Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Some of Canada's Lakes Are Turning Into Jelly Thanks to Acid Rain

Source: http://gizmodo.com/acid-rain-is-turning-canadas-lakes-into-jelly-1660627061

Some of Canada's Lakes Are Turning Into Jelly Thanks to Acid Rain

It's a real bummer to hear that 150 years of industrialization wrecked the Earth so bad that it'll take thousands to recover. It's a much bigger bummer to see the situation in real life. That's exactly what's happening in a large number of Canada's lakes, which are turning into jelly thanks to acid rain.

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Monday, November 17, 2014

Toshiba joins other tech giants in growing super-clean vegetables

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2014/11/16/toshiba-vegetables/

The name "Toshiba" conjures images of stacks of laptops piled high and maybe the occasional television, but the Japanese electronics giant is turning its attention to something just a little more humble: lettuce. Well, spinach too. And swiss chard. Quartz's Dan Frommer tells the tale of a Toshiba-owned clean room nestled in the industrial corners of Yokosuka where people clad in special suits dutifully plant seeds and plop them on tall racks under an array of fluorescent lights. The end result? Tasty veggies that you won't need to wash (though if you're a mild hypochondriac like your author, you'd probably give 'em a quick rinse anyway).

Toshiba isn't diving into the world of clean cuisine just because it wants to appease Japan's gourmands. No no -- it aims to produce some 3 million bags of greens a year to help firm up its position as an end-to-end healthcare company. It's actually pretty brilliant, if a bit paradoxical: Toshiba wants to sell those healthy, pristine greens and the technology (mostly centered around internal imaging for now) that'll help when something ails you. It's not the only Japanese megaconglomerate to dabble in a spot of indoor agriculture, either. Sony converted a closed semiconductor factory in Miyagi prefecture into an elaborate growing operation that churns out specially tweaked lettuce that's chock full of extra beta carotene, and Fujitsu -- a massive company that dabbles in some really obtuse stuff -- has a room in Wakamatsu churning out low-potassium lettuce for folks with chronic kidney disorders. Forget about hacking gadgets together, maybe the future is in hacking the very stuff that keeps us going.

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Source: Quartz

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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Google and conservationists are tracking boats to stop illegal fishing

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2014/11/14/google-oceana-globalfishingwatch-overfishing/

Overfishing has been a problem for ages, but oceans are big and it's not as if the water police authorities can track where every boat drops its nets. At least, until now, since thanks to Google, SkyTruth and Oceana, we're now close to being able to pinpoint where every boat is in every ocean. Culling data from AIS - the automatic identification system that boats are required to broadcast so that they don't get lost - the trio can overlay that imagery with satellite maps to show if any boat is operating in a prohibited zone. Currently, GlobalFishingWatch can only show you data from 2012-2013 for boats that are either registered as fishing vessels or displaying "fishing like" activity, but the plan is to build out the system so that it works in near-to real time. Of course, there are still holes in the system, since any vessel can disable their AIS -- although that's almost enough of a reason to haul 'em in to be interrogated by the cops. Maybe this will be the inspiration for a whole new series called Law and Order: Environmental Crimes Unit.

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Via: The Verge, Wired

Source: Global Fishing Watch

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Saturday, November 8, 2014

Dead fish in Rio Olympic bay baffle scientists

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/afp-dead-fish-in-rio-olympic-bay-baffle-scientists-2014-11

Thousands of dead fish have begun mysteriously washing up in the polluted Rio bay that will host sailing events at the 2016 Olympics -- and experts are at a loss to explain why

Rio de Janeiro (AFP) - Thousands of dead fish have begun mysteriously washing up in the polluted Rio bay that will host sailing events at the 2016 Olympics -- and experts are at a loss to explain why.

Guanabara Bay has already been the subject of concern amongst sailors who are to compete in Rio because of the human sewage that gets pumped into its waters.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has expressed confidence that Guanabara will be fit for purpose by the time of the games.

But the recent appearance of thousands of dead fish, and the foul stench of their rotting carcasses, has attracted further scrutiny with the Olympics less than two years away.

Scientists are baffled by the phenomenon but say there is no evidence so far to suggest pollution is the cause.

The foul odor first took over the usually peaceful Paqueta Island, where cars are banned and the population of 4,500 people travels on horseback or bicycle among the only baobab trees in Brazil.

With the help of a bulldozer, a municipal company has removed 20 tonnes of dead sabalo fish -- from the Clupeidae family of herrings and sardines -- as well as four dead sea turtles.

"Tests showed that this is not a matter of chemical or toxic water pollution," Rio do Janeiro State University oceanographer David Zee told AFP.

Leandro Daemon of the National Institute for the Environment, or INEA, agreed that water testing had not identified any toxic chemicals or any unusual change in the water's pH (potential of hydrogen), salinity or oxygen.

"We have no answer yet about what happened, but we can certainly exclude the hypothesis of a chemical pollution killing the fish," he said.

- 'Don't go in' -

But not everyone is so sure.

Worried fishermen and islanders are pointing the finger at the petrochemical activities of state giant Petrobras.

"We want to know why so many fish have died. The rotten smell is horrible and there are many flies on the island. The authorities tell us nothing," said Vilma Leocadio of the Paqueta citizens' association.

