues used accelerometer tags to measure how salmon needed to swim in order to traverse a dam in the Seton-Anderson watershed of British Columbia, Canada and how likely they were to survive the remainder of their journey. They found that when salmon resort to strenuous anaerobic swimming, they were significantly more likely to die days or even hours later.

Can Climate Change alter the shape of the Earth?

Climate change is causing more than just warmer oceans and erratic weather. According to scientists, it also has the capacity to alter the shape of the planet.

Heat waves hit heat islands the hardest

Extreme summers like that of 2012 — which saw record temperatures in cities across the U.S. — may be atypical, but experts say they will return, especially as the planet warms under climate change. And as they do, cities will be especially vulnerable.

The Volkswagen emissions cheating scandal and it's potential impact on VW owners

Out of the 250 million cars and trucks on U.S. roads, the impending recall at Volkswagen will involve just a half-million of them. But VW's emissions cheating scandal is receiving outsize attention because many of the company's customers feel duped. Now those customers are weighing what it will take to make them feel whole again.David Chien of Williston, Vt., was looking for a bigger, fuel-efficient car that could power its way through Northeastern snow. He says the 2013 Jetta SportWagen he bought "seemed to check all the boxes."