The US Is Finally Getting Its First Offshore Wind Farm
July 28, 2016 04:30 PM - Brendan Cole via Wired.com
BUILDING IN RHODE Island isn’t easy. Hurricanes and tropical storms barrel through its quaint coastline towns, interrupting perfect summer weekends. Freezing winters bring blizzards that can shut down the entire state. And every season features corrosive salty winds, biting at the coast as if sent by a Britain still seething at the first American colony to declare independence.
But one company sees the state’s incessant wind as a utility. Deepwater Wind has partnered with General Electric Renewable Energy to build the first offshore wind farm in the United States, off the coast of Block Island. Hooked up to the grid by the end of 2016, the system could supply 90 percent of the tourist destination’s power within the next few years. But it hasn’t been easy. Designing and building spinning fans hundreds of feet tall that stay sutured to the ocean floor in the face of currents and wicked winds has taken almost three years of work.
Mobile app for rain forecasts raises farmers' yields
July 14, 2016 07:12 AM - Baraka Rateng, SciDevNet
A mobile phone-based innovation that can predict rain is helping farmers in six Sub-Saharan Africa countries sow, fertilise and harvest crops at the optimum time.
The innovation is being used in Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal to improve crop yields and optimise food production through information and communication technology (ICT) weather forecasting model that produces Global Positioning System (GPS)-specific forecasts.
New technology could improve use of small-scale hydropower in developing nations
July 1, 2016 07:10 AM - Oregon State University via EurekAlert!
Engineers at Oregon State University have created a new computer modeling package that people anywhere in the world could use to assess the potential of a stream for small-scale, “run of river” hydropower, an option to produce electricity that’s of special importance in the developing world.
The system is easy to use; does not require data that is often unavailable in foreign countries or remote locations; and can consider hydropower potential not only now, but in the future as projected changes in climate and stream runoff occur.
Vermont will be the first US State to Label GMOs
June 30, 2016 06:40 AM - Gina-Marie Cheeseman , Triple Pundit
Vermont will soon be the first state in the nation to require labels on genetically modified (GMO) foods. Its GMO-labeling law, the first passed in the nation, goes into effect on July 1. Maine and Connecticut have since passed their own GMO-labeling laws. But they won’t go into effect until neighboring states pass similar legislation.
Judge rules: no right to know hazardous pesticide ingredients
June 16, 2016 07:45 AM - Oliver Tickell, The Ecologist
A federal judge has ruled that the US Environmental Protection Agency is under no obligation to force pesticide makers to disclose supposedly 'inert' ingredients in their products - even where those ingredients are seriously hazardous to health or environment.
Raid uncovers truth behind Thailand's Tiger Temple
June 7, 2016 07:32 AM - Simon Evans, Anglia Ruskin University, The Ecologist
Thailand's 'tiger temple' was a front for the commercial exploitation of tiger bones, skins and other parts for the lucrative international trade, writes Simon Evans. It made no contribution to conservation and the animals were subject to extreme cruelty. But while the temple's closure is good news, there are hundreds of similar tiger farms across the region that are no better - or even worse.
Living near a landfill could damage your health
May 26, 2016 06:56 AM - Oxford University Press via EurekAlert!
According to research published today in the International Journal of Epidemiology, health is at risk for those who live within five kilometres of a landfill site.
A Major Source of Air Pollution: Farms
May 16, 2016 07:05 PM - Earth Institute, Columbia University
A new study says that emissions from farms outweigh all other human sources of fine-particulate air pollution in much of the United States, Europe, Russia and China. The culprit: fumes from nitrogen-rich fertilizers and animal waste that combine in the air with industrial emissions to form solid particles—a huge source of disease and death. The good news: if industrial emissions decline in coming decades, as most projections say, fine-particle pollution will go down even if fertilizer use doubles as expected. The study appears this week in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
Agricultural air pollution comes mainly in the form of ammonia, which enters the air as a gas from heavily fertilized fields and livestock waste. It then combines with pollutants from combustion—mainly nitrogen oxides and sulfates from vehicles, power plants and industrial processes—to create tiny solid particles, or aerosols, no more than 2.5 micrometers across, about 1/30 the width of a human hair. The particles can penetrate deep into lungs, causing heart or pulmonary disease; a 2015 study in the journal Nature estimates they cause at least 3.3 million deaths each year globally.
VW agrees to buy back or "fix" 500,000 cars in North America
April 22, 2016 12:23 PM - Jan Lee, Triple Pundit
Volkswagen agreed to fix or buy back some 500,000 vehicles caught up in the crisis. What wasn’t agreed upon is how much the company should pay in fines and compensation to consumers affected by the crisis.
Microbots Could Play Key Role in Cleaning Up Our Water Systems
April 18, 2016 06:56 AM - Lizabeth Paulat, Care2
What if we could not only clean up the heavy metals in our water systems, but also recycle those metals and reuse them?
A new study from the Institute for Intelligent Systems in Germany and the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia in Spain suggests that, soon, we might be doing just that.