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september 2010

Earliest fossil evidence of humans in Southeast Asia?

Modern humans reached the islands of Southeast Asia by approximately 50,000 years ago, but our ancestors’ journey was not easy. Even during times of low sea level, a voyage to some of these islands would have required crossing open water, leaving many scientists to wonder how humans arrived on the most isolated islands.

04 Aug 2010

The rising global interest in coal fires

In eastern India, north of the Damodar River, approximately 70 fires are burning in the Jharia coalfield, the largest coalmine fire complex in the world. The majority of fires in Jharia ignite when coal, exposed to air during mining operations, spontaneously combusts. Particulate matter and noxious gases emitted from the burning coal — including sulfur, carbon and nitrogen oxides, and hydrocarbons released at the surface from gas vents, ground fissures and the soil — have caused illnesses that range from stroke to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

01 Sep 2010

Who deals with coal fires?

Currently (and historically), most people who deal with underground coal fires and gob fires are employed by government agencies, mining and engineering companies, and firefighting agencies. Today, as in the past, these institutions undertake various responsibilities that include recording the location of coal fires, tracking their progression, and extinguishing the most problematic ones, if physically and economically feasible.

01 Sep 2010

Further reading and international collaborations

The growing interest in coal fires has led to the largest collection of peer-reviewed publications about this topic ever undertaken for publication, which includes the work of scientists and engineers around the world interested in peat, the precursor of coal, and peat fires. This project has resulted in a four-volume book, entitled “Coal and Peat Fires: A Global Perspective,” to be published later this year by Elsevier. It will include an interactive online world map of coal and peat fires.

01 Sep 2010

Blogging on EARTH: Climate change threatens Virginia's vacation spots

Each year, millions of visitors flock to Virginia’s natural wonders, such as Shenandoah National Park, and to historical landmarks, like Jamestown, one of America’s earliest colonies. But a new report by the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) states that many of Virginia’s landmarks are jeopardized by climate change.

03 Sep 2010

Museums: Cleopatra: The search for the last queen of Egypt

Cleopatra VII was the queen of Egypt. Even 2,000 years after her death, the last ruler of the great empire is still a focal point of worldwide fascination. Despite the number of movies and books that have centered on Cleopatra, most of her life and death remains a mystery. However, a new traveling exhibit called Cleopatra: The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt, currently at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, Pa., aims to finally set the record straight on her life — and perhaps reveal her final resting place.

08 Sep 2010

Impossible Odds, Irrepressible Hope: Pakistan's water woes and the science that can solve them

Most residents of developed countries don’t think about their water running out or worry about their water leading to the death of their children. In Pakistan, those are distinct possibilities.

05 Oct 2010