Legislative & Regulatory Update

NASA Telescope Reveals Largest Batch of Earth-Size, Habitable-Zone Planets Around Single Star

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has revealed the first known system of seven Earth-size planets around a single star. Three of these planets are firmly located in the habitable zone, the area around the parent star where a rocky planet is most likely to have liquid water.The discovery sets a new record for greatest number of habitable-zone planets found around a single star outside our solar system. All of these seven planets could have liquid water – key to life as we know it – under the right atmospheric conditions, but the chances are highest with the three in the habitable zone.

Researchers Gain Insight Into a Physical Phenomenon That Leads to Earthquakes

Scientists have gotten better at predicting where earthquakes will occur, but they’re still in the dark about when they will strike and how devastating they will be.

Inside the Race to Build the Battery of Tomorrow

The battery might be the least sexy piece of technology ever invented. The lack of glamour is especially conspicuous on the lower floors of MIT’s materials science department, where one lab devoted to building and testing the next world-changing energy storage device could easily be mistaken for a storage closet.

Science vs. the sea lamprey

Of all the fishy predators in the Great Lakes, few are more destructive than the sea lamprey. There’s something of a horror movie in their approach: jawless, they attach to prey such as salmon, whitefish or trout with a sucker mouth and drain the victim of its blood and lymph.For years, scientists and policy-makers have been trying to devise strategies to curb this population, which first arrived from Europe through shipping channels in the early 20th century.

New studies quantify the impacts of water use on diversity of fish and aquatic insects in NC streams

The health of fish and aquatic insects could be significantly affected by withdrawals of fresh water from the rivers and streams across North Carolina according to a new scientific assessment.A series of studies were conducted by a team of researchers, led by Jennifer Phelan, Ph.D., a senior ecologist at RTI International, to understand the relationships between changes in streamflow and the diversity of fish and richness of aquatic insects.

Dream of energy-collecting windows is one step closer to reality

Discovery could lower cost and expand possibilities for building-integrated solar energy collectionResearchers at the University of Minnesota and University of Milano-Bicocca are bringing the dream of windows that can efficiently collect solar energy one step closer to reality thanks to high tech silicon nanoparticles.The researchers developed technology to embed the silicon nanoparticles into what they call efficient luminescent solar concentrators (LSCs). These LSCs are the key element of windows that can efficiently collect solar energy. When light shines through the surface, the useful frequencies of light are trapped inside and concentrated to the edges where small solar cells can be put in place to capture the energy.The research is published today in Nature Photonics, a peer-reviewed scientific journal published by the Nature Publishing Group.

OFFSHORE WIND PUSH

Researchers show US grid can handle more offshore wind power, cutting pollution and power costsInjecting large amounts of offshore wind power into the U.S. electrical grid is manageable, will cut electricity costs, and will reduce pollution compared to current fossil fuel sources, according to researchers from the University of Delaware and Princeton University who have completed a first-of-its-kind simulation with the electric power industry.

Transforming restaurant waste into fuel

When most people look at discarded vegetable oil—browned and gritty from frying food—they likely see nothing more than waste.But to Ajay Dalai, a professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, the cooking process creates a byproduct that has newfound potential as a source of fuel and biolubricant. 

The invisible clean-up crew: Engineering microbial cultures to destroy pollutants

University of Toronto engineering professor Elizabeth Edwards is internationally recognized for using biotechnology to clean up industrial solvents in soil and groundwater. Her technique earned her the prestigious Killam Prize in 2016 and has already been used to restore more than 500 sites around the world.

NASA's Fermi Finds Possible Dark Matter Ties in Andromeda Galaxy

NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has found a signal at the center of the neighboring Andromeda galaxy that could indicate the presence of the mysterious stuff known as dark matter. The gamma-ray signal is similar to one seen by Fermi at the center of our own Milky Way galaxy.

Winners, losers among fish when landscape undergoes change

Climate Change News - ENN - February 21, 2017 - 4:41pm
As humans build roads, construct buildings and develop land for agriculture, freshwater ecosystems respond - but not always in the ways one might expect.

