Writings

Middle East lost a Dead Sea’s worth of water, study finds

Publication: NBC News   Date: February 12, 2013   View Article

Freshwater resources in the water-stressed Middle East are rapidly declining at a time when global climate change is projected to make the region even drier, scientists report in a new study.

Between 2003 and 2009, parts of Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Iran along the Tigris and Euphrates river basins lost 117 million acre feet of stored water, according to gravity measurements taken by a pair of wedge-shaped satellites. That’s nearly the equivalent of all the water in the Dead Sea.

Stinging needle ants overtaking invasive Argentines in U.S.

Publication: NBC News   Date: February 11, 2013   View Article

A stinging ant from Asia is spreading with a vengeance across the United States and may prove more devastating to people and the environment than the well-established aggressive Argentine ant currently is, according to new research.

“While Argentine ants cause a lot of damage, Asian needle ants are a really big health threat to humans,” Eleanor Spicer Rice, an entomologist at North Carolina State University, told NBC News.

Seriously? Dress becomes transparent when wearer is aroused

Publication: NBC News   Date: February 8, 2013   View Article

For those who need a visual cue on their partner’s readiness to get it on, there’s a new high-tech garment in the offing that turns increasingly transparent as the wearer’s state of arousal heightens.

“We call it techno poetry when this relationship between technology and the human body get immersed,” Daan Roosegaarde, who heads up the Netherlands-based design firm that created the garments, told NBC News.

Wind-powered car crosses Australia on $15

Publication: NBC News   Date: February 8, 2013   View Article

A lightweight carbon-fiber car packing high-tech lithium-ion batteries and a portable wind turbine cruised 3,000 miles across Australia using just $15 worth of electricity from the grid. For an added boost, the drivers used a giant kite to pull the car down the road when the wind blew in the right direction.

“They were able to supplement their lithium-ion battery power with kite power about 10 to 15 percent of the time,” Bill Bunting, a senior scientist with Evonik Industries in New Jersey, told NBC News.

Smarter weather forecasts? There’s an app for that

Publication: NBC News   Date: February 7, 2013   View Article

Millions of people carry around smartphones equipped with pressure sensors that help pinpoint their gadget’s location. Atmospheric scientists have built an app to collect the pressure data in an effort to improve short-term weather forecasts.

“The big horizon in weather forecasting is high resolution; getting small-scale features like thunderstorms right,” Cliff Mass, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Washington, explained to NBC News. “And what cripples us is we don’t have enough data to describe what is happening.”

Study: Microbes to protect coasts as oceans acidify

Publication: NBC News   Date: February 7, 2013   View Article

Ancient single-celled organisms called foraminifera may protect coastlines from stormy weather in the coming era of warmer and more acidic oceans, according to a new study.

That’s because the microscopic shelled creatures, called forams for short, each produce about .4 pounds of calcium carbonate per square foot of ocean floor. Calcium carbonate is the limestone material that forms the bedrock of coral reefs and comprises about 4 percent of the Earth’s crust.

Polar bears are doomed without plans to save them, report says

Publication: NBC News   Date: February 6, 2013   View Article

Regularly flown-in loads of seal meat could feed hungry polar bears and prevent them from wandering into coastal villages in search of food when they are suddenly unable to find it elsewhere due to global warming, according to the world’s top polar bear scientists.

Currently, however, no such plan exists in any of the five nations with jurisdiction over the globally threatened species, the researchers warn in a new paper. And that’s a problem, given that just one exceptionally early breakup of sea ice could leave a large number of bears starving.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach