Wednesday, August 11, 2010
ORNL in the News

Birds flock online

(Nature News) Supercomputer time will help ornithologists make ecological sense of millions of records of bird sightings. John Cobb is a principal investigator for TeraGrid at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee and a co-investigator for DataONE, a project sponsored by the National Science Foundation to gather and harmonize ecological and environmental data sets. With vast amounts of computing power comes the opportunity to turn the work of many amateur birders into a nuanced portrait of how species migrate. "It is a wonderful story about how they have used all those people who are enthusiastic about birdwatching and made a scientifically significant data set," says Cobb....8/10

Al Gore at the Spallation Neutron Source

(Knoxville News Sentinel) Gore played a significant role in gaining approval for the SNS, but Tuesday was his first visit since the $1.4 billion project was completed in 2006....8/11

Award-winning supercomputer solves superconductor homogeneity puzzle

(Daily News & Analysis) An award winning high-performance computing application developed by scientists has been used to examine the nanoscale inhomogeneities in superconductors that had long been noticed but left unexplained. Thomas Maier and colleagues Gonzalo Alvarez, Michael Summers and Thomas Schulthess from Oak Ridge National Laboratory rewrote computational code for the numerical Hubbard model that previously assumed copper-compound superconducting materials known as cuprates to be homogenous - the same electron density - from atom to atom....8/10

Multicore Processing: Breaking through the Programming Wall

(Scientific Computing) To date, three real-world applications have broken the petaflop barrier (1015 calculations/second), all on the Cray "Jaguar" supercomputer at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory....8/10

DOE

DOE Announces Secretary of Energy Advisory Board

(DOE Press Release) The U.S. Department of Energy today announced the members of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board (SEAB). Eliminated during the last administration, SEAB is being reestablished under the Federal Advisory Committee Act. The twelve member board comprised of scientists, business executives, academics and former government officials will serve as an independent advisory committee to Secretary Chu....8/10

ORNL/Y-12 benefits split on Sept. 2

(Knoxville News Sentinel) [Please scroll down] Earlier this year, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Y-12 National Security Complex announced that they were separating their benefits program after years under a single umbrella...8/11

East Tennessee

New disease threatens walnut tree population

(Knoxville News Sentinel) Until its recent discovery in North Knox County, thousand cankers disease had spread throughout eight Western states, but nowhere east of the Mississippi River. Officials believe the beetle made the jump to East Tennessee on firewood, or on a piece of walnut used in woodworking....8/11

National

Federal Reserve to buy U.S. debt, shifts policies as recovery slows

(Washington Post) With the recovery losing momentum, the Federal Reserve moved Tuesday to try to boost growth, an about-face by a central bank that has spent most of the last year winding down its aggressive measures to support the economy....8/11 [Registration Required]

House approves $600 million for border: How will it be spent?

(Christian Science Monitor) About half the money in the House plan goes toward 1,500 new border personnel. Not in the plan: money for any border fences. President Obama could sign a version of the bill in September....8/11

State & Regional

TVA increases rates because of August demand, electric bills to rise $1-$2

(Knoxville News Sentinel) TVA faced its highest demand for electrical power since 2007 this month and customers will be seeing an increase in their monthly bills because the agency had to buy extra electricity to meet this demand....8/11

 

 

energy & science policy

Recycling Land for Green Energy Ideas

(New York Times) Land taken out of farm production for lack of water is being proposed for solar projects. Utilities and farmers are interested....8/11

Portugal Gives Itself a Clean-Energy Makeover

(New York Times) Five years ago, the leaders of this sun-scorched, wind-swept nation made a bet: To reduce Portugal's dependence on imported fossil fuels, they embarked on an array of ambitious renewable energy projects — primarily harnessing the country's wind and hydropower, but also its sunlight and ocean waves....8/10

Oil Firms, Rig Owners Navigate Drilling Moratorium

(NPR) On Wednesday, a federal judge in New Orleans is scheduled to hear arguments over whether the government's moratorium on deep-water drilling in the Gulf is legal. The six-month moratorium has cast uncertainty on the entire Gulf oil industry — and what could it mean for the businesses that operate drilling rigs and the people who work on them....8/10

Inside Energy Extra

8/10 A daily report on U.S. energy policy
[ORNL users only]
** Renewable advocates blast House vote
** GOP fails to kill lame duck session
** EPA cancels New York fracking forums
** DOE reestablishes key advisory board
** Energy champ Stevens killed in crash

science & technology

A Masterpiece of Nature? Yuck!

(New York Times) Though the science of ugliness lags behind investigations into the evolution of beauty and the metrics of a supermodel's face, a few researchers are taking a crack at understanding why we find certain animals unsightly even when they don't threaten us with venom or compete for our food....8/11

Ancient language mystery deepens

(BBC News) A linguistic mystery has arisen in Scotland, surrounding symbols on stones that predate the formation of the country itself....8/11

Indonesian ice field may be gone in a few years, core may contain secrets of Pacific El Nino events

(PhysOrg) Glaciologists who drilled through an ice cap perched precariously on the edge of a 16,000-foot-high Indonesian mountain ridge say that the ice field could vanish within in the next few years, another victim of global climate change....8/10

Think this summer is hot? Get used to it

(USA Today) This summer's stifling, deadly heat along the Eastern Seaboard and Deep South could be a preview of summers to come over the next few decades, according to a report about global warming to be published Wednesday by the National Wildlife Federation and the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America....8/11

Russian Heat, Asian Floods May Be Linked

(Wired) Russia's killer heat wave and monster South Asian monsoon floods could be more than isolated examples of extreme weather. Though separated by a continent, they could be linked. Monsoon rains drive air upward, and that air has to come down somewhere. It usually comes down over the Mediterranean, producing the region's hot, dry climate. This year, some of that air seems to have gone north to Russia....8/11