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This Week in SCIENCE July 1 2005, 309 (5731), National Science Foundation New Document Releases, and Energy or Climate news snips

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  • Sonya
    Excerpted from This Week in SCIENCE July 1 2005, 309 (5731) http://www.sciencemag.org/content/vol309/issue5731/twis.shtml Pressure-Treated Curium ...
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 1, 2005
      Excerpted from This Week in SCIENCE  July 1 2005, 309 (5731)
      Pressure-Treated Curium
      Pressure-induced delocalization of f electrons in rare earths and actinides
      involves an intimate relation between electronic configuration, structural 
      degrees of freedom, anomalous lattice dynamics, and magnetism. A 
      high-pressure x-ray diffraction study of curium by (p. 110) revealed a 
      sequence of structural phase transitions as its f electrons delocalize with
      increasing pressure. They identify an unusual lattice structure previously 
      unobserved in other actinides, and on the basis of band-structure 
      calculations, they argue that this phase is stabilized by antiferromagnetic
      ordering. Thus, curium joins cobalt and iron as metals that have lattice 
      structures stabilized by magnetism.
      Metals with Many Gaps
      The fabrication of nanostructures is facilitated not only by making small 
      regular structures, but also by forming void spaces that can capture 
      nanomaterials or molecules. For example, in molecular electronics, the 
      formation of metallic gaps can be achieved with scanning probes at surfaces
      or by drawing metal break junctions. (p. 113; see the Perspective by) 
      created bimetallic nanowires with repeating gap structures as small as 5 
      nanometers by first growing bimetallic wires in porous membrane templates 
      with thin layers of etchable metals (such as nickel within gold). After 
      removing the templates, the wires were captured on a substrate and coated 
      on one side with silica. After release, etching proceeded on only one side,
      allowing the remaining wire to stabilize the resulting gaps.
      Sea-Driven Weather
      Better prediction of devastating climate events, like the 2003 European 
      heat wave, is a high priority of long-range weather forecasters. (p. 115; 
      see the news story by) have explored how weather depends on slowly varying 
      environmental properties, such as basin-wide sea surface temperatures. 
      Focusing on North America and Europe, they used a global climate model that
      incorporated historical records of Atlantic Ocean sea surface temperature 
      and land-based data for pressure, precipitation, and air temperature. Ocean
      temperature distributions, possibly related to thermohaline circulation, 
      have had an important influence on summertime climates on both continents 
      and may have also influenced rainfall and drought frequency there.
      The Value of Excess
      The surface air temperature record of Greenland has been reconstructed 
      mostly from analyses of the isotopic composition of H and O of the water in
      ice cores. A number of other factors besides average temperature can 
      influence those proxies, however, such as the seasonality and origin of 
      precipitation. (p. 118) measured the deuterium excess of ice from Greenland
      Ice Core Project (GRIP) samples in order to constrain the source and 
      seasonality of the precipitation for the last full glacial cycle. Earth's 
      orbital obliquity is an important control on the latitudinal temperature 
      gradient between the source and site of precipitation, and moisture sources
      shifted to the south during cold periods.
      Habitat Corridors Promote Conservation
      As wildlife habitats become more fragmented by human land use, wild plants 
      and animals encounter increasing difficulties in dispersal between patches 
      of suitable habitat. If the patches are small, then local extinctions may 
      ensue. To mitigate this problem, conservationists favor networks of 
      corridors to provide links between patches, but how effective is this 
      approach? In a replicated, landscape-scale study of the role of habitat 
      corridors in the southern United States, (p. 146; see the news story by) 
      followed Eastern Bluebirds as they carried native wax myrtle seeds from 
      bushes in a central source patch to one of four surrounding receiver 
      patches in a matrix of mature pine forest. The birds carried substantially 
      more seeds to the corridor-connected patches than they did to the others. 
      The authors were able to build a predictive seed-dispersal model at the 
      landscape scale from individual-based observations on the movements of 
      Get a Move On
      Soil-dwelling myxobacteria move by a process termed gliding motility, which
      requires the surface expression of cellular protrusions, the type IV pili. 
      More than 25 years ago, Myxococcus xanthus motility mutants lacking pili 
      were shown to be phenotypically complemented by direct contact with motile 
      neighbors. (p. 125) now identify the mechanism of the contact-mediated, 
      nongenetic complementation of this type of motility. Complementation 
      appears to be effected by the transfer from one cell membrane to another of
      the TGL protein, which is required for the construction of secretin pores, 
      which in turn allow for the synthesis and retraction of the pili required 
      for motility.
      Copyright (c) 2005 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
      Athenians Told to Curb Air Conditioner Use on Blackout Concern
      Bloomberg - USA
      If needed, we'll cut supplies to farmers' water pumps between 1 and 3 pm as we
      will to our own lignite mines.'' He urged viewers to turn off air conditioners


