news 2011



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Environment - Chemistry - 23.12.2011
Go to work on a Christmas card: UK’s wrapping paper and festive cards could provide energy to send a bus to the moon more than 20 times
If all the UK's discarded wrapping paper and Christmas cards were collected and fermented, they could make enough biofuel to run a double-decker bus to the moon and back more than 20 times, according to the researchers behind a new scientific study. The study, by scientists at Imperial College London, demonstrates that industrial quantities of waste paper could be turned into high grade biofuel, to power motor vehicles, by fermenting the paper using microorganisms.

Environment - Chemistry - 19.12.2011
Upper atmosphere facilitates changes that let mercury enter food chain
Upper atmosphere facilitates changes that let mercury enter food chain
Humans pump thousands of tons of vapor from the metallic element mercury into the atmosphere each year, and it can remain suspended for long periods before being changed into a form that is easily removed from the atmosphere. New research shows that the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere work to transform elemental mercury into oxidized mercury, which can easily be deposited into aquatic ecosystems and ultimately enter the food chain.

Earth Sciences - Environment - 16.12.2011
Remote wilderness polluted by humans
Nitrogen from human activity has been polluting lakes in the northern hemisphere since the late 19th century. The clear signs of industrialisation can be found even in very remote lakes, thousands of kilometres from the nearest city. This is shown in new research findings published today, Friday, in the journal "Science".

Environment - 14.12.2011
Sugar maple trees and acid rain: Sierra Patterson explains the research
Full news release: Acid rain poses a previously unrecognized threat to Great Lakes sugar maples To further test the effects of leaf litter accumulation on the emergence and establishment of sugar maple seedlings, the forest floor mass was experimentally manipulated at one of the four Michigan sugar maple test sites.

Environment - 14.12.2011
SMOS detects freezing soil as winter takes grip
SMOS detects freezing soil as winter takes grip
SMOS detects freezing soil as winter takes grip ESA's SMOS satellite is designed to observe soil moisture and ocean salinity, but this innovative mission is showing that it can also offer new insight into Earth's carbon and methane cycles by mapping soil as it freezes and thaws. The launch of the Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) mission in November 2009 opened up a new era of monitoring Earth using a new remote-sensing technique.

Life Sciences - Environment - 13.12.2011
Insight could help develop new crops
Crops that can cope with sudden changes in the weather could be developed, thanks to fresh discoveries about plants. University scientists have studied how tiny algae survive by renewing old or damaged cell proteins. They say their findings could be useful in developing crops suited to climates in which weather changes quickly.

Environment - 09.12.2011
Dolomite discovery ends 100-year treasure hunt
Dolomite discovery ends 100-year treasure hunt
The century-old mystery of a missing mineral in coral reefs has been solved by a team from The Australian National University. The team, led by Bradley Opdyke of the Research School of Earth Sciences, has uncovered a hidden stash of the mineral dolomite in coral reefs around the globe, ending a search that has lasted over 100 years.

Environment - Architecture - 08.12.2011
Behind closed doors: world-first study about how we use air-conditioners at home
A world-first research project into people's usage of household air-conditioners is now recruiting participants who live in Sydney's inner west. The ARC-funded study is to be led by the eminent Professor Richard de Dear from the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning. The project aims to determine the threshold living room temperature that triggers people to switch on air-conditioning.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 07.12.2011
Global sea surface temperature dataset provides new measure of climate sensitivity over the last half million years
Global sea surface temperature dataset provides new measure of climate sensitivity over the last half million years
Scientists at the Universities of Bristol and Southampton have developed important new insight into climate sensitivity - the sensitivity of global temperature to changes in the Earth's radiation balance - over the last half million years. Climate sensitivity is a key parameter for understanding past natural climate changes as well as potential future climate change.

Environment - Life Sciences - 02.12.2011
Study of wolves will help scientists predict climate effects on endangered animals
Scientists studying populations of gray wolves in the USA's Yellowstone National Park have developed a way to predict how changes in the environment will impact on the animals' number, body size and genetics, amongst other biological traits. Writing in the journal Science , the researchers say they now have a way to predict the extent to which climate change could simultaneously impact animal numbers and the ways in which animals are likely to evolve.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 01.12.2011
CO2 levels plunged as Antarctica froze
A Yale University-led research team has found evidence that carbon dioxide levels in Earth's atmosphere plunged prior to and during the initial icing of Antarctica, about 34 million years ago. The new findings provide further evidence of atmospheric carbon dioxide's role as a major trigger of global climate change.

