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EPA plans ten hearings on water rule rewrite

EPA plans ten hearings on water rule rewrite

Science
Aug. 25 (UPI) -- The Environmental Protection Agency announced today it is taking its first steps to rewrite the Waters of the United States regulation under the Trump Administration.The EPA announced today, in a notice to be published Monday in the Federal Register, that 10 teleconference meetings will be held to gather information on its plans to change the rule, which is intended to reduce water pollution under the Clean Water Act.The first of the 10 meetings is scheduled for September 19 at 1:00 p.m., with the next nine held each Tuesday after.In 2015, the Obama administration issued a new rule reinterpreting the Clean Water Act to extend federal protections to smaller rivers and streams to protect against water pollution. Obama's rule was blocked at the time by a federal appeals court...
First tanker crosses northern sea route without ice breaker

First tanker crosses northern sea route without ice breaker

Science
A commercial LNG tanker has sailed across the colder, northern route from Europe to Asia without the protection of an ice-breaker for the first time. The specially-built ship completed the crossing in just six-and-a-half days setting a new record, according to tanker's Russian owners. The 300-metre-long Sovcomflot ship, the Christophe de Margerie, was carrying gas from Norway to South Korea.Rising Arctic temperatures are boosting commercial shipping across this route. The Christophe de Margerie is the world's first and, at present, only ice-breaking LNG carrier. The ship, which features a lightweight steel reinforced hull, is the largest commercial ship to receive Arc7 certification, which means it is capable of travelling through ice up to 2.1m thick. On this trip it was able to keep up a...
Secret life of the dodo revealed

Secret life of the dodo revealed

Science
Scientists are piecing together clues about the life of the dodo, hundreds of years after the flightless bird was driven to extinction. Few scientific facts are known about the hapless bird, which was last sighted in 1662. A study of bone specimens shows the chicks hatched in August and grew rapidly to adult size. The bird shed its feathers in March revealing fluffy grey plumage recorded in historical accounts by mariners. Delphine Angst of the University of Cape Town, South Africa, was given access to some of the dodo bones that still exist in museums and collections, including specimens that were recently donated to a museum in France.Her team analysed slices of bone from 22 dodos under the microscope to find out more about the bird's growth and breeding patterns."Before our study we kne...
Scientists split over snow leopard status

Scientists split over snow leopard status

Science
Scientists are deeply divided on whether snow leopards are still endangered species, a BBC investigation has found.Some big cat exerts say their population has stabilised and increased in a number of places.This, they claim, has slowed the overall rate of decline.Others argue that there has been no robust scientific study to prove either that the population has stabilised.Amid the disagreement, top officials from 12 countries within the snow leopard range are meeting in Kyrgyzstan to further strengthen conservation of the elusive big cats. The differences of opinion among scientists have intensified as a downgrading of the threat to snow leopards - from "endangered" to "vulnerable" - is expected from the IUCN Red List soon.The Red List is the most comprehensive inventory of the conservatio...
Observations suggest black hole formation scenarios

Observations suggest black hole formation scenarios

Science
Aug. 23 (UPI) -- Scientists at the University of Birmingham have identified formation scenarios of black holes by observing gravitational waves.The study, published today in Nature, utilized the LIGO gravitational wave detector in 2015 and 2017 to make landmark observations of gravitational waves.Physicists found that the first detected gravitational waves observed in 2015 were produced during the final fraction of a second of the merger of two black holes to produce a single, massive spinning black hole.The first formation scenario researchers found was that black holes are spinning slowly leading to something different happening to stars that form black holes than those in Earth's galaxy. The second scenario was that black holes spin rapidly, similar to those in Earth's galaxy, but that ...