Environment, News, Offbeat

Greenpeace Damages the Nazca Lines During Publicity Stunt

nazca lines

Peru announced that it will seek criminal charges against Greenpeace, after activists from the organization damaged the Nazca lines – some of the most spectacular pieces of historical heritage in the world. Greenpeace set up a banner right next to the Nazca lines, and when they took it out, they left significant damage behind. “It’s a true slap in the face…

Animals, News

Blowfish don’t actually hold their breath when inflated

Blowfish inflation

When under threat, the pufferfish quickly inflates into a spherical shape to help it ward off  and escape predators. Until now, biologist had thought that in this state the pufferfish – also known as the blowfish, toadfish or sea squab – holds its breath all the while, but this assumption has been overturn by the findings made by Australian researchers who…

News, Pollution, Science

Not all fracking is the same – some sites emit a hundred times more than others

The KIT measurement instrument on board of a minivan directly measures atmospheric emissions on site with a high temporal resolution.
Credit: Photo: F. Geiger/KIT.

Not all boreholes are the same – scientists using mobile equipment measured how many gaseous compounds are emitted by the extraction of oil and natural gas in the US. This is the first time an analysis like this has been conducted at a high temporal resolution using a vapor capture system, and the results show that some boreholes have 100 times more…

Environmental Issues, News, World Problems

Australia might set the stage for failed climate change talks in Paris next year

Smoke rises from a thermal power station in Sofia, Bulgaria. Credit: DIMITAR DILKOFF / AFP/GETTY IMAGES FILE PHOTO

Australia’s Abbott government has been accused of intentionally taking measures that might lead to an international greenhouse gas emission target in Paris, next year. Australian leaders are keen on insisting there should be a binding legal agreement between the countries that agree to the action, arguing that in lack of such a internationally enforceable framework the agreement would lack credibility….

Environmental Issues, News, World Problems

Ecuador indigenous leader killed just days before environmental Peru Protest

Image via Climate Connections.

An indigenous leader of the Shuar people who was openly opposing a major mining project in Ecuador has been found bound and buried, just days before an environmental protest he was organizing in Peru’s capital, Lima. We here don’t really like to tackle politics – unless it directly involves science or the environment… and this is exactly the case. José Isidro Tendetza…

News, Renewable Energy

Researchers convert sunlight to electricity with record 40% efficiency using commercial solar cells

The 40% efficiency milestone is the latest in a long line of achievements by UNSW solar researchers spanning four decades - Martin Green. Image credits: UNSFW.

Australian solar researchers have converted over 40 percent of solar light’s energy into electricity, the highest efficiency ever reported by any team for this kind of system. The key for the design is a custom filter which captures sunlight that is normally wasted by commercial solar cells on tower. “This is the highest efficiency ever reported for sunlight conversion into electricity,”…

Environmental Issues, News, World Problems

Massive oil spill floods nature reserve in Israel – possibly the country’s worst environment disaster

The Evrona Nature Reserve crisscrossed by a black river of hydrocarbon oil, as seen in this aerial taken by the Israel's Environmental Protection Ministry.

More than 80 people were hospitalized after inhaling noxious fumes after a pipeline failure caused some 600,000 gallons of oil to spill into a nature reserve in the desert near Eilat, a southern Israel city. The city with a population of about 50,000 people was not directly affected, however local fauna and flora was severely damaged, according to Guy Samet, the director of…

Animals, Biology, News

Electric Mind Control: How the Electric Eel Dominates its Prey

The electric eel can send out bursts of up to 600 volts. Image via Wiki Commons.

The Electric Eel, a scaleless fish from the Amazon possesses an electroshock system very similar to a Taser. Not only can it stun its prey with the shock, but it can also make it twitch involuntarily, revealing its position. The electric eel is able to generate powerful electric shocks of up to 650 volts, which it uses not only for attack and…

Climate, Environmental Issues, News

California drought is the most severe in at least 1,200 years

Northern California's Folsom Lake on January 16, 2014. Via NBC News.

According to a new study published by researchers working with the American Geophysical Union, the drought that California is experiencing now is the worst one in over 1,200 years. They show that the current California drought is driven by reduced though not unprecedented precipitation and also record high temperatures. With the effects of global warming being more and more visible, it…

Environmental Issues

Simple, cheap purifying device provides clean water for 150,000 Kenyan students

Image via LifeStraw.

Lack of clean water is a big problem in many poor areas of the world, and it’s also one of the most easily solvable major problems (not saying it’s easy, just that it’s relatively easy, compared to say curing malaria, which is another big problem in many poor areas). A new, innovative yet simple purifier has been installed in 301 schools…