Electric Vehicles are Cool, Literally.

A study in this week’s Scientific Report by researchers at Michigan State University (MSU) and in China add more fuel to the already hot debate about whether electric vehicles are more environmentally friendly than conventional vehicles by uncovering two hidden benefits.They show that the cool factor is real – in that electric vehicles emit significantly less heat.  That difference could mitigate the urban heat island effect, the phenomenon that helps turn big cities like Beijing into pressure cookers in warm months.

Social Status has Impact on Wild Animals

High social status has its privileges ­­when it comes to aging – even in wild animals.In a first-of-its-kind study involving a wild species, Michigan State University researchers have shown that social and ecological factors affect animal health. The results, published in the current issue of Biology Letters, focused on spotted hyenas in Kenya.“High-ranking members in hyena clans reproduce more, they live longer and appear to be in better overall health,” said Nora Lewin, MSU doctoral student of zoology and co-lead author. “If you want to see the hierarchy of spotted hyenas, throw down some fresh meat near them. It’s quickly apparent who’s dominant and who’s not.”But Lewin wondered if long-accepted biological markers would support what she was seeing in the field. Thanks to working with fellow lead author Kay Holekamp, MSU zoologist, and her long-running hyena experiment, Lewin had access to more than 25 years of data and was able to spend a summer afield in Kenya, observing hyenas’ social structure firsthand.

What Drives the Global Warming Debate?

Scientists have presented the most comprehensive evidence to date that climate extremes such as droughts and record temperatures are failing to change people’s minds about global warming. Instead, political orientation is the most influential factor in shaping perceptions about climate change, both in the short-term and long-term, said Sandra Marquart-Pyatt, a Michigan State University sociologist and lead investigator on the study.