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Aug. 26 – Rain gardens in your yard can help prevent storm water runoff and pollution – two things that can be very hazardous for the environment.
"We can reduce pollution significantly," said Dr. Helen Kraus, a horticulturalist at N.C. State University. She believes rain gardens are one way to keep North Carolina's waterway's cleaner.
"When water falls on your home landscape, buildings, or streets, or roads, or parking lots… that picks up pollution and it runs across those hard surfaces and is collected by our storm drains," Kraus explained...
Aug. 26 – This is a pig heart, procured from a slaughterhouse, beating on a heart-pumping machine called the Heart Cart. Because pig hearts share many anatomical similarities with humans', scientists often use them to test new medical devices and surgical procedures. Instead of operating on the entire, living hog, which costs about $2,500 for each experiment, the Heart Cart lets researchers work on just the hearts, dropping that cost to $25, by pumping them with a saline solution to make the heart valves move realistically.
The machine has already helped in developing tools to repair damaged valves that could be used in robotic surgery. It could also be used to train human surgeons. “There’s lots of [repetitive] steps that occur during device design,” says the cart’s designer, Andrew Richards, a mechanical-engineering Ph.D. student at North Carolina State University. “I’d say a good chunk [of wasteful animal testing] at the beginning stages is eliminated.”
R & D Magazine, News Guide, First Science, e! Science News, Red Orbit
Aug. 24 – Yields of three of the most important crops produced in the United States – corn, soybeans and cotton – are predicted to fall off a cliff if temperatures rise due to climate change.
In a paper published online this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, North Carolina State University agriculture and resource economist Dr. Michael Roberts and Dr. Wolfram Schlenker, an assistant professor of economics at Columbia University, predict that U.S. crop yields could decrease by 30 to 46 percent over the next century under slow global warming scenarios, and by a devastating 63 to 82 percent under the most rapid global warming scenarios. The warming scenarios used in the study – called Hadley III models – were devised by the United Kingdom's weather service...
News & Observer
Aug. 21 – The hurricane season is heating up, as it often does in the fall. Hurricane Bill is heading west, and while it may not make landfall, any storm conjures images in our state of Hurricane Floyd, whose 10th anniversary is noted this year...Thomas Birkland is the William T. Kretzer professor of public policy in the School of Public and International Affairs at N.C. State University, and is an IEI-GlaxoSmithKline faculty fellow for 2009.