Google Releases Security Updates for Chrome

Original release date: March 30, 2017

Google has released Chrome version 57.0.2987.137 for Windows, Mac, and Linux. This version addresses multiple vulnerabilities that, if exploited, may allow an attacker to take control of an affected system.

Users and administrators are encouraged to review the Chrome Releases page and apply the necessary updates.

This product is provided subject to this Notification and this Privacy & Use policy.

Escaping a Rigidity Trap; Governance and Adaptive Capacity to Climate Change in the Everglades Social Ecological System

The Everglades is perhaps one of the most recognized ecosystems on the planet. Its international reputation arose in part because of the writings of Marjory Stoneman Douglas, who wove together a rich, natural, social, and cultural depiction of the area entitled River of Grass. 1 The ecosystem is characterized as a subtropical wetland, rich in biodiversity and other environmental values. 2 Such values are reflected in the portions of the Everglades set aside for conservation and preservation. 3 The areas of the Everglades with the deepest organic soils now support agricultural production of sugar and vegetables that rely on federal economic support. 4 A mild subtropical climate also contributes to a tourist economy, and abundant rainfall provides water resources for millions of inhabitants. 5 Such complexities illustrate a few of the interactions between people and their environment that can be distilled into a conceptual framework of the social-ecological system of the Everglades.

Engineering Technical Support Center Annual Report Fiscal Year 2015

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or Agency) Office of Research and Development (ORD) created the Engineering Technical Support Center (ETSC) in 1987, one of several technical support centers created as part of the Technical Support Project (TSP). ETSC provides engineering expertise to Agency program and regional offices and remediation teams working at contaminated sites across the country. The ETSC is operated within ORD’s Land Remediation and Pollution Control Division (LRPCD) of the National Risk Management Research Laboratory (NRMRL) in Cincinnati, Ohio. The ETSC’s mission is to provide site-specific scientific and engineering technical support to Remedial Project Managers, On-Scene Coordinators, and other remediation personnel at contaminated sites. This allows local, regional, or national authorities to work more quickly, efficiently, and cost effectively, while also increasing the technical experience of the remediation team. Since its inception, the ETSC has supported countless projects across all EPA Regions in almost all states and territories. This report highlights significant projects the ETSC supported in fiscal year 2015 (FY15). These projects addressed an array of environmental scenarios, such as remote mining contamination, expansive landfill waste, cumulative impacts from multiple contamination sources, and persistent threats from abandoned industrial sites. Constructing and testing new and innovative treatment technologies through pilot and field research is a major component of meaningful remediation. The ETSC conducts such pilot and field research. For example, ETSC teams spearhead field projects on the cutting edge of remediation research in the areas of bioremediation and groundwater treatment, active sediment capping, in-situ stabilization, and sustainable site cleanup. The ETSC organizes and reports on significant developments in environmental engineering in the form of Engineering Issue Papers (EIPs) and peer-reviewed journal publications. The ETSC has also undertaken newer initiatives that integrate sustainability into community and land use plans. While ETSC’s central focus is to bolster technical expertise for site-specific remediation at contaminated sites, ETSC teams are reaching out to support other efforts in pollution prevention, thereby reducing the Agency’s burden from legacy sites in the future. NRMRL/LRPCD and the ETSC have continually evolved to meet the demand, as well as scientific and engineering needs, of the EPA program offices and regional clients.

Particulate Formation from a Copper Oxide-Based Oxygen Carrier in Chemical Looping Combustion for CO2 Capture

Attrition behavior and particle loss of a copper oxide-based oxygen carrier from a methane chemical looping combustion (CLC) process was investigated in a fluidized bed reactor. The aerodynamic diameters of most elutriated particulates, after passing through a horizontal settling duct, range between 2 and 5 μm. A notable number of submicron particulates are also identified. Oxygen carrier attrition was observed to lead to increased CuO loss resulting from the chemical looping reactions, i.e., Cu is enriched in small particles generated primarily from fragmentation in the size range of 10-75 μm. Cyclic reduction and oxidation reactions in CLC have been determined to weaken the oxygen carrier particles, resulting in increased particulate emission rates when compared to oxygen carriers without redox reactions. The generation rate for particulates < 10 μm was found to decrease with progressive cycles over as-prepared oxygen carrier particles and then reach a steady state. The surface of the oxygen carrier is also found to be coarsened due to a Kirkendall effect, which also explains the enrichment of Cu on particle surfaces and in small particles. As a result, it is important to collect and reprocess small particles generated from chemical looping processes to reduce oxygen carrier loss.

