From 1975-1980 Activist Adam Purple Built a Stunning “Garden of Eden” in New York

Still from Adam Purple and the Garden of Eden / Harvey Wang and Amy Brost

In 1975, artist and social activist Adam Purple, known among others for always wearing something purple, was looking out his window at some children playing in the rubble. His memories struck him as he remembered that as a child, he used to play on the ground, next to trees and bushes – something that just wasn’t possible for NY’s children

All the climate talks in Paris depend on these 10 countries


With the Paris summit being just around the corner, it’s time to step back and look at who the big actors are.

Biologist takes picture with rare bird, then kills it ‘for science’

Filardy holding a male mustached kingfisher for a photo - the first such footage ever. The bird was killed not long after. Image: American Museum of Natural History

For the past two weeks the scientific community was stirred by news that a biologist captured a male moustached kingfisher, took the first ever picture of a male from the species, then killed the bird shortly after.

Ecotourists are helping domesticate wildlife


Growing at 7% per year, ecotourism is the fastest rising tourism segment. Millions flock to secluded areas of the world blessed with unique faunas each year, be it diving to see the coral reef, diving in shark water, forest trekking through national parks and so on. Tourists and guides alike claim activities are undertaken responsibly and sustainably, with minimal impact on the environment. After looking at 100 studies on animal behaviour, however, researchers found that animals in protected areas where ecotourism is practiced become more benign. Bears, elk, even sharks become more comfortable with humans and regularly filch food from visitors. As such, these can’t be considered wild animals anymore and their safety is endangered seeing how they leave their guard down for predators or human poachers.

Is the U.N. climate summit just fluff talk?

action in paris

Less than two months away, 200 governments will join the U.N. Paris talks where an international agreement might be reached seeking to limit the amount of greenhouse gas emissions for each country. The goal is to eventually level emissions significantly relative to 1990 levels for developed countries and cap emissions as soon as possible for developing countries like India and China. Each country, however, wants to get the best deal and many critics are weary that we’re simply heading for another Copenhagen bust like six years ago, or worst even – another Kyoto which failed miserably.

Feeding the world through global warming: Altering one plant gene makes for climate-resilient crops

Corn plants damaged by extreme heat and drought conditions stand in a field in Carmi, IL.
Image via thelede.blogs.nytimes

It’s estimated that humanity will have to produce around 50% more food than we currently do to keep up with growing global demand….by 2050. It’s an enormous challenge, especially as more and more countries face the effects of climate change, such as drought or toxic salinity levels. One of our best hopes is to rely more on crops that can flourish despite the vicissitudes of the environment, and plant cell biologists at the University of Oxford hope that their new breakthrough in climate-resilient agriculture will allow us to do just that.

200 new species discovered in Himalaya, including walking fish, emerald snake and sneezing monkey

© Liang Zhang

A walking fish, a jewel snake and a sneezing monkey: these are just some of the biological treasures recently discovered in the fragile Himalayan ecosystems.

Chasing ice: the largest glacier calve captured on film


A while back, Adam LeWinter and Jeff Orlowski took a camera in a remote area around the Jakobshavn Glacier in Greenland. Things then got a little crazy, as you can see below: The clip is now part of Chasing Ice, a documentary about the efforts of nature photographer James Balog and his Extreme Ice Survey to publicize the effects of climate change. The documentary

This card generates electricity from waste heat


If you’ve ever brushed past the tailpipe of a running car, then you know just how smoking hot it can be. And since tailpipes aren’t exactly heating radiators, that’s just wasted energy. Not much you can do, you might say. That’s just the 2nd law of thermodynamics mocking us humans. But there are ways to turn otherwise wasted heat into something useful, like residential heating or electricity. Typically, engineers design systems that transfer the heat to water which then turns to steam and so on until you can get something useful out of it – eventually. There are other ways also which are more convenient in most situation – after all, you can’t fit a steam turbine in your car. For instance, you could use thermoelectric materials that directly convert the heat into electricity.

Meet the hog-nosed rat, a new species of mammal

hog-nosed rat

While surveying the island of Sulawesi right in the center of Indonesia, a group of researchers came across a previously undocumented species of rodent. It was pretty easy too, considering the animal’s uncanny appearance: what would otherwise look like a normal looking rat, but with the nostrils of a hog.