Friday, February 5, 2010

Defusing the Methane Greenhouse Time Bomb

Methanotrophs like the ones pictured here might be able to prevent a massive "burp" of methane from the Arctic Ocean. LANL image.

o investigate Arctic ice more carefully, Scott Elliott, a biogeochemist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, used the Coyote supercomputer to model the complex interplay of physical and biological systems that govern the fate of methane released from Arctic clathrates during the first few decades of projected future global warming. (

Ten Serious Nuclear Fusion Projects Making Progress Around the World

Neon glow discharge in the target fusion machine. LANL photo.

FRX-L (USA) - Under study at the Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Air Force Research Laboratory, the FRX-L uses magnetized target fusion. (more)

Soft intelligence for hard decisions

An approach to decision making based on soft metrics could allow problems to be solved where no definitive "yes-no" answer is possible in fields as diverse as healthcare, defense, economics, engineering, public utilities and science. Writing in the International Journal of Intelligent Defence Support Systems Mihaela Quirk of Los Alamos National Laboratory explains how. (more)

Obama budget seeks 13.4 percent increase for the NNSA

sident Obama's fiscal 2011 budget blueprint calls for an increase in funding of more than 13 percent for the agency that oversees the U.S. nuclear weapons complex, a greater percentage increase than for any other government agency. (more)

Nuclear security given high priority

A rationale for increases in the nuclear weapons area was spelled out by Vice President Joe Biden in an op-ed piece Friday in the Wall Street Journal, where he declared that the budget would reverse a decade-long decline in which "our laboratories and facilities have been under-funded a
nd undervalued." (more)

Also from the Monitor this week:

Lab trains African scientists

IAEA Ghanaian Fellows talk with LANL host Alex Feldman during a workshop. LANL photo.

Scientists from Ghana are visiting Los Alamos National Laboratory this week, participating in the lab's international threat reduction program. Under a fellowship with the International Atomic Energy Agency, Eric Akortia and Nyarku Mawutorli are looking at how the local program works. (more)

Peering inside an artificial sun

"The quest to achieve fusion ignition is one of the hardest scientific problems ever tackled," said Nelson Hoffman, a plasma physicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, "so looking at the problem with 'new eyes,' like MIT's proton radiographs, is crucial for detecting phenomena that don't show up any other way." (

Smokey Bear Now Studies Computer Science

The Cerro Grande wildfire, Forest Service photo.

Initially, scientists used FIRETEC, a physics-based model (created by LANL's Rod Linn) to simulate wildfire behavior, factoring in changing weather and the effects of complex terrain. (more)

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