• University of Toronto undergrad tests out solar-powered irrigation system in his native South Sudan

    James Thuch Madhier fled South Sudan as a teenager, escaping the ravages of civil war and famine.

    Next fall, the U of T undergrad and his social entrepreneurship team will be testing out their solar-powered crop irrigation system on 20 acres of land they've acquired in South Sudan.

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  • Earthquakes Can Make Thrust Faults Open Violently and Snap Shut

    It is a common trope in disaster movies: an earthquake strikes, causing the ground to rip open and swallow people and cars whole. The gaping earth might make for cinematic drama, but earthquake scientists have long held that it does not happen.

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  • New coral bleaching database to help predict fate of global reefs

    A UBC-led research team has developed a new global coral bleaching database that could help scientists predict future bleaching events.

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  • Rock Samples Indicate Water is Key Ingredient for Crust Formation

    By examining the cooling rate of rocks that formed more than 10 miles beneath the Earth’s surface, scientists led by The University of Texas at Austin Jackson School of Geosciences have found that water probably penetrates deep into the crust and upper mantle at mid-ocean spreading zones, the places where new crust is made. The finding adds evidence to one side of a long-standing debate on how magma from the Earth’s mantle cools to form the lower layers of crust.

    Nick Dygert, a postdoctoral fellow in the Jackson School’s Department of Geological Sciences, led the research which was published in May in the print edition of Earth and Planetary Science Letters. Collaborators include Peter Kelemen of Colombia University and Yan Liang of Brown University.

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  • Researchers to make corrections in climate change models

    Global warming is a concept very well-known to people today, even those who are not particularly invested in such matters. However, this knowledge becomes obsolete very quickly. Take the greenhouse effect. We all have heard about the ??2 emissions and their detrimental effect on our planet. According to the US EPA data, 76% of all greenhouse gas emissions are carbon dioxide, and 16% - methane (??4). However, despite this great differential, methane is actually much more dangerous. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change gives a good insight into that. As per their research, the greenhouse activity of methane is 28 times higher than that of carbon dioxide in the timeframe of 100 years and 80 times higher if the next 20 years are taken into account. Moreover, methane concentration in the atmosphere grows exponentially. And the explanation for that may be derived from our distant past.

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  • Fifty years ago, a historic balloon launch that changed the way we see the ozone layer

    From atop this grassy mesa in 1967, scientists with the federal Environmental Science Services Agency carefully launched a weather balloon carrying a new instrument that could measure ozone levels from the ground to the very edge of outer space -- and radio the data back to a ground receiver.

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  • Hybrid Digital-Analog Circuits Can Increase Computational Power of Chaos-Based Systems

    New research from North Carolina State University has found that combining digital and analog components in nonlinear, chaos-based integrated circuits can improve their computational power by enabling processing of a larger number of inputs. This “best of both worlds” approach could lead to circuits that can perform more computations without increasing their physical size.

    Computer scientists and designers are struggling to keep up with Moore’s law, which states that the number of transistors on an integrated circuit will double every two years in order to meet processing demands. They are rapidly reaching the limits of physics in terms of transistor size – it isn’t possible to continue shrinking the transistors to fit more on a chip.

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  • Ultracold atom waves may shed light on rogue ocean killers

    By precisely controlling the quantum behavior of an ultracold atomic gas, Rice University physicists have created a model system for studying the wave phenomenon that may bring about rogue waves in Earth’s oceans.

    The research appears this week in Science. The researchers said their experimental system could provide clues about the underlying physics of rogue waves — 100-foot walls of water that are the stuff of sailing lore but were only confirmed scientifically within the past two decades. Recent research has found rogue waves, which can severely damage and sink even the largest ships, may be more common than previously believed.

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  • Modern Metabolic Science Yields Better Way to Calculate Indoor CO2

    The air we breathe out can help us improve the quality of the air we breathe in.

    Measurements of indoor carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations are used to evaluate indoor air quality, which is strongly linked to the levels of contaminants, such as gases and particles, circulating about with CO2. This information also can be used to control ventilation, which helps clean the air, and reduce the need for heating and cooling, which saves energy. However, according to National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) mechanical engineer Andrew Persily and George Mason University nutrition professor and human metabolism scientist Lilian de Jonge, the formula that’s been used since the early 1980s to estimate an integral part of those calculations—the amount of CO2 generated by building occupants—relies on old data and a method lacking scientific documentation. This means current estimates of CO2 generation rates may be off by as much as 25 percent.

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  • Thin Layers of Water Hold Promise for the Energy Storage of the Future

    Researchers at North Carolina State University have found that a material which incorporates atomically thin layers of water is able to store and deliver energy much more quickly than the same material that doesn’t include the water layers. The finding raises some interesting questions about the behavior of liquids when confined at this scale and holds promise for shaping future energy-storage technologies.

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