Will Liberalization of Myanmar Bring Ruin to Its Vast Forests?

For years, Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, has been under the control of a strong military regime. The restriction on freedom and human rights abuses they imposed made the nation an international pariah, and trade sanctions were established by all major world economies. Now, Myanmar is undergoing a stunning democratic transformation, its citizens are granted more freedoms, and the world is opening up to them. With this opening up comes a relaxing of trade restrictions, which may unfortunately bring disaster to Myanmar's native forests. It was over this long period of strong military control and lack of foreign investment which allowed the wild forests to be protected. Now that things are changing, the nation may not be able to control the economic forces from within and without, vying to exploit its natural resources.

Seeing with Sonar

Bat echolocation is a perceptual system where ultrasonic sounds are emitted specifically to produce echoes. By comparing the outgoing pulse with the returning echoes, the brain and auditory nervous system can produce detailed images of the bat's surroundings. This allows bats to detect, localize and even classify their prey in complete darkness. Humans cannot do this and must use their eyes. But humans might use the same principle, a very helpful concept for the blind, The UltraCane uses ultrasonic waves - just as bats do - to reveal the location of obstacles. This data is then relayed to users through vibrations to the handle helping them to feel their way around.

Ground Water Inundation

Scientists from the University of Hawaii at Manoa (UHM) published a study today in Nature Climate Change showing that besides marine inundation (flooding), low-lying coastal areas may also be vulnerable to groundwater inundation, a factor largely unrecognized in earlier predictions on the effects of sea level rise. Ground-water flooding or inundation occurs in low-lying areas when the water table rises above the land surface.

The Many Benefits of Hummus

Once only found in Middle Eastern restaurants or ethnic food stores, hummus has become a surging business for food companies here in the U.S. and abroad. The chickpea (garbanzo) bean spread is no longer a secret and limited only to those who were fortunate enough to have a Lebanese restaurant in the neighborhood. Hummus has now gone corporate, with brands such as Tribe and Sabra (a Strauss Group and PepsiCo partnership) enjoying popularity and impressive sales: $325 million at last count in 2010.

Growth of Renewables will continue with continued subsidies

The International Energy Agency predicts renewables will become the world's second-largest source of power generation by 2015 and close in on coal as the primary source by 2035. But according to the 2012 edition of its flagship publication, the World Energy Outlook, the agency warns this rapid increase is critically dependent on continued subsidies. It says in 2011, these subsidies (including for biofuels) amounted to $88 billion, but over the period to 2035 need to amount to $4.8 trillion; over half of this has already been committed to existing projects or is needed to meet 2020 targets.

Antarctica Ice is Up While Arctic is Down

Global warming only decrease the extent off the ice in polar regions, right. Well maybe not so. The first direct evidence that marked changes to Antarctic sea ice drift have occurred over the last 20 years, in response to changing winds, is published this week in the journal Nature Geoscience. Scientists from NERC’s British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena California explain why, unlike the dramatic losses reported in the Arctic, the Antarctic sea ice cover has increased under the effects of climate change.

Arsenic Contamination from Gold Mining found in India Villages

Scientists have found high levels of arsenic in the soil and groundwater near a gold mine in the south Indian state of Karnataka, highlighting health hazards associated with mining the precious metal. A team of scientists that conducted studies in the Kiradalli Tanda village of Yadgir district discovered arsenic contamination in groundwater 30 times higher than the limit of 10 parts per billion, prescribed by the WHO. The village, which is four kilometres from a gold mine, had reported several cases of suspected arsenic-induced skin diseases and cancers.

Does Healthy Living Add Years to Your LIfe?

How many articles have you read that tell you what to eat, why to exercise, and in general how to live a healthy life? Ever wonder, even though these things may help you feel more energetic and look more healthy, do they actually add years to your life? New research by Northwestern University is shedding light on this important question. It found that keeping cardiovascular risk factors low does indeed lead to a healthier life. It also found that if you have optimal heart health in middle age, you may live up to 14 years longer, free of cardiovascular disease, than your peers who have two or more cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors.

The Mystery of 49 Ceti

Just look up into the night sky and see all of the stars and then imagine all that you cannot see that is still up there. There are lots of mysteries up there and some we know of , some we suspect, and some we do not know. Every six seconds, for millions of years, comets have been colliding with one another near a star in the constellation Cetus called 49 CETI, which is visible to the naked eye. Over the past three decades, astronomers have discovered hundreds of dusty disks around stars, but only two — 49 CETI is one — have been found that also have large amounts of gas orbiting them.

Planting Forests for Carbon Sequestration

Imagine a forest landscape where every tree is aligned and equally spaced apart. A forest where there are no sounds, no undergrowth and a distinct lack of species. Could this be the fate of our environment as carbon forestry becomes a common way to offset greenhouse gas emissions? Or, could it supplement reforestation programs and slowly ease the biodiversity crisis? Post-Kyoto there has been strong support for global emissions to be 'capped'. Key nations, including Australia, Norway and Japan, have already started to place a price on carbon, with internal stakeholders now having a legal obligation to pay for the greenhouse gasses they emit. One strategy that has been adopted by these 'compliance' markets – as well as many 'voluntary' markets – includes the purchasing of carbon credits that are linked with the forestry sector.