Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Pouring Saltwater Over Graphene Generates Electricity


Source: http://gizmodo.com/pouring-saltwater-over-graphene-generates-electricity-1563379860Pouring Saltwater Over Graphene Generates ElectricitySEXPAND

A team of Chinese scientists did an impossible-sounding thing. They created electricity simply by dragging a droplet of saltwater across a layer of graphene. No big fires, no greenhouse gases, no fuss. They created energy with just a miracle material and one of the most plentiful substances on Earth.

The science behind the effect is actually quite simple. When the droplets of saltwater sat static on the graphene, they carried an equal charge on both sides. But, when moved across the surface of the graphene, the electrons in the saltwater were desorbed on one end of the graphene and absorbed on the other, generating a measurable voltage along the way. The faster the water moves, the higher the voltage it generates—although the total voltage was still pretty low, about 30 millivolts. A standard AA battery, by comparison, produces about 1.5 volts. It helps that graphene is insanely conductive.

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So that's not much—not yet—but it's something. It's not the voltage that scientists are excited about, though. It's the scale. Current hydroelectric power solutions can only exist on a very large scale. Think Hoover Dam. However, this method for producing hydroelectric power could support nano-sized generators without any byproducts. They do believe the method will scale up, too. That is, if anybody can afford that much graphene. [Nature via Ars Technica]

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A weird black ring appeared in the sky in England and then disappeared

Source: http://sploid.gizmodo.com/a-weird-black-ring-appeared-in-the-sky-in-england-and-t-1563234883/+caseychan

A weird black ring appeared in the sky in England and then disappeared

This is bizarre. A 16-year-old girl saw a giant black ring in the sky above England and captured it on video. After three minutes of floating around like a cloud, the black ring disappeared completely. So far, experts have no idea what it was.

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Friday, April 4, 2014

This beautiful newly-discovered species is about to disappear soon

Source: http://sploid.gizmodo.com/this-beautiful-newly-discovered-species-is-about-to-dis-1558049431/+jesusdiaz

This beautiful newly-discovered species is about to disappear soon

"Just described 'microjewel' snail in extinction danger," announces NewScientist. Every time I see a headline like that and I look a the picture, it really makes me sad. Just admire that beautiful, delicate little beast. Which secrets will this soon-to-be-gone species take away with it?

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This Sustainable Home In Silicon Valley Is The Perfect Alternative To A McMansion [PHOTOS]

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/sustainable-silicon-valley-home-2014-4

low rise house

To many observers, Silicon Valley is the land of cookie-cutter developments and massive McMansions. But a recently completed home in the area could provide a useful model to change that.

Situated on a half-acre lot in Menlo Park, the "Low/Rise house" is an impressive example of sustainable living. The house uses a number of energy-efficient techniques, including radiant floor heating and hidden solar panels that generate 90% of the home's energy.  

"Given the great advances of technology emerging from Silicon Valley, architectural innovation surprisingly lags behind. The house is intended as a counter proposal to the suburban McMansion, the sprawling suburban developments that represent costly wasted space, resources, and energy," Dan Spiegel, founding partner of San Francisco-based Spiegel Aihara Workshop, said to Business Insider. "The Low/Rise House proposes a more responsive, flexible approach to the single family home."

Spiegel designed the home for his parents, two professors at Stanford. It has some pretty amazing green features. 

The house is made up of two low structures that meet in the center.



A three-story guest tower rises on one end of the property. The owners can use an app to shut off the utilities in the separated structure so that it doesn't use too much power when unoccupied.



Solar panels on the roof generate 90% of the house's energy, but they're purposely hidden from view.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider
    






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Monday, March 31, 2014

How Climate Change Has Devastated The World In One Map

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/devastating-impacts-of-climate-change-around-the-world-2014-3

The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) new and scary release includes a map showing how many things have been direly affected around the world in the last few decades.

"One of the most important findings is that we're not in era where climate change is a future hypothetical," Christopher Field, the co-chair of the IPCC's working group II paper said at a news conference from Yokohama, Japan, on Monday. 'There's no question that we live in a world already affected by climate change."

Each continent has a box showing how much of an impact climate change is having on physical systems (like glaciers, coastal erosion, and water resources), biological systems (like forests and reefs), and human systems (like crops and livelihoods).

Icons that are only outlined show when climate change is only a minor contributor. The stack of squares next to the colored icons indicates how much of these impacts is caused by the climate, from zero to five bars. When part of the bars are lighter in color, that means there's some doubt to how high that cause is.

For example: In North America we will have severe impacts (four bars) on our physical systems — including water issues along the California coast. There are also severe impacts (three bars) on ecosystems, including fisheries in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

Across the globe there are severe impacts on human health, livelihood and economics (the red family).

global impacts of climate change IPCCHere are the specific impacts that the changing climate has had in North America:

North Am!   erica cl  imate change impactsRead more about the serious impacts of climate change on our food sources around the world.

SEE ALSO: Anyone Who Eats Food Needs To See These Three Charts From A Massive Report On Climate Change

SEE ALSO: Shocking Before And After Pictures Of How Climate Change Is Destroying The Earth

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Anyone Who Eats Food Needs To See These Three Charts From A Massive Report On Climate Change

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/ipcc-fifth-assessment-climate-change-food-security-2014-3

For several decades, yields of the world's major food crops have increased. But the rate of increase has slowed over the past few years as a result of climate change, a massive new report from the United Nations warns. 

The report is the second of three working group reports issued by The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Scientists held a media conference in Yokohama, Japan, to discuss the details. 

"Studies projecting decreased crop yields are getting higher and higher," said Christopher Field, the co-chair of the IPCC's working group II paper. The finding has serious implications for food security in many parts of the world. 

It's becoming evident in many regions, said Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the IPCC, "that the so-called green revolution has come to a plateau."

Want proof?

This chart, for example, shows the changes in average crop yield as a consequence of events related to climate change, such as rising temperatures and reduced rainfall. In the future, the brown bars (decrease in yield) get taller and the blue bars (increase in yield) get shorter. To put this in perspective, this means that in 50 years or so, the rate of increase will be much less than what it would have been in the absence of climate change. IPCC report

Wheat and maize are really being held back by climate change. Rice and soy could be next.IPCC chart

But it's not just about what grows on land. Anything we eat from the sea is also at risk. 

"Many species will be unable to track suitable climates under mid- and high-range rates of climate change," the ! report s aid. "Those that cannot adapt sufficiently fast will decrease in abundance or go extinct in part or all of their ranges."

The graph below shows the distances that species have moved to cooler waters as ocean temperatures rise. 

IPCC

The report, which looks at the risk of climate change and how we can adapt, says that countries are not prepared for the effects of a changing climate. You can read a summary of the report here.

The new Fifth Assessment Report is the IPCC's biggest report since 2007. The first part was released in September 2013. The third part, which focuses on how to mitigate the effects of climate change, will be released in April 2014. 

SEE ALSO: Shocking Before And After Pictures Of How Climate Change Is Destroying The Earth

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Friday, March 28, 2014

Beautiful Fields of Crops as You've Never Seen Them Before

Source: http://gizmodo.com/beautiful-fields-of-crops-as-youve-never-seen-them-bef-1553504010

Beautiful Fields of Crops as You've Never Seen Them Before

If this image looks oddly familiar, it's because its a series of crop fields seen from the air—just as a wonderful, colorful radar composite image.

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