Chemistry, News, Renewable Energy

New process turns CO2 into alcohol using enzymes

alcohol to CO2

We’ve previously told you how our ancestors’ adaptation to metabolizing alcohol which first happened some 10 million years ago may have been essential to their survival. There’s more to it though. The same enzyme that metabolizes alcohol, dehydrogenase (ADH4), may be eventually used to transform CO2 into alcohol, which could be later used as a fuel, according to a paper…

Environment, News, World Problems

Sad, but Expected: The Climate Talks in Lime have Failed

Global annual average temperatures, ranked from warmest (left) to coldest (right). Image via UK Met lab.

This month, a silent drama unfolded in Peru’s capital, Lima: representatives of UN countries have debated for two weeks in an attempt to negotiate ways to stop climate change without harming the world economy, especially that of lesser developed countries. While all parties agreed that there needs to be a strong, quick and equitable framework for climate change, no actual…

Animals, News

We’re heading towards a sixth major extinction

Image via Nature. Download a PDF for the graphic.

Species on Earth are disappearing at a never-before seen rate in human history. The stark threat hangs over all species – mammals, reptiles, birds, insects – and researchers are still trying to figure out the extent of this potential mass extinction. Now, a new analysis conducted by Nature found that 41% of all amphibians on the planet now face extinction while 26% of…

Environmental Issues, News, Nutrition

84% of American Vegetarians Relapse after one Year

People are starting to understand that you can have a healthy vegetarian diet so many are switching to vegetarianism. However, at least in America, most of them relapse after only one year. Image via Always Foodie.

A study conducted on 11,000 Americans found that the vast majority of vegetarians relapse totally or partially after only one year. A third of them relapse after only three months. Vegetarianism is the practice of intentional abstaining from the consumption of meat (red meat, poultry, seafood and the flesh of any other animal), as well as any other byproducts obtained through…

Animals, News

This bird mimics a toxic caterpillar

(Image: Santiago David-Rivera)

The warm, humid Amazonian forests hold a stunning biodiversity; somewhere, deep in that magnificent area, a pretty normal looking gray bird makes its way to a nest made from dried leaves, to feed its offspring. It would seem that the nest has been devastated by a giant, toxic, bright orange caterpillar… but something magical happens – the caterpillar metamorphoses into a hungry…

Feature Post, Pollution

Geamana – The Romanian Village Flooded by a Toxic Lake

Image via RomanulMarius.

Geamana is an abandoned village in Romania. It was a very nice and happy village up until 1978, when the Communist regime forced residents to leave their homes and make way for the toxic waste from a nearby mining pit. Everything started in 1977, when dictator Nicolae Ceausescu decided to exploit a huge copper deposit from the underground. In only…

Environment, News

Both seed size and number can be increased at the same time, an important find for food security

seed

For a long time, scientists have believed there’s a sort of net trade-off between the number of seeds and the size of the seed a plant yields. Namely, if a plant yields more seeds, these will be smaller or, oppositely, if a the size of the seed is greater, there will be fewer seeds. Now, scientists at University of Bath’s Department…

News, Pollution, World Problems

Full extent of plastic in world’s oceans quantified: over 5 trillions of pieces of plastic

There are at least trillions of pieces of plastic in our ocean. Image via NOAA.

We all know that our oceans are polluted, and one of the biggest problems is plastic pollution. But few people really realize just how much plastic is in the waters – a new study estimates that there are at least 5.25 trillion pieces which weigh an estimated 269,000 tonnes. The real number however may be even much larger than that. Plastic…

Eco tips, Videos

Give ugly veggies and fruits a second chance – they’re just as tasty

ugly-carrot

According to the United Nations, 20 to 40 percent of fresh food is thrown away by farmers because they don’t look as appetizing as they should to sell. Besides looking a bit crooked, twisted or shrugged, these fruits and vegetables are perfectly edible and taste no different than the perfectly shaped ones you’re always on the lookout for in the…

Animals, Biology, News

The filefish smells like its camouflage to avert predators

Image: Rock'n'Critters

The world isn’t just fight or flight, there’s also a third option: hide. The reef-dwelling fish (Oxymonacanthus longirostris), also known as the harlequin filefish,  is a true master of disguise that not only blends with its environment to avert itself from the gaze of a hungry predator, it also dissimulates its odor. In other words, the fish not only looks like coral, it…