Cumberland River Crest Highest in 73 Years

Rivers throughout middle Tennessee crested at record high levels last week. They exceeded previous highs at many streamgages by as much as 14 feet, according to preliminary estimates released today by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The highest flood levels were recorded on May 2 and 3, from Nashville west toward Jackson, extending about 40-miles north and south of Interstate 40, and affecting major tributaries to the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers.

BP says progress in effort to contain oil spill

Energy giant BP was making some progress on Monday with its efforts to contain the oil gushing forth from a ruptured well in the Gulf of Mexico, But the stakes are high amid fears of an ecological and economic calamity along the U.S. Gulf Coast. Investors have already knocked around $30 billion off BP's value and its share price will be closely watched this week. After several tough weeks, this is shaping up to be another rough one for the company. A U.S. Labor Department official told the Financial Times that BP has a "systematic safety problem" at its refineries. "BP executives, they talk a good line. They say they want to improve safety," Jordan Barab, a senior official at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, told the paper.

BP tries again to contain oil spill

Energy giant BP made a new attempt to siphon gushing oil from an offshore well as political pressure and public outrage increased over the company's slow progress at stopping environmental disaster. London-based BP Plc admitted on Saturday that its latest attempt to contain the spill had failed but a top executive expressed optimism that the tricky undersea effort to redirect the flow of oil would be operational overnight. The latest fix involves guiding undersea robots to insert a small tube into a 21-inch (53-cm) pipe, known as a riser, to funnel the oil to a ship at the surface.

Oil leak closes in on marsh, BP keeps trying

Energy giant BP scrambled on Saturday to make good on its latest attempt to contain oil from a ruptured wellhead in the Gulf of Mexico as the government approved the use of dispersants underwater, at the source of the seabed gusher. With crude oil pouring unchecked from a blown-out well a mile deep on the floor of the Gulf, London-based BP was struggling to guide robots to insert a narrow tube wrapped in a rubber flange into the 21-inch pipe spewing the oil -- and to funnel that oil to a drill ship at the surface. "That work is currently underway and we hope to begin operations overnight," BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles told reporters on Friday afternoon.

Easter Island Mysteries

There are many mysteries about this small island in the southeast Pacific. The biggest ones are about the strange large statutes and how they were moved about and the second about how it all ended on this lonely island. Archaeologists have now disproved the fifty year old original theory underpinning our understanding of how the famous stone statues were moved around Easter Island. Fieldwork led by researchers at University College London and The University of Manchester, has shown the remote Pacific island’s ancient road system was primarily ceremonial and not solely built for transportation of the figures.

Hard Exercise Can Prevent Cell Death

Every day our bodies are dying, or rather, our millions of cells are dying. Fortunately they do not all die at once, and there is always another cell to take its place. What if people could stop their cells from dying? Wouldn't that be the same as eternal life? Well that is not possible, so the best people can do is delay the cellular inevitable. To do so merely entails exercise, an activity that people should be doing anyway. An Italian team of scientists at the University of Rome put their collective skills together to prove this hypothesis.

First Hole in North Pole Ice Drilled by Explorers

A group of Arctic explorers has made the grueling journey to the North Pole and drilled a hole in the ice to take the first ever sample of ocean water at the pole in an effort to better understand the impacts of climate change. The explorers, part of a group called the Catlin Arctic Survey, completed the sampling expedition after failing to last year, reported the Guardian. The team reached the geographic North Pole on May 12 after a 60-day trek across the frigid Arctic ice.

Dolphin, turtle deaths eyed for links to oil spill

Scientists are examining the deaths of at least six dolphins and over 100 sea turtles along the U.S. Gulf Coast in recent weeks to see if they are victims of the giant oil spill in the region, wildlife officials said on Thursday. All of the deaths are being looked at as possible casualties of the oil gushing unchecked since April 20 from a ruptured wellhead on the floor of the Gulf off Louisiana because of their proximity in time and space to the spill. But none of the dolphins or turtles examined showed any obvious visible signs of oil contamination.

Floods

Rivers throughout middle Tennessee crested at record high levels in the week of May 3. They exceeded previous highs by as much as 14 feet, according to preliminary estimates released May 13 by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The highest flood levels were recorded on May 2 and 3, from Nashville west toward Jackson, extending about 40-miles north and south of Interstate 40, and affecting major tributaries to the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers. Floods have always happened and can be devastating when people build in the wrong places.

EPA Announces Thresholds for Greenhouse Gas Permitting Requirements

U.S. EPA Assistant Administrator Gina McCarthy held a press conference today to discuss the EPA's final rule to address greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the largest stationary sources, while shielding millions of small sources of GHGs from Clean Air Act permitting requirements. The phased-in, common-sense approach will address facilities like power plants and oil refineries that are responsible for 70 percent of the greenhouse gases from stationary sources. "After extensive study, debate and hundreds of thousands of public comments, EPA has set common-sense thresholds for greenhouse gases that will spark clean technology innovation and protect small businesses and farms," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson.