Top Stories

6 High-Tech Innovations That Could Solve Our Food-Waste Woes
January 20, 2017 04:54 PM - Chris Peak, Care2

These cutting-edge technologies are revolutionizing the notion of waste not, want not.

Americans can be a wasteful bunch. In 2014, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service estimates that our country threw away 38 million tons of food, the equivalent of every person in the country junking two-thirds of a pound every day. We dumped milk that had spoiled, vegetables that had turned brown and hamburger patties we were too full to eat. Not only did this excess cost us a collective $161 billion, it caused unnecessary environmental strain. Food waste, after all, is the most common material in landfills and incinerators, constituting 21.6 percent of all solid waste, according to the U.S.D.A. To fix the problem, there are some easy strategies each household should adopt (hint: buy less, freeze more, compost). But there are also some high-tech innovations that could revamp the entire food supply. Below, the most promising efforts at reducing waste, from the time food is first harvested all the way to its final destination in a dumpster.

Obama's clean energy legacy - how long can it last?
January 20, 2017 04:50 PM - The Ecologist - Mark Barteau, University of Michigan

President Trump comes into office determined to discard huge swathes of his predecessor's legacy on day one, writes Mark Barteau. But he will struggle to undo Obama's clean energy regulations. It's not just that they are legally robust, it's also that energy markets in the US and the wider world have shifted firmly, and irreversibly, towards efficiency and renewables. Sorry, Mr Trump.

Study of round worm that returns to life after freezing
January 20, 2017 04:46 PM - British Artarctic Survey

The first molecular study of an organism able to survive intracellular freezing (freezing within its cells) is published this week by British Antarctic Survey (BAS), in collaboration with researchers from the University of Otago, New Zealand. The paper represents a milestone in scientists’ understanding of an extraordinary adaptation.

New Study Will Help Find the Best Locations for Thermal Power Stations in Iceland
January 20, 2017 09:55 AM -

A new research article, with lead authors from the University of Gothenburg, gives indications of the best places in Iceland to build thermal power stations.

In Iceland, heat is extracted for use in power plants directly from the ground in volcanic areas. Constructing a geothermal power station near a volcano can be beneficial, since Earth’s mantle is located relatively close to the crust in those areas, making the heat easily accessible. This means that the boreholes do not need to be very deep and the pipes to the power plant can be short.

SF State astronomer searches for signs of life on Wolf 1061 exoplanet
January 20, 2017 09:49 AM - Jamie Oppenheim via San Francisco State University

SF State astronomer Stephen Kane searches for signs of life in one of the extrasolar systems closest to Earth

Is there anybody out there? The question of whether Earthlings are alone in the universe has puzzled everyone from biologists and physicists to philosophers and filmmakers. It’s also the driving force behind San Francisco State University astronomer Stephen Kane’s research into exoplanets — planets that exist outside Earth’s solar system.

Humans, not climate change, wiped out Australian megafauna
January 20, 2017 09:48 AM - University of Colorado Boulder

New evidence involving the ancient poop of some of the huge and astonishing creatures that once roamed Australia indicates the primary cause of their extinction around 45,000 years ago was likely a result of humans, not climate change. 

Mapping out a low-carbon future
January 20, 2017 09:26 AM - Mark Dwortzan

Fulfilling the promise of the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change — most notably the goal of limiting the rise in mean global surface temperature since preindustrial times to 2 degrees Celsius — will require a dramatic transition away from fossil fuels and toward low-carbon energy sources. To map out that transition, decision-makers routinely turn to energy scenarios, which use computational models to project changes to the energy mix that will be needed to meet climate and environmental targets. These models account for not only technological, economic, demographic, political, and institutional developments, but also the scope, timing, and stringency of policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.

How Climate Change Impacts Our Water Supply
January 20, 2017 09:06 AM - Scott Huntington, Triple Pundit

The water cycle, the process by which water circulates through the planet’s atmosphere and waterways, helps make life here on Earth possible.

Climate change, however, caused by excessive greenhouse gas emissions, is disrupting that process. It’s creating a vicious cycle in which higher temperatures, changes in rainfall and water contamination cause environmental consequences that make global warming worse and damage the health of the planet further.

Mayo researchers identify mechanism of oncogene action in lung cancer
January 19, 2017 04:06 PM - Mayo Clinic

Researchers at Mayo Clinic have identified a genetic promoter of cancer that drives a major form of lung cancer. In a new paper published this week in Cancer Cell, Mayo Clinic researchers provide genetic evidence that Ect2 drives lung adenocarcinoma tumor formation.

How Much Drought Can a Forest Take?
January 19, 2017 04:00 PM - UC Davis

Aerial tree mortality surveys show patterns of tree death during extreme drought.

Why do some trees die in a drought and others don’t? And how can we predict where trees are most likely to die in future droughts?

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