Power Grid Must Adapt To Handle Renewable Energy

The National Academy of Engineering in Washington, D.C., once asked its members to pick the greatest engineering achievement ever. Their choice? The electrification of the country through what's known as "the grid." Ernest Moniz, director of the Energy Institute at MIT, says they were right on the money.

The Light in the Sky is NASA

There are many strange and ordinary lights in the sky. There are the stars, moon, planets and the Aurora Borealis for example. High in the sky, 60 to 65 miles above Earth's surface, winds rush through a little understood region of Earth's atmosphere at speeds of 200 to 300 miles per hour. Lower than a typical satellite's orbit, higher than where most planes fly, this upper atmosphere jet stream makes a perfect target for a particular kind of scientific experiment: the sounding rocket. Some 35 to 40 feet long, sounding rockets shoot up into the sky for short journeys of eight to ten minutes, allowing scientists to probe difficult-to-reach layers of the atmosphere. When they go up, they will release materials that will be visible milky white clouds which will make the jet stream velocity and direction trackable. There will be a new light in the sky just off the US Atlantic coast.

Power Generated By Coal Decreased Last Year

Coal is one of the biggest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the world. The good news is that coal's share of monthly power generation in the U.S. decreased to below 40 percent in November and December 2011, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). The last time coal's share of total generation fell below 40 percent for a monthly total was March 1978.

Low-Carb, High-Carb, It Doesn’t Matter, Study Says, It’s All About The Veggies

Deciding between the Atkins Diet, Mediterranean diet or a traditional low-fat/high-carbohydrates diet? It really doesn't make a lot of difference, says a team of Israeli nutrition experts. Your chances of losing weight with any of the three hinges on eating more vegetables and cutting down on sweets than on whether you consume lots of meat and fish (as Atkins advises), olive oil and legumes (Mediterranean-style) or pasta and potatoes (the low-fat route).

Cookie Cutter Sustainability

For the girl next store or the company down the street, sustainability can be a real head scratcher, especially when you factor in busy schedules, limited cash flow, and confusing choices. Further tensions arise when individuals and companies give in to overly formulaic or prescriptive sustainability strategies. What's right for the single guy in Kentucky with a small plot of land isn't right for the big-city girl in Chicago with a house plant and a public transit card. And what works for the big coffee shop chain isn’t necessarily a good fit for the neighborhood café.

Virgin Islands Lose Oil Refinery: Opportunity for Green Energy?

Hovensa, the U.S. Virgin Islands’ sole oil refinery, was forced to shut down last month due to economic losses, leaving over 2,000 people unemployed. This energy fiasco is devastating the islands’ economy, and showing the vulnerability caused by oil dependency. The once-prominent oil refinery closed February 21, keeping about 100 employees to run the facility as an oil storage terminal. The refinery produced over 90 percent of the petroleum energy for the U.S. Virgin Islands, and accounted for 20 percent of the territory’s GDP. Representatives of Hovensa say losses have totaled over $1.3 billion in the last three years. This, along with decline in demand for refined products, makes it economically unfeasible to keep Hovensa operating.

NASCAR: Safe Driving is Green Driving

NASCAR, best known for pushing the speed envelope, has launched a new traffic safety campaign with a sustainable twist. Rather than focusing narrowly on strategies to help drivers to look out for their own lives, the campaign deploys a broad message of taking responsibility for the safety of others. According to a press release launch, the campaign's mission goes far beyond road safety to encourage "personal responsibility for our planet and its people, especially teens."

Solar Power in Poor Rural Areas

Solar power works best of course where the sun is brightest. However, another major factor is the capital cost for a solar installation. If your are poor, you cannot get started easily. One of the big opportunities positive climate action has presented the developing world is the chance to leapfrog a generation of energy technology straight into clean, green generation without the intervening capital intensive and dirtier aspects of energy technology. A British company thinks it has a potential and intriguing solution. Cambridge-based Eight19, named after the eight minutes and 19 seconds it takes light form the sun to reach earth, has developed this technology, and the business plan to tackle these challenges.

Gorilla Genome

The human genome is stored on 23 chromosome pairs and in the small mitochondrial DNA. Twenty-two of the 23 chromosomes belong to autosomal chromosome pairs, while the remaining pair is sex determinative. But that is human, what about one of our close relatives, the gorilla? Researchers announce today that they have completed the genome sequence for the gorilla - the last genus of the living great apes to have its genome decoded. While confirming that our closest relative is the chimpanzee, the team show that much of the human genome more closely resembles the gorilla than it does the chimpanzee genome. This is the first time scientists have been able to compare the genomes of all four living great apes: humans, chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans. This study provides a unique perspective on our own origins and is an important resource for research into human evolution and biology, as well as for gorilla biology and conservation.

Polish Kite Surfer Fights Off Red Sea Sharks With a Knife

A professional kite surfer and instructor from Poland recently survived two days of drifting in the Red Sea by fighting off sharks with a knife. With just a couple of energy bars and drinks and a small amount of water, the first kitesurfer to cross the Baltic Sea set off from El Gouna in Egypt to Duba, Saudi Arabia. But then the wind died.