Climate, News, World Problems

We’re halfway past the dangerous 2 °C warming limit set by the UN, and it’s only 2015

global warming

Boy, was this year a scorcher! Well, what can I say, apart from get ready for more. According to an exclusive info ran by New Scientist, all but one main tracker of global surface temperature will report that this year will mark the first full degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels. I remind you that the International Panel on Climate Change warns that a two degree Celsius warming should be avoided on all costs if irreversible consequences like sea level rise, habitat loss and cataclysmic events are to be averted. This means that we’re already halfway there, and the two degree mark might be reached by 2050. A four degree warming might end civilization as we know it.

Climate, News

Capital under water: the ground underneath Washington DC is sinking

What the Jefferson Memorial in Washington DC might look like if sea levels would rise. Image: Out Traveler

A geological survey found Washington DC and the surrounding Chesapeake Bay region is gradually sinking. By the end of the century, the Chesapeake bay would be six inches lower than it is today. This is due to a natural phenomenon, not man-made global warming. But when the two add up, it could put the nation’s capital a couple of feet under water, significantly affecting the lives of local residents and the city at large.

Animals, Biology, News

How crazy ants carry dinner 100 times their size: coordination and individual leadership

longhorn crazy ants

Different ant species employ various tactics to forage food and keep the colony in tip top shape. Most often scouts will scour for food, and when a source is deemed fit a trail of pheromones guide worker ants to pick up the crumbs, leftover pizza or cheerios. Ants aren’t very picky, you know. What they are is very strong. It’s common knowledge that ants carry loads multiple times heavier than their own weight. Some species, like longhorn crazy ants are able to carry some of the biggest loads among ants by working together, joining in a band to perform the lifting. It’s a curios matter, one you might have often noticed in your very own backyard.

Climate, News

Massive aquifers beneath the world’s deserts might store more carbon than all living plants

The Tarim basin

Chinese researchers sampled water from an underground aquifer in the Tarim Basin and found these store vast quantities of carbon dioxide as a result of human activities. If the same holds true for all the desert aquifers around the world, the trapped carbon would amount to about a quarter more than the amount stored in living plants on land. Previously, the carbon trapped in aquifers was thought to be negligible. Clearly, this isn’t the case and these should not be disturbed so that the carbon doesn’t wash up into the atmosphere.

Green Living, News

The fastest accelerating electric vehicle in the world hits the 100km(62miles)/h mark in under 1.8 seconds

The E0711-6 electric car puts its monstrous 1200 Nm of torque.
Image via gizmag

A team of students from the University of Stuttgart just designed, built and raced what could be the fastest accelerating electric vehicle in the world. During carefully monitored tests, the student-designed E0711-6 electric car successfully managed to accelerate from 0-100km/h in a mind-blowing 1.779 seconds. The team is anxiously awaiting confirmation of a new record from the Guinness Book of

Environment, Inventions, News

Japan opens up a hotel run entirely by robots – and yes, there are dinosaurs

Japan-Henn-na-Hotel-is-run-by-robots-21-537x359

If you’re thinking about the future days when robots will replace humans, well… those days are already here. The Henn-na Hotel (“Strange Hotel”) is staffed entirely by robots, including a dinosaur receptionist. They also have no room keys and a remarkable energy efficiency. ‘What we have strove to achieve with Henn-na Hotel is “The Ultimate in Efficiency,” ‘they write on

Climate, Environment, News, Science

Extra salted: California’s almond industry is being crippled by salty ground water

More and more almond farmers are dealing with problems caused by the lack of water: smaller almonds, less-than-modest yields, and salt-burned leaves, as the plants suffer from high salinity in the soil.

Almonds use a lot of water — about one gallon per nut. As their surface water has been cut off, most growers are relying on groundwater even more than usual. But that brings a different problem all together: too much salt.

Climate, News

Hillary Clinton wants to install half a billion solar panels if she’s elected

Hillary Clinton climate change

Democrat Hillary Clinton is maybe the first presidential candidate to make tackling climate change a central point. Now we actually have specifics after Clinton released on Sunday a fact sheet detailing her plan for action. Her proposals are bold, for sure. For instance, if she’s elected, Hilary promises that clean renewable energy will power every home in America within a decade. To achieve this goal, she plans on bringing the total number of solar panels installed nationwide to more than half a billion before the end of her first term. Should we believe her?

News, Pollution

Canadian fish know how to party: getting high on cocaine

Looking for traces of illegal drugs in water.
Credit: McGill University

Both prescription and illegal drugs such as morphine, cocaine and oxycodone have been found in surface waters in Canadian rivers. New research shows that wastewater discharged from wastewater treatment plants in the Grand River watershed of southern Ontario has the potential to contaminate sources of drinking water with these drugs. The study, published in Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry, shows that while such

Biology, Environmental Issues, News

Mutation in daisies near Fukushima might not be caused by radiation

via Twitter user

After a twitter user and photographer from a city 110 km from Fukushima posted photos of mutated flowers, people started to freak out all over the internet that these plants suffered mutations due to the devastating nuclear incident from 2011 in Fukushima, Japan. According to the photographer @san_kaido, the radiation level near the daisies was measured at 0.5 μSv/h at 1m