Animals, Physics

First results from James Cameron’s trip to the abyss

mariana trench

It may not be the Pandora, but James Cameron dove into one of the most fascinating environments from our planet: the Mariana trench, the deepest point on the face of the Earth. The scientists involved in the project presented the first results at the American Geophysical Union meeting (where else?) in San Francisco. They explained that at those depths, microbial…

Environmental Issues, Green Living

‘Green’ batteries made from a red dye plant as an alternative to toxic batteries

Purpurin, left, extracted from madder root, center, is chemically lithiated, right, for use as an organic cathode in batteries. (c) Ajayan Group/Rice University

Researchers at Rice University and City College of New York have devised rechargeable lithium-ion batteries using a substance extracted from the madder plant as a cathode. The plant has been used since ancient times as a dye, and only recently have researchers learned about its fantastic capabilities it poses as an alternative green battery. The madder plant or  Rubia tinctorum is a potent source…

Renewable Energy

Princeton nanomesh greatly increases the efficiency of organic solar cells

nanmesh

While we all have to recognize the huge potential that solar energy brings us, we also have to say that sadly, so far, we’re not very effective at harnessing this energy. The best modern silicon and indium-tin-oxide-based solar cells are approaching the theoretical limit of 33.7% efficiency. A big breakthrough The team led by Stephen Chou made two dramatic improvements:…

Animals

This week’s amazing animal: the Regal ringneck snake

snake

Diadophis punctatus regalis, or the regal ringneck snake, as it is most commonly referred to, is a species endemic to the US and Mexico. The snake is typically grey, with a dark-speckled white or cream underside, which becomes bright red or orange near and under the tail. However, sometimes, it looks like this…….

Climate, World Problems

Why climate change denial has almost no scientific credibility

pie chart

I’ve received lots of emails from you people regarding climate change; as it turns out, some of you are mad at us because we accept that man-caused global warming is a scientific reality. I’d like to express my thoughts in a simple pie chart: Bare in mind, peer-reviewed articles are the absolute standard for a researcher. If there is some…

Renewable Energy, World Problems

Wikileaks reveals US bribes and cyber-espionage stop climate change action

Global-Warming

Negotiating an official climate change pact is an extremely high-stake game, not only due to the threats posed to our entire civilization, but also because re-engineering the global economy to a low-carbon model will redirect a massive, multi billion dollar sum towards different sources. Of course, behind all the “save the planet” rhetoric lies the mucky realpolitik: money and threats…

Environment, World Problems

1990 climate change predictions turn out correct

ipcc_scenario_prediction

In a significant blow to people who believe climate change predictions are just blowing hot air, an international study established that climate change predictions made over 20 years ago, in 1990, were actually pretty accurate. What the report did was to compare predictions from the first Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessment Report, published in 1990, with real-world global…

Animals, Biology

Catfish hunt pigeons in France

catfish

Researchers have for the first time observed catfish lying in shallow waters and hunting pigeons – a weird and unexpected behaviour most likely caused by the lack of food. They released a set of rather gruesome images, highlighting how the catfish adopt a similar strategy to that used by killer whales hunting seals on ice floes. The catfish located in…

Environmental Issues, World Problems

Can phone recycling help save the Eastern African Gorilla?

Infographic phone recycling

It is common that most of our gadgets contain a substance by the name of Coltan, particularly our mobile phones. This mineral is widely mined in the forests of central Africa, such as the Congo. This business has erupted over the last decade and demand and prices have never been higher, unfortunately there have been some severe knock on effects…

Animals, Environmental Issues

New study highlights vulnerability of low lying Hawaiian areas

hawaii 1

If current climate change trends continue, rising sea levels could prove devastating for low lying coastal areas around the globe, placing the biodiversity at extremely high risks. Islands are especially threatened by rising sea levels, and this study conducted on the Hawaiian islands offers the most detailed and multifaceted assessment available of how island biodiversity may be affected by climate…