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Mon, 14 Jun 2021
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Better Earth

Orange Peel Can Help Clean Up Dirty Water

Highly colored industrial waste water is a serious environmental problem as it seriously discolors waterways as well as blocking sunlight for photosynthesizing plant species in the water. Now, researchers in Algeria have discovered that nothing more sophisticated than orange peel could be used to remove acidic dyes from industrial effluent.

They describe their findings in a forthcoming issue of the International Journal of Environment and Pollution.
Orange Peel
© iStockphoto
A simple orange peel could be used to remove acidic dyes from industrial effluent.

"Synthetic dyes are extensively used by industries including dye houses, paper printers, textile dyers, color photography and as additives in petroleum products," explains Benaïssa Houcine of the Laboratory of Sorbent Materials and Water Treatment, Department of Chemistry-Faculty of Sciences, at University of Tlemcen, in Algeria. "The effluents of these industries are highly colored, and disposal of these wastes into the environment can be extremely deleterious. Their presence in watercourses is aesthetically unacceptable and may be visible at concentration as low as 1 ppm (part per million).

Bizarro Earth

New roads could bring pollution to Yellowstone

Some of the US's pristine forests could soon be criss-crossed with roads for logging and mining as the federal government once again relaxes conservation rules - this time in Idaho.

US national parks are still protected, but at threat are so-called "roadless" areas of national forests. These cover more than 230,000 square kilometres - an area nearly as large as the UK. Bill Clinton banned virtually all development in these areas just before leaving office in January 2001. The Bush administration scrapped this policy in 2005, working out rules on a state-by-state basis instead.

On 16 October, the federal government announced it had opened up more than 1600 square kilometres of roadless forest in Idaho to development, including areas bordering Yellowstone national park (see map).

Info

Climate Change, Acid Rain Could Be Good For Forests

After more than 20 years of research in the northern hardwood forests of Michigan, scientists at Michigan Technological University's School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science have reached a surprising conclusion: Moderate increases in temperature and nitrogen from atmospheric pollution actually improve forest productivity.
Image
© Michigan Technological University
Michigan Tech forest productivity research.

Andrew Burton, an associate professor at Michigan Tech and head of the National Institute for Climatic Change Research's Midwestern Regional Center, is part of a team of researchers that has been monitoring and measuring the temperature, moisture levels and nitrogen deposited by acid rain or varying levels of experimental nitrogen at four forest sites ranging from northwestern to southern Michigan since 1987. He's found that the trees grow faster at higher temperatures and store more carbon at greater concentrations of nitrogen, a chemical constituent of acid rain, providing there is sufficient moisture.

Fish

Dolphins Use Complex Coordination During Predation

Spinner dolphins have long been known for their teamwork in capturing prey but a new study using high-tech acoustics has found that their synchronization is even more complex than scientists realized and likely evolved as a strategy to maximize their energy intake.
Spinner dolphins
© Oregon State University
Spinner dolphins.

The study, by scientists at Oregon State University and the University of Hawaii, found that dolphins engage in a highly choreographed night-time "dance" to enclose their prey, and then dart into the circle of confused fish in organized pairs to feed for about 15 seconds, before backing out and letting the next pairs in line take their turn.

Results of the study were published this week in the journal, Acoustical Society of America.

"Synchronized swimmers have nothing on spinner dolphins," said Kelly Benoit-Bird, a marine ecologist at Oregon State University and lead author on the study. "The degree of synchrony they display when feeding is incredible - especially considering that they're doing it at night, several meters below the surface where they can't see their prey or each other."

Bizarro Earth

5.6 magnitude earthquake shakes Afghanistan

Kabul -- A strong earthquake of magnitude 5.6 struck northeastern Afghanistan on Sunday, but there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said on its website the quake's epicentre was at a depth of 208 km (130 miles).

The quake occurred at about 6 am local time and was also felt in the capital, Kabul, some 260 km (160 miles) from the epicentre lying to the south of the city of Faizabad of northeastern Badakhshan province.

Bizarro Earth

US: 5.1 and 4.1 Magnitude Earthquakes hit Northern California

Two earthquakes shook northern California early on Sunday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The epicenter of the first quake, measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale, was located 19 miles west of Petrolia, California. And the second quake, measuring 4.1, hit 11 miles west southwest of Fort Ross, California, according to the U.S.G.S. National Earthquake Center.

Bizarro Earth

About 100 dead or missing after floods in Yemen

About 100 people are dead or missing in Yemen after severe flooding caused by torrential rain affected large areas of the country in the past few days, a government official said on Sunday.

Television pictures showed survivors signalling to rescue helicopters in the provinces of Hadramout and Mahra which suffered 30 hours of heavy rain.

"About 7,000 people have been made homeless and there are about 100 dead or missing. We are still trying to gather more exact figures but communications with some of the affected areas have been cut off," the Yemeni official told Reuters.

President Ali Abdullah Saleh called on Sunday for parliament to approve 20 billion rials ($100 million) in emergency funding for rescue operations and to help rebuild areas affected by the most serious flooding in decades.

Bug

Spider eats bird

spider eats bird
© Les Martin
A huge spider devours a bird in Atherton, near Cairns.
These amazing images of a mammoth spider devouring a bird were taken in the backyard of an Atherton property, west of Cairns.

Amateur photographer and bird enthusiast Les Martin took the photos in his back yard last week and while he was amazed at the sight, he never imagined his pictures would be such a hit.

"I didn't realise there'd be so much excitement," he said yesterday.

Syringe

Birth Of White Rhino After Artificial Insemination With Frozen Sperm

baby rhino
© Bela Szandelszky
The rhino baby and his mother in the Budapest Zoo
A world-first: researchers announce the birth of a white rhino after artificial insemination with frozen sperm. The rhino baby, a male, was born at 4:57am in the Budapest Zoo on the 22nd of October 2008. In June 2007, scientists from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Berlin artificially inseminated his mother, the rhino cow Lulu, with frozen bull semen.

Roses

Lightning strikes only once - but kills 52 cows

Lightningstruck cows
© Associated Press/San Jose Police Department
In this picture released by the police department of San Jose, some of the 52 cows that were killed by lightning lie along a fence on a ranch in Valdez Chico village near San Jose, Uruguay, Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2008. The cows were killed when lightning hit the wire fence during a fierce storm, according to police.
Montevideo, Uruguay - Lightning struck only once - but 52 cows are dead at an Uruguayan ranch. The newspaper El Pais reports that the cows had pressed against a wire fence during a storm when the lightning bolt struck in the northern state of San Jose.

A photograph released by the San Jose Police Department shows the black and brown cows lying dead in a long row.