• New smell sensor uses genetically engineered frog eggs

    Researchers use genetically engineered frog cells to develop a sensor that detects gasses; the researchers embedded the sensor into a mannequin, so that it could shake its head when a gas was detected, making it easier to observe

  • Coal waste has contaminated water in 34 states

    Coal-waste disposal sites have contaminated drinking and surface water in 34 states; the sites released pollutants such as arsenic, selenium, lead and chromium into water sources on which both humans and farm animals depend; there could be a bigger problem yet: large coal ash-generating states like Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Ohio, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, and Tennessee, require no monitoring by law at coal ash ponds, so the pollution of water by coal ash is not even monitored

  • Infrared camera to identify size of dangerous asteroids

    The 1908 Tunguska event that flattened over 2,000 square kilometers in Russia was by some basic estimates caused by an asteroid only sixty meters in diameter; the impact of even a 1-kilometer-sized NEO would probably destroy an average state

  • In 30 years world to be powered mainly by solar and wind energy

    Total oil and natural gas production, which today provides about 60 percent of global energy consumption, is expected to peak about ten to thirty years from now, followed by a rapid decline

  • China's Three Gorges Dam's showing cracks

    The Three Gorges Dam is China’s largest construction project since the Great Wall; the dam was hailed as an engineering feat that could withstand the worst flood in 100 years, but this year’s torrential rains have severely tested its capacity to control the surging Yangtze

  • Humans will be extinct in 100 years: Fenner

    Eminent Australian scientist Frank Fenner, who helped to wipe out smallpox, says humans will probably be extinct within 100 years because of overpopulation, environmental destruction, and climate change; he said he believes the situation is irreversible, and it is too late because the effects we have had on Earth since industrialization

  • Mankind must abandon earth or face extinction: Hawking

    Stephen Hawking says mankind’s only chance of long-term survival lies in colonizing space, as humans drain Earth of resources and face a terrifying array of new threats

  • Explore the geometry of cleaning up the Gulf coast

    Fueled by oxygen, naturally occurring bacteria can slowly destroy blobs and slicks of crude oil without the use of additional chemicals; Virginia Tech researchers hope to determine whether the shape of crude oil remnant — be it a flat syrupy sheet or a tar ball — can affect deterioration rates

  • Undersea oil remains in Gulf of Mexico

    A study of the effects of the Deepwater Horizon spill has confirmed the presence of a toxic chemical residue one kilometer below the sea surface; the investigation shows a plume of crude oil-based chemicals up to 200 meters high and 2 kilometers wide, extending 35 kilometers from the spill site

  • Obama panel recommends active U.S. backing for clean coal

    A panel appointed by President Obama calls for an active U.S. government role in promoting carbon capture and storage, or CCS, a largely undeveloped technology that aims to prevent carbon emissions blamed for global warming from entering the atmosphere; panel recommends government’s consideration of accepting liability over carbon storage sites for thousands of years to come

  • Gulf's future depends on oil-eating bacteria, lingering toxicity

    Many marine bacteria have evolved to consume oil and other hydrocarbons, and now the spill has allowed these bacteria to follow their food beyond their natural habitat near oil seeps at the bottom of the Gulf; microbes may degrade the oil quickly, but their activity could eventually pose risks to the Gulf’s ecosystem, particularly in the deep ocean; scientists also worry about lingering toxicity — this is because oil’s toxic constituents, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, can disrupt reproduction of marine organisms and can lower their offsprings’ vitality; this chronic toxicity will be magnified along the Gulf Coast’s beaches, salt marshes, and wetlands, because oil degradation in these sites will proceed at a much slower pace than in oxygen-rich environments

  • Russian researcher: Moscow's heat wave the result of secret U.S. "climate weapon"

    It has been unusually hot in Russia this summer, and a Russian researcher asks whether this heat wave is the result of a secret U.S.“climate weapon”; the author writes that “climate weapons may be reaching their target capacity and may be used to provoke droughts, erase crops, and induce various anomalous phenomena in certain countries”

  • Oil-eating bacteria responsible for oil plumes, dispersants vanishing

    The plumes of dispersant and oil in the Gulf’s deep waters that were causing anxiety among biologists have gone away; scientists say the reason is oil-eating bacteria; the bacteria in the Gulf’s deeper waters may have reacted so fast thanks in part to being primed by natural oil seeps along the sea floor; given that oil stopped flowing two weeks ago, scientists say it is not surprising that the plumes are now largely gone

  • Largest-ever Gulf dead zone spans from Galveston to Mississippi River

    The dead zone off the Texas coast is larger this year than scientists have ever measured, stretching offshore from the Mississippi River to Galveston Island; fish and shellfish often can swim away from these areas but immobile organisms, such as clams, simply die without access to oxygen

  • $1.4 million prize for best oil clean-up technology

    X Prize Foundation is offering $1.4 million in prize money for new technologies to clean up oil spills; competitors will be invited to test their technologies in 2011 in a 203- by 20-metre tank owned by the U.S. government’s Minerals Management Service (MMS); a moving bridge that simulates a boat pulling cleanup equipment and a wave generator create ocean-like conditions in the New Jersey-based facility