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Australia considers charging power generators for pollution

Mon, 5 Dec 2016 09:34:36 UT

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia will consider making electrical power companies pay for greenhouse gas pollution they create, three years after the government scrapped the national carbon tax, a Cabinet minister said Monday. [...] Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg said that charging power generators fueled by coal and natural gas for their pollution was under consideration as the government looks for ways to achieve its carbon gas reduction targets. The government on Monday released details of its climate change policy review which will begin in February.



Firearm-only bear hunt in New Jersey resumes

Mon, 5 Dec 2016 05:39:07 UT

Hunters killed 549 bears during October's six-day hunt, which was limited to bows and arrows and muzzle-loading guns. Opponents are rallying behind the apparent death of Pedals, a bipedal bear and internet celebrity believed to be killed in October's hunt.



Rare weasel species makes a comeback in Washington state

Mon, 5 Dec 2016 00:44:41 UT

(AP) — The elusive weasel-like mammal poked its head out of the wooden crate, glanced around and quickly darted into the thick forest of Mount Rainier National Park — returning to a landscape where it had been missing for seven decades. A large crowd gathered Friday to herald the return of the dark-brown member of the weasel family with its lush fur and bushy tail. The solitary animal, which hunts snowshoe hares, rodents and small mammals, were listed as state endangered species in 1998. [...] West Coast fishers have faced threats from illegal pesticide use by marijuana growers and other threats. The recovery efforts, however, comes as conservation groups have sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, alleging the federal agency failed to consider the best scientific evidence when it decided not to provide the fisher protections under the Endangered Species Act. Fish and Wildlife had proposed listing the forest-dwelling mammal as threatened in 2014 over concerns about logging practices, illegal pesticide use by marijuana growers and other threats.



US, China, EU, others fail to reach environmental goods deal

Sun, 4 Dec 2016 21:48:03 UT

GENEVA (AP) — Forty-six countries including the U.S., China and European Union nations failed Sunday to agree on a list of "environmental goods" like solar-powered air conditioners or LED light bulbs that could see lower tariffs. The talks amounted to just a step in a broader process on the Environmental Goods Agreement that was already facing uncertainty about how the incoming administration of U.S. president-elect Donald Trump will approach it. China missed a golden opportunity to address its environmental challenges and to claim a share of leadership on global trade.



Researchers grow protective biological soil crusts

Sun, 4 Dec 2016 18:45:33 UT

(AP) — In a greenhouse at Northern Arizona University, a professor is researching an oft-overlooked ecological field that could play an important role in preventing erosion and helping plants grow. Soil ecologist Matthew Bowker is growing mosses, lichens and cyanobacteria that make up protective biological soil crusts found on the Colorado Plateau, the Arizona Daily Sun reported (http://bit.ly/2h2y7nT). The degradation of biocrust weakens the fertility of soil and allows invasive plants and erosion to flourish.



New Hampshire looks for answers behind oyster outbreaks

Sun, 4 Dec 2016 18:42:48 UT

Scientists are recognizing that a waterborne disease sickening tens of thousands of people each year is associated with warmer waters of the Gulf of Mexico moving northward, partly due to climate change. Disease-causing bacteria can contaminate oysters, leading to infections such as diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain. Jones and his colleague, Cheryl Whistler, concluded that warmer waters in the Great Bay, higher salinity and the presence of chlorophyll all contributed to higher concentrations of one of the more common vibrio species that makes people sick — vibrio parahaemolyticus. The bacteria fueled by warmer temperatures are also a stark reflection of the impact that climate change is having on the world's oceans, experts say.



Auburn, Ocean of China colleges partner for science research

Sun, 4 Dec 2016 15:45:44 UT

(AP) — Auburn University will partner with Ocean University of China in an effort to improve aquaculture and environmental science research. John Liu, Auburn's associate vice president for research and associate provost, said the center should provide more data for faculty research through the Auburn and Ocean grants program. Henry Fadamiro, assistant dean in Auburn's College of Agriculture and Auburn's director of the joint center, hopes the center will draw new students and faculty.



Buzz Aldrin: Altitude sickness forced South Pole evacuation

Sun, 4 Dec 2016 02:31:09 UT

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand (AP) — Buzz Aldrin said he was evacuated from the South Pole last week because he became short of breath and began showing signs of altitude sickness. The 86-year-old adventurer, who was the second man to walk on the moon, released details on Sunday of his dramatic medical evacuation from Antarctica. Because of the thick ice that blankets Antarctica, the South Pole sits at an elevation of 2,835 meters (9,300 feet). Aldrin, his son Andrew and manager Christina Korp had been visiting Antarctica as tourists on a trip organized by the White Desert tour company. After some examination they noticed congestion in my lungs and that my oxygen levels were low, which indicated symptoms of altitude sickness. Aldrin said he was put on the next flight, a ski-equipped LC-130 cargo plane that took him to McMurdo Station, a U.S. research center on the Antarctic coast. Aldrin is now focusing on getting back to his home in Satellite Beach, Florida, which is not far from Cape Canaveral and its launch pads.



