Thursday, September 29, 2011

'MythBusters' asks: Are motorcycles greener than cars?

A trend is afoot, according to "MythBusters" television host Adam Savage: "People are trading in their cars and driving motorcycles instead because they believe that's the more environmentally friendly choice," Savage said in Wednesday's season opener of the popular Discovery Channel show. "The logic is because motorcycles are generally more fuel-efficient than cars, they burn less gas and thus they must be better for the environment."

The question is: Are they really? As the MythBusters have done with each of the show's previous seven seasons, Savage and his co-host Jamie Hyneman set out to test the theory.

Article courtesy of The Los Angeles Times -Greenspace posted by Susan Carpenter


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

MBTA testing plug-in hybrid Ram pickups

The MBTA this morning is taking delivery of 10 plug-in hybrid pickup trucks as part of a national test with Chrysler.

Chrysler is loaning the prototype Ram 1500 PHEV, an electrified version of its full-size pickup, to the MBTA and eight other municipalities across the country, including San Francisco and Albany. A $48 million grant from the Department of Energy, sourced from the $787 billion stimulus package in 2009, is paying nearly half the tab for the 140 PHEV trucks in the test fleet. Chrysler is footing the other $49.4 million.

Article courtesy of the Boston Globe's Boston Overdrive posted by Clifford Atiyeh

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Faster than light? CERN findings bewilder scientists

Physicists at the lab near Geneva say they've observed subatomic particles moving faster than the speed of light. If confirmed, it would defy Einstein — and upend our understanding of physics.,0,497738.story

Article courtesy of The Los Angeles Times By Eryn Brown and Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times




Hunting for good bugs to fight bad bugs

An entomologist couple at UC Riverside travel the world searching for parasites to counter imported pests. Their lab is a high-security warren of trick doors and rooms within rooms.,0,6104170.story

Article courtesy of The Los Angeles Times By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times



Thursday, September 22, 2011

Shark extract squalamine fights viruses, study finds

An extract from sharks seems to fight a broad array of viruses, according to a study published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The chemical, called squalamine, was discovered in 1993 by Dr. Michael Zasloff, now at Georgetown University Medical Center and the lead investigator of the paper. He’s been studying it ever since, mostly for its immune properties.,0,6211698.story
Article courtesy of The Los angels Times/ for the Booster Shots blog by Rosie Mestel

Tab for transit fixes soaring

More than $15 billion in repairs and replacements are needed to keep the state’s aging highway, bridge, and transit network in sound condition, an independent advisory committee warned yesterday.

In the Boston area alone, the day-to-day costs of operating the city’s decrepit subway, rail, and bus lines are so overwhelming that riders should expect a substantial fare increase, the first in five years, the top transportation official in Massachusetts said.
Article courtesy of The Boston Globe by Eric Moskowitz

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

HUD Awards $13.3 Million to Revitalize Brownfields in Six Cities

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is awarding

$13.3 million to six cities to stimulate job growth and revitalize unproductive industrial areas (brownfields). The grants will generate total public and private investment of more than $166 million.

Receiving the grants will be the cities of Philadelphia, Cleveland, Toledo, Santa Rosa, Taunton (Massachusetts) and Ranson (West Virginia)

Article courtesy of Smart Growth Online Newsletter

Cities Reclaiming Alleys for Smart Growth Developments

A recent article by the Sightline Institute reports that backstreet alleys in some cities cover almost half as much space as all of the city's parks, squares, and existing pedestrian-oriented streets. City residents and planners are beginning to reclaim these alleys into "laneways," turning them into pedestrian passages, marketplaces, and gathering places. In many situations, the potential for laneways can be realized without taking away service functions like garbage collection.

Article courtesy of Smart Growth online newletter

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Drug Known as bath salts Ban Nears, Selloff Feared by Doctors

Nearly two weeks after federal drug enforcers announced the ban of ingredients used to make a synthetic drug known as "bath salts," doctors worry that smoke shops and convenience stores may unload the dangerous drug at cut-rate prices before the ban takes effect next month.

