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The Lead

Global Hydropower Boom Underway

October 24, 2014 2:00 pm | by Univ. of Copenhagen | News | Comments

An unprecedented boom in hydropower dam construction is underway, primarily in developing countries and emerging economies. While this is expected to double the global electricity production from hydropower, it could reduce the number of our last remaining large free-flowing rivers by about 20 percent and pose a serious threat to freshwater biodiversity.

Best Practices to Cope with Drought

October 24, 2014 7:00 am | by UC Riverside | News | Comments

As California enters its fourth year of severe drought, Southern California water agencies have...

3-D Videos of Trees Help People Get Over Stress

October 22, 2014 2:00 pm | by Univ. of Illinois | News | Comments

While numerous studies have affirmed nature’s stress-reduction properties, scientists haven’t...

Electrodialysis Removes Salt from Fracked Wells

October 21, 2014 2:00 pm | by MIT, David Chandler | News | Comments

One byproduct of fracking is millions of gallons of water that’s much saltier than seawater,...

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Herb Molecule Holds Potential for Drug Development

October 21, 2014 9:01 am | by Nanyang Technological Univ. | News | Comments

Scientists have discovered a new molecule that can join together chains of amino acids. Only three other known molecules have been discovered to perform this function, which is an important process in the development of new drugs. A key difference is that the new molecule can do the same process 10,000 times faster than the other three and “cleanly,” without leaving any residue behind.

Tracers Spot Fracking Fluids in Nature

October 21, 2014 8:55 am | by NSF | News | Comments

Scientists have developed new geochemical tracers that can identify hydraulic fracturing flow back fluids that have been spilled or released into the environment. The tracers have been field-tested at a spill site in West Virginia and downstream from an oil and gas brine wastewater treatment plant in Pennsylvania.

Study Charts Fate of Chemicals Affecting Human Health, Environment

October 20, 2014 2:49 pm | by Arizona State Univ.'s Biodesign Institute | News | Comments

In a new study a researcher at Arizona State Univ.'s Biodesign Institute examines the trajectory of chemicals appearing as emergent threats to human or environmental health. The study reveals that around 14 years typically elapse from the onset of initial safety concerns about a given chemical to the height of concern and appropriate action. This extended timeline implies protracted exposure to CECs for a large number of people.

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Another Month, Another Global Heat Record Broken

October 20, 2014 2:20 pm | by Associated Press | News | Comments

It sounds like a broken record: Last month again set a new mark for global heat. And meteorologists say Earth is now on pace to tie the hottest year ever recorded, or more likely, to break it. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Monday that last month the globe averaged 60.3 F. That was the hottest September in 135 years of record keeping.

Physicists: Leave Your Nails Alone

October 17, 2014 2:00 pm | by Institute of Physics | News | Comments

The daily trimming of fingernails and toenails to make them more aesthetically pleasing could be detrimental and potentially lead to serious nail conditions. This is according to researchers who have devised equations to identify the physical laws that govern nail growth, and used them to throw light on the causes of some of the most common nail problems, such as ingrown toe nails, spoon-shaped nails and pincer nails.

Sleep Hormone May Be Linked to Earth's Biggest Migration

October 17, 2014 7:00 am | by Inside Science News Service, Peter Gwynne | News | Comments

Each day, plankton rise from deep underwater to the ocean's surface during the night and then return to the depths in daytime. Zoologists describe this movement as Earth’s biggest migration. The stimulus for this mass migration has long puzzled scientists but it may be the sleep hormone melatonin.

Ancient Mountains Fed Early Life

October 17, 2014 7:00 am | by The Australian National Univ. | Videos | Comments

Scientists have found evidence for a huge mountain range that sustained an explosion of life on Earth 600 million years ago. The mountain range was similar in scale to the Himalayas and spanned at least 2,500 kilometers of modern west Africa and northeast Brazil, which at that time were part of the supercontinent Gondwana.

Geochemist Gets View into Center of the Earth

October 17, 2014 7:00 am | by UC Santa Barbara | News | Comments

A geochemist studying Samoan volcanoes has found evidence of the planet’s early formation still trapped inside the Earth. Known as hotspots, volcanic island chains such as Samoa can hold ancient primordial signatures from the early solar system that have somehow survived billions of years.

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Feds: Winter to be Average

October 17, 2014 7:00 am | by Associated Press, Seth Borenstein | News | Comments

If you thought last winter was a horror show, with cold blasts from the polar vortex and a lack of California rain, there's some good news: no sequel is expected this year, federal forecasters say.

Light Pollution Harms Fledglings

October 16, 2014 7:00 am | by PLOS | News | Comments

Turning street lights off decreases the number of grounded fledglings, according to a study. Thousands of birds are attracted to lights– sometimes referred to as light-pollution– every year worldwide during their first flights from their nests to the open ocean, a phenomenon called “fallout.”

