Environment, Renewable Energy

European utility says wind now cheapest form of generation

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The falling cost of renewable energy shouldn’t surprise anyone by now – all we’re waiting for is the tipping point where some type of renewable energy becomes more cost effective than conventional energy – but what if we’ve already reached that point? Portugal is one of Europe’s (and the world’s) leading countries in terms of renewable energy. More than half…

Climate, News

Carbon dioxide hits 400 ppm for the first time in human history

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Carbon dioxide levels throughout the northern hemisphere hit 400 parts per million (ppm) for the first time in human history in April – the ominous threshold has been reached, and it continues to go up. Time is running out I’m sad that I was right when I wrote: The Inevitable 2014 Headline: ‘Global CO2 Level Reaches 400 PPM For First Time…

Environment, News

Genghis Han killed so many people, that it was actually good for the environment, new study claims

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Genghis Khan might have been the greenest invader of all time – his bloody conquests killed so many people, that in their path, huge swathes of cultivated land returned to forest, eliminating a huge amount of carbon from the atmosphere. When some 600 years after your lifetime, people don’t refer to you by your real name, but by a name…

Animals, Health & Medicine, Research, Technology

Ant biomechanics might inspire the super robots of the future

An electron microscope shows the neck region of the Allegheny mound ant. Ohio State University

Ants are one of the most fascinating and extraordinary organisms on Earth. The ant society is extremely stable, compact and adaptable, but while ants can only survive as a colony, taken individually each ant is extremely remarkable by itself, too. Body size considered, ants are among the strongest beings in the world, capable of lifting and carrying objects a couple…

Animals, Pollution

Bees make blue honey after eating M&Ms

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It’s a tough period to be a bee – even though it’s fairly clear by now that the massive bee wipe-out is caused by pesticides and fungicides, and even though places where such pesticides have been banned report huge increase in bee health, the world is still not taking steps to save the little insects. To put it bluntly, bee…

News, Pollution

Trillions of pieces of plastic in the Arctic ice

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The Arctic ocean likely holds trillions of pieces of plastic in ice; as global warming starts to tick in and the ice starts to melt, all those pieces will drift into the oceans. Even though the finding has huge implications, it is so surprising that researchers don’t know yet how bad of an effect this will have on wildlife. The pollutants…

Animals, Biology, News

Global warming could make all turtles female

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Rising temperatures could provide a short term boost in the numbers of turtle populations (as hotter water stimulates the growth of female offspring), but if the current trends continue for a long time, the entire population might go extinct soon. ”There’ll be a bit of a breathing space … but down the track it’ll be serious,” said Graeme Hays from…

Nanotechnology, News, Renewable Energy, Technology

New way to make affordable high efficiency stacked solar cells

multiple junction solar cell

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign report they’ve devised a new type of highly efficient solar cell that is potentially easier to manufacture and cheaper than cells of similar performance. The stacked cell allows photon energy to be garnered from across the whole solar spectrum, and this new design makes use of a novel technique which basically electrically…

Animals, Environment, News

Tiny plastic timebomb: how cosmetic microbeads are killing the fish in the oceans

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People using cosmetics are indirectly pouring hundreds of tons of tiny plastic beads into the oceans every year. These beads ultimately end up contaminating the marine wildlife, a big part of which ends up on your plate. You probably don’t know this, but many cosmetic products (including tooth paste and detergents) contain thousands of plastic microbeads deliberately added by producers…

Animals, Biology, News

Why octupus arms never get entangled

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Roboticists and mechanical engineers hold octopuses to great respect and admiration because of their many skills, like great water propulsion, camouflage and independent limbs. Each octopus tentacle is equipped with numerous suckers that allows it to easily cling to most surfaces, no matter how smooth they may be. Whether the octopus needs to attach itself to a surface or run…