Size matters: meet the world’s biggest jet engine

The GE9X on a test bed in Ohio. Credit: GE Aviation

This beast is called GE9X — the largest jet engine ever built. Standing at 13 feet in diameter, it’s wider than a Boeing 737’s fuselage.

This pot harnesses photosynthesis and a USB port to charge your phone

usb pot plant

A team of engineers piggy-backed photosynthesis using a nifty pot called the Bioo Lite. Just place almost any plant inside, add water and plenty of sunlight and you’ll be able to charge your phone via the provided USB port up to three times a day. Or so they claim.

How scientists are using climate records made by 15th century Japanese monks

Omiwatari on Lake Suwa in Japan. (Ozawajun/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-3.0)

If you’re old enough, you might remember how some flowers around where you live blossom earlier or that summers and winters are unusually harsh. In short, freak weather is more common to the point it’s becoming the new norm. Human memory is fallible, which is why we keep records of things like temperature, humidity, concentration of gases in the atmosphere and so on. These record don’t go back that long though — maybe only a century. Some, however, go way back and scientists are using these to keep track of climate change over the centuries.

Fracking caused widespread contamination in North Dakota, new study finds

Nancy Lauer and Jennifer Harkness sample water and soil. (Photo: Avner Vengosh)

Wastewater spills from hydraulic fracking in North Dakota caused widespread water and soil contamination, a new Duke University study finds. Hydraulic fracking involves injecting highly pressurized fluids into subsurface rocks, creating a system of fissures through which the hydrocarbons can escape. There are many environmental issues associated with this technique, one of them being that the entire thing is difficult to control.

How much renewable energy does the world use

renewable energy

According to the Renewables Global Status Report (GSR) from REN21, roughly a fifth of the world’s electrical power production now comes from renewable sources. When will we see a full transition, though?

Crowdfunding campaign reimagines apartment plant growing

livi3

As anyone who grows plants in an apartment will tell you, it can be quite a challenge. Space is limited, as is light and it’s so easy to make a mess – this is why I love this new project. It’s really easy to set up a small, cute garden in only minutes. It’s called Livi. Designer  Hooman Koliji came up with this

How to see if your nail polish is toxic

Photo by Flickr user amOuna

As I’ve learned more and more in recent years, it’s very difficult to find good, healthy cosmetic products. Words like “organic” and “natural” are not well regulated and are often misleading, with numerous “natural” products containing toxic substances. We’ll walk through the toxic substances often included in nail polish, how to spot them, and how to avoid them. The toxic trio

We still don’t know which gut bacteria is beneficial, but scientists have some good hints

Bacteria

There’s good bacteria and bad bacteria, but the gut seems to be so diverse in its bacterial offering from person to person that scientists have always found it difficult to say “hey, this is what a healthy microbiome should look like.” Analyzing thousands of bacteria species in your guy is challenging and we’re still not there, but a recent effort involving 4,000 participants has some good hints as to what makes a healthy gut.

French rivers dyed green to raise awareness about water pollution

The dye dones't harm the fish, according to environmentalists, via AgentsEnvir / Facebook

The visual effect was extremely strong, and everything was completely safe, activists say.

Say what you want about it, but solar energy is becoming dirt cheap

solar-panel-1175819_960_720

Solar is becoming cheaper – fast.