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4.25 billion year old diamond discovered
(08/22/2007) Scientists have discovered 4.25 billion year old diamonds in Australia.
Land reform agency sanctions logging in Amazon rainforest park
(08/21/2007) Under the guise of a sustainable development scheme, a Brazilian land agency has granted large tracts of Amazon rainforest to colonists who quickly resold the forest to loggers, alleges a new report from Greenpeace. Some of the concessions were in the Amazon National Park, a national park.
Canon introduces 5 new cameras
(08/21/2007) Canon unveiled several new digital cameras Monday, including a 21.1-megapixel, full-frame model.
Biofuels driving destruction of Brazilian cerrado
(08/21/2007) The cerrado, wooded grassland in Brazil that once covered an area half the size of Europe, is fast being transformed into croplands to meet rising demand for soybeans, sugarcane, and cattle. The cerrado is now disappearing more than twice as the rate as the neighboring Amazon rainforest, according to a Brazilian expert on the savanna ecosystem.
Dean was 3rd most intense Atlantic hurricane at landfall
(08/21/2007) Hurricane Dean was the third most intense Atlantic hurricane to make landfall, according to forecasters at the National Hurricane Center who measured the storm's central atmospheric pressure.
Man eaten by bear at Serbian zoo
(08/20/2007) A 23-year old Serbian man was found dead and half-eaten in the bear cage at the Belgrade Zoo during an annual beer festival, reports Reuters.
Could a hurricane hit California?
(08/20/2007) San Diego has been hit by hurricanes in the past and could be affected by such storms in the future according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). While a hurricane in San Diego would likely produce significantly less damage than Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, it could still exact a high cost to Southern California especially if the region was caught off guard.
Crop domestication originated in compost piles
(08/19/2007) New research lends support to the theory that backyard gardens and refuse heaps played an important role in early crop domestication.
July 2007 was the 15th warmest July on record for the U.S.
(08/18/2007) July 2007 brought record and near-record warmth to the western United States, while much of the eastern and southern U.S. experienced cooler-than-average temperatures, according to scientists at NOAA's National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C.
Lake Superior may hit record low levels this fall
(08/18/2007) NOAA hydrologists indicate that Lake Superior is nearing record lows for the month of August, a trend that if continued could break past record lows for the months of September and October. NOAA's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory is able to forecast lake levels 12 months in advance using current hydrological conditions combined with NOAA's long-term climate outlooks.
'New continent' and species discovered in Atlantic study
(08/18/2007) A scientist from the University of Aberdeen is leading a team of international researchers whose work will continue our understanding of life in the deepest oceans, and contribute to the global Census of Marine Life.
NASA admits to error in global warming data
(08/17/2007) NASA has admitted to a data error that skewed temperatures since 2000.
Sony launches consumer electronics recycling program
(08/17/2007) Sony has launched a recycling program for consumer electronics.
Islands to face water problems as sea levels rise, populations grow
(08/15/2007) Islands in the tropical Pacific may face water problems as sea levels rise and populations grow, warns research published in Vadose Zone Journal.
Elephants get Photo IDs for Protection
(08/15/2007) Asian elephants don't carry photo identification, so scientists from the Wildlife conservation Society and India's Nature conservation Foundation are providing the service free of charge by creating a photographic archive of individual elephants, which can help save them as well.
As wealthy get dengue fever, drug companies more likely to act
(08/15/2007) As dengue fever increasingly becomes a disease of the affluent -- especially in Asia -- drug companies are showing more interest in developing treatment, reports a new article published in the journal Nature.
Clearing rainforest for cattle pasture drives surge in vampires
(08/15/2007) A new study confirms that vampire bats are thriving due to the clearing of rainforest for cattle pasture in Costa Rica. Instead of having to seek out scarce wildlife in the forest, vampire bats now prey on cattle kept in high densities on ranches.
Emerging (disease) markets
(08/15/2007) Instead of attacking wild birds for our new disease problems, a far more cost effective approach should focus on keeping wild animals separate in the places where they often commingle: in wildlife markets and international trade, according to wildlife health experts from the Wildlife conservation Society (WCS) and the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in a recent issue of the prestigious Journal of Wildlife Diseases.
Plain soap as effective as antibacterial but without the risk
(08/15/2007) Antibacterial soaps show no health benefits over plain soaps and, in fact, may render some common antibiotics less effective, says a University of Michigan public health professor.
Humans worsening the spread of forest-killing disease in California
(08/15/2007) The spread of Sudden Oak Death, a disease that is rapidly killing forests in the western United States, is being worsened by human activities, report studies recently published in the Journal of Ecology and Ecological Applications.
