Wednesday, January 30, 2013

drag2share: Surprised Scientists Find Lifeforms Six Miles Above Earth's Surface

source: http://feeds.gawker.com/~r/gizmodo/vip/~3/FLNjmsZYm8g/surprised-scientists-find-lifeforms-six-miles-above-earths-surface

Surprised Scientists Find Lifeforms Six Miles Above Earth's SurfaceFor the first time, scientists have found lifeforms where nobody thought it was possible: floating in the troposphere, the slice of the atmosphere approximately four to six miles (eight to 15 kilometers) above Earth's surface. And not just a tiny few, but lot: 20% of every particle in that atmospheric layer are living organisms.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Math Formula That Tells Us How Long Everything Will Live

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5978304/theres-a-math-formula-that-tells-us-how-long-everything-will-live

The Math Formula That Tells Us How Long Everything Will LiveNPR's Robert Krulwich has a whimsical piece on the one formula that rules it all, from unicellular organisms to whales and sequoias and humans. A math formula that governs our life and tells us when to die.

Even more interesting: the same system scales to other things too, like societies and economies. And it's all bound by one seemingly magic number.

Physicist Geoffrey West describes it a very must-watch with Edge:

[...] if you plotted, for example the metabolic rate on the Y axis and size on the X axis, because of the extraordinary diversity and complexity of the system and the historical contingency, you would expect points all over the map representing, of course, history and geography and so on.

Well, you find quite the contrary. You find a very simple curve, and that curve has a very simple mathematical formula. It comes out to be a very simple power law. In fact, the power law not only is simple in itself mathematically, but here it has an exponent that is extraordinarily simple. The exponent was very close to the number three quarters.

First of all, that was amazing in itself, that you see scaling. But more importantly was that the scaling is manifested across all of life into eco-systems and down within cells. So this scaling law is truly remarkable. It goes from intracellular up to ecosystems almost 30 orders of magnitude. They're the same phenomenon.

Furthermore, if you look at any physiological variable, such as the rate at which oxygen diffuses across lungs, the length of the aorta, anything to do with the physiology of any organism, or if you look at any life history event like how long you live, how long does the organism live, how long does it take to mature, what is its growth rate, etc., and you ask how does it scale? It scales in very similar way.

That is, it scales as a simple power law. The extraordinary thing about it is that the power law has an exponent, which is always a simple multiple of one quarter. What you determine just from the data is that there's this extraordinary simple number, four, which seems to dominate all biology and across all taxonomic groups from the microscopic to the macroscopic.

According to West—and the studies that found this relationship, like this one titled Allometric scaling of plant life history—you can apply this math to any living beings and find their life expectancy with absolute precision. That doesn't mean that it will tell you when one specific giraffe will die, but when all giraffes are supposed to die. Accidents, from a draught to the encounter with a predator to a random DNA mutation, affect the individual. But all giraffes have a set number of days to live, and there's no way around it. In fact, the only animals who have been able to overcome this by means of medical technology are human beings.

It's an extraordinary look at the world, the idea that there's something invisible that governs us all, a mathematical system that clocks biological life at all scales. We know that it is there, says West, but we don't know "where in hell does that number come from":

This can hardly be an accident. If you see scaling, it is manifesting something that transcends history, geography, and therefore the evolved engineered structure of the organism because it applies to me, all mammals, and the trees sitting out there, even though we're completely different designs.

The big question is where in the hell does that number come from? And what is it telling us about the structure of the biology? And what is it telling us about the constraints under which evolution occurred? That was the beginning of all this.

The Math Formula That Tells Us How Long Everything Will LiveAbove: the study that predicted the life of plants.

See, West is proposing that the same constants that regulate life also regulate how other complex systems growth. There is a law, he proposes, that connects it all in a very simple—although mathematically extremely complex way—common way.

The second thing is, (again, comes from the data and the conceptual framework explains it) the bigger you are, the slower everything is. The bigger you are, you live longer. Oxygen diffuses slower across your various membranes. You take longer to mature, you grow slower, but all in a systematic, mathematizable, predictable way. The pace of life systematically slows down following these quarter power scales. And again, we'll ask those questions about life ... social life and economies.