Ground-Based Aerosol Measurements

Atmospheric particulate matter (PM) is a complex chemical mixture of liquid and solid particles suspended in air (Seinfeld and Pandis 2016). Measurements of this complex mixture form the basis of our knowledge regarding particle formation, source-receptor relationships, data to test and verify complex air quality models, and how PM impacts human health, visibility, global warming, and ecological systems (EPA 2009).

Predicting Effects of Coastal Acidification on Marine Bivalve Populations

The partial pressure of carbon dioxide (pCO2) is increasing in the oceans and causing changes in seawater pH commonly described as ocean or coastal acidification. It is now well-established that, when reproduced in laboratory experiments, these increases in pCO2 can reduce survival and growth of early life stage bivalves. However, the effects that these impairments would have on whole populations of bivalves are unknown. In this study, these laboratory responses were incorporated into field-parameterized population models to assess population-level sensitivities to acidification for two northeast bivalve species with different life histories: Mercenaria mercenaria (hard clam) and Argopecten irradians (bay scallop). The resulting models permitted translation of laboratory pCO2 response functions into population-level responses to examine population sensitivity to future pCO2 changes. Preliminary results from our models indicate that if the current M. mercenaria negative population growth rate was attributed to the effects of pCO2 on early life stages, the population would decline at a rate of 50% per ten years at 420 microatmospheres (µatm) pCO2. If the current population growth rate was attributed to other additive factors (e.g., harvest, harmful algal blooms), M. mercenaria populations were predicted to decline at a rate of 50% per ten years at the preliminary estimate of 1010 µatm pCO2. The estimated population growth rate was positive for A. irradians, but was predicted to become negative at ≥ 530 µatm pCO2, with a 50% decline per ten years at ≥ 610 µatm pCO2. Given the continual rise of atmospheric pCO2, mitigation of eutrophication-based pCO2 or other stressors is required for sustainable populations. This study demonstrates that elevated rates of early life stage mortality wrought by moderate levels of acidification are enough to produce significant declines in projected abundances and potentially hinder some bivalve restoration efforts. These results are described in a manuscript prepared in collaboration with scientists from Stony Brook University and Long Island University and are currently under review for publication in the peer-reviewed literature.

NASA to Preview ‘Grand Finale’ of Cassini Saturn Mission

NASA will hold a news conference at 3 p.m. EDT Tuesday, April 4, at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, to preview the beginning of Cassini’s final mission segment, known as the Grand Finale, which begins in late April. The briefing will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

Amphibian (Xenopus sp.) iodothyronine deiodinase production for screening of thyroid-disrupting chemicals

The U.S. EPA-MED amphibian thyroid group is currently screening chemicals for inhibition of human iodothyronine deiodinase activity as components of the thyroid system important in human development. Amphibians are a bellwether taxonomic group to gauge toxicity of chemicals in the environment. Amphibian thyroid function is not only important in development but also metamorphosis. Xenopus sp. have been used extensively as model organisms and are well characterized genetically. We propose to screen a list of chemicals (selected from the human DIO screening results) to test for inhibition of Xenopus deiodinases. Large quantities of the enzymes will be produced using an adenovirus system. Our preliminary results show that there may be catalytic differences between human and Xenopus deiodinases.

