Radioactive Fish Off U.S. West Coast Have Fingerprint Of Fukushima

Researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution are reporting that, Cesium-134, a radioactive chemical that leaked from Fukushima, is being detected in seawater samples from Gold beach and Tillamook Bay in Oregon. Due to its short half-life, cesium-134 can only originate from Fukushima. Through the Fukushima InFORM project, led by Jay Cullen, who is a chemical oceanographer, reports that for the first time, their is a detection of cesium-134 in a Canadian salmon.

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Microfluidic circulatory system embedded in windows may help reduce air-conditioning costs

MicrofluidicWindows are a major source of energy inefficiency in buildings. In addition, heating by thermal radiation reduces the efficiency of photovoltaic panels. To help reduce heating by solar absorption in both of these cases, we developed a thin, transparent, bio-inspired, convective cooling layer for building windows and solar panels that contains microvasculature with millimeter-scale, fluid-filled channels. The thin cooling layer is composed of optically clear silicone rubber with microchannels fabricated using microfluidic engineering principles. Infrared imaging was used to measure cooling rates as a function of flow rate and water temperature. In these experiments, flowing room temperature water at 2 mL/min reduced the average temperature of a model 10×10 cm2 window by approximately 7–9 °C. An analytic steady-state heat transfer model was developed to augment the experiments and make more general estimates as functions of window size, channel geometry, flow rate, and water temperature. Thin cooling layers may be added to one or more panes in multi-pane windows or as thin film non-structural central layers. Lastly, the color, optical transparency and aesthetics of the windows could be modulated by flowing different fluids that differ in their scattering or absorption properties.

A transparent, bio-inspired, convective cooling layer for building windows and solar panels has been developed to help reduce heating by solar absorption. The windows contain a vasculature network of millimeter-scale, fluid-filled channels. The design maintains a continuous flow of water to directly cool the window surface or change the optical absorption.


Sources: An artificial vasculature for adaptive thermal control of windows 
                  Self-cooling windows let in sunlight without the heat

Mother Gaia

Mother Gaia by *humon

Black Rhino Extinct in Western Africa

BlackRhinoGENEVA — The Western Black Rhino of Africa was declared officially extinct Thursday by a leading conservation group.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature said that two other subspecies of rhinoceros were close to meeting the same fate.

The Northern White Rhino of central Africa is now “possibly extinct” in the wild and the Javan Rhino “probably extinct” in Vietnam, after poachers killed the last animal there in 2010.

A small but declining population survives on the Indonesian island of Java.

IUCN said Thursday that a quarter of all mammals are at risk of extinction, according to its updated Red List of endangered species.

‘Stewards of the Earth’
But the group added that species such as the Southern White Rhino and the Przewalski’s Horse have been brought back from the brink with successful conservation programs.

“Human beings are stewards of the Earth and we are responsible for protecting the species that share our environment,” said Simon Stuart, chair of the IUCN Species Survival Commission.

“In the case of both the Western Black Rhino and the Northern White Rhino, the situation could have had very different results if the suggested conservation measures had been implemented,” he added. “These measures must be strengthened now, specifically managing habitats in order to improve breeding performance, preventing other rhinos from fading into extinction.” 

Source: Africa’s Western Black Rhino declared extinct

Fracking Wastewater Overburdens Community Sewage Plants

WastewaterWhen energy companies extract natural gas trapped deep underground, they’re left with water containing high levels of pollutants, including benzene and barium. Sometimes the gas producers dispose of this contaminated water by sending it to wastewater treatment plants that deal with sewage and water from other industrial sources. But a new study suggests that the plants can’t handle this water’s high levels of contaminants: Water flowing out of the plants into the environment still has elevated levels of the chemicals from natural gas production (Environ. Sci. Technol., DOI: 10.1021/es301411q).

In 2010, about 23% of U.S. natural gas production involved a process called hydraulic fracturing or fracking. Workers inject high volumes of water at high pressures into the ground to break shale rock formations and to release trapped natural gas. Up to 80% of that injected water returns to the surface, where it’s collected as wastewater.

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