Archive | Environment

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Pollution changing birdsong

Songbirds are exhibiting inconsistency in their songs and pollution appears to be the culprit, say Cornell University ornithologists working in a region with high levels of PCB contaminants. The article, published in the journal PLOS ONE, is based on observations from the Hudson River valley, a region with legacy levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) as […]

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Legacy of acid rain threatens water supplies




The ongoing effects of river alkalinization – paradoxically caused by acid rain – are showing up across the East Coast of the U.S. and scientists are unsure how long they will persist. In the first survey of its kind, researchers looked at long-term alkalinity trends in 97 streams and rivers from Florida to New Hampshire. […]




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Dramatic images of Singapore haze from orbit




NASA satellites have captured striking images of vast palls of smoke billowing from wildfires on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. The smoke has been moving east and has descended on Malaysia and Singapore, pushing air pollution to record levels. Singapore’s yardstick of pollution, the Pollutant Standards Index (similar to the U.S. Air Quality Index) peaked […]




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Metallic flowers behind bee decline?




Researchers are investigating evidence that pesticides may be killing off bumblebees, but research at the University of Pittsburgh points toward another potential cause: flowers contaminated with metallic pollution. Appearing in the journal Environmental Pollution, the Pitt study shows that bumblebees are at risk of ingesting toxic amounts of metals like aluminum and nickel found in […]




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Flushed pharmaceuticals fueling fearless fish




Widely prescribed anxiety-moderating drugs such as Serepax are persisting through wastewater treatment plants after being excreted and modifying fish behaviors, making them bolder and avoid other fish. The study, by researchers at Ume� University in Sweden, focused on the drug oxazepam (marketed as Serepax, Alepam, Medopam, Murelax, Noripam, and others). Reporting their findings in Science, […]




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Massive depletion of Middle East freshwater reserves




Already strained by water scarcity and political tensions, the arid Middle East along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers is losing critical water reserves at a rapid pace, from Turkey upstream to Syria, Iran and Iraq below. The researchers, from the University of California – Irvine, based their findings on satellite measurements from 2003 – 2010 […]




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Stanford announces peel-and-stick solar panels




Solar cells have traditionally been deployed in heavy, fixed panels, but Stanford scientists aim to change that with the development of flexible, decal-like photovoltaic panels that can be peeled off like band-aids and stuck to virtually any surface. The breakthrough cells which deliver the same efficiency as regular solar panels are described in the, ahem, […]




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“Solar steam” generator outshines photovoltaic solar cells




Using light-capturing nanoparticles, Rice University researchers have achieved an impressive 82 percent conversion efficiency of sunlight directly into steam; a breakthrough they say will create highly cost-effective solutions for desalination, water purification and electricity generation. Detailing their work in the journal ACS Nano, the researchers say the solar steam method is so effective it can […]




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High voltage solar cell recharger developed for phones




A solar technology breakthrough by UK scientists means portable electronic devices such as phones, cameras, and e-book readers could soon have credit card-sized solar cells built-in, allowing them to be recharged on the move. The researchers, from the University of Warwick, say they have created an organic solar cell that generates a sufficiently high voltage […]




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