Study of US seniors strengthens link between air pollution and premature death

Read the full story in Science Daily.

A new study of 60 million Americans — about 97 percent of people age 65 and older in the United States — shows that long-term exposure to airborne fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and ozone increases the risk of premature death, even when that exposure is at levels below the National Ambient Air Quality Standards.

Paint Stripper Poses An Increasing Threat to Ozone Layer, Study Finds

Read the full story at e360 Digest.

Concentrations of a paint-stripping chemical are building in the atmosphere and scientists believe it threatens to significantly delay repair of the damaged ozone layer, which shields the earth from high levels of harmful ultraviolet radiation.

The chemical dichloromethane had been left out of the 1987 Montreal protocol, which banned the worst of the ozone-depleting chemicals, in part because it breaks down so quickly. But recent observations published in Nature Communications show its atmospheric concentration is now increasing at a rapid clip.

As Seas Rise, Tropical Pacific Islands Face a Perfect Storm

Read the full story at e360.

Although they have done little to contribute to global warming, Pacific islanders may face some of the most dire consequences of rising seas and worsening storms. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, geologist Chip Fletcher describes the threats confronting Hawaii and other tropical islands, and discusses potential adaptation strategies.

The Energy Secretary Is Wrong: The Grid is Ready for Renewables

Read the full opinion piece at e360.

U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry is expected to issue a report saying renewables pose a threat to the electricity grid. But the truth is that advances in technology and battery storage are making the grid ever-more capable of accommodating wind and solar power.

From binoculars to big data: Citizen scientists use emerging technology in the wild

Read the full story from O’Reilly Radar. h/t to ResearchBuzz for the link.

For years, citizen scientists have trekked through local fields, rivers, and forests to observe, measure, and report on species and habitats with notebooks, binoculars, butterfly nets, and cameras in hand. It’s a slow process, and the gathered data isn’t easily shared. It’s a system that has worked to some degree, but one that’s in need of a technology and methodology overhaul.

Thanks to the team behind and their Wildbook software, both citizen and professional scientists are becoming active participants in using AI, computer vision, and big data. Wildbook is working to transform the data collection process, and citizen scientists who use the software have more transparency into conservation research and the impact it’s making. As a result, engagement levels have increased; scientists can more easily share their work; and, most important, endangered species like the whale shark benefit.

95-Degree Days: How Extreme Heat Could Spread Across the World

Read the full story in the New York Times.

Extremely hot days, when temperatures soar to 95 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, can be miserable. Crops wilt in the fields. Electric grids strain to keep pace with demand. People are at greater risk of dying. And those hot temperatures are expected to be much more frequent in the coming decades.

Is Bing News Worth Using? (Spoiler: Yes)

Read the full post in ResearchBuzz.

Google News has dominated news search as completely Google has with its Web search. With over 50,000 sources as of 2013,  you might wonder if you need any other free service when you’re looking for news.

Yes, you do. And I’ve got a suggestion for you: Bing News. It looks a bit plain compared to Google News, and hides its features in a frustrating way, but I find that Bing News search can bring you materials that you’d find above and beyond Google News. You just need to know a few tricks to get to them.