Sci/Tech News for New Jersey Sun, 29 Mar 2015 04:21:42 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Seismic Testing in the Atlantic Ocean ... and Why N.J. Voices Need to be Heard seismic_opt-2BY CHRISTINE BRENNAN

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-6) sent a letter today (March 24) to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), requesting that the agency hold a public meeting in New Jersey so that residents can make their voices heard on the issue of seismic testing in the Atlantic Ocean.  BOEM announced that they intend to hold public sessions to discuss the process by which interested parties can obtain geological and geophysical (G&G) permits to conduct seismic testing off the Atlantic Coast.  However, of the eight meetings scheduled, not a single public forum has been planned in the state of New Jersey.

“We’ve seen that oil spills don’t respect state borders.  Similarly, marine mammals and fish migrate and cross over state borders.  This testing is harmful to marine life up and down the Atlantic Coast and simply serves as the first major step towards offshore oil drilling, to which I am absolutely opposed,” said Congressman Pallone.  “This decision by BOEM is deeply disappointing, and I fundamentally disagree with their plans to move forward.  At the very minimum, though, New Jerseyans who will face the consequences of this seismic testing must be allowed to make their opinions heard at a public meeting in our state.”

Science updates Wed, 25 Mar 2015 00:08:58 +0000
The Era of Flying Robots is Upon Us, and It's Going to Be Very Cool (or Utterly Terrifying) drone_optBY MIKE KESSLER

Dave Anderson has been running whale-watching tours out of Dana Point Harbor, in Southern California, for a good 20 years. Last fall, he noticed something unusual about a pair of humpback whales: A mother and her calf were swimming side by side on their annual migration to mainland Mexico, and Anderson could see, for the first time, that the older whale was essentially steering and protecting her baby with an extended left pectoral flipper.

“I’ve seen them swim as pairs together many times,” Anderson explained to me on a sunny afternoon in January, aboard his 62-foot, 49-passenger catamaran, the Lily. “From this new angle, though, I could see that the mother’s right flipper was tucked in and out of use. It was like the extended left flipper’s only job was to hold the baby’s hand.” This was new information, and it would have been impossible to ascertain from the deck of his boat. “But with this technology I’m now able to see these animals in an entirely new way—without bothering them or getting too close.”

Science updates Sat, 21 Mar 2015 14:38:12 +0000
Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technology Must be at Forefront of N.J.’s Economic Revival, Stresses Assemblyman Johnson gordon_opt_copyBY TOM HESTER

TRENTON – Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Chairman Gordon Johnson (D-Bergen) released the following statement after his committee on Monday heard testimony on hydrogen fuel cell technology:

“If we’re going to reinvigorate New Jersey’s economy, we need to make sure New Jersey is at the cutting-edge of innovation. Doing so will ensure high-paying jobs and exciting economic growth for years to come, and hydrogen fuel cell technology must be a part of that effort.

“We need to do what we can to make it cheaper and easier to produce, deliver, and store hydrogen, while also working to lower the costs of fuel cells and improve their durability and performance. The testimony we heard Monday was a key first step in this effort, and as chairman of the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee, I will be looking into whatever we can do legislatively to address any barriers facing the development and deployment of innovative hydrogen and fuel cell technologies.

Science updates Wed, 18 Mar 2015 14:25:30 +0000
UPDATE: Body of Erica Crippen Found by Using Technology GPS_opt_copyBY BOB HOLT

Authorities tracked down the body of a woman who had been missing since New Year’s Eve through a Global Positioning System electronic device, according to reports.

Erica Clippen’s body was found in Sykesville, Maryland on Tuesday, authorities said.

Her husband Kyle Crosby has been charged with the murder. According to, investigators looked through 8,600 locations on Crosby’s GPS where he had stopped for five minutes or longer.  They cut the list down to 30 locations, and determined that Crosby had visited Sykesville twice in two days.

The Courier Post reported that authorities said Clippen’s body was wrapped in a fleece blanket, her hands, feet, and neck were bound with a cord, and duct tape was over her mouth and nose. The body was discovered beneath a pile of branches off a road.

According to the New York Daily News, Crosby’s mother Jo, 67, has been arrested and charged with concealing the murder by allegedly deleting evidence from her cellphone. She is free on bail.

Science updates Thu, 19 Mar 2015 16:21:56 +0000
Prisoners Find Purpose Behind Bars: Saving Salamanders salamander_optBY NANCY AVERETT

Robert Cooper scoops a salamander from one of the six fish tanks he keeps in a small, unadorned room, its walls just bare cinder block. “This is my big boy,” he says, projecting his voice above the gurgling water. Cooper stretches his heavily tattooed arms and hands out before him—the words “hate” and “rage” are spelled across his knuckles—to reveal the tiny, slippery amphibian twisting in his cupped palms. “He ain’t too happy right now,” he adds. The salamander, an eastern hellbender, is a reclusive species that rarely interacts with its own kind, let alone humans.

Cooper knows what it feels like to be confined in someone else’s grip. He’s been a prisoner here at Marion Correctional Institution, in central Ohio, for 15 years. The hellbender he holds and the 11 others in the room are an endangered species endemic to parts of the Midwest, the South, and the Northeast. In six months, they will be released into the wild as part of the Ohio Hellbender Partnership, a consortium of zoos, universities, and government agencies collaborating to help the amphibian’s recovery. There is no certain date for Cooper’s release, however. He murdered a woman 15 years ago, when he was 21, and is serving a sentence of 27 years to life.