      Excerpted from My copy of

      THE DAY IN SPACE In today's space news from SpaceRef:
      SpaceRef is a privately held company
      based out of Reston, Virginia, U.S.A.
      Copyright SpaceRef Interactive Inc., 2005
      (for more news, info or press release you can go to  http://www.spaceref.com/news/press.html
      Letter From NASA Administrator Griffin and Secretary of State Rice Regarding the Iran 
      Nonproliferation Act and the ISS
      "Over the last several months, the Department of State and NASA have been participating in an 
      interagency coordination process related to INA. The interagency group has proposed addressing 
      he issues you have raised via an amendment to the INA, which is still being vetted within the 
      Administration and is expected to be delivered to Congress in the very near future."
      -- Hibernating Spacecraft Awakens for Comet Impact Mission
      "The Submillimeter Wave Astronomy Satellite (SWAS) has been asleep on orbit for the past 11 
      months. SWAS operators placed it into hibernation after a highly successful 5.5-year mission 
      highlighted by the discovery of a swarm of comets evaporating around an aging red giant star. 
      Now, they have awakened SWAS again for the first-ever opportunity to study a comet on a 
      collision course with a U.S. space probe."
      ESA TV coverage of Deep Impact   http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=17176
      -- Democrats Withhold Support from NASA Authorization Bill - Legislation in Its Current Form 
      "Doesn't Get the Job Done"
      "At today's subcommittee markup, nearly all Subcommittee Democrats withheld their support 
      from the NASA Authorization bill drafted by the Majority, citing significant concerns with the 
      bill's content as well as with the lack of time they were given to review the legislation."
      -- Chairman Ken Calvert's Opening Remarks: Subcommittee Mark-up of H.R. 3070 - NASA 
      Authorization Act of 2005
      -- NASA Authorization Bill Passes Subcommittee - Full Committee to Consider the Bill in July
      "The Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics today passed H.R. 3070, National Aeronautics and 
      Space Administration (NASA) Authorization Act of 2005, clearing the measure for the full Science 
      Committee, which will consider the bill after the Independence Day recess.  The bill passed with 
      ten Members voting "yes," and six voting "present."
      NASA RFI: Earth Sciences Advanced Missions Platform Research Aircraft
      NASA Award Notice: Development of a Process for the Production of Oxygen from Lunar Ilmenite
      NASA Award Notice: Environmental Science Oxygen and Lunar Volatiles Extraction (RESOLVE) 
      NASA Sources Sought Notice: Request for Information for Space COMSEC Services
      House Science Committee Hearing "The Future of NASA" (Complete transcript)
      Last Chance to Make a Guess on Celestial Fireworks: The Great Comet Crater Contest
      Pratt & Whitney Wins Contract for Future Exploration In-Space Cryogenic Propulsion System
      Spacehab Awaits Cosmic Collision This 4th of July
      NASA Funds Space Radiation Research Proposals
      Scientist refines cosmic clock to determine age of Milky Way
      How to See NASA's Comet Crash in the Sky
      Administrator Griffin Testifies on the Future of NASA
      Maryland-Led Deep Impact Observes Huge Comet 'Outburst'
      Researchers devise plasma experiment that shows how astrophysical jets are formed
      "Radio Emission" wins Space Music Contest
      Eurely and iNavSat applaud today's GJU decision for the Galileo Concession
      Mobile Satellite Ventures Enters New Phase in the Development of Next Generation Wireless 
      UA Set to Cast First Mirror for World's Largest Telescope in July
      9th Paris Cosmology Colloquium : Physics of the Early Universe Confronts Observations
      NASA Announces Key Decisions About Shuttle Return to Flight

       Banana skins fuel option: study By Jade Bilowo June 27, 2005 


      BANANA skins have been used to create a fuel replacement in what researchers say is a world-first study in Queensland.