The work I got involved in was to try to understand these scaling laws. And to make it a very short story, what was proposed apart from the thinking was, look, this is universal. It cuts across the design of organisms. Whether you are insects, fish, mammals or birds, you get the same scaling laws. It is independent of design. Therefore, it must be something that is about the structure of the way things are distributed.

You recognize what the problem is. You have ten cells. You have this problem. You've got to sustain them, roughly speaking, democratically and efficiently. And however natural selection solved it, it solved it by evolving hierarchical networks.

To me, this convergence of sciences, this singular rule to rule them all, is perhaps the most fascinating quest in the history of humankind. One that, I hope, will be revealed before I die, even before they discover the warp drive.

Maybe Douglas Adams was right all along and the answer is 42.

Watch West's interview here.
Image by Yunfan Tan

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Why Mackerel Has Been Taken Off The Ethical 'Fish To Eat' List

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/why-mackerel-has-been-taken-off-the-ethical-fish-to-eat-list-2013-1

mackerel fishThe North-east Atlantic mackerel fishery has joined the three quarters of worldwide stocks that are either declining or being fished beyond a sustainable level

Only yesterday, it seems, mackerel was the fish to gulp down without a twinge of guilt, good both for your pump and for the planet. Doctors recommended its oily flesh, rich in omega-3, to ward off heart disease. Environmentalists and celebrity chefs trumpeted its eco-friendliness. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall launched a campaign in 2010 to persuade people to switch to it from overfished cod. The sustainable superfood was also cheap and tasty – and made up Scotland’s most valuable catch. What was there not to like?

Today, its sustainable image, at least, lies shattered, and its £205 million annual value to British fishermen is in jeopardy. The Marine Conservation Society has taken the species off its ethical “fish to eat” list because the catch is now “far in excess of what has been scientifically recommended”. And Fearnley-Whittingstall, while insisting that the supply had been robust enough to support his campaign, called the fish’s plight “a farce rapidly becoming a tragedy”.

In other words, north-east Atlantic mackerel fishery has now joined the three quarters of worldwide stocks that are either declining or being fished beyond a sustainable level. In European waters, blighted by the disastrous Common Fisheries Policy, the toll is even worse, with more than 80 per cent of fisheries over-exploited.

In fact, the crisis has long been brewing – and, in retrospect, fisheries campaigners seem to have been over-sanguine. It began more than four years ago, when Iceland started increasing its landings of the fish, unilaterally upping its quota from 2,000 tonnes in 2008 to! 146,000 tonnes last year. The Faroe Islands followed suit, raising their own quota sixfold to 150,000 tons. They did so because for some reason (climate change has been blamed) mackerel have been moving northwards. There are now plenty of them in those warming waters, so the locals insist they have every right to harvest them.

The trouble is that when the vastly increased Icelandic and Faroese takes are added to what other countries are legally catching, some 900,000 tonnes of mackerel are being landed a year from a fishery that can only stand to yield 500,000 tonnes. That cannot go on for long without disaster – there is an awful precedent in the North Sea, where the fishery which yielded a one million ton take in the Sixties has since shrunk by 99 per cent – and Britain, which holds more than half the EU quota, stands to suffer most.

Negotiations have so far failed, and, in the absence of agreement, the EU and Norway last week cut their quotas by 15 per cent to try to relieve the pressure. And two weeks ago, Richard Benyon, the fisheries minister, told Parliament that EU trade sanctions against Iceland and the Faroes were now “on the table”.

These could be in operation by the summer, when new quotas are due to be set, directed at imports of mackerel and fishmeal to feed farmed salmon. But – as the former Daily Telegraph writer turned fisheries campaigner, Charles Clover, points out – a “mackerel war” might backfire, since much of the Icelandic and Faroese catch is landed, and processed, in Britain.

Last March the Marine Stewardship Council, which certifies fisheries, suspended its seal of approval for north-east Atlantic mackerel, and later last year Sainsbury’s, Marks & Spencer and the Co-op all boycotted it. So its downgrading on the “fish to eat” list – the Marine Conservation Society says it should now be only consumed “occasionally” – has long been on its way.