Earth Sciences - Environment - 26.11.2011
Discoveries provide evidence of a celestial procession at Stonehenge
Discoveries provide evidence of a celestial procession at Stonehenge
Archaeologists have discovered evidence of two huge pits positioned on celestial alignment at Stonehenge. Shedding new light on the significant association of the monument with the sun, these pits may have contained tall stones, wooden posts or even fires to mark its rising and setting and could have defined a processional route used by agriculturalists to celebrate the passage of the sun across the sky at the summer solstice.

Environment - Life Sciences - 23.11.2011
Seals show different levels of parenting skills
Seals show different levels of parenting skills Grey seals have different types of personality that affect the extent to which they guard and care for their young, according to new research. Researchers from Durham University and the University of St Andrews, looking at seal colonies in Scotland, found that seal mothers are often unpredictable and adopt a wide variation of mothering styles when it comes to checking on their pups.

Environment - Economics - 22.11.2011
Innovative advance for more sustainable buildings
Modern buildings are characterised by the use of glazed Multi-Skin Fašade (MSF) that are aesthetically appealing; consider the re-development of the former CUB site, Swanston Street Melbourne. However, leading researchers in the School of Engineering, University of Melbourne have found that buildings with glazed fašade systems could consume energy for heating and cooling up to 60-70% of operational costs.

Health - Environment - 21.11.2011
Expanding Research in Environmental Drug Residues
Expanding Research in Environmental Drug Residues
At the KTH Symposium, the director of the U.S. National Science Foundation explains how scientific co-operation with Sweden benefits American research. Reception and service at central level for international students after arrival at KTH. For Master's students For Exchange students New funding will strengthen research at the MistraPharma Centre at KTH into more efficient wastewater treatment processes.

Environment - Life Sciences - 21.11.2011
A new model for understanding biodiversity
Researchers develop a unified theory of ecosystem change by combining spatial modelling and food web analysis Animals like foxes and raccoons are highly adaptable. They move around and eat everything from insects to eggs. They and other "generalist feeders" like them may also be crucial to sustaining biological diversity, according to a new study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Earth Sciences - Environment - 17.11.2011
Massive volcanoes, meteorite impacts delivered one-two death punch to dinosaurs
Massive volcanoes, meteorite impacts delivered one-two death punch to dinosaurs
by Morgan Kelly A cosmic one-two punch of colossal volcanic eruptions and meteorite strikes likely caused the mass-extinction event at the end of the Cretaceous period that is famous for killing the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, according to two Princeton University reports that reject the prevailing theory that the extinction was caused by a single large meteorite.

Life Sciences - Environment - 14.11.2011
More super bacteria in surface water
More super bacteria in surface water
A study reveals that treated municipal wastewater - even wastewater treated by the highest-quality treatment technology - can result in significant quantities of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, often referred to as "superbacteria," in surface waters. The study also suggests that standard wastewater treatment technologies probably release far greater quantities of antibiotic-resistant genes used by bacteria, but this likely goes unnoticed because background levels of bacteria are normally much higher than in the water studied in this research.

Environment - 10.11.2011
Antarctic rocks help predict sea levels
Ancient rocks embedded in the West Antarctic ice sheet could help University scientists improve sea level predictions. Researchers will determine how long Antarctic rocks at the ice surface have been exposed to cosmic radiation - energy from exploding stars in space - during their lifetime. They will use use sensor technology and chemical analysis to analyse the rocks.

Health - Environment - 10.11.2011
Wood smoke from cooking fires linked to pneumonia, cognitive impacts
Wood smoke from cooking fires linked to pneumonia, cognitive impacts
Two new studies led by University of California, Berkeley, researchers spotlight the human health effects of exposure to smoke from open fires and dirty cookstoves, the primary source of cooking and heating for 43 percent, or some 3 billion members, of the world's population. Women and young children in poverty are particularly vulnerable.
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