Monday, July 12, 2010
ORNL in the News

First class of VW Scholars

(Knoxville News Sentinel) Eleven students from three Tennessee universities have been selected as the first class of Volkswagen Distinguished Scholars. The program provides summer internships with research ops at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, with a second, optional summer internship at Volkswagen's new production facility near Chattanooga...7/9

The Depths to Which Some Roots Will Go

(CO2 Science) Colleen Iversen of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee (USA) reviewed the pertinent scientific literature "to examine the potential mechanisms for, and consequences of, deeper rooting distributions under elevated CO2 as they relate to ecosystem carbon and nitrogen cycling," focusing primarily on forests.

Yield Projections for Switchgrass as a Biofuel Crop

(American Society of Agronomy) While scientists have conducted numerous studies on production of biomass from biofuel crops, such as switchgrass, no one has yet compiled this information to evaluate the response of biomass yield to soils, climate, and crop management across the United States. A team of researchers from Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Dartmouth College published just such a study in the July-August 2010 Agronomy Journal, published by the American Society of Agronomy...7/12


Y-12 gets an R&D 100, too

(Knoxville News Sentinel) ORNL won eight R&D 100 awards, as noted in another post, but the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant also made the innovations list -- winning Top-100 recognition for its Modulated Tool-Path Chip Breaking System...7/8

Nevada Nuclear Test Site to Host Solar Demonstration Zone

(Environment News Service) Advanced utility-scale solar energy technologies soon will be tested at a sprawling federal site in the Nevada desert where nuclear weapons were tested 60 years ago.

U.S. agencies try to restore faith in Energy Star appliance testing

(Washington Post) [Registration Required] When you buy something with an Energy Star label on it, are you getting ripped off for trying to be green? The Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy have been fighting to end such worries in recent months.

State & Regional

Governor candidates rebuff tax hikes

(Tennessean) Tennessee's four major gubernatorial candidates say they are weighing tax cuts in areas ranging from the inheritance tax to assessments on small businesses. While tough economic times have forced Gov. Phil Bredesen to slash state spending by 25 percent in recent years, Republicans Bill Haslam, Ron Ramsey and Zach Wamp, as well as Democrat Mike McWherter, show no appetite for raising taxes to cover that...7/12



Spy exchange completed at Vienna airport

(Washington Post) [Registration Required] An elaborate spy swap reminiscent of the Cold War took place Friday at Vienna International Airport -- a minutely choreographed operation involving 10 members of a Russian espionage ring that infiltrated American suburbia and four Russians who had been jailed in Russia for their contacts with the West...7/9

Gates Foundation playing pivotal role in changes for education system

(Washington Post) [Registration Required] Across the country, public education is in the midst of a quiet revolution. States are embracing voluntary national standards for English and math, while schools are paying teachers based on student performance...7/12

Governors Voice Grave Concerns on Immigration

(New York Times) In a private meeting with White House officials this weekend, Democratic governors voiced deep anxiety about the Obama administration’s suit against Arizona’s new immigration law, worrying that it could cost a vulnerable Democratic Party in the fall elections...7/11

East Tennessee

Knoxville City Council to mull price signs

(Knoxville News Sentinel) The consideration Tuesday by Knoxville City Council to lower the requirements for the use of changeable price signs has sparked a debate between those who would beautify the city and those who say the practice would make businesses more competitive...7/11

energy & science policy

Inside Energy Extra

7/09 A daily report on U.S. energy policy
[ORNL users only]

  • Obama urges more 'clean' tax credits
  • EPA hears pros, cons of 'fracking'
  • Chu extends Kansas City Plant contract
  • BLM schedules Alaska lease sale
  • USGS method assesses carbon storage
  • DOE appoints new Richland manager

science & technology

Black Hole Blows Huge Bubble

(Discovery News) A relatively puny black hole in a neighbor galaxy is the motor behind a bubble of hot gas that already spans 1,000 light-years across and is growing at a rate of about 620,000 miles per hour. The finding suggests that there may be more to black holes -- even relatively small ones four to 10 times the size of the sun -- than meets the eye...7/7

Sea Otters, the Cutest Way to Fight Global Warming

(Discovery News) Apart from being one of the most adorable ocean-going animals on the planet, sea otters play a powerful role in sucking greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere. According to a new study written up this week in New Scientist, if the endangered fur balls' population were restored to pre-hunting levels, they could sequester a total of some 10 million tons of carbon in the ocean ecosystem, making them a useful weapon in the fight against global warming...7/10


Other Stories

How Much Plastic is in the Ocean?

(Discovery News) Stiv Wilson of the ocean conservation group 5 Gyres has made a first attempt to tally how much plastic is in the global ocean. We've all heard about the Texas-sized "garbage patch" swirling in the North Pacific, and recently we've been warned that the Atlantic's got a plastic problem, too...7/8