      Australian Banana Growers' Council (ABGC) spokesman Tony Heidrich said today researchers had created banana-skin
       fuel by composting skins and capturing gas produced. Mr Heidrich said because one in three bananas did not meet
       market standards, this waste could be used at a prototype fuel plant planned for north Queensland as a result of the findings.

      The research suggested a facility capable of processing 6,000 tonnes of waste annually would produce the energy equivalent of
      222,000 litres of diesel fuel, he said."One of the main objectives of the study was to see if there was enough waste and whether
       there would be enough fuel produced to make it commercially feasible and that's essentially been the major finding," Mr Heidrich said.

      "Banana waste is attractive as a potential energy feedstock because it is extremely homogenous, comes in high concentrations
      within a small geographic area, and is fully bio-degradable.   "It's not far-fetched and it's not rocket science – the technology exists
      and it's just a matter of applying it to bananas economically."

      Under the second stage of the study, the ABGC is applying for state and federal government funding
       in a bid to establish the fuel plant, estimated to cost about $550,000.

      Mr Heidrich said the banana waste to energy conversion also produced residues that could be used as organic fertilisers.
      The ABGC last year engaged Ergon Energy to manage the first stage of the research project, which included University of Queensland researchers.
      Mr Heidrich said while the study found it was economical to produce a fuel replacement from banana skins, it was not economical
       to produce electricity compared with cheaper coal-fired electricity.

      More than 80 per cent of Australia's annual banana production of 315,000 tonnes is grown in north Queensland.


      Researchers Explore Climate Friendly Farming
      Earth Vision - Arlington,VA,USA
      Researchers Explore Climate-Friendly Farming GreenBiz.com

      PULLMAN, Wash., June 27, 2005 - Reducing greenhouse gases from agriculture is the goal of Climate Friendly Farming,
      a five-year cooperative project involving the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and Washington State University (WSU).

      Agriculture accounts for 7 percent of all U.S. greenhouse gases. For example, cows release methane while digesting food;
      applying nitrogen-based fertilizers leads to nitrous oxide emissions; and tilling speeds the breakdown of soil organic matter,
      releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

      Agriculture can have positive effects, too. Modifying farm practices can preempt the formation and release of gases. For example
      instead of tilling, a farmer might adopt direct seeding, a practice that leaves organic matter relatively undisturbed and increases soil
      carbon storage, according to ARS soil scientists Hal Collins and Dave Huggins. Collins is based at the ARS Vegetable and Forage
      Crops Production Research Unit at Prosser, Wash., and Huggins works at the ARS Land Management and Water Conservation Research
      Unit at Pullman, Wash.

      They're among 30 researchers, Extension agents and others comprising the Climate Friendly Farming team. The project, led by Chris Feise,
      director of WSU's Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources, was established in 2004 to address concerns that greenhouse
      gases from farming help drive global climate change.

      Collins and Huggins lead research to mitigate emissions from irrigated and dryland farming systems. WSU scientists oversee dairy research,
      computer modeling, socio-economic analyses and farmer outreach.

      Collins' projects include evaluating the carbon-sequestering and organic matter-building potential of fiber obtained from manure that's passed
       through an anaerobic digester. He's also tracking the fate of nitrogen that's been applied to corn and potato crops through center-pivot irrigation.

      Huggins, meanwhile, is designing novel cropping systems that avoid disturbing the soil. Two examples are conventional and organic
      direct-seeding, and perennial cropping systems. He's also integrating global positioning and geographical information systems to
      devise new methods of applying and using nitrogen fertilizer that will mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.

