Sci/tech

Plate Tectonics May Take a Break
January 7, 2008 10:01 AM - Carnegie Institution of Washington

Plate tectonics, the geologic process responsible for creating the Earth’s continents, mountain ranges, and ocean basins, may be an on-again, off-again affair. Scientists have assumed that the shifting of crustal plates has been slow but continuous over most of the Earth’s history, but a new study from researchers at the Carnegie Institution suggests that plate tectonics may have ground to a halt at least once in our planet’s history—and may do so again.

21 Things You Didn't Know You Can Recycle
January 6, 2008 09:35 AM - www.coopamerica.org

Garbage. Americans produce more and more of it every year, when we need to be producing less. Even the most waste-conscious among us can feel overwhelmed by the amount of household waste that goes beyond what municipal recyclers and compost bins can handle. That’s why our editors spent the summer of 2007 investigating the state of waste management in our country, putting this list togther for you, explaining how we can get serious about the three R’s – reducing, reusing, and recycling — and divert more waste away from landfills.

Electronics makers vie to make machines green
January 5, 2008 02:29 AM - Reuters

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - With its plethora of gadgets that become outdated almost as soon as they are sold, the consumer electronics industry is an unlikely champion of the environment. But since information and communications technology is now estimated to cause more carbon pollution than aviation, and the European Union and other regulators are imposing ever stricter rules on toxic substances used in electronics, the industry has little choice but to act.

UK govt scientist sees few benefits from biofuels
January 5, 2008 01:39 AM - Reuters

OXFORD (Reuters) - Rising production of biofuels has distorted government budgets, helped to drive up food prices and led to deforestation in south-east Asia, the chief scientist of Britain's farm ministry said on Friday.

China amends S&T law to boost research
January 4, 2008 09:50 AM - , SciDevNet

China has revised its science and technology constitution to give greater incentives to researchers, in an effort to boost innovation. China's legislature — the standing committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) — passed the revision of the 1993 Science and Technology (S&T) Progress Law last month (29 December). The law states that the nation's overall research and development (R&D) budget, from both the government and private sectors, should continue to increase steadily each year.

Chicken Fat Converted Into Biodiesel Using Methanol
January 4, 2008 08:59 AM - University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

“Major oil companies are already examining biodiesel as an alternative to petroleum,” said R.E. “Buddy” Babcock, professor of chemical engineering. “With the current price of petroleum diesel and the results of this project and others, I think energy producers will think even more seriously about combining petroleum-based diesel with a biodiesel product made out of crude and inexpensive feedstocks.”

Las Vegas to Build World’s First 30 Story Vertical Farm
January 4, 2008 08:53 AM - nextenergynews.com

Las Vegas the tourist mecca of the World is set to begin development of the World’s first vertical farm. The $200 million dollar project is designed to be a functional and profitable working farm growing enough food to feed 72,000 people for a year and provide another tourist attraction to the city that does everything in a larger than life way.

Welcome to the Solar Century
January 4, 2008 08:42 AM - , Environmental Graffiti

New technology means solar power could one day provide all the world’s energy needs – but governments must do their bit. Until a few years ago the suggestion that solar power might provide the answer to the intertwined problems of long term energy security and climate change would have been dismissed as a pipedream. The high cost of solar cells, their inefficiency in converting the sun’s rays into electricity and the lack of state investment or assistance for renewable energy start-ups meant there was little hope.

Science academy stresses evolution's importance
January 4, 2008 08:39 AM - Reuters

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The National Academy of Sciences on Thursday issued a spirited defense of evolution as the bedrock principle of modern biology, arguing that it, not creationism, must be taught in public school science classes. The academy, which operates under a mandate from Congress to advise the government on science and technology matters, issued the report at a time when the theory of evolution, first offered in the 19th century, faces renewed attack by some religious conservatives.

FDA to clear cloned livestock for consumers: report
January 3, 2008 10:58 PM - Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) is expected to declare as early as next week that meat and milk from cloned animals and their offspring is safe to eat, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday. The FDA had previously asked producers of cloned livestock not to sell food products from such animals pending its ruling on their safety, the Journal said on its Web site.

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