environment

World’s smallest snail fits in the eye of a needle

World’s smallest snail fits in the eye of a needle

The world's smallest snail species has been discovered in southern China, and it is small enough that its shell fits in the eye of a needle. The snail species has been named Angustopila dominikae, and researchers determined the discovered snail is an adult, not a juvenile. Its shell measures a mere 0.03 inches from one side to the others. Half a dozen other species were also discovered, though they aren’t as small.

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Researchers find hidden Arctic night life under the sea

Researchers find hidden Arctic night life under the sea

An "entirely different view" of how biological activity under the sea in the Arctic functions has been published this week by researcher Jorgen Berge and crew. Sea creatures come out at night in the Arctic, believe it or not. Research published this week stands against previous assumptions of a classical "bottom-up controlled system with strong physical forcing and seasonality in primary-production regimes." Of utmost importance in this study is the affirmation that the polar night is NOT what scientists though it would be - a time of "biological quiescence."

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EPA to tighten emissions tests, but fixes should be easy

EPA to tighten emissions tests, but fixes should be easy

Unless you're driving an older vehicle, fixes for vehicles that require repair to reduct emissions should be relatively easy. That's what the United States Environmental Agency (EPA) suggests in a new set of documents released in the wake of recent violations of the Clean Air Act (CAA) by Volkswagen. Technical changes to Volkswagen diesel vehicles from 2015 and 2016 model years should be easy, while more "substantial" changes may be required for vehicles from the past several years. In most or all cases, repair costs will be charged to the manufacturer, not the driver.

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Bee tongues are getting shorter due to climate change

Bee tongues are getting shorter due to climate change

Increasing global temperatures are upsetting the bee population, and in more ways than one. A new report details how alpine bumblebees in Colorado are experiencing a shortening of the tongue due to a decrease in the number of their preferred flowers. Certain types of flowers require long tongues for bees to reach the sweet nectar inside. As those flowers become more scarce, bees tongues are becoming shorter as they gravitate toward more shallow flower types.

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Volkswagen was caught cheating as early as 2014 with this setup

Volkswagen was caught cheating as early as 2014 with this setup

Just because Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn resigned over the "Dieselgate" scandal or that the company has put aside $11 million to cover for whatever expenses it might have caused doesn't mean that the world will suddenly stop putting the car maker under a microscope. It turns out, it should have probably done so much earlier than this week. Apparently, West Virginia University researchers have been hot on the trail of the discrepancy between VW's marketing speak and actual performance as early as May last year.

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Arctic doomsday seed vault sees first withdrawal due to Syrian war

Arctic doomsday seed vault sees first withdrawal due to Syrian war

Located in the Arctic, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault is known as the "doomsday" vault, as it serves to safeguard the world's food supplies by storing seeds for plants and crops in the event of a global disaster. The seed bank was built into the mountainside, taking the place of an old coal mine, and keeps samples from almost every country frozen and sealed, even in the event of a power outage. And for the very first time, scientists are going to make a withdrawal.

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Volkswagen CEO resigns over rigged diesel testing

Volkswagen CEO resigns over rigged diesel testing

Following the ongoing news about car maker Volkswagen cheating emissions testing on its diesel vehicles in the US, CEO Martin Winterkorn has announced his resignation today. The announcement includes a statement from Winterkorn, who says he is taking responsibility for the misconduct that went on under his leadership. The company needs a "fresh start" in terms of conduct and personnel, he says, and his resignation is intended to pave the way for such changes.

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VW woes worsen: EPA widens investigation, US starts criminal probe

VW woes worsen: EPA widens investigation, US starts criminal probe

They say when it rains, it pours and for Volkswagen, that might be a lot more than a downpour. It is hardly surprising to see how the German car maker's problems with its TDI turbodiesel engine aren't ending with just an apology and a sales halt. With no end yet in sight, the Environment Protection Agency or EPA is reported to be expanding its investigations into VW's other engines which would affect even more cars. In the meantime, US and German governments are also starting their own investigations into the matter.

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Volkswagen got caught emissions cheating: What you need to know

Volkswagen got caught emissions cheating: What you need to know

Volkswagen's attempts to cheat the Clean Air Act in the US have proved shocking to diesel drivers thinking they were helping save the planet, but things are going to get even more complicated. The news that independent testing had spotted nitrogen oxide levels as much as 35x higher than the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) permits from select VW and Audi cars, and that the discrepancy came down to some testing trickery, has left the German behemoth in hot water.

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VW “clean diesel” cars not so clean after all, sales stopped

VW “clean diesel” cars not so clean after all, sales stopped

What happens when something supposedly clean is in reality even dirtier? Well, aside from lawsuits and fines, you've got a fine PR disaster on the way. That is most likely what acclaimed German car maker Volkswagen is facing as it was charged, and has also acknowledged, some misleading and rather shocking revelations about its supposedly "clean diesel" TDI engines. The Environmental Protection Agency, more popularly known as the EPA, has charged VW for, at the very least, faulty engines, forcing the car maker to suspend sales pending investigations.

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Los Angeles to lease fleet of electric and hybrid vehicles

Los Angeles to lease fleet of electric and hybrid vehicles

Departments in the city of Los Angeles will be leasing a fleet of both electric and hybrid vehicles, Mayor Eric Garcetti has announced. Under this commitment, the LA Police, Fire, General Services, Water, and Power departments will lease a total of 160 battery-powered electric vehicles. Joining this will be another 128 plug-in hybrids that will be used by the General Services Department and the LADWP.

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Rare pink dolphin surfaces again in Louisiana waters

Rare pink dolphin surfaces again in Louisiana waters

Whatever mental image you have dolphins, set it aside. "Pinky" is unlike any other, and for one very obvious reason: she is entirely pink. The dolphin was first spotted eight years ago as a young calf swimming near her mother in the waters near Louisiana. The man who first saw her reports having seen her hundreds of times over the years, sometimes with other dolphins and sometimes alone. And, now, it is reported that she may be pregnant.

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