Assessing the effects of legacy contaminants on egg and nestling survival of Tree Swallows in Great Lakes Areas of Concern (presentation)

Great Lakes Areas of Concern (AOCs) are affected by many stressors, some of which are environmental contaminants including PCBs, PBDEs, persistent organochlorine pesticides, dioxins, benzenes, and other chemicals. These toxicants can accumulate in aquatic biota and ultimately transfer to insectivorous birds that use the aquatic areas within AOCs. We used a relatively new multistate survival modeling approach to examine the relationship between avian egg and nestling survival and 11 contaminant concentrations in representative eggs of Tree Swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) nestling at reference (n=10) and contaminated sites (n=59) within 27 AOCs around the Great Lakes. A total of 1,303 nests and 7,752 eggs were included in the modeling effort. Our analyses controlled for other common sources of variation in egg survival, including female age, date within season, year, and both site and AOC. Site, date within year, year, and female age all proved to be important variables in explaining egg survival. Among environmental contaminants, we found few associations between egg and nestling failure and contaminant concentration in representative eggs. Total dioxin furan toxicity equivalents (TDFTEQ) was significantly positively associated with egg failure, but significantly negatively associated with nestling death. Across the full dose response for this contaminant, empirically observed values of TDFTEQ were concentrated at the low end, with only a few values at the higher end of the dose-response. Site, as an explanatory variable, proved much more valuable, as judged by AICc, than AOC, suggesting that sites within AOC can vary considerably in stressors and/or response to stressors. Overall, concentrations of the 11 contaminants examined here, appear to be at concentrations low enough to cause few problems for Tree Swallow reproductive success.

Remediation to restoration to revitalization: A path forward for AOCs progress report

At the 2016 Great Lakes Areas of Concern (AOC) Conference, researchers from the USEPA Office of Research and Development (ORD) sparked conversation about community revitalization and the different states of progress throughout the basin. The conversation was meant to provide AOC leaders, stakeholders, and technical advisors an opportunity to make connections between community development and AOC remediation and restoration projects. Remediation and restoration goals for AOCs are defined by the status of the Beneficial Use Impairments (BUI), or the uses of the Great Lakes ecosystem that have been compromised owing to historical industrial or urban activities. Historically, rivers were receptacles for waste materials, but are now a focal point for redevelopment in many of AOCs. Conceptually, “beneficial uses” are analogous to ecosystem services, or the benefits people derive from nature. What participants in the 2016 session reported is that the relationship between communities and the water is changing. Participants recognized recent improvement in a variety of water-related ecosystem services. Among the AOCs present, increased recreational use was ubiquitous and the two most observed recreational uses were kayaking and new waterfront trails. Recreational users of the land and water are becoming an important social indicator of the health and value of these formerly degraded resources. Further, we found that local leadership and planning is the most significant factor affecting changes on land including brownfield reclamation, park and trail development, and community planning. We conclude that to enhance the public benefits from AOC projects, it is important for the AOC community to discuss these waterways both in terms of established water quality targets and as a valued resource that people benefit from in a variety of ways.

NSF and Popular Science announce winners of 15th annual ‘Vizzies’

Today, Popular Science magazine and the National Science Foundation (NSF) announce the winners of the 15th Annual Vizzies Challenge, celebrating the use of visual media to artfully and clearly communicate scientific data and research.

The competition recognizes the best photographs, videos, illustrations, interactive apps, and posters and graphics produced by academic researchers, artists or hobbyists.

“Congratulations to all of this year’s winners, and for everyone

More at

This is an NSF News item.

The Splitting of the Dunes

The mound in the center of this Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter image appears to have blocked the path of the dunes as they marched south (north is to the left in this image) across the scene. Smaller dunes run perpendicular to some of the larger-scale dunes, probably indicating a shift in wind directions in this area.

04/18/2017 Meeting on Consumer Messaging in Connection With Online Transactions Involving Copyrighted Works

March 29, 2017

The Department of Commerce’s Internet Policy Task Force will host a public meeting on Consumer Messaging in Connection with Online Transactions Involving Copyrighted Works on April 18, 2017, at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. The meeting will be webcast, and members of the public will have opportunities to participate.