Wednesday, August 4, 2010
ORNL in the News

Will Satellites and Supercomputers Improve Bird Watching?

(Scientific American) Combining high-tech tools with a database of bird sightings may help indicate how climate change is affecting bird movement in the United States. "The approach we're taking here is we're trying to bring together as much environmental data as we can to try to understand what influences the bird migration," said Bob Cook, a distinguished research scientist at ORNL involved with the effort. "We're trying to address a really important question with regard to climate change: How might climate change influence the migration patterns of birds?"...8/3

Despite protest, DOE moves ahead on ORNL cleanup project because of 'unacceptable' risks

(Knoxville News Sentinel) In making arguments to override the appeals process, DOE said, "A failure to begin work on this task order poses an unacceptable health and safety risk to personnel at the ORNL and the surrounding community."...8/4

Experts selected for NAS uranium study

(Danville News) A provisional committee of 13 scientists and experts was selected to conduct the scientific study to help Virginia's leaders determine if uranium mining could be done safely in the state. National Research Council staff chose the panel of experts after a nomination process. Among the experts chosen to do the uranium study is Scott Brook , senior scientist in the Environmental Sciences Division of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, who has researched the fate and transformation of radionuclides in the environment....8/3


A not so-sure sign of nuke renaissance

(Knoxville News Sentinel) Folks tracking the indicators of a nuclear renaissance in the United States got a bit of a curve ball with the release of new report by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Educations. According to the ORISE survey, the number of nuclear engineering degrees actually declined in 2009 - reversing a five-year growth trend....8/4



BP: 'Static kill' successfully controls blown-out well

(Washington Post) The blown-out Macondo well has reached a "static condition," oil giant BP said early Wednesday, meaning that pressure inside the well has been brought under control through a mud-pumping process that began Tuesday afternoon....8/4 [Registration Required]

East Tennessee

Forecast: Dangerous heat levels through Thursday

(Knoxville News Sentinel) Dangerous heat levels are expected today and Thursday with temperatures and high humidity pushing heat index values between 105 and 108 degrees this afternoon and between 102 and 107 Thursday across the central Tennessee Valley....8/4



energy & science policy

As Space Priorities Shift, Orbiting Station Takes On a Central Role

(New York Times) If the International Space Station were ever abandoned, the United States' human spaceflight program would lose one of its last remaining reasons for being....8/3

Inside Energy Extra

8/3 A daily report on U.S. energy policy
[ORNL users only]
** Reid puts off vote on oil-spill bill
** Senate bill targets loan-guarantee funds
** Drilling ban may end sooner: Bromwich
** Appliance makers set new energy criteria

science & technology

U.S. Finds Most Oil From Spill Poses Little Additional Risk

(New York Times) Only about 26 percent of the oil from the Deepwater Horizon leak is still in the water or onshore, and most of it is diluted and breaking down rapidly, officials say....8/4

Welcome to the Anthropocene

(Washington Post) The Anthropocene is the name given by imaginative geologists to a new geological epoch shaped by human beings. It's not yet officially recognized as a scientific term. And the concept is not as flattering as it may sound at first blush....8/3 [Registration Required]

Orangutans Aren't Lazy, Just Evolved To Hang Around

(NPR) Scientists have found that orangutans use less energy, pound-for-pound than any mammal ever studied, except for the tree sloth. The surprise finding shows how orangutans have evolved to survive in their native habitat, the forests of Sumatra and Borneo in Southeast Asia....8/3

Solar Storm Headed for Earth Tonight; May Spawn Auroras

(National Geographic) On Sunday cameras aboard NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured an eruption on the sun's surface that hurled tons of plasma—charged gas—directly toward our planet in an event called a coronal mass ejection....8/3

Physicists develop model that pushes limits of quantum theory, relativity

(PhysOrg) All of the matter in the universe -- everything we see, feel and smell -- has a certain predictable structure, thanks to the tiny electrons spinning around their atomic nuclei in a series of concentric shells or atomic levels. A fundamental tenet of this orderly structure is that no two electrons can occupy the same atomic level (quantum state) at the same time—a principle called the Pauli exclusion principle, which is based on Albert Einstein's theory of relativity and quantum theory....8/4