Minggu, 07 September 2008

Global Warming: Not So Bad?

Birds and power companies adapt to climate change; scientists downgrade its role in hurricane formation

Slow Flow: Ice forms on the Hálslón hydroelectric reservoir, the largest in Iceland.

So it looks like it's not all gloom and doom after all. A few recent studies have managed to find the slim silver lining of climate change. Below, a look at the three small positive outcomes of global warming.

Ice Power

The melting glacier is the poster boy of global warming, but Nordic countries might be able to use all that extra water flow to boost their hydroelectric industry. “It’s not surprising that the warming effects of climate change can be beneficial for a cold country like Iceland,” says Tómas Jóhannesson, a geophysicist at the Icelandic Meteorological Office. In a recent study of the influence of climate change on hydro-resources in Iceland, Jóhannesson and other researchers project a 25 percent increase in water runoff by the end of the century, resulting in a 45 percent increase in potential power production. This benefit isn’t permanent, though. Researchers estimate that, like the glaciers, the extra power from runoffs will disappear in 100 to 200 years. Carpe diem.

Early Birds

A 47-year study of one population of great tits—garden birds about the size of sparrows—is providing hope that some animals can adjust quickly to environmental change. University of Oxford zoologists have found that the birds are laying their eggs earlier in the spring to time the hatching of their chicks to the earlier emergence of caterpillars. This is among the first examples of birds adapting to a new climate, but the scientists suspect that the ability is widespread.

Clearer Skies

The past few years have been filled with reports that the number of hurricanes will dramatically increase in the next decade. Not so, say researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, who reported in May that Atlantic hurricanes may actually decrease, with a projected 45 percent drop in tropical storms and hurricanes by the end of the century. Unfortunately, the scientists say, the warmer temperatures still portend an increase in the percentage of intense hurricanes.


Bagi anda yang suka berbelanja fashion, ada sebuah cermin baru yang mampu menampilkan penampilan anda dengan menggunakan baju yang anda pilih tanpa melepaskan baju anda terlebih dahulu.

Virtual Mirror
Cermin yang dinamakan Virtual Mirror ini akan menampilkan gambar anda dengan menggunakan baju yang anda inginkan tanpa harus melepas dan memasang pakaian anda satu persatu.

Walaupun belum sempurna dalam menampilkan gambarnya, tetapi Virtual Mirror dikembangkan ke jalur yang benar. Tinggal tunggu waktu saja.

Jumat, 08 Agustus 2008

World's Smallest Snake

The smallest of 3,100 known species, this snake is as thin as a spaghetti noodle
Leptotyphlops carlae: Photo by Blair Hedges, Penn State

An evolutionary biologist at Penn State University has discovered a species of snake so small that it can fit comfortably on a quarter. The average adult of the species, a type of threadsnake named Leptotyphlops carlae, is less than four inches long. The discovery will be published in the August 4 issue of the journal Zootaxa.

Found in a remnant patch of forest on the Caribbean island of Barbados, Leptotyphlops is probably a rare species because most of its habitat has been cut down to make way for buildings and farms. Blair Hedges, who identified the tiny snake by its genetic signature and unique color pattern and scales, says that some older specimens of the species exist in museums but were misidentified by other scientists.

While larger snakes can lay as many as 100 eggs at a time, Leptotyphlops usually lays just a single, relatively huge egg. The snake that hatches from that egg is about half the size of an adult, while hatchlings of the largest snakes are only one-tenth the size of their parents. The reason for this disparity, Hedges says, is that tiny snakes must concentrate their efforts on producing offspring large enough to hunt and consume prey—in this case, the larvae of ants and termites. A snake much smaller than Leptotyphlops might not be able to produce viable offspring.

Size matters: Tiny snakes produce larger but fewer young. Hatchlings of the largest snakes are only one-tenth the length of an adult (left), while hatchlings of the smallest snakes are proportionately huge—half the length of an adult (right). Photo by Blair Hedges lab, Penn State