A growing body of research suggests the environment may play a significant role in developing the degenerative disease
While the root causes of Parkinsons disease are still largely unknown, a mounting body of evidence suggests toxins in our environment may be most responsible for its manifestation. A new study by a team of a researchers from Duke and the University of Miami has demonstrated that exposure to pesticides is a significant contributor. The study focused on family members who shared a predisposition to Parkinsons and concluded that those who developed the disease were more likely to have been exposed to pesticides than their relatives.
To create a truly clean alternative fuel, scientists are looking towards creating an artificial version of photosynthesis
One of the technologies being touted as the next great thing for our cars is the hydrogen fuel cell. If youve heard anything about them, its that there are no harmful emissions, the only by-product is pure water, straight from your tailpipe. Of course, thats only part of the story. While it is true that your exhaust will be clean, thats only because hydrogen in a cell is not a source of energy the way gasoline naturally is—its a carrier, like a battery. The energy to be stored in the cell has to come from somewhere else. Right now, the sources are the same as theyve always been, relying heavily on fossil fuels. The emissions are simply moved from your exhaust to a power plant.
But what if the hydrogen could be produced with alternative energy sources?
Thanks to inkjet printing, clothes embedded with solar cells are just around the corner
Back to the Future II was a bit of a disappointment in the face of the original. Granted, it was hamstrung by the throw-away ending of the first, but it did have that brilliant opening sequence with the hoverboards. How much did you want a hoverboard after seeing that? Not to mention, the computerized, self-drying jacket Marty puts on to blend in. The stuff of fantasy, right? At least for the latter, not for much longer.
While scientists are still puzzling over the disappearance of bees, large numbers of bats have begun dying out no less mysteriously
Weve by now all seen the news that bees are dying in huge numbers. Scientists have labeled the phenomenon Colony Collapse Disorder, or CCD. Dead bees mean less crop pollination, which means less food at higher prices. Whats causing the problem is still anyones guess. Now, strangely, bats in the eastern U.S. are experiencing a similar plague which biologists have dubbed White Nose Syndrome (WNS) for the white fungus that appears on their bodies at the height of infection.
Biologist discovers that guns aren't always the best form of protection in the wild
Brigham Young University bear biologist Thomas Smith says that guns aren't necessarily your best option when facing down one of the beasts.
Smith and his team analyzed 20 years worth of incidents in Alaska, and found that the wilderness equivalent of pepper spray effectively deterred bears 92 percent of the time, whereas guns only did the trick one-third less often. (He studied polar bears, too, hence the picture, at left, of an unconscious mother and her cubs. And yes, he did get away before everyone woke up.)
The ills of factory farming reach beyond the ethical as immunologists grow increasingly concerned about a vaccine-resistant virus
One of the dire consequences of factory farming is that it encourages the spread of disease due to the close quarters in which the animals live. Thats why theyre fed antibiotics and other medicines when they arent sick. This overuse of antibiotics, while beneficial to the flocks and herds in the short term, leads to stronger and more drug-resistant bacteria in the long term. The effect has been widely reported by popular authors like Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser. What we havent heard much about are how viruses can thrive in this environment.
An iceberg 160 square miles breaks loose to leave one of the world's largest ice shelves hanging by a thread
At 5,282 square miles the Wilkins Ice Shelf is one of the largest on the Antarctic Peninsula. It is also the latest casualty of global warming.
Satellite images released today by the British Antarctic Survey and the National Snow and Ice Data Center reveal a massive collapse over the past month—disintegration resulting in, most recently, a breakaway iceberg seven times the size of Manhattan.
The digital office may already be here, so how come it doesn't look that way?
Remember the promise of the paperless office? Anyone in front of a monitor can testify to just the opposite having taken hold. The ubiquity of the personal computer was supposed to have freed us from the sea of paperwork washing over our desks every day, and yet all it seems to have done is open the floodgates further.
Those of us who work from home are not immune—are at times worse, letting paper stack up in every corner. And even as technology aims for the paperless ideal, that still can only be part of the solution.
Why cost to the city's coffers outweighs cost to the Earth
Municipalities are always weighing cost against environmental concerns and quite often, cost wins out at great expense to the environment. Residents of New York City will remember the summer of 2002 when the Bloomberg administration ceased recycling glass and plastic, citing budgetary concerns. It was cheaper for the city to dump tons of reusable refuse into landfills than to continue its recycling program. After a year of no plastic recycling and two years of no glass, the city determined the savings were negligible and resumed recycling both.
Web surfers can follow the travels of a recently released white shark as it heads south
Six weeks ago, the Monterey Bay Aquarium released a young white shark into the ocean, and the swimmer has already cruised down the coast to the waters off Mexico.
The shark, which spent 162 days at the aquarium after it was accidentally caught by a local fisherman, is the first to carry two different tracking tags.
As mountain gorillas face increasing threat from the illegal charcoal trade, hope emerges as the DRC makes headway in rooting out top-level corruption
One of the biggest issues facing conservation movements worldwide is how to balance the needs of local populations with the protection of animal habitats. Ecotourism is a popular solution. Through a program of education and careful land management, local economies can be adapted to benefit more from preservation and tourism than removing and selling natural resources. In some areas, however, the situation is too heated for the concept to take hold. The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is one of those regions, and at the heart of their trouble is the endangered mountain gorilla.
Deadly soot emerges as a much bigger contributor to global warming than previously believed
In a new review article in Nature Geoscience, two scientists say that black carbon, the stuff that gets kicked up into the air from biomass burning and diesel engines, among other things, could account for as much as 60 percent of the warming effect of carbon dioxide. That's three to four times greater than most estimates, and more than that of any greenhouse gas save CO2.
A team of researchers performs some nano-magic on a well-known material to increase its thermoelectric efficiency
A new low-cost, nanotech-based approach to power generation developed by researchers at Boston College and MIT could lead to cleaner-running semiconductors, air conditioners, car exhausts and more. The technique, published online yesterday in Science, uses the nanostructures to dramatically increase thermal efficiency.
Why the paperless office is a goal worth pursuing
Everybody remember the promise of the paperless office? Anyone in front of a monitor can testify to just the opposite having taken hold. The ubiquity of the personal computer was supposed to free us from the chaotic sea of paperwork washing over our desks every day, and yet all it seems to have done is open the floodgates further.
Dozens of startups are now pursuing goal of algae as a fuel source
It could slow carbon dioxide emissions, power cars and jets, and replace petroleum altogether. Pond scum or green slimewhatever you want to call italgae is the next great hope in the world of environmental startups.