The saga is just ! one epis ode in an astonishing depletion of the once-rich fisheries around our shores. Prof Callum Roberts, of the University of York, has calculated that as late as 1889 British waters held up to 15 times as many cod, haddock and halibut as today. The devastation long preceded the Common Fisheries Policy, but it has made things worse: more than two thirds of the quotas it set over the past 25 years have exceeded official scientific advice. A minister once told me that the meetings in Brussels were like “Buffalo Bill and Wyatt Earp arguing over who should shoot the last buffalo”.

To its credit, the Government, led by Mr Benyon, has tried to change this. Largely because of its pressure, serious reform seems finally to be under way, with EU ministers and a European parliamentary committee last year agreeing to ban the grossly wasteful practice of “discarding”, dead or dying, nearly one in every 10 fish caught, while the MEPs also voted to stop the setting of quotas above scientific recommendations. But there is still a long way to go.

In the meantime the Marine Conservation Society suggests eating herring and sardine instead of mackerel; it also gives the green light to whiting from the Celtic Sea, coley from the North Sea and Dover sole from the English Channel.

Bon appétit.

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Monday, January 21, 2013

To Make Steam Without Boiling Water, Just Add Sunlight And Nanoparticles

Source: http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2012-11/turn-water-steam-using-only-sunlight-just-add-nanoparticles

Everything You Need For A Steam Generator tim.perdue via Flickr
A mixture of plain water, nanoparticles, and sunlight can convert water into steam without ever even bringing it to a boil

Today in mind-bendingly cool stuff that nanoparticles can do: A team of researchers at Rice University in Texas has demonstrated a mechanism by which they can create steam in just seconds by focusing sunlight on a mixture of water and nanoparticles. This isn't just some artificial means of lowering boiling point either; this solar powered "boiler" can produce steam before the water even gets warm to the touch, without ever bringing the aggregate water to a boil.

Right now this research is very much still in the lab, and the researchers aren't yet sure exactly how far they can push it. But it doesn't take much to imagine the possibilities for a steam generator that runs solely on water and sunlight.

The technology works by mixing a small amount of either carbon or gold-coated silicon dioxide nanoparticles, each just one-tenth the diameter of a single human hair, with water in a glass vessel. Their small diameters--smaller than the wavelength of visible light--means that they can absorb most of a light wave's energy rather than scattering it. So when sunlight is focused on the vessel with a lens, the particles quickly become quite hot--hot enough to vaporize the water directly surrounding it.

This creates a bubble of steam that envelopes the nanoparticle, which is now insulated from the cooler liquid water by the steam, which allows it to grow hotter still, vaporizing more of the water immediately around it. At some point the nanoparticle and its steam envelope become large enough to grow buoyant, at which point the whole steam bubble--particle and all--floats to the surface. The steam is released into the air, the particle falls back into the cooler water and sinks back down until it begins to absorb sunlight and heat again, at which point the process starts all over.

Multiply that by the number of nanoparticles in the mixture, and you have something of a simulated boil, but one that doesn't require the entire pot of water to reach boiling point before the first steam bubbles head to the surface. You can think of it as a way of micromanaging the boiling process, specifically heating some parts of the water (where it touches the nanoparticles) while leaving the rest of the water cool. And the particles themselves are completely durable--they keep absorbing, heating, cooling, and absorbing again, with no need to replace them.

Pretty nuts, no? It spells an interesting future for solar power in general, but more specifically it's easy to see how a cheap and abundant source of steam, even in low specific volumes, could be used to do anything from generate electricity and heat to lower the energy intensive nature of certain processes like water desalinization. As the WaPo points out, the last time someone came up with a cheap and easy way to generate and harness abundant steam it completely changed the world. So there's that.

[Washington Post]

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New Lighting Could Replace Fluorescents, CFLs, and LEDs As The Light Source Of The Future

Source: http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2012-12/new-kind-lighting-could-replace-fluorescents-cfls-and-leds-light-source-future

FIPEL Lighting Could Replace Fluorescents Ken Bennett, Wake Forest University photographer
FIPEL technology produces the soft, white light our eyes crave without that annoying fluorescent hum.