Online portal opens for review of standards for science

Sat, 3 Dec 2016 15:39:36 UT

(AP) — The Louisiana Department of Education has launched the Louisiana Student Standards Review Portal , which gives parents, educators, and all other stakeholders the opportunity to provide input on Louisiana's Student Standards for science.



Panel urges better cybersecurity to President-elect Trump

Sat, 3 Dec 2016 12:14:27 UT

The release of the 100-page report follows the worst hacking of U.S. government systems in history and accusations by the Obama administration that Russia meddled in the U.S. presidential election by hacking Democrats. The panel studied sharing information with private companies about cyber threats, the lack of talented American security engineers and distrust of the U.S. government by private businesses, especially in Silicon Valley. Classified documents stolen under Obama by Edward Snowden, a contractor for the National Security Agency, revealed government efforts to hack into the data pipelines used by U.S. companies to serve customers overseas. Trump's presidential campaign benefited from embarrassing disclosures in hacked emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee, Hillary Clinton's campaign staff and others, and Trump openly invited Russian hackers to find and release tens of thousands of personal emails that Clinton had deleted from the private server she had used to conduct government business as secretary of state. Under Obama, hackers stole personal data from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management on more than 21 million current, former and prospective government employees, including details of security-clearance background investigations for federal agents, intelligence employees and others. [...] the Obama administration also became more aggressive about publicly identifying foreign governments it accused of hacking U.S. victims, arrested some high-profile hackers overseas, successfully shut down some large networks of hacked computers used to attack online targets, enacted but never actually used economic sanctions against countries that hacked American targets and used a sophisticated new cyber weapon called Stuxnet against Iran's main nuclear enrichment facilities.



Buzz Aldrin gets visit from NASA after polar evacuation

Sat, 3 Dec 2016 02:17:13 UT

Buzz Aldrin gets visit from NASA after polar evacuation CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand (AP) — Buzz Aldrin had an unexpected bedside visit from NASA Deputy Administrator Dava Newman on Saturday as he continued to recover in a New Zealand hospital from his medical evacuation from the South Pole. Aldrin, who was wearing pajamas and sitting up in bed, was giving a thumbs-up sign, as was Newman. Tour company White Desert said Aldrin has fluid in his lungs, but was responding well to antibiotics. Aldrin has crisscrossed the globe in recent months and years, pushing hard for human exploration of Mars and promoting space and science education. Aldrin lives in nearby Satellite Beach, Florida, not far from Cape Canaveral and its launch pads.



FCC: AT&T, Verizon shouldn't exempt own apps from data caps

Fri, 2 Dec 2016 21:45:54 UT

The Federal Communications Commission sent letters to the country's biggest wireless carriers Thursday saying the way they handle the practice, known as "zero rating," can hurt competition and consumers. The FCC says that could harm the market for streaming services as it makes it more expensive for internet companies to compete with video services that are owned by the carriers. Adding in those costs makes it difficult for a rival to compete on price with AT&T's new online TV app, DirecTV Now, whose cheapest bundle costs consumers $35 a month, wrote Jon Wilkins, the head of the FCC's wireless bureau.



Thomas Edison's lab door key, lightbulbs up for auction

Fri, 2 Dec 2016 18:47:25 UT

Tags on some of the keys list the doors that they opened, including Edison's 1876 lab that became known as the "invention factory." Edison had applied for about 400 patents, including improvements to the incandescent bulb, before he left for New York City in 1882, said Kathleen Carlucci, director of the Thomas Edison Center. After making lightbulbs commercially viable, the "Wizard of Menlo Park" turned his attention to New York City where he worked to develop an electric utility.



1st US offshore wind farm to begin production within days

Fri, 2 Dec 2016 18:35:49 UT

Deepwater Wind, which owns the five-turbine farm off Block Island, Rhode Island, says one turbine is not turning. [...] spokeswoman Meaghan Wims said Friday that will not delay the start-up and the other turbines will begin delivering power for the grid within days. Wims said it's not unusual to take a turbine offline, and that one or more turbines will be turned off during maintenance and repairs from time to time, while others are operating.



Nations OK European Space Agency's mission to Mars in 2020

Fri, 2 Dec 2016 15:21:55 UT

In all, member states approved 10.3 billion euros ($10.95 billion) in funding for the agency, which will also allow it to continue participating in the International Space Station program until at least 2024.