Over time, nuisance flooding can cost more than extreme, infrequent events

Climate Change News - ENN - February 21, 2017 - 3:10pm
Global climate change is being felt in many coastal communities of the United States, not always in the form of big weather disasters but as a steady drip, drip, drip of nuisance flooding.

Colorado River Flows to Keep Shrinking as Climate Warms

Climate Change News - ENN - February 21, 2017 - 2:41pm
Warming in the 21st century reduced Colorado River flows by at least 0.5 million acre-feet, about the amount of water used by 2 million people for one year, according to new research from the University of Arizona and Colorado State University.

New URI professor examining effects of climate change on coral reefs, shellfish

Climate Change News - ENN - February 21, 2017 - 1:16pm
The newest professor in the University of Rhode Island’s College of the Environment and Life Sciences, Hollie Putnam, thinks some corals and shellfish might have good enough “memories” to buffer the changes in ocean chemistry that are resulting from global climate change.A native of Minnesota who earned a doctorate at the University of Hawaii, Putnam is studying how a wide variety of marine organisms are responding to changes in their environment. Focusing on reef-building corals and other shelled creatures that are threatened by increasing temperatures and ocean acidification, she is testing them to determine how species may acclimatize to the new circumstances.

Researcher Unveils Tool for Cleaner Long Island Sound

A new model released this week by UConn ecologist Jamie Vaudrey pinpoints sources of nitrogen pollution along Long Island Sound, and shows municipalities what they might do to alleviate it. Vaudrey presented her research Feb. 19 at the AAAS annual meeting in Boston.Long Island Sound is an estuary of the Atlantic Ocean bordered by Connecticut to the north, New York City to the west, and Long Island to the south. The Sound is home to dozens of species of birds, 170 species of fish, and more than 1,200 species of invertebrates. Historically it has supported rich recreational and commercial fisheries for lobster, oysters, blue crabs, scallops, striped bass, flounder, and bluefish.

MORE WARM-DWELLING ANIMALS AND PLANTS AS A RESULT OF CLIMATE CHANGE

Climate Change News - ENN - February 21, 2017 - 11:47am
Since 1980, populations of warm-dwelling species in Germany have increased. The trend is particularly strong among warm-dwelling terrestrial species, as shown by the most comprehensive study across ecosystems in this regard to date. The most obvious increases occurred among warm-dwelling birds, butterflies, beetles, soil organisms and lichens according to the study published recently in the scientific journal “Nature Ecology & Evolution” led by Senckenberg scientists. Thus, it appears possible that rising temperatures due to the climate change have had a widespread impact on the population trends of animals in the past 30 years.

Fluorescence method detects mercury contamination in fish

Researchers from the University of Burgos (Spain) have developed a fluorescent polymer that lights up in contact with mercury that may be present in fish. High levels of the metal were detected in samples of swordfish and tuna. According to the conclusions of another Spanish study, mercury exposure is linked to reduced foetal and placental growth in pregnant women.The presence of the toxic metal mercury in the environment comes from natural sources, however, in the last decades industrial waste has caused an increase in concentrations of the metal in some areas of the sea. In the food chain, mercury can be diluted either in organic form as methylmercury (MeHg+) or as an inorganic salt, the cation Hg2+.

Selenium deficiency promoted by climate change

Climate Change News - ENN - February 21, 2017 - 10:08am
As a result of climate change, concentrations of the trace element selenium in soils are likely to decrease. Because the selenium content of crops may also be reduced, the risk of selenium deficiency could be increased in many regions of the world. This was shown by a recent study which used data-mining to model the global distribution of selenium.Selenium is an essential micronutrient obtained from dietary sources such as cereals. The selenium content of foodstuffs largely depends on concentrations in the soil: previous studies have shown that low selenium concentrations are associated with high pH and oxygen availability and low clay and soil organic carbon content. In Europe, as is known from regional studies, selenium-poor soils are found particularly in Germany, Denmark, Scotland, Finland and certain Balkan countries.

Unprecedented Arctic weather has scientists on edge

Climate Change News - ENN - February 21, 2017 - 8:48am
Sea ice on track for lowest maximum amount on record.

Save the Bees? There's an App for That

New mobile app to help farmers protect pollinators.

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