Climate change reducing Lake Tahoe's water clarity
(08/15/2007) Lake Tahoe in Northern California is losing is characteristic water clarity due to pollution and climate change, reports a new study by the University of California at Davis.
Group seeks salvation for 189 endangered bird species
(08/15/2007) BirdLife International has launched an appeal to save 189 endangered bird species over the next 5 years. The U.K.-based conservation group is seeking to raise tens of millions of dollars through its Species Champions initiative, by finding "Species Champions" among individuals, private foundations, and companies who will fund the work of identified "Species Guardians" for each bird.
conservation more effective than biofuels for fighting global warming
(08/15/2007) Conserving forests and grasslands may be a more effective land-use strategy for fighting climate change than growing biofuel crops argues a new paper published in the journal Science. Comparing emissions from various fuel crops versus carbon storage in natural ecosystems, Renton Righelato and Dominick Spracklen write that "forestation of an equivalent area of land would sequester two to nine times more carbon over a 30-year period than the emissions avoided by the use of the biofuel."
Earthquakes can break speed limit
(08/15/2007) Earthquakes can move faster than previously thought with rupture rates well exceeding the conventional 3 kilometeres per second, reports Oxford University professor Shamita Das writing in the journal Science. The finding suggests that earthquakes in the world's largest quake zones may be capable of more destruction than earlier projections.
Arctic sea ice shrinks to record low in 2007
(08/15/2007) Arctic sea ice has shrunk to a record low according the Japan Aerospace Exploration agency.
Antarctic Bottom Water has warmed since 1992
(08/14/2007) Deep ocean waters near Antarctica have warmed significantly since 1992, though variable temperatures may it difficult to determine whether it is a trend, reports a new study published in Geophysical Research Letters.
Geoengineering cure for global warming could cause problems
(08/14/2007) Proposed geoengineering schemes to reduce global warming may do more harm than good, warns a new study published in Geophysical Research Letters.
2004 Indian Ocean tsunami waves hit Florida, Maine
(08/14/2007) Waves from the devastating December 2004 tsunami were recorded along the Atlantic coast of North America, reports a new study published in Geophysical Research Letters.
Legless lizard retracts eyes to avoid retaliatory prey bites
(08/14/2007) For creatures without legs, snakes are remarkable predators. Pythons can capture and eat animals well over twice their size, while a mere drop of venom injected by an Australian death adder can kill a person. Scientists believe the main purpose for these adaptations is to help snakes avoid injury when pursuing and eating prey. However, snakes are not the only legless reptiles -- there are more than a dozen species of legless lizard distributed around the world. A new paper examines how these reptiles subdue their prey without venom or constriction.
Squirrels communicate with rattlesnakes using heated tail
(08/13/2007) Ground squirrels heat their tails to defend their young against predatory rattlesnakes, reports a study published in the early online edition of Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
Failing water supply destroyed lost city of Angkor Wat
(08/13/2007) The ancient city of Angkor in Cambodia was larger in extent than previously thought and fed by a single water system, according to a new map published by an international team of researchers. The study, published in the early online edition of the journal Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Sciences, suggests that the urban settlement sustained an elaborate water management network extending over more than 1,0000 square kilometers.
New flycatcher bird species discovered in Peru
(08/13/2007) Scientists have discovered a previously unknown species of bird in dense bamboo thickets in the Peruvian Amazon.
Low deforestation countries to see least benefit from carbon trading
(08/13/2007) Countries that have done the best job protecting their tropical forests stand to gain the least from proposed incentives to combat global warming through carbon offsets, warns a new study published in Tuesday in the journal Public Library of Science Biology (PLoS). The authors say that "high forest cover with low rates of deforestation" (HFLD) nations "could become the most vulnerable targets for deforestation if the Kyoto Protocol and upcoming negotiations on carbon trading fail to include intact standing forest."
Amazon deforestation in Brazil falls 29% for 2007
(08/13/2007) Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon fell 29 percent for the 2006-2007 year, compared with the prior period. The loss of 3,863 square miles (10,010 square kilometers) of rainforest was the lowest since the Brazilian government started tracking deforestation on a yearly basis in 1988.
Global warming to stunt growth of rainforest trees
(08/12/2007) Global warming could reduce the growth rates of rainforest trees by 50 percent, reported research presented last week at the annual meeting of the Ecological Society of America in San Jose, California by Ken Feeley of Harvard University's Arnold Arboretum in Boston.
