• California coastal infrastructure at risk from rising sea levels

    An exhaustive study by the National research Council finds projects that the sea level off most of California is likely to rise about one meter over the next century, an amount slightly higher than projected for global sea levels; this will place much of the state coastal infrastructure at risk, because significant development along the coast — such as airports, naval air stations, freeways, sports stadiums, and housing developments — has been built only a few feet above the highest tides; for example, the San Francisco International Airport could flood with as little as 40 centimeters of sea-level rise

  • Seeping Arctic methane to pose serious problems for Florida coastline

    Large quantities of methane gas are buried under the Arctic permafrost; the melting of ice caps in the Arctic causes this gas to escape into the atmosphere through vents; until recently, cryosphere (frozen soil and ice) has served to plug or block these vents, but thawing conditions have allowed the conduits to open, and deep geologic methane now escapes; methane is a very strong greenhouse gas, and its presence in the atmosphere has grown three times faster than carbon dioxide since the industrial era

  • Forensic research using DNA sequencing technology

    The Ion Personal Genome Machine (PGM) Sequencer translates chemical sequencing information directly into digital form by using semiconductor technology; it enables the analysis of ninety-six samples in one run, allowing forensic practitioners to obtain more information from the samples they process; the sequencer is suitable for a wide array of forensic identification applications, including missing persons identifications, mass disaster work, interpretations of complex mixtures, and bio-defense

  • Paper-printed rapid disease detection test

    Complex laboratory investigations do produce reliable results, but they are not useful for point-of-care diagnostics; researchers have come up with a clever idea: biosensors based on paper; the test is printed on one side of a chromatography paper, the paper is folded up origami-style, laminated, and the test is ready; test evaluation requires only a voltmeter

  • Larger role for renewable energy in U.S. future than previously thought

    Renewable electricity generation from technologies that are commercially available today, in combination with a more flexible electric system, is more than adequate to supply 80 percent of total U.S. electricity generation in 2050 while meeting electricity demand on an hourly basis in every region of the country; new study finds that renewable generation could play a more significant role in the U.S. electricity system than previously thought

  • Water for central Everglades essential for reversing ecosystem's decline

    Twelve years into a $13.5billion state and federal effort to save the Florida Everglades, little progress has been made in restoring the core of the ecosystem, says a new congressionally mandated report from the National Research Council; expedited restoration projects that improve the quality and amount of water in this area are necessary to reverse ongoing declines

  • House bill allows Border Patrol to ignore environmental, safety protections along borders

    The House of Representatives passed a sweeping bill which would allow the Border Patrol to ignore dozens of environmental protection laws — among them the Wilderness Act and Endangered Species Act — on all federally managed land within 100 miles of the Mexico and Canada borders; supporters argue that the measure is necessary to give the border patrol more freedom to chase illegal immigrants and drug smugglers; critics charge that the measure has little, if anything, to do with border security, and more to do with opening federally managed land to exploitation by private businesses, or pandering to local political constituencies

  • Carbon capture and storage likely to cause earthquakes

    Carbon capture and storage, or CCS, is a major component of the world’s greenhouse gas reduction strategy; to make a significant contribution to emission reduction, however, CCS would need to operate on a massive scale, potentially sequestering upward of 3.5 billion metric tons of CO2 each year; researchers say that the injection of massive quantities of CO2 would be likely to induce small temblors which would break the reservoirs’ seals and release the stored CO2 into the atmosphere

  • Do nano-pesticides hold promise or pose threat to greener agriculture?

    Nanotechnology has developed significantly in the past decade and was able to create many new materials with a vast range of potential applications; the risk that nano-particles may pose to human and environment health, however, is not yet fully understood; a precautionary principle suggests keeping environmental release of nano-particles minimal until their fate and toxicity is better understood

  • Exploring the Bermuda Triangle's swirling vortices

    Researchers, funded by the Office of Naval Research, deployed twenty-one underwater probes to study vortices at the Bermuda Triangle; a vortex is a swirl of water that can be created in several ways, including water being pushed between land masses and then released into the open ocean; the oceanographers did well to lose only one of the underwater probes, considering they were studying the notorious Triangle

  • 3-in-1 water monitoring system

    All water treatment plants using membrane technology are required to be able to perform three processes to comply with international standards: identify whether there are any bacteria or contaminants; detect any broken membrane filters in the treatment plant; and pinpoint which filter is broken — accurate to 1 in 100,000 filters; a new, innovative device performs all three processes

  • For safer offshore drilling, government should modify monitoring practices

    Since the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon blowout and explosion, the federal government as well as the offshore oil and gas industry have been undergoing major changes, including the issuance of regulations requiring operators of offshore facilities to adopt and implement comprehensive Safety and Environmental Management System (SEMS) programs by 15 November 2011

  • Nuclear waste repositories in suburbia?

    Finding sites for nuclear waste storage is a growing problem, with decision makers running into the “not in my back yard” problem; the demise of Nevada’s Yucca Mountain project is but the latest example; researchers find that acceptance of sites for spent nuclear fuel repository may well depend on gender and economic background: in Finland, at least, affluent men more often are more receptive to the idea of locating such facilities near their neighborhoods than women or disadvantaged people

  • Automated pavement crack detection and sealing system to extend roadways life

    Researchers from the Georgia Tech Research Institute developed a prototype automated pavement crack detection and sealing system; in road tests, the system was able to detect cracks smaller than one-eighth-inch wide and efficiently fill cracks from a vehicle moving at a speed of three miles per hour

  • New method uses gunshot residue to determine caliber, type of weapon used in crime

    Researchers have developed a method to determine the caliber and type of weapon used in a crime by analyzing gunshot residue (GSR); using near-infrared (NIR) Raman microspectroscopy and advanced statistics, the new technique may play a pivotal role in law enforcement cases and forensic investigations