      Energy Efficiency Increased in Commercial Buildings
      Source: GreenBiz.com

      ANAHEIM, Calif., June 30, 2005 - The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) will launch a multi-year
      campaign to increase energy efficiency at 9 billion square feet of commercial properties.

      The association started the energy efficiency program on June 28 at its annual conference in Anaheim, Calif., with the
       first of six trainings on operational excellence.

      The campaign, developed in partnership with EPA under its Energy Star Challenge, is designed to educate association
      members about the financial and environmental benefits of improving energy efficiency, train commercial building operators
       and owners on strategic energy management and recognize members who demonstrate energy savings of 30% or more.

      Because energy is the single largest operating cost in an office building, representing 30% of a typical building's costs, the
      value of these savings is substantial for the bottom line -- and the environment. The campaign was developed by the Building
      Owners and Managers Association Foundation and a task force of industry leaders, including USAA Realty, Cushman & Wakefield
       the Lurie Company, Trammell Crow, Jones Lang LaSalle, Transwestern Commercial Services and others in coordination with EPA.

      EPA launched the Energy Star Challenge in March 2005 to encourage businesses and institutions across the country to take the right steps
      to identify the many buildings where financially attractive improvements can reduce energy use by 10% or more, and to make the
      now through proven methods such as low-cost building tune-ups, lighting upgrades and replacement of old equipment. EPA estimates that
       if each building owner took on this challenge, by 2015 Americans would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by amounts equivalent to the
       emissions from 15 million vehicles, while saving about $10 billion.

      For more information about the Energy Star Challenge, visit: www.energystar.gov/challenge.

      Excerpted  from Latest News From GreenBiz.Com  http://www.greenbiz.com/news/news.cfm

      Chicago Climate Exchange Prepares 4-year Extension
      http://www.greenbiz.com/news/news_third.cfm?NewsID=28318  Source GreenBiz.com
      CHICAGO, June 28, 2005 - Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX), the first and only voluntary, legally
      binding greenhouse gas emissions reduction and trading program in North America, says it will extend
      and expand the program for an additional four years through 2010.

      Cool Shops Lights the Way for Ottawa Firms to Cut Energy Use and Costs
      http://www.greenbiz.com/news/news_third.cfm?NewsID=28334  Source GreenBiz.com
      OTTAWA, June 30, 2005 - The province of Ontario has launched "Cool Shops," a
      Clean Air Foundation program  that helps small street-facing businesses in Ottawa reduce energy
      consumption, save on utility costs and improve air quality.

      teams will visit 1,000 Ottawa retail businesses to install one free Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL) and offer a free lighting assessment
      to test energy efficiency. Once the test has been completed, store owners will be given an on-the-spot conversion savings appraisal and a list
       of discounted and recommended products that can help reduce energy consumption.

      CFLs use 75% less energy and last 10 times longer than incandescent light bulbs. If each of the 1,000 business
      visited switched one 100 Watt  incandescent light bulb to a 23 Watt CFL, Ottawa would reduce
      commercial energy expenditure by over $29,000 per year.

      "It's in everyone's best interest that we make efforts to conserve energy and improve the quality of our air," said Councillor Clive Doucet,
      Capital Ward, Ottawa. "Very tangible results can be achieved when individuals work together and strive toward a common goal; the small
       business community is no exception."

      "Collectively, small commercial businesses in Ottawa use up a significant amount of energy," said Owen Mahaffey, Energy Conservation
      Manager, Hydro Ottawa."

      NSF Online Document System. National Science Foundation
      Landscape Corridors Provide Pathway for Seed Dispersal
      URL : http://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=pr05110
      Type : News Releases
      Subtype : Biology
      The World Year of Physics: 2005
      URL : http://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=ma05013
      Type : News Releases
      Subtype : Math/Physical Sciences...  
      Researchersanticipating Deep Impact  http://www.diamondbackonline.com/vnews/display.v/ART/2005/06/30/42c38ea797d31
      Diamondback   Online - College Park,MD,USA
      Researchers for  the project know the impact will smash a crater several hundred feet in
      size and several stories deep, ejecting ice, dust and gas from the comet
      Sonya mail to: <msredsonya@...>
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