Sci/tech

Animated map brings global climate crisis to life
May 19, 2008 09:09 AM - Reuters

A new animated map of the earth from space illustrates the potential impact of climate change over the next century and can be viewed on your computer. The project, Climate Change in Our World, is the result of cooperation between web search engine Google, Britain's environment ministry and the country's Met Office.

OHM Electric Bikes From Canada
May 19, 2008 08:59 AM - , MetaEfficient

Based in British Columbia, OHM Cycles make high-end electric bicycles that feature 38V lithium-ion batteries, regenerative braking and powerful BionX motors. The company offers two styles of electric bike: one built for the urban rider, and one suited to rugged terrain.

Nanostructures Will Raise Thin-Film Solar Cell Efficiency
May 18, 2008 10:14 AM - University of California, San Diego

Thanks to nanostructures that scatter and channel light, University of California, San Diego electrical engineers are working toward thin-film “single junction” solar cells with the potential for nearly 45 percent sunlight-to-electricity conversion efficiencies. This effort to break the theoretical limit of 31 percent efficiency for conventional single junction cells recently received a big funding boost from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar America program.

$2 Billion Wind Turbine Order Is Largest Ever
May 16, 2008 09:04 AM - , MetaEfficient

Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens has placed an the largest ever order for wind turbines: he ordered 667 wind turbines from GE, each costing $3 million dollars, making the total order $2 billion. Picken plans to develop the world’s largest wind farm in the panhandle of Texas. The $2 billion order is just one quarter of the total amount he plans to purchase.

An epidemic of extinctions: Decimation of life on earth
May 16, 2008 08:40 AM - http://www.independent.co.uk

The world's species are declining at a rate "unprecedented since the extinction of the dinosaurs", a census of the animal kingdom has revealed. The Living Planet Index out today shows the devastating impact of humanity as biodiversity has plummeted by almost a third in the 35 years to 2005.

NASA study links Earth impacts to human-caused climate change
May 15, 2008 09:21 AM - NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

A new NASA-led study shows human-caused climate change has made an impact on a wide range of Earth's natural systems, including permafrost thawing, plants blooming earlier across Europe, and lakes declining in productivity in Africa. Cynthia Rosenzweig of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Science in New York and scientists at 10 other institutions have linked physical and biological impacts since 1970 with rises in temperatures during that period.

U.S. Using Food Crisis to Boost Bio-Engineered Crops
May 15, 2008 09:04 AM - , Organic Consumers Association

The Bush administration has slipped a controversial ingredient into the $770 million aid package it recently proposed to ease the world food crisis, adding language that would promote the use of genetically modified crops in food-deprived countries. The value of genetically modified, or bio-engineered, food is an intensely disputed issue in the U.S. and in Europe, where many countries have banned foods made from genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.

Fuel cells: distant dream, but burning with promise
May 15, 2008 08:46 AM - Cornell Chronicle Online

Some day, fuel cells may power your car and exhaust only water and perhaps carbon dioxide. More efficient and cleaner than an internal combustion engine, their emissions will be much lower. They may also run your home without the energy loss of power lines, or even power your laptop or cell phone. But not today or even tomorrow.

Nanowires may boost solar cell efficiency, UC San Diego engineers say
May 14, 2008 09:12 AM - University of California - San Diego

University of California, San Diego electrical engineers have created experimental solar cells spiked with nanowires that could lead to highly efficient thin-film solar cells of the future. Indium phosphide (InP) nanowires can serve as electron superhighways that carry electrons kicked loose by photons of light directly to the device’s electron-attracting electrode – and this scenario could boost thin-film solar cell efficiency, according to research recently published in NanoLetters.

Companies preparing to rule 'climate ready' crop market -- report

Some of the world's largest biotechnology companies have filed hundreds of patents on "climate ready" gene-altered crops, hoping to dominate a market expected to emerge as farmers respond to environmental stresses caused by global warming, an advocacy group for subsistence farmers said in a report today. BASF, Monsanto, Bayer, Syngenta, Dupont and biotech partners have filed 532 patent documents around the world for crops genetically altered to adapt to rising temperatures, the ETC Group's report says.

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