Tuesday, December 20, 2011
ORNL in the News

Permafrost science heats up in the United States

(Nature) "Our ability to model greenhouse gases and vegetation dynamics is inadequate in today's environment, and when we think out 50 to 100 years, that entire landscape is going to evolve and be much more complex," says Stan Wullschleger, the principal investigator for NGEE and a plant ecologist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory....12/19

Data-Driven Tools Cast Geographical Patterns of Rainfall Extremes in New Light

(Newswise) "Our research suggests that one needs to be aware of the different characterizations of extremes and that these characterizations require both interpretability and statistical rigor," said Auroop Ganguly....12/19

ORNL research could advance understanding of mercury, Y-12 impacts

(Knoxville News Sentinel) Oak Ridge National Laboratory is engaged in a multiyear, multimillion-dollar research effort to better understand how mercury behaves — and sometimes devilishly transforms itself — in the environment....12/20

Provision Contracts With IBA to Install Proton Therapy System

(EON) Tennessee's first proton beam cancer center, located on a comprehensive medical campus in Knoxville, will include training and research in conjunction with Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee....12/19.

ORNL's Thom Mason: 'To be honest, I expect there will be some impacts'

(Knoxville News Sentinel) The 2012 budget numbers will still have to be processed and allotted to the labs by the Department of Energy, but there is beginning to be some clarity about budget impacts at Oak Ridge National Laboratory....12/20


Mercury's health effects on workers, OR public still under scrutiny

(Knoxville News Sentinel) If the picture is unclear about the health impact on Y-12 workers exposed to mercury, it's even murkier when evaluating the effects on off-site populations....12/19

Who Will Be America's Next Top Energy Innovator?

(DOE Press Release) Last week marked the deadline for submissions to the "America's Next Top Energy Innovator" challenge, and the U.S. Department of Energy has announced that it will give Americans the chance to vote for the most innovative and promising technologies supported by the program....12/19


House Republicans intent on killing Senate payroll tax cut deal

(Washington Post) Republicans vow to kill a bipartisan Senate agreement on a federal payroll tax cut, saying it represents the Washington ways they were elected to change....12/20

East Tennessee

Knoxville rises in national economic ranking

(Knoxville News Sentinel) The Milken Institute last week issued a list of America's "Best-Performing Cities", which ranked U.S. metropolitan areas on factors including job growth, wage growth and growth in the high-tech economy....12/20

Three years later, Kingston ash spill cleanup continues

(Knoxville News Sentinel) While backhoes and bulldozers rumbled on top of 30-foot-deep heaps of toxic coal ash, scooping it up for storage, reporters Monday received an update on the cleanup as the third anniversary of the disaster approaches....12/20


energy & science policy

Inside Energy Extra

12/19 A daily report on U.S. energy policy
[ORNL users only]
** Ohio senators to seek DOE aid for USEC
** CFTC, FERC jurisdiction fight continues
** EPA promises flexible mercury rule
** Livermore lab cited for safety risks
** Indian land energy grants to be awarded

science & technology

Illuminating the Perils of Pollution, Nature's Way

(New York Times) Edith Widder has spent a career studying sea creatures with the ability to make light — bioluminescence. Now, she has found a way to put bioluminescence to work to fight pollution in the Indian River Lagoon, a 156-mile estuary that scientists say is one of Florida's most precious and threatened ecosystems....12/19

The Science and Art of Chocolate Making

(Wired) Why chocolate is so special and how it goes from harvest to the delightful goodness we know and love, especially around the holidays....12/19

Ultra-Compact Dwarf Galaxies Are Bright Star Clusters

(Science Daily) A new statistical study sheds light on the so-called 'ultra-compact dwarf galaxies' (UCDs). A team of astronomers has investigated how many of these UCDs exist in nearby galaxy clusters and groups....12/19

An Ancient, Rugged Asteroid in Outer Space

(Wall Street Journal) [Video] NASA's $456 million Dawn probe of the giant asteroid Vesta has revealed one of the tallest mountains in the solar system and a landscape more rugged than Mars or the Moon....12/19

Research team shows cultural practices can cause biological evolution

(PhysOrg) According to a group of historians and anthropologists who have been studying several tribes of people in South America, the cultural practices that have led to evolved physical traits for one tribe have caused them to have a unique appearance compared to other tribes in the area....12/20


North Korea's Likely Leader: Young And Untested

(NPR) If Kim Jong Un does follow his father and grandfather as ruler of secretive North Korea, he will face huge challenges. He's not yet 30 years old, and yet would be running a society that inherently favors leaders seen as experienced and wise, rather than young and untested....12/20