"We are afraid, we do not bathe in the sea any more and do not buy fish here."

Rosimere Figueiredo, 52, said Paqueta was in distress.

"I do not encourage you to step in the water with all those dead bodies of fish. We see them dying," she said.

Five of the fish were sent Tuesday to the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro's biology department for analysis, and the results will be announced in a week.

Experts want to know if there are any signs of pollution or disease in the entrails or gills.

- High temperatures to blame? -

One hypothesis is that the culprit is predatory fishing. 

At this time of year, fishing is prohibited, but it is common for fishermen to still work, catching fish like sabalo that have a lower market value, Zee said.

But the expert said the likeliest scenario was that the deaths are caused by "thermal pollution" of the water.

"Sabalo are very sensitive to any lack of oxygen. Warm water temperatures such as those recorded several days ago -- ranging from 27 to 30 degrees Celsius (81 to 86 Fahrenheit) -- in shallow water decrease the solubility of oxygen," Zee said.

He noted that Paqueta is located at the bottom of the Rio bay, where water circulation and exchange is more difficult, a phenomenon exacerbated by the low tide.

"What is striking is the duration of this mortality and also the high temperature of the water," said biologist Mario Moscatelli, who has studied the bay's waters for 20 years.

"I flew over the area in early October, and fish were floating. At first, we thought they were thrown into the sea by fishermen. But before too long, I saw them dying in a way that seemed they were missing oxygen."

He said the sabalo, being more sensitive, are the first fish to die in the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, which contains sea water carried through a canal in Rio's southern zone.

"But in case of chemical contamination, other species will die," he said. "We have more questions than answers. We must wait for the results of the analysis."

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Satellite Dishes Can Turn Toxic Waste From Fracking Into Clean Water

Source: http://gizmodo.com/satellite-dishes-can-turn-toxic-waste-from-fracking-int-1651380272

Satellite Dishes Can Turn Toxic Waste From Fracking Into Clean Water

In the past few years, earthquakes in Oklahoma have been on the mysterious rise—the state has had more earthquakes than even California. Why? One big fat finger has been pointed at fracking, in which toxic wastewater is injected into wells that can leak and lubricate faults. We clearly need a better solution for this wastewater, and that solution may involve satellite dishes .

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Article: This everlasting battery is made from recycled vanadium and ready to plug in

After a decade of development, a $100 million in funding, and some twists and turns (including a name change), Silicon Valley startup Imergy Power Systems will soon start shipping the next generation of its batteries made from recycled vanadium. The 50-kilowatt battery will be available next mont...

https://gigaom.com/2014/10/23/this-everlasting-battery-is-made-from-recycled-vanadium-ready-to-plug-in/

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Monday, October 20, 2014

These Last 6 Months Were The Warmest Humans Have Ever Recorded On Earth

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/this-year-saw-the-warmest-september-on-record-2014-10

Los Angeles Heat Wave

Collectively, the past six months have been the hottest since humans started keeping track of global temperatures.

Last month was the warmest September humans have recorded, according to both NASA's Global Land-Ocean Temperature Index and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Climatic Data Center.

September came at the end of a record-breaking six months: April, May, June, and August of this year were all also the warmest on record, and July came in at fourth hottest.

According to Eric Holthaus at Slate:

Recent research shows the current warm stretch is probably the planet's warmest in at least 4,000 years. That means global temperatures may have already passed a level that human civilization has never experienced. The sheer size and depth of the world's oceans means that most of global warming's extra heat has been stored there. For the last decade or so, atmospheric warming has been playing catch up.

That means things will just keep getting warmer — and humans are doing a poor job of slowing things down. At the 2009 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, world leaders agreed to take measures to k! eep glob al temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above their historical levels.

Beyond that point, many experts agree that the world could see a disastrous series of climate change effects, including widespread floods, fires, storms, famines, and extinctions. Unfortunately, recent reports suggest that we're on track to miss our target by a good 2 C before the end of the century.

NASA's map below shows the difference in temperature between September 2014 and the average temperature from 1951 and 1980.

NASA_September_1You can see that the heat is affecting some parts of the world more strongly than others. Some areas are even "abnormally cold." Temperatures can fluctuate around the world, depending on weather patterns – for instance, in August, parts of the US saw temperatures below the baseline average, and in September the entire country was at or above the baseline. But the important takeaway is that there is a general pattern of warming temperatures across the globe.

The differences becoming greater as the colors move from yellow to orange to red. Some of the greatest temperature differences were seen in the Arctic and Antarctic regions.

The NOAA chart below shows temperature anomalies between the April-to-September months and the 20th century average every year since 1880. You can see below that 2014 deviates most from the average, and is a part of a much bigger trend of increasing temperature anomalies.

Global_Temperature_1September was also noteworthy for the flurry of climate change activism it saw around the world, including the People's Climate March in New York City, which spawned similar demonstrations around the world and at the UN 2014 Climate Summit, during which world leaders gathered to discuss their strategies for reducing carbon emissions and slowing down climate change.

September was also marked by a spree of climate-related events, including widespread drought in the western US and intense flooding in India.


NOW WATCH: Researchers Just Discovered 18 Mysterious Viruses In NYC's Rat Population

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SEE ALSO: 25 Devastating Effects Of Climate Change

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