Day: May 11, 2012

Easel.ly Launches Browser Tool And Templates For Quick, Easy, Beautiful Infographics

Read the full post at 10,000 Words.

Did you know that infographics are 30 to 40 times more likely to be viewed and shared vs. text? At least that’s the claim that Easel.ly makes on its homepage. The new site, a project in beta, makes it super easy to use drag-n-drop templates to create beautiful infographics for free.

I played with it for a few minutes to see what it could do. It’s super easy to use and pretty powerful. There are five templates to get you started. You can also start from scratch. The site provides icons in ten different categories and allows you to upload your own graphics if you want to use your own. To remove or delete an item, simply drag it off of the pasteboard.

You can export your infographic as PNG, PDF, JPG, or SVG files. If you want to save your infographic to work on later, you’ll have to create an account. Note that they support Firefox, Chrome, and Safari, but not Internet Explorer.

Ecological Forestry & DoD’s Carbon Footprint

Read the full story from SERDP/ESTCP.

The Department of Defense (DoD) strives for ecologically sustainable management of its forests to maintain desired ecosystem services, including realistic training settings, native biological diversity, and carbon storage. In a carbon-constrained world, how DoD manages its forested land base will determine whether alternative land use and silvicultural practices within these ecosystems will be a positive or negative contribution to an installation’s overall carbon footprint.

SERDP initiated a suite of four projects in FY 2011 focused on developing the fundamental and applied science required to manage and restore forested ecosystems on DoD lands in accordance with the principles of ecological forestry, a silvicultural approach that perpetuates ecosystem integrity at landscape spatial scales while continuing to provide wood products and other ecosystem services. These projects are investigating the interactions between ecological forestry-based silvicultural prescriptions and carbon management in the context of maintaining other desired ecosystem services.

Erosion Resistant Coating Improves Engine Efficiency

Read the full story from SERDP/ESTCP.

The U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force (USAF) in collaboration with ESTCP are demonstrating a novel protective coating that will reduce wear on compressor airfoils in gas turbine engines, significantly increase fuel efficiency, and reduce overhaul and maintenance requirements. Additional benefits for the Department of Defense (DoD) include substantial cost savings and a reduction in its overall industrial footprint.

Converting Solar Energy to Electricity and Heat

Read the full story from SERDP/ESTCP.

An innovative technology that converts solar energy into thermal energy for both electricity and heat is generating impressive results as part of an ESTCP demonstration at Fort Carson, Colorado. Increasing the use of renewable energy sources like solar is key to reducing energy consumption and carbon footprints and improving energy security on military installations.

National Water Trails System

From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout 1994-2012.

Some might wonder: What exactly is the National Water Trails System (NWTS)? That’s a good question; NWTS describes the system as “a distinctive national network of exemplary water trails that are cooperatively supported and sustained.” This website provides information about the NWTS for policy makers, water enthusiasts, and other interested parties. Casual visitors will want to start with the Explore a National Water Trail area. Here they can use an interactive map to locate water trails, and go deeper into each riverine passage with the Stories and Images section. Moving on, policy makers and park administrators will want to peruse the Develop and Manage a National Water Trail area. This section contains some basic answers to queries such s “What Are The Benefits of National Water Trail Designation” and “How Do I Apply For National Water Trail Designation?” [KMG]

NOAA Education Resources: Carbon Cycle Collection

From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout 1994-2012.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has recently updated its Education Resources website, and there are some fine changes worth nothing. One in particular is the updated section on climate. First-time visitors will note that the materials here are divided into five sections, which include Real World Data and Background Information. Educators will find that the homepage contains a great introduction to the operations and processes of the carbon cycle, and it’s a great stand-alone resource for students new to the field. Moving along, the Lessons and Activities area includes six different resources, including Cycling Carbon Lab and Finding Carbon Sinks. Finally, visitors shouldn’t miss the Career Profiles area which may serve to inspire young people to join the ranks of persons working as fuel scientists and geologists. [KMG]

Watchdog Update: Durbin demands action on dangerous flame retardants

Read the full story in the Chicago Tribune. The Tribune series, Playing With Fire, is available here.

Reacting with outrage to the Chicago Tribune’s investigation of the deceptive tactics that have fueled the rise of toxic flame retardants in Americans’ bodies, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin on Thursday demanded answers from two federal agencies, asking them to act aggressively to rid homes of chemicals that pose health risks but don’t stave off fires.

Nanotube ‘Sponge’ Has Potential in Oil Spill Cleanup

Read the full story from Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

A carbon nanotube sponge that can soak up oil in water with unparalleled efficiency has been developed with help from computational simulations performed at the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Oak Ridge National Laboratory.