The Drug Enforcement Administration announced on Sept. 7 that it would use its emergency authority to ban three chemical ingredients to protect the public from "imminent hazard." That ban takes effect the first week of October.
Read more:

Article courtesy of The Arizona Republic by Ken Alltucker

EPA grants air permit for Shell oil drilling in Arctic

If you're looking for a smog-free venue, one of the last places left might be the Chukchi and Beaufort seas, the remote stretch of frigid water between Russia and Canada at the top of the planet.

To help open the door to offshore oil and gas exploration in the Arctic, though, the Environmental Protection Agency on Monday issued a final air quality permit that will allow Shell Oil's Noble Discoverer drill ship and the rest of Shell's drilling fleet to emit more than 250 tons of pollutants a year into the Arctic air while looking for oil.

Article courtesy of The Los Angeles Times -Nation Now by  Kim Murphy in Seattle

US scientists testing earthquake early warning

PASADENA, Calif.—Elizabeth Cochran was sitting in her office when her computer suddenly sounded an alarm.

Beep. Beep. Beep.

A map of California on her screen lit up with a red dot, signaling an earthquake had struck. A clock next to the map counted down the seconds until shock waves fanning out from the epicenter north of Los Angeles reached her location in Pasadena: 5-4-3-2-1.

Right on cue, Cochran felt her chair quiver ever so slightly from a magnitude-4.2 that rumbled through Southern California on Sept. 1.

Article courtesy of The Boston Globe by Alicia Chang-Associated Press Science Writer

Monday, September 19, 2011

Quake kills at least 40, injures hundreds in India, Nepal and Tibet

Rescue efforts in the wake of the magnitude 6.8 earthquake are hampered by rain, landslides and severed communications. Near the epicenter in India's northeastern Sikkim state, officials expect the death toll to rise after emergency workers reach isolated communities.,0,5813298.story

Article courtesy of The Los Angeles Times by Mark Magnier





Friday, September 16, 2011

IBM's Watson supercomputer to give instant medical diagnoses

Instant diagnosis?

That’s the idea behind a new partnership between insurance giant WellPoint Inc. and IBM.

WellPoint, the nation’s largest insurer by membership, is tapping IBM's Watson supercomputer to diagnose medical illnesses and to recommend treatment options for patients within seconds in a new system that will debut at several cancer cancers early next year.

Executives at the two companies say that Watson, best known for defeating “Jeopardy!” quiz champions on the popular television game show this year, can sift through millions of pages of data and produce diagnoses virtually on the spot.

Article courtesy of The Los Angeles Times


Arctic ice shrinks to near-record low

A blistering summer melted Arctic sea ice to near-record lows, and scientists say two more weeks of high temperatures could bring ice coverage in the polar region to the lowest since satellite measurements were first taken in 1979.

Article courtesy of the Los Angeles Times –Greenspace by Julie Cart


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Phoenix-area meteor activity reported

LOS ANGELES - A brilliant bright light seen streaking in the night sky over the Southwest was most likely a fireball -- a fragment of an asteroid that entered Earth's atmosphere, a NASA scientist said.

Residents from Phoenix to Las Vegas to Southern California's coastal areas reported to local authorities and media outlets Wednesday that they saw the light move quickly from west to east at around 7:45 p.m. PDT. Many reported the light as bluish-green and others as yellow and orange. Some captured video of the object.
Read more:

Article courtesy of by The Associated Press

California border crossing shutdown snarls traffic

SAN DIEGO - The morning commute threatened to be unusually long Thursday at the nation's busiest border crossing after all U.S.-bound traffic was halted the previous day because scaffolding had collapsed, falling on more than a dozen cars and injuring 11 travelers and construction workers.

Pedestrian traffic had resumed eight hours later after the accident at the San Ysidro crossing between San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico, and 13 of 24 vehicle lanes reopened at midnight - well before the morning rush.

Read more:

Article courtesy of by Elliot Spagat –Associated Press

Rising sea levels could take financial toll on California beaches

Beach communities in California will suffer huge economic losses in tourism and tax revenues as rising sea levels eat away at the California coastline over the next century, according to a state-commissioned study released Tuesday.

