Dams Trigger Stronger Storms, Study Suggests

Scientists have long suspected that the world’s dams can create their own weather, often bringing more rain. Water in reservoirs behind dams, plus the water used to irrigate nearby land puts more moisture in the air, which falls as precipitation.

Now some researchers are sounding the alarm that dams—along with their reservoirs—might also trigger more frequent fierce storms that could be the dams’ undoing. That’s worrisome, especially in the United States, where dams are rapidly aging, according to some researchers.

Faisal Hossain, an engineer at Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, has led several recent studies on 633 dams and about 100 rainfall nearby stations.

via Dams Trigger Stronger Storms, Study Suggests.

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Blue Whales Croon A New Tune : NPR

John Hildebrand of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography studies whale sounds and says he’s been hearing something new lately.

“They’ve been shifting the frequency. They’ve been shifting the pitch to be lower each year. And that shift in pitch has resulted in song that is now about 30 percent lower than it was in the 1960s,” he says. He says the change is happening in blue whale colonies all over the world.

Hildebrand believes the change is tied to the elimination of blue whale hunting. Before hunting was banned in 1966, the numbers of blue whales were dangerously low.

via Blue Whales Croon A New Tune : NPR.

China threatens world health by unleashing waves of superbugs – Telegraph

China’s reckless use of antibiotics in the health system and agricultural production is unleashing an explosion of drug resistant superbugs that endanger global health, according to leading scientists.

Chinese doctors routinely hand out multiple doses of antibiotics for simple maladies like the sore throats and the country’s farmers excessive dependence on the drugs has tainted the food chain.

Studies in China show a “frightening” increase in antibiotic-resistant bacteria such as staphylococcus aureus bacteria, also know as MRSA . There are warnings that new strains of antibiotic-resistant bugs will spread quickly through international air travel and internation food sourcing.

via China threatens world health by unleashing waves of superbugs – Telegraph.

Plant could save millions from malaria – Telegraph

Millions of people suffering from malaria now have new hope after British scientists unlocked the genetic map of the plant used to cure the disease.

Scientists from the University of York have confidently predicted they will have high-yielding anti-malaria crops available for wide spread plantation in developing countries within two years.

The discovery of the genetic map of the medicinal herb Artemisia annua has been hailed as a significant breakthrough that could save countless lives.

via Plant could save millions from malaria – Telegraph.

“Eco-Friendly” Mobile Phone Runs on Coke : TreeHugger

Designer Daizi Zheng tells Rose at Dezeen that phone batteries are not very good- “it is expensive, consuming valuable resources on manufacturing, presenting a disposal problem and harmful to the environment.”

So instead she designs a cell phone to run on Coke.

via “Eco-Friendly” Mobile Phone Runs on Coke : TreeHugger.

Expansion of deciduous trees could make Arctic warm faster

A new simulation of deciduous tree expansion into the Arctic region shows that the trees would block the highly reflective snow and increase cloud cover, causing the area to warm even faster than it already is.

Although temperatures have risen throughout the globe, they’ve gone up most dramatically in the Arctic. Past warm periods indicate that deciduous tree expansion into the Arctic is a common occurrence when the region warms up, so a new study has looked into the impact trees could have on the regional climate. As expected, the increase of the leafy trees would result in less reflective ground, but the study suggests they could also induce more cloud cover and an increasingly warm surface and ocean that have more turbulent weather patterns.

via Expansion of deciduous trees could make Arctic warm faster.

New Micro-Machine Harvests Energy from Vibrations : CleanTechnica

Highways, train stations, and even dance floors: the world is full of vibrating surfaces that could yield a rich trove of clean, sustainable energy. It’s called piezoelectric energy, formed by the conversion of mechanical strain into electrical current. Now a team of researchers in Europe has developed a micro-scaled piezoelectric device that could harvest energy from machinery as well as from infrastructure and buildings.

The tiny devices are ideal for use in powering remote sensing equipment, for example to monitor bridges or machines for early signs of deterioration. In that case they could play a key role in more energy efficient maintenance for wind turbines and other renewable energy infrastructure, while lowering human risk.

via New Micro-Machine Harvests Energy from Vibrations : CleanTechnica.