Kids paying cash for lunch eat healthier, Cornell study shows

The more current the currency, the better kids eat, according to a study that looked at how payment methods in public school lunch systems affect food choices. The study, by Cornell researchers funded with a government grant, looked at two types of payment methods in public school cafeterias, those that accept only pre-loaded debit cards and those that accept cash or debit card.

Arctic ice melt will bring more severe winters, according to Cornell scientists

ITHACA, N.Y. – The dramatic melt-off of Arctic sea ice due to climate change is hitting closer to home than millions of Americans might think.That’s because melting Arctic sea ice can trigger a domino effect leading to increased odds of severe winter weather outbreaks in the Northern Hemisphere’s middle latitudes – think the “Snowmageddon” storm that hamstrung Washington, D.C., during February 2010.

Methane gas from fracking will worsen climate change, report Cornell researchers

Groups protesting natural gas drilling have focused on the threat to water supplies. They point to the modern drilling or “fracking” methods, which shatter rock deep beneath the earth, opening fissures that threaten water stores; and they cite cases of wells being contaminated near fracking operations in Pennsylvania and Wyoming.
Now new research by three Cornell University scientists suggests that fracking could cause even more havoc with the atmosphere

Biochar: Panacea or peril?

Biochar has emerged over the last couple years as a ray of hope on the otherwise bleak horizon of the planet’s environmental future. It has been hailed as a possible solution to climate change, world hunger, and rural poverty — though doubts are being raised in some quarters.
Last year, some of the world’s most eminent biochar experts gathered for a biochar conference at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst to discuss this ancient technology that is getting a new look by scientists, governments and investors. To the packed audience, this promising technology sounded like a panacea for a whole host of problems. Biochar, the speakers said, could soak up large amounts of carbon from the atmosphere, supercharge soil fertility to feed the world’s hungry, promote jobs and economic opportunities for farmers, safely get rid of animal and plant waste, heat buildings greenly, and slash the kind of fertilizer use that is creating vast dead zones in coastal waters from nitrogen runoff.

New oil incursion at Raccoon Island blackens the future for pelican chicks

Brown Pelicans at Raccoon Island show contact with oil. (Photo: Marc Dantzker, Cornell Lab of Ornithology).

Gulf-area biologists and researchers from Cornell University have discovered that birds on previously unaffected Raccoon Island have been newly oiled, apparently because of waves of crude driven in by winds from Hurricane Alex.