As climate change warms the ocean, causing it to swell, storm damage and erosion will narrow the state's beaches and diminish their appeal to tourists, recreational visitors and wildlife, economists at San Francisco State predict.

Article courtesy of The Los Angeles Times –Greenspace

Does apple juice have unsafe levels of arsenic?

The US Food and Drug Administration took the unusual step of issuing a statement that apple juice is safe, ahead of a TV talk show set to air today that will claim high levels of arsenic were found in some apple juice brands. The cable health show --hosted by Oprah fave Dr. Mehmet Oz -- will warn viewers about what it says are dangerous amounts of arsenic lurking in some innocent-looking apple juice brands, including one plastered with the Gerber baby.

Article courtesy of The Boston Globe by Deborah Kotz


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Global warming effect seen in pole-to-pole data-gathering flights

Scientists who have just completed several years of pole-to-pole flights have uncovered data that confirms some of the deep worries about human-generated global warming that had been predicted by computer-based mathematical models.

The flights offered the most comprehensive look to date at greenhouse gases accumulating in the atmosphere, warming the planet and setting off chains of effects on climate

Article courtesy of the Los Angeles Times -Greenspace by Geoff Mohan

Solar project taking shape

Groton Road array gets state financing

Two development companies have begun a $23 million project to convert a vacant industrial site in Westford into a solar farm that could generate enough electricity to power about 600 homes.

Workers are preparing the 22-acre site for the planned 4.5-megawatt facility, which will consist of an array of 14,000 ground-mounted solar panels on Groton Road, near Route 3.

Article courtesy of The Boston Globe-Green Blog by John Laidler Globe Correspondent

BP removes tar balls in Alabama

GULF SHORES, Ala. - BP workers used fishing nets to scoop tar balls off Alabama’s Gulf Coast beaches yesterday after the sands were fouled by gooey, dark gobs churned up by heavy surf from tropical system Lee.

Article courtesy of the Boston Globe-Green Blog by The Associated Press


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

New York || Study Assesses Potential for Urban Agriculture in New York City

Columbia University recently conducted a comprehensive assessment of the potential for urban agriculture in New York City. The study identified almost 5,000 acres of vacant urban land likely to be suitable for farming, and also found that city rooftops are a vast, underused resource that could be transformed for food production. The study also identified benefits that urban agriculture provides in terms of green urban infrastructure, community development and food security.
Article courtesy of Smart Growth Network Newsletter

DOT Awards $745 Million for Amtrak's Northeast Corridor

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood recently announced nearly $745 million in grants for construction along Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor. Almost $450 million will go to upgrade electrical systems and tracks between New Jersey and New York City, resulting in better on-time performance and an initial increase in maximum operating speed to 160 mph. Another $300 million will alleviate major delays in Manhattan, with new routes to bypass the busiest passenger rail junction in the nation.
Article courtesy of The Smart Growth Network Newsletter

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

rail: Private rail security urged

Mesa and Tempe have a private-security company to monitor Metro light-rail passengers in their areas, but Phoenix has continued to rely on its police force to check on passengers and be on watch for crime at platforms and in the trains.

That appears about to change.
Read more:

Article courtesy of The Arizona Republic by Emily Gersema


Texas wildfires destroy at least 500 homes

A massive central Texas wildfire roared through ranchland and suburbs Monday, destroying nearly 500 homes — a state record for a single fire — as Gov. Rick Perry appealed for federal assistance to fight at least 63 blazes throughout the drought-dried state.,0,4287589.story

Article courtesy of The Los Angeles Times by Molly Hennessy-Fiske

Outsmarting traffic lights

Phone setup helps save on stop-and -go

The folks at MIT want to stop you from seeing red — red lights, that is.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Princeton University recently developed “SignalGuru,” a network of dashboard-mounted smartphones that can study traffic signals and tell you to speed up or slow down to avoid red lights.

Article courtesy of The Boston Herold by Jerry Kronenberg