Like the desktop printer and the fax machine, the fluorescent overhead light might soon see a diminished role around the office. Researchers at Wake Forest University have developed a field-induced polymer elecroluminescent (FIPEL) lighting technology that silently gives off a soft, white glow, sans the annoying hum and yellow tint of fluorescent bulbs or the sharp, bluish hue of LED light fixtures.

FIPEL technology is by no means brand new, but turning it into a viable light source has taken some time. The Wake Forest team used a multi-layer white-emitting blend of polymers imbued with a small amount of nanomaterials that glow when stimulated with an electric charge. This nano-engineered polymer matrix is essentially a whole new type of light bulb, different from both the filament-filled Edison bulb and mercury-exciting fluorescent, as well as the LEDs and compact fluorescents (CFLs) that have been slowly replacing some traditional light sources in recent years.

Moreover, it is at least twice as efficient as CFLs (which are filled with hazardous materials that can leak into the environment if the bulb is broken--FIPELs are not) and roughly on par with LEDs, both of which emit light that is not quite suited to the human eye. And the FIPEL technology is tunable--it can be manufactured to give off the soft, white light human eyes prefer or to emit any other color, making it potentially useful for billboard lighting and other displays. Its form factor is even customizable--it can be molded into bulbs with Edison connections to fit existing fixtures, but also into large sheets or panels that could fit into ceiling tiles or wall spaces to provide lighting that is unobtrusively embedded in the spaces around us.

Perhaps best of all, FIPEL technology has been around for quite a while and is already well-understood, meaning two things: Firstly, we know the technology is long-lasting (one of the researchers has had a prototype FIPEL light source that he claims has worked for a decade), and secondly we already know how to produce it. This kind of FIPEL lighting could be on the consumer market as early as next year.

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Pacific Bluefin Tuna Population Has Dropped By 96 Percent

Source: http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2013-01/overfishing-causes-pacific-bluefin-tuna-stock-dip-dangerously-low

Pacific Prey Wikimedia Commons
The dark side of sushi's surge in popularity.

For the Pacific bluefin tuna, sitting at the popular kids' table sure isn't paying off. The stock of the fish is at historically low levels and is being dangerously overfished, a new report shows.

Fisheries scientists from the International Scientific Committee to Study the Tuna and Tuna-Like Species of the North Pacific Ocean estimate that the Pacific bluefin population has declined from its unfished level by more than 96 percent. The report warns that stock levels likely won't improve by extending the current fishing levels. All the world's scrombrids -- a family that includes tunas and mackerels -- are on the endangered list.

One problem is the majority of bluefin fishermen are snagging fish are under a year old, further hindering the species' chance to procreate. But the extreme lack of supply isn't deterring many buyers. If anything, low supplies of the fish have caused it to become a premium commodity, worth buying at extreme prices. Last week, a Pacific bluefin sold for $1.78 million at an auction in Tokyo.

Amanda Nickerson, the director of the Pew Environment Group has said that "the most responsible course of action is to immediately suspend the fishery until significant steps are taken to reverse this decline." She called on the main countries responsible for Pacific bluefin fishing -- Japan, Mexico, South Korea and the U.S. -- to take conservational action.

So far, there's been one minor step forward: In June 2012, the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission set a quota for the tuna catch in the eastern Pacific for the first time ever. Some of the other actions the Pew Environment Group suggested were preventing fishing on bluefin spawning grounds in the northern pacific and creating size limits to reduce the number of juvenile bluefin caught.

[NYTimes]

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Survival of the fittest: Ocean acidification produces winners and losers

Source: http://phys.org/news/2013-01-survival-fittest-ocean-acidification-winners.html

(Phys.org)—As atmospheric carbon dioxide levels continue to increase, the ocean absorbs more carbon dioxide. This absorption comes at a cost, since it makes the ocean more acidic. An acid ocean will affect all marine species, but the potential severity of these effects is the subject of debate.