Chimpanzees Have Favorite Tools for Hunting Food

October 16, 2014 7:00 am | by Univ. of Cambridge | Videos | Comments

West African chimpanzees will search far and wide to find Alchornea hirtella, a spindly shrub whose straight shoots provide the ideal tools to hunt aggressive army ants in an ingenious fashion. The plant provides the animals with two different types of tool, a thicker shoot for digging and a more slender tool for dipping.

EPA OKs Weed Killer for GM Crops

October 15, 2014 2:00 pm | by Associated Press, Mary Jalonick | News | Comments

The EPA has approved a new version of a popular weed killer to be used on genetically modified corn and soybeans. The EPA says that it will allow the use of a 2,4-D weed killer called Enlist Duo.

Lake Erie Increasingly Susceptible to Blooms

October 15, 2014 2:00 pm | by Univ. of Michigan | News | Comments

Lake Erie has become increasingly susceptible to large blooms of toxin-producing cyanobacteria since 2002, potentially complicating efforts to rein in the problem in the wake of this year's Toledo drinking water crisis.

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Birds’ Wings Collapse to Counter Turbulence

October 15, 2014 2:00 pm | by Univ. of Oxford | News | Comments

Collapsible wings may be a bird's answer to turbulence, according to a study in which an eagle carried its own “black box” flight recorder on its back.

Cigarette Ash Finds Use as Water Cleaner

October 15, 2014 2:00 pm | by ACS | News | Comments

Arsenic, a well-known poison, can be taken out of drinking water using sophisticated treatment methods. Now, scientists have come up with a new low-cost, simple way to remove arsenic using leftovers from another known health threat— cigarettes.

Scientists Name Human Era

October 14, 2014 2:00 pm | by Associated Press, Seth Borenstein | News | Comments

People are changing Earth so much, warming and polluting it, that many scientists are turning to a new way to describe the time in which we live. They're calling it the Anthropocene— the age of humans.

Forest Research Facility to be Buried

October 14, 2014 2:00 pm | by Paul Scherrer Institute | News | Comments

The building of a new large-scale research facility in Würenlingen forest only enjoyed the sunshine for a brief spell. It is now disappearing under a mound of earth. This is just one of the measures taken to integrate the facility as harmoniously as possible into the natural environment.

Climate Change Affects the Military

October 13, 2014 2:00 pm | by Associated Press, Lolita Baldor | News | Comments

Defense officials say a report released today will lay out plans for the Pentagon to get a better handle on how climate change will affect the military, and determine how best to deal with the challenges.

Researchers ID Best Parameters for Simulating Clouds

October 13, 2014 2:00 pm | by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory | News | Comments

A new study looked for which "tunable" variables were most influential in depicting various cloud types in a global atmospheric model. They found that different parameters influenced different types of clouds.

Climate Model Says Icebergs Once Traveled to Florida

October 13, 2014 7:00 am | by Univ. of Massachusetts at Amherst | News | Comments

Using a first-of-its-kind, high-resolution numerical model to describe ocean circulation during the last ice age about 21,000 year ago, an oceanographer has shown that icebergs and melt water from the North American ice sheet would have regularly reached South Carolina and even southern Florida.

App Highlights how Animals Inspire Technology

October 13, 2014 7:00 am | by Georgia Institute of Technology | Videos | Comments

Highlighting unexpected similarities between what animals do and what people are trying to do is a new strategy researchers are using to hopefully increase public awareness about animals and encourage conservation. They’ve created an iPhone app based on biologically inspired design, highlighting two dozen species that have helped engineers solve problems or invent new solutions.

Satellite Sees Methane Hot Spot in U.S.

October 10, 2014 2:00 pm | by Associated Press, Seth Borenstein | News | Comments

A surprising hot spot of the potent global warming gas methane hovers over part of the southwestern U.S., according to satellite data. That result hints that the EPA and other agencies considerably underestimate leaks of the natural gas.

Orange Corn Can Provide Provitamin A for Africa, U.S.

October 10, 2014 7:00 am | by Purdue Univ. | News | Comments

Researchers have identified a set of genes that can be used to naturally boost the provitamin A content of corn kernels, a finding that could help combat vitamin A deficiency in developing countries and macular degeneration in the elderly.

Personality Prepares Penguins for Climate Change

October 9, 2014 7:00 am | by American Physiological Society | News | Comments

A researcher has suggested that a bird’s individual personality may be among the factors that could improve its chances of successfully coping with environmental stressors. He studied differences in the level of the stress hormone corticosterone that little penguins secreted when exposed to stressful stimulus.

Small Bird Hampers Sandy Recovery

October 8, 2014 2:00 pm | by Associated Press, Frank Eltman | News | Comments

A court fight to protect the piping plover is holding up a $207 million plan to replenish sand along a 19-mile stretch of shoreline on New York's Fire Island. The small bird that lives on the island is listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act and, elsewhere in the country, is listed as endangered.

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