February 17, 2014 |
Glass may be hard, but it's all too easy to break, as anyone who's seen a shattered window knows. But now scientists have discovered that they can make glass 200 times tougher than normal by making it 'weaker' - using a laser to etch wavy micro-cracks into an otherwise solid surface. The discovery, described last month in Nature Communications, borrows secrets from mollusk shells, which use very brittle, breakable materials to create some of nature's toughest structures. Seashells lined with iridescent mother-of-pearl are more than just pretty - they're a remarkable feat of microengineering, said study co-author François Barthelat, a mechanical engineer at McGill University in Quebec, Canada.
January 30, 2014 |
Occidental Petroleum reported higher profits in the fourth quarter as the oil and gas producer seeks to revamp its business after a boardroom shakeup last year. The Los Angeles company reported profits of $1.6 billion, or $2.04 a share, in the quarter that ended Dec. 31. That is up from $336 million, or 42 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. Occidental announced last year plans to sell off some stakes in Middle East and North Africa oil fields along with other assets and instead focus on operations closer to home.
January 30, 2014 |
Shell's decision to give up on Arctic Ocean oil drilling for 2014 is good news for the environment. Now if only the oil companies - and the Obama administration - would give up altogether on the idea of drilling in such a remote and harsh place . Yes, there are arguments for ramping up domestic oil production to reduce our dependency on foreign oil, but the bigger issue is our dependence on oil, period. It's mind-boggling that we talk about trying to reduce global warming caused by burning fossil fuels while at the same time pursuing policies that will bring us more fossil fuels to burn, and at a cheaper price.
January 30, 2014 |
After investing an estimated $5 billion in recent years into oil exploration in the offshore Alaskan Arctic, Shell announced Thursday that it will abandon any renewed drilling effort this year. The company cited a federal appeals court decision last week that found the Interior Department had awarded permits to Shell based on inadequate information, a major triumph for environmental groups that had been battling Shell for years. “This is a disappointing outcome, but the lack of a clear path forward means that I am not prepared to commit further resources for drilling in Alaska in 2014,” said Ben van Beurden, who took over as the company's chief executive four weeks ago. “We will look to relevant agencies and the court to resolve their open legal issues as quickly as possible.” The statement leaves open Shell's option to resume exploration of the Arctic waters in the future.
January 27, 2014 |
Keri Herman could shoot and score and deke defenders on an eighth-of-an-inch hockey skate blade, so taking on the rails and jumps of a slopestyle course in the mountains on skis felt like mere child's play. Hockey skills, apparently, are far more transferable than you might realize. Herman took hers from the rinks of her Minnesota youth to the mountains of Colorado, and now, to a spot on the U.S. Olympic team for slopestyle skiing. Assists and goals, not rails and tricks, were assumed to be Herman's route to the Winter Olympics when she was growing up in Bloomington, Minn.
December 29, 2013 |
JERUSALEM - In the first border flare-up of its kind in four months, at least one Katyusha rocket fired from Lebanon struck northern Israel on Sunday, triggering a heavy artillery barrage from Israeli forces in response. No casualties were reported on either side of the frontier. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a harshly worded statement to his Cabinet, blamed the Shiite Muslim militia Hezbollah for the rocket strike and condemned the Lebanese army for failing to "lift a finger" to rein in the group.