Scientists: Newsweek Erred in Global Warming Coverage
(08/12/2007) A statement from the University of Alabama argues that a recent Newsweek cover story on climate change made two important mistakes.
Climate change claims a snail
(08/12/2007) The Aldabra banded snail (Rachistia aldabrae), a rare and poorly known species found only on Aldabra atoll in the Indian Ocean, has apparently gone extinct due to declining rainfall in its niche habitat. While some may question lamenting the loss of a lowly algae-feeding gastropod on some unheard of chain of tropical islands, its unheralded passing is nevertheless important for the simple reason that Rachistia aldabrae may be a pioneer. As climate change increasingly brings local and regional shifts in precipitation and temperature, other species are expected to follow in its path.
Controversy over flawed NASA climate data changes little
(08/11/2007) NASA corrected an error on its U.S. air temperature data after a blogger, Steve McIntyre of Climate Audit, discovered a discrepancy for the years 2000-2006. The revised figures show that 1934, not 1998, was America's hottest year on record. The change has little affect on global temperature records and the average temperatures for 2001-2006 (at 0.66 C) is still warmer than 1930-1934 (0.63 C) in the United States.
European heat waves double in length since 1880
(08/11/2007) The most accurate measures of European daily temperatures ever indicate that the length of heat waves on the continent has doubled and the frequency of extremely hot days has nearly tripled in the past century. The new data shows that many previous assessments of daily summer temperature change underestimated heat wave events in western Europe by approximately 30 percent.
Floods affect 500 million people per year, will worsen with warming
(08/10/2007) Floods affect 500 million people a year and cause billions of dollars in damage, said U.N. officials Thursday.
New shrew species, orchid discovered in the Philippines
(08/10/2007) An unknown shrew species has been discovered on Palawan, a large island in the Philippines, by a conservation International-led expedition.
Papua seeks funds for fighting global warming through forest conservation
(08/10/2007) In an article published today in The Wall Street Journal, Tom Wright profiles the nascent "avoided deforestation" carbon offset market in Indonesia's Papua province. Barnabas Suebu, governor of the province which makes up nearly half the island of New Guinea, has teamed with an Australian millionaire, Dorjee Sun, to develop a carbon offset plan that would see companies in developing countries pay for forest preservation in order to earn carbon credits. Compliance would be monitored via satellite.
U.N. sends team to investigate gorilla killings
(08/10/2007) The U.N. said it will send a team of experts to probe the killings of critically endangered mountain gorillas in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Four gorillas were shot "execution-style" last month, while three others have been killed so far this year. Rangers believe illegal charcoal harvesters from Goma are to blame.
Melting permafrost affects greenhouse gas emissions
(08/10/2007) Permafrost -- the perpetually frozen foundation of the north -- isn't so permanent anymore, and scientists are scrambling to understand the pros and cons when terra firma goes soft.
Apple comes up a bit short on eco-credentials of new iMac
(08/10/2007) While Apple has touted the environmental attributes of its newest iMac, critics say the new computer failed to live up to the company's goals for the use of mercury, reports the San Jose Mercury. In May, Apple said it would eventually replace mercury-containing fluorescent backlights in its LCD monitors with LEDs backlights, but the new computers don't use the new technology. The company said it still face technological hurdles in rolling out the new LCDs.
Floating sea ice shrinks in the Arctic
(08/10/2007) By one estimate, the extent of floating sea ice in the Arctic has shrunk more than in any summer ever recorded, reports the New York Times.
Temperate forests not a fix for global warming
(08/10/2007) Carbon sequestration projects in temperate regions -- already facing doubts by scientists -- were dealt another blow by Duke University-led research that found pine tree stands grown under elevated carbon dioxide conditions only store significant amounts of carbon when they receive sufficient amounts of water and nutrients.
U.S. government weather agency cuts hurricane outlook
(08/10/2007) The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Thursday reduced its forecast for the number of tropical storms and hurricanes expected during the 2007 Atlantic season. NOAA said it now expected between 13 and 16 named storms, with seven to nine becoming hurricanes and three to five of them classified as "major" hurricanes (categories 3, 4, or 5).
Amazon deforestation rate falls to lowest on record
(08/10/2007) Deforestation rates in the Brazilian Amazon for the previous year were the lowest on record, according to preliminary figures released by INPE, Brazil's National Institute of Space Research.
New Park in Argentina Protects 500,000 Penguins
(08/09/2007) The government of Argentina will create a new marine park along the coast of Patagonia, reports the Bronx Zoo-based Wildlife conservation Society. Located in Golfo San Jorge, the park will protect more than half a million penguins and other rare seabirds.
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