Science updates Sun, 15 Mar 2015 20:08:53 +0000
Singing the Praises of STEM Jobs in N.J. stem_optSPECIAL TO NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM

TRENTON – Continuing her celebration of STEM week after yesterday’s kick-off of the Million Women Mentors program, Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno today (MARCH 10) praised Secretary of Higher Education Rochelle Hendricks and the members of the New Jersey STEM Pathways Network for their efforts to fill New Jersey’s increasing need for thousands of skilled workers for jobs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

“New Jersey will have more than 248,000 STEM jobs by 2018 – an 11 percent increase from the number of STEM jobs in the State today,” said Lt. Governor Guadagno. “We are taking action now to proactively educate our children and our workforce to ensure that, when those STEM jobs of the future are available, New Jersey’s best and brightest are ready to fill them.”

Secretary Hendricks noted that there has been limited awareness and interaction between those engaged in the more than 200 STEM initiatives already underway in New Jersey. That is why, in August, she created the New Jersey STEM Pathways Network and brought together three dozen of the State’s leaders in academia, industry and philanthropy to enhance collaboration and build bridges among agencies, foundations, higher education and businesses.

Science updates Wed, 11 Mar 2015 00:57:41 +0000
Tesla Making Comeback in New Jersey Tesla-NJ_opt.png_copyBY BOB HOLT

The car dealer that makes luxury electric cars is currently unable to sell them to New Jersey consumers. But that may be about to change.

New Jersey’s Motor Vehicle Commission took away Tesla Motors’ dealer license in March 2014.

Back in June 2014 a bill to reverse that decision passed the New Jersey Assembly by a 77-0 vote. Transport Evolved reports that a sister bill passed the Senate Commerce Committee this week. Tony Russo of the Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey said, “We support the bill because we are a free market advocate, and we believe when you lift restrictions on free market trade, it really helps business, it helps the consumer.”

Science updates Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:05:50 +0000
Major North Jersey Consolidation Plan Being Proposed kevinotoole_opt_copy_copyBY JEREMY ROSEN

Senator Kevin O’Toole (R-40) introduced legislation with the end goal of consolidating into one entity the Newark Watershed Conservation and Development Corporation; the North Jersey District Water Supply Commission; and the Passaic Valley Water Commission.

“This measure will help eliminate redundant entities and will directly cut costs for ratepayers in the immediate future,” O’Toole said. “It’s nonsensical to have three separate public entities providing water services at different rates to a block of communities in one region of the state. Their pipes literally cross beneath the surface. This bill will help create a more efficient, sustainable and overall stronger commission for generations to come.”

Senator O’Toole’s legislation would establish a committee tasked with developing within six months a plan to consolidate the three aforementioned public entities. That committee would consist of seven members, as follows: the Executive Director of each of the entities, or their designees; a commissioner or trustee, as appropriate, from each of the entities, appointed by the Governor; and the Commissioner of Environmental Protection, or the commissioner’s designee.

Science updates Tue, 10 Mar 2015 03:04:01 +0000
8 Reasons New Jersey is a Solar Power State SOLARSUB_optBY BOB HOLT

For all of New Jersey’s problems, our state has shown increasing progress in a somewhat unexpected resource.

A lot more people in New Jersey are looking toward the sun for their electrical power needs.

Solar energy is growing in New Jersey mainly due to the Clean Energy Program and the Solar Renewable Energy Certificates program, according to Clean Technica. A solar project owner can earn a SREC every time his system generates 1,000 killowatt hours of electricity.

These certificates are then deposited in the owner’s account, where they can be sold later, and traded. According to Clean Techica, when the Clean Energy Program was put together in 2001 there were 6 solar projects in New Jersey, and now the numbers are in the thousands, Also, 7,200 solar-connected jobs have been created in the state.

Science updates Thu, 26 Mar 2015 17:10:57 +0000
Grossly Inadequate? Christie Administration Environmental Agreement With Exxon Mobile Being Challenged RAYLESNIAK_opt_copy_copy_copyBY RICHARD McGRATH

Reacting to a reported settlement by the Christie Administration with Exxon Mobil that would allow the oil company to pay only $250 million for $8.9 billion in environmental damage, Senator Raymond Lesniak vowed to challenge the settlement "every step of the way until the state gets just compensation for the damage done by the company's Bayway and Bayonne refineries to more than 1,500 acres of wetlands, meadows and waterways destroyed or damaged"

"I grew up under that giant Exxon sign in the Bayway section of Elizabeth and feel personally offended at this weak effort by the Christie Administration in securing fair compensation for the extensive contamination admittedly done by Exxon Mobile to our environment," said Senator Lesniak.  "They are settling for three cents on the dollar in a case where Exxon's responsibility has already been established. This is a grossly inadequate amount of compensation that lets the mega oil company off the hook."

The lawsuits, originally filed in 2004 by the state Department of Environmental Protection and aggressively pursued by three administrations, went to trial last year with Exxon's liability already established. With a Superior Court judge expected to rule on damages, the Christie Administration asked the court to hold off on its decision. A news account by The New York Times disclosed the reported $250 million settlement.


Science updates Mon, 02 Mar 2015 05:23:33 +0000