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Scientists find tiny fragments of plastic in the digestive systems of fish pulled from the English Channel

Source: http://phys.org/news/2013-01-scientists-tiny-fragments-plastic-digestive.html

The discovery, by a team from Plymouth University and the UK Marine Biological Association, highlights the growing problem of plastic contamination of marine environments.

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Saturday, January 19, 2013

The US Is Delaying Its 'Fracking' Rule AGAIN

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/interior-department-delaying-fracking-rule-2013-1

Fracking

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Interior Department is again delaying a proposed rule that would require companies drilling for oil and natural gas on federal lands to publicly disclose chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing operations.

The Obama administration first proposed a "fracking" rule last May, with a final rule expected by the end of the year. Officials later revised the timeline to early 2013. On Friday, the department pushed the deadline back again, announcing plans for a second draft version by the end of March, with publication of a final rule not expected until late 2013.

Interior Department spokesman Blake Androff said the administration is committed to responsible expansion of domestic oil and gas production, but said it is important that the public have confidence that proper environmental protections are in place.

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Monday, January 14, 2013

To Make Steam Without Boiling Water, Just Add Sunlight And Nanoparticles

Source: http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2012-11/turn-water-steam-using-only-sunlight-just-add-nanoparticles

Everything You Need For A Steam Generator tim.perdue via Flickr
A mixture of plain water, nanoparticles, and sunlight can convert water into steam without ever even bringing it to a boil

Today in mind-bendingly cool stuff that nanoparticles can do: A team of researchers at Rice University in Texas has demonstrated a mechanism by which they can create steam in just seconds by focusing sunlight on a mixture of water and nanoparticles. This isn't just some artificial means of lowering boiling point either; this solar powered "boiler" can produce steam before the water even gets warm to the touch, without ever bringing the aggregate water to a boil.

Right now this research is very much still in the lab, and the researchers aren't yet sure exactly how far they can push it. But it doesn't take much to imagine the possibilities for a steam generator that runs solely on water and sunlight.

The technology works by mixing a small amount of either carbon or gold-coated silicon dioxide nanoparticles, each just one-tenth the diameter of a single human hair, with water in a glass vessel. Their small diameters--smaller than the wavelength of visible light--means that they can absorb most of a light wave's energy rather than scattering it. So when sunlight is focused on the vessel with a lens, the particles quickly become quite hot--hot enough to vaporize the water directly surrounding it.

This creates a bubble of steam that envelopes the nanoparticle, which is now insulated from the cooler liquid water by the steam, which allows it to grow hotter still, vaporizing more of the water immediately around it. At some point the nanoparticle and its steam envelope become large enough to grow buoyant, at which point the whole steam bubble--particle and all--floats to the surface. The steam is released into the air, the particle falls back into the cooler water and sinks back down until it begins to absorb sunlight and heat again, at which point the process starts all over.

Multiply that by the number of nanoparticles in the mixture, and you have something of a simulated boil, but one that doesn't require the entire pot of water to reach boiling point before the first steam bubbles head to the surface. You can think of it as a way of micromanaging the boiling process, specifically heating some parts of the water (where it touches the nanoparticles) while leaving the rest of the water cool. And the particles themselves are completely durable--they keep absorbing, heating, cooling, and absorbing again, with no need to replace them.

Pretty nuts, no? It spells an interesting future for solar power in general, but more specifically it's easy to see how a cheap and abundant source of steam, even in low specific volumes, could be used to do anything from generate electricity and heat to lower the energy intensive nature of certain processes like water desalinization. As the WaPo points out, the last time someone came up with a cheap and easy way to generate and harness abundant steam it completely changed the world. So there's that.

[Washington Post]

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Pacific Bluefin Tuna Population Has Dropped By 96 Percent

Source: http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2013-01/overfishing-causes-pacific-bluefin-tuna-stock-dip-dangerously-low

Pacific Prey Wikimedia Commons
The dark side of sushi's surge in popularity.

For the Pacific bluefin tuna, sitting at the popular kids' table sure isn't paying off. The stock of the fish is at historically low levels and is being dangerously overfished, a new report shows.

