Green Living, News, Renewable Energy

First man-made biological leaf might actually be useless

silk_leaf

If the leaf really works as the hype would have us believe, than it’s really a fantastic display of ingenuity. However there’s no paper, no data on tests that might tell us how efficient the leaf is at photosynthesis (if such tests even exist) and no solid scientific grounds that would suggest the leaf would actually work as intended. For the moment, it seems like this artificial leaf in question is more conceptual than it is practical.

Design, Green Living, Science

Biggest indoor farm is 100 times more productive than conventional agriculture

indoor-farm-japan-interior-644x483

An inspired entrepreneur, Shigeharu Shimamura, took an old semiconductor factory that was abandoned following the 2011 Japan disaster and turned it into the largest indoor farm in the world. Using state of the art growing technology, his company manages to make some 10,000 heads of lettuce per day out of the 25,000 square feet facility. This makes it 100 times more productive per square foot than traditional agriculture, all with 40% less power, 80% less food waste and 99% less water usage than outdoor fields.

Environment, News, Pollution

New York City to Ban Styrofoam in July 2015

New York City announced a ban on styrofoam - users have until July 2015 to find an alternative. Image via Black Business Now.

The administration of New York City mayor Bill De Blasio announced today that styrofoam will be banned in the city starting in July this year, in an attempt to “green up” the city.

Animals, Biology, News

Just like animals, plants closer to the Equator tend to be darker

Many flowers that appear uniform in color to humans (left) have patterns in the ultraviolet spectrum (right) that are used by pollinators. Interestingly, these patterns can also protect pollen from damage caused by solar UV radiation. (Credit: U. Pittsburgh)

In 1833, biologist Constantin Wilhelm Lambert Gloger showed that animals with warm blood that live closer to the equator tend to be darker. The finding took surprised biologists at the time and now, a new study has shown that this applies for flowers too.

Environmental Issues, News, World Problems

2014 was the 18th year straight warmer than the average in US, probably warmest yet worldwide

hottest year ever 2014

Right now the US is struggling with bone numbing chill, so it might be hard to digest this latest news: 2014 was the 18th straight year to have surpassed average 20th-century US temperatures, according to a report released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Meanwhile, a preliminary report issued by the Japanese meteorological agency claims 2014 was the warmest year yet worldwide. Final and definite figures concerning this are soon expected to be released by NASA as well.

Animals, Biology, News

Monkeys can also recognize themselves in mirrors, but only with training

This shot shows a scene during the Chinese experiment designed to train monkeys to recognize themselves in the mirror and become aware. Credit: Neng Gong and colleagues/Current Biology 2015

Only humans and great apes can recognize themselves when looking in a mirror, but new findings suggest that it’s possible for rhesus monkeys to realize they’re looking at themselves if trained properly. The findings bear important implications for humans as well, since they suggest patients with impairment of self-recognition can have their condition remedied with training.

Green Living, News, Technology

Bill Gates drinks water collected from poop to demo waste treating system

Bill Gates drinking water

More than 2.5 billion people around the world lack access to clean water, making them vulnerable to diseases. To help address this delicate world problem, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has funded Janicki Bioenergy to build the Omniprocessor – a self-contained system that processes nasty sludge and turns it into electricity, pathogen free ash and pure water. And to demonstrate how safe

Environmental Issues, News, Physics

Oceans soak less carbon due to global warming

ocean carbon cycle

Since the mid-XIXth century average global temperatures have risen by ~0.8 degrees Centigrade, yet this figure would have been much higher were it not for the world’s oceans ability to soak up most of the heat trapped by greenhouse gases. The IPCC estimates that some 90% of the heat trapped by CO2 and methane since the 1970s has been absorbed

Animals, Did you know?

How caterpillars gruesomely turn into butterflies

Metamorphosis

In short, for a caterpillar to turn into a butterfly it digests itself using enzymes triggered by hormones, before sleeping cells similar to stem cells grow into the body parts of the future butterfly. So you thought puberty was mean? Wait till you read on.

Green Living, News, Renewable Energy

Nuclear power wrongfully stigmatized. It’s essential to scrapping fossil fuel, top biologists say

Image: Brian Kong

An open letter authored by more than 65 biologists calls for conservation groups and efforts to take a step back and rethink their agenda concerning nuclear power, heavily criticized in the past few years following the Fukushima incident. With all its risks and shortcomings, the authors argue, nuclear power is still the most cost-effective “green” solution to toppling fossil fuel and