Earth ChangesS

Cloud Lightning

Waterspout Over Downtown Buffalo

Wild weather moved through Western New York Friday, producing a waterspout over downtown Buffalo and penny-sized hail over Southern Erie County.

This photo of a waterspout over downtown Buffalo was taken around 11:50 am Friday from the WNED studios near the I-190.

©Terry Gaffney, WNED

Bizarro Earth

Pernicious algae, 'Rock Snot', pops up in Wyoming stream

A nasty algae that can suffocate habitat and food sources for fish has been found in a creek in one of Wyoming's premier watersheds, according to a river group.

Didymo, an algae commonly called "rock snot," was found in Lake Creek, a tributary of the Snake River, by the U.S. Geological Survey, the Snake River Fund reported Friday.

Cloud Lightning

Himalayas heavy snowfall strands 100 climbers

More than 100 mountaineers, including one from Australia, are trapped in the northern Indian hill state of Himachal Pradesh after heavy snowfall and blizzards, news reports say.


The five teams of missing climbers included seven German nationals, eight Russians and an Australian, Uttarakhand official PC Dandriyal was quoted as saying by PTI news agency.

Better Earth

President of Rwanda Announces Historic Forest Protection Project

©Associated Free Press

New York NY - Rwandan President H. E. Paul Kagame unveiled his country's first national conservation park to promote reforestation and conservation, and research to enhance knowledge of the world's rapidly diminishing number of great apes. In collaboration with Ted Townsend, founder of Earthpark and Great Ape Trust of Iowa, President Kagame announced at the Clinton Global Initiative a joint 10-year program called The Rwanda Forest Protection Project.

Better Earth

Dell Is First Major Computer Company To Go Carbon Neutral

Washington DC - Dell has become the first major computer manufacturer to commit to neutralizing the carbon impact of its worldwide operations, a significant extension of its global climate policy and environmental stewardship. "Never before in the history of business have we seen such a critical need to build a worldwide community dedicated to improving the environment," Michael Dell, the company's chairman and CEO, said here today during a policy forum organized by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Better Earth

Ocean Iron Fertilization

©Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Researchers will consider whether iron fertilization can allow the ocean to absorb more carbon dioxide while remaining healthy (left), or if the addition of iron will give no net benefit while promoting other problems in the ocean (right).


The cockroaches' ability to learn varies

In its ability to learn, the cockroach is a moron in the morning and a genius in the evening.

Dramatic daily variations in the cockroach's learning ability were discovered by a new study performed by Vanderbilt University biologists and published online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Magic Wand

Wasp genetics study suggests altruism evolved from maternal behavior

Researchers at the University of Illinois have used an innovative approach to reveal the molecular basis of altruistic behavior in wasps. The research team focused on the expression of behavior-related genes in Polistes metricus paper wasps, a species for which little genetic data was available when the study was begun. Their findings appear today online in Science Express.

Like honey bee workers, wasp workers give up their reproductive capabilities and focus entirely on nurturing their larval siblings, a practice that seems to defy the Darwinian prediction that a successful organism strives, above all else, to reproduce itself. Such behaviors are indicative of a eusocial society, in which some individuals lose, or sacrifice, their reproductive functions and instead work to benefit the larger group.


Researchers investigate new suspect in West Nile deaths of pelicans

Stable flies are the latest suspect that may be involved in the West Nile virus deaths of hundreds of pelican chicks at the Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge in northeast Montana. West Nile virus killed 800 to 1,000 pelican chicks in 2003, averaged 400 in each of the next three summers and more than 600 this year.

©Greg Johnson
The Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge contains the fifth largest colony of American white pelicans in North America.

Veterinary entomologist Greg Johnson of Montana State University said earlier this year that he considered the possibility that lice were transmitting West Nile virus to pelicans. He became suspicious after collecting very few mosquitoes in 2006, but seeing pelicans continue to die at a high rate. Johnson discovered previously that the Culex tarsalis mosquito is the primary carrier of West Nile virus in Montana and that the Medicine Lake refuge was one of the hot spots for the virus.


Bush draws fire at climate talks

Some of the world's biggest greenhouse polluters took aim at President George W. Bush on Friday, calling him "isolated" and questioning his leadership on the problem of global warming.

Bush, who convened the two-day meeting of the 17 biggest emitters of climate-warming gases, stressed new environmental technology and voluntary measures to tackle the issue.