Climate, World Problems

When it comes to global warming “the polar bear is us”

polar-bear

The already iconic global warming images with polar bears sadly floating on small chunks of ice have acted as a double edge sword – on one hand they were impacting visual representations of global warming, showing the extent of damage which has already been done, but on the other hand, they created the idea that global warming is something isolated,…

Environment, Health & Medicine, News, Renewable Energy

Waste-cooking solar toilet unveiled in India

solar-toilet

An innovative project which addresses both environmental and health concerns has been revealed in Delhi, India. It’s estimated that 2.5 billion people in the world (almost 1 in 3 people) lack proper sanitation – something unimaginable in the developed world. With that thought in mind, a team at the University of Colorado Boulder has designed a self-contained, solar-powered, waterless toilet….

Environmental Issues, News

Oil and gas fields near rural Utah up to 100 times more polluted than busiest cities

NOAA researcher Bryan Johnson (left) and University of Colorado, Boulder, researcher Detlev Helmig (right) prepare a tethered balloon that will collect air samples above Utah’s Uintah Basin. Photo: Chelsea Thompson

Researchers at the  National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration have published findings that demonstrate what was speculated for a long time – oil and gas drilling in the vicinity of rural Utah is leaking important quantities of volatile chemicals, particularly high ozone levels, that are much higher than those typically found in busy cities. In fact, the pollution in the Uintah Basin is equivalent…

Biology, Environmental Issues, News, World Problems

Climate change will cause lower crop yields than expected and threaten global food security

Increased carbon dioxide levels may accelerate the growth of some crops. Source: USDA (2009)

Crops, like any plants, adapt to their surroundings and, depending on conditions, can offer more or less yield. In the biggest study of its kind,  the results from 1,700 published simulations that evaluate yield impacts of climate change were compiled and analyzed together. The team of researchers involved in this massive aggregation found that even a 2 degrees Celsius warming of temperature can…

Animals, Biology, News

Goats are far more clever than previously believed, study shows

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New research from Queen Mary University of London shows goats quickly learn how to solve complicated puzzles and can remember the solution for at least 10 months, which might explain their remarkable ability to adapt to harsh environments. Basically, scientists trained a group of goats to retrieve food from a box using a sequence of steps – first, they pulled…

Animals, News

Study shows BP oil spill to blame for heart defects in fish

deepwater_horizon_sinks_NYTimes_26dec10

Last December, scientists showed that dolphins in Louisiana were suffering from abnormal lung diseases and low birthrates in the wake of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill that released more than 636 million liters of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. Now, another study illustrates that potentially lethal heart defects in two species of tuna and one…

Green Living, News, Renewable Energy

World’s first airborne wind farm feeds energy to remote Alaska

altaeros_wind_turbine

Floating wind farms may seem like something out of a science fiction novel, but a MIT start-up called  Altaeros Energies just unveiled an  enormous helium-filled wind turbine which will hover 1,000 feet above ground for 18 months. The turbine, called Altaeros BAT, is a part of a pilot program aimed at demonstrating that airborne wind turbines are feasible. A wind turbine is most efficient when its…

Animals, Environment, News

Island Nation of Palau declares 100% marine sanctuary, bans all commercial fishing in an area roughly the size of France

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Palau’s President Tommy Remengesau Jr. has declared the Pacific nation will become a marine sanctuary – where absolutely no commercial fishing will take place. Palau is an island country located in the western Pacific Ocean with a population of only 21.000 people which is spread across 250 islands. However, they have a 200 nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone surrounding all…

Biology, Environmental Issues, News, World Problems

Trees in Chernobyl aren’t dying and this is a problem

Fallen trees in Chernobyl's Red Forest. Photo: T.A.Mousseau & A.P. Møller

Some thirty years after Chernobyl’s nuclear plant meltdown that caused an international incident, scientists have yet to assess the full blown damage the radioactive disaster has caused. While the rest of the world has moved on, ever since the disaster the area surrounding the former nuclear plant has remained largely unchanged, even the plants and trees there seem to have…

Discoveries, Inventions, News, Renewable Energy

This material can be turned into a solar cell by day and light source by night

NTU's new Perovskite solar cell can also emit light when electrical current is passed through the material. Photo: Nanyang Technological University (NTU)

Scientists have made great efforts to discover a material that can be used to both absorb and emit light. A fluke may have suffice, since researchers at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore discovered by accident a material that can be used to work as a solar panel, harnessing energy from the sun during the day, as well as a…