Flowers & Power: Taking greenhouse gases out of the Internet

Posted by on Feb 18, 2013 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Flowers & Power: Taking greenhouse gases out of the Internet in Science News Posted by Katie Cottingham Jan 28, 2013 Scientists are taking steps to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions of the Internet and telecommunications industries? Huh? Who knew doing a Google search produced greenhouse gases, thereby contributing to climate change? It turns out that the “information communications and technology” (ICT) industry produces more than 830 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), the main greenhouse gas, annually. That’s about 2 percent of global CO2 emissions — the same proportion as the aviation industry produces. Projections suggest that the ICT sector’s share of greenhouse gases is expected to double by 2020, as these services expand. A lot of the greenhouse gas comes from electrical use, as most electricity comes from power plants that burn fossil fuels. Generators, systems to keep the electronics cooled or warmed, as well as automobile fuel that technicians use to travel to locations to provide service, all contribute to the problem. The ICT industry, which delivers Internet, video, voice and other cloud services, knows about this problem. Providers, such as Verizon and Sprint, post information on their websites describing their efforts to reduce emissions. In a recent paper in ACS’ journal Environmental Science & Technology, researchers from the Centre for Energy-Efficient Telecommunications and Bell Labs note that existing models that help providers and researchers estimate emissions are inaccurate. Controlling the emissions will require more accurate but still feasible models, which would take into account the data traffic, energy use and CO2production in networks and other elements. So the team set out to develop new approaches that better account for variations in equipment and other factors in the ICT industry. They describe the development and testing of two new models that better estimate the energy consumption and CO2 emissions of Internet and telecommunications services. They tested the models on a simulated network and on a real network that serves most of the schools in California. Both models delivered better estimates than the current ones. The researchers suggest, based on their models, that more efficient power usage of facilities, more efficient use of energy-efficient equipment and renewable energy sources are three keys to reducing ICT emissions of CO2. “Methodologies for Assessing the Use-Phase Power Consumption and Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Telecommunications Network Services,” Environmental Science & Technology Flowers & Power: Taking greenhouse gases out of the Internet in Science News Posted by Katie Cottingham Jan 28, 2013 Scientists are taking steps to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions of the Internet and telecommunications industries? Huh? Who knew doing a Google search produced greenhouse gases, thereby contributing to climate change? It turns out that the “information communications and technology” (ICT) industry produces more than 830 million tons of...

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The Medical Bond

Posted by on Feb 18, 2013 in Uncategorized |

 Celiac patients eating bread? Perhaps someday soon… in Science News Posted by Katie Cottingham Feb 4, 2013 Scientists report that someday soon, celiac patients might not need to go down the special “gluten-free” aisle of the grocery store anymore. They are making progress toward a pill that could allow celiac patients to eat pastries, breads, cereals and other foods that contain the protein called gluten. (Kind of like the lactase pills that lactose-intolerant people can take so they can eat dairy products.)   About 2 million – 3 million Americans have celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder in which gluten causes inflammation in the digestive tract. Gluten is in wheat, rye and barley products. The only treatment right now is going on a gluten-free diet, which means staying away from cereals, soups, cookies and breads that contain the protein.   Fortunately, many companies are making products, such as specialty breads, muffins, cookies and cakes that are gluten-free. And some companies are reminding consumers that not all cereals and bakery products contain gluten anyway — rice-, corn- and potato-based foods are still OK to eat.   Gluten-free products have gotten notoriety lately because several celebrities, such as Miley Cyrus and Lady Gaga, have dropped gluten from their diets in order to lose weight. However, giving up gluten won’t necessarily cause the pounds to melt away. In fact, some people say that they’ve gained weight on a gluten-free diet. That’s probably because many of these products have a lot more sugar or fat than their gluten-containing counterparts to make up for the missing protein and to make it taste better.   In a recent issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society, a team of scientists describe their discovery of a naturally occurring enzyme that seemed like it would be able to break down gluten into such small pieces so that it wouldn’t cause problems for those with celiac disease. They changed some parts of the enzyme in the laboratory so that it would actually meet all the necessary criteria to allow patients to eat regular bakery items.   The new enzyme (called KumaMax) broke down more than 95 percent of a gluten peptide implicated in celiac disease in acidic conditions like those in the stomach. “These combined properties make the engineered [enzyme] a promising candidate as an oral therapeutic for celiac disease,” say the researchers.   “Computational Design of an α-Gliadin Peptidase,” Journal of the American Chemical Society  ...

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The Food Court

Posted by on Feb 18, 2013 in Uncategorized |

An explosion of nutrition and flavor in Science News Posted by Michael Bernstein Feb 11, 2013 Believe it or not, in those simpler days long ago, there was a buzz of excitement when the cereal mavens first dropped a handful of plump raisins into a box of breakfast flakes. For decades, breakfast-eaters only had a choice of a bowl of milk-drenched oats or corn. Nothing fancy. Nothing too exciting. Today, there are more milk choices (whole, reduced fat, nonfat, lactose-free, etc.) than there were kinds of cereal years ago. Fortunately, cereals have kept pace. In addition to the bonus of a variety of vitamins, manufacturers have been adding nuts, coconut, berries, bananas and –– to the joy of many –– even chunks of chocolate. One reason for the added ingredients is to enhance the taste. Another is to add more healthful fiber and antioxidants. And in the latest step in this evolutionary process scientists have created a new, explosive way to make some cereals even more healthful. They are blowing up grains of rice to make a highly nutritious form of puffed rice. How nutritious? Try eight times more fiber and three times more protein and a bunch of other nutrients that make it just right not only for cereals but snack foods and those ubiquitous nutrition bars, according to researchers. Syed S.H. Rizvi and colleagues explain that commercial puffed rice is made by forcing rice flour mixed with water through a narrow opening at high temperature and pressure. After it leaves the the nozzle, the rice puffs up as steam expands and escapes. The problem, they say, is that the high heat can destroy some nutrients. To solve this problem and enrich the rice with protein and other nutrients they tried a new approach, using supercritical carbon dioxide, and it worked. Supercritical carbon dioxide (which is kind of like a gas and kind of like a liquid) also is used to make decaffeinated coffee and other products. The scientists reported in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry that besides the added fiber the super-puffed rice is loaded with calcium, iron, zinc and other nutrients not found in traditional puffed rice. It’s also crisper and crunchier and has more flavor, according to the research team.   “Micronutrient and Protein-Fortified Whole Grain Puffed Rice Made by Supercritical Fluid Extrusion,”Journal of Agricultural and Food...

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