Archive for August, 2009

Watermelon Juice May Be Next “Green” Fuel

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: August 28, 2009   View Article

Watermelon, the quintessential summer fruit, may soon be helping to fuel your car as well as your picnic guests.

According to a new U.S. government study, juice from unwanted watermelons could be a promising new source for making the biofuel ethanol.

Crazy green-energy ideas that just might work

Publication: MSNBC.com   Date: August 26, 2009   View Article

Fields of windmills spinning in the breeze and deserts covered with solar panels are familiar options for renewable energy. But they are far from the only technologies under consideration. Check out six other green energy ideas that are so wacky they just might work.

First Proof: Ancient Birds Had Iridescent Feathers

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: August 26, 2009   View Article

Just like modern-day starlings, some ancient birds had glossy black feathers with a metallic, glimmering sheen, scientists report in a new study.

The discovery is based on 40-million-year-old fossils of an unidentified bird species that were stored at the Senckenburg Museum in Frankfurt, Germany for up to 30 years. The fossils represent the first evidence of ancient iridescence in feathers.

U.S. Wolf Hunts May Kill Hundreds – Spurs Demand, Ire

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: August 24, 2009   View Article

Starting today, hunters can walk into any license vendor in Idaho and buy a tag to kill a gray wolf.

Vendors such as Daniel Stephenson, owner of River of No Return Taxidermy in Salmon, Idaho, expect robust demand.

“In our area, there’re lots of [wolves] and they’re not a real popular thing for deer and elk hunters,” Stephenson said. “So everybody wants a chance to go get one.”

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission approved a plan August 17 to allow up to 220 wolves to be killed by the public this coming fall and winter. Licensed hunters will be allowed to kill wolves starting September 1. Most hunting will be finished by December 31.

PHOTOS: New “Green Bomber” Sea Worms Fire Glowing Blobs

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: August 20, 2009   View Article

Researchers announced the discovery of at least five new “green bombers”-deep-sea, swimming worm species armed with “bombs” that glow a brilliant green when dropped.

The glowing bombs are thought to distract predators such as fish, allowing the worms to escape.

“Walking Wetlands” Help Declining Birds, Boost Crops

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: August 18, 2009   View Article

The request struck Dave Hedlin, a farmer in Washington’s fertile Skagit Valley, as particularly odd: Conservationists wanted him to voluntarily flood his fields.

“Most of us have spent our entire lifetimes trying to keep water off the land,” said Hedlin, whose farmlands are nestled among inlets, bays, and estuaries in the shadow of the snowcapped Mount Baker volcano.

Biodiversity’s winners and losers

Publication: MSNBC.com   Date: August 17, 2009   View Article

There are winners and losers on the racetrack of speciation – the process of species splitting into new species, according to Michael Alfaro, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California Los Angeles. He and his colleagues analyzed DNA and fossils from 44 major lineages of jawed vertebrates to calculate which ones have exceptionally fast and slow rates of speciation.

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