Fisheries scientists from the International Scientific Committee to Study the Tuna and Tuna-Like Species of the North Pacific Ocean estimate that the Pacific bluefin population has declined from its unfished level by more than 96 percent. The report warns that stock levels likely won't improve by extending the current fishing levels. All the world's scrombrids -- a family that includes tunas and mackerels -- are on the endangered list.

One problem is the majority of bluefin fishermen are snagging fish are under a year old, further hindering the species' chance to procreate. But the extreme lack of supply isn't deterring many buyers. If anything, low supplies of the fish have caused it to become a premium commodity, worth buying at extreme prices. Last week, a Pacific bluefin sold for $1.78 million at an auction in Tokyo.

Amanda Nickerson, the director of the Pew Environment Group has said that "the most responsible course of action is to immediately suspend the fishery until significant steps are taken to reverse this decline." She called on the main countries responsible for Pacific bluefin fishing -- Japan, Mexico, South Korea and the U.S. -- to take conservational action.

So far, there's been one minor step forward: In June 2012, the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission set a quota for the tuna catch in the eastern Pacific for the first time ever. Some of the other actions the Pew Environment Group suggested were preventing fishing on bluefin spawning grounds in the northern pacific and creating size limits to reduce the number of juvenile bluefin caught.

[NYTimes]

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This Is What a Virus Infecting a Cell Looks Like

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5975703/this-is-what-a-virus-infecting-a-cell-looks-like

This Is What a Virus Infecting a Cell Looks LikeThis isn't a cartoon tree or some strange piece of modern art. In fact, it's what researchers from the University of Texas at Austin saw when they managed to observe a virus in the act of penetrating a cell.

In the image, you can see a T7 virus (red) burrowing its way into an E. coli bacterium (green). The six yellow strands are actually rudimentary legs, which allow the virus to crawl over cells to find a weak spot and then infect them.

The image is the first time scientists have observed a virus inserting its tail into a cell to infect it. It's believed that the process allows it to infect a cell directly with its DNA. You can see it in action, in fact, in the video below. The weirdest part? The fact that this all happens in your body, too. Ugh. [Science Express via Science, Space and Robots]

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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Your Android Phone Could Help Scientists Predict Your Weather

Source: http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2013/01/android-weather-prediction/

Your Android Phone Could Help Scientists Predict Your Weather
Atmospheric scientists are working with an app developer to take air pressure information that is already being collected from thousands of Android phones and feed it into sophisticated new climate models. If they get enough buy-in from Android owners, you ...

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Brain Cancer-Causing Virus Strikes West Coast Raccoons

Source: http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2013/01/raccoon-cancer-outbreak/

Brain Cancer-Causing Virus Strikes West Coast Raccoons
An outbreak of a previously unknown virus that causes fatal brain cancer in raccoons has been detected in northern California and southern Oregon. There's no reason to think the virus could be contagious to humans. Its emergence does, however, raise ...

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Thursday, January 10, 2013

New polymer film harvests energy from water vapor, could power nanoelectronic devices

Source: http://phys.org/news/2013-01-polymer-harvests-energy-vapor-power.html

MIT engineers have created a new polymer film that can generate electricity by drawing on a ubiquitous source: water vapor.

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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Australia Is So Hot They Had to Add New Colors to Their Weather Maps

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5974463/australia-is-so-hot-they-had-to-add-new-colors-to-their-weather-maps

Australia Is So Hot They Had to Add New Colors to Their Weather MapsIt's super-hot in Australia right now: there are massive bush fires happening spontaneously and it's 95°F in Sydney at midnight. In fact, the Australian bureau of meteorology has recorded the highest ever known temperature in Australia—and as a result, it's had to add new colors to its weather maps.

The purple spot in the center of the country represents the new high temperature of 129.2°F, or 54°C. It's a brand new color to the scale, prompted by the crazy temperatures being experienced in Australia. The previous high, recorded in 1960, was 123°F, or 50.7°C. There's currently no word on what the next color might be, but presumably by the time we get there we'll all have melted into puddles of goo so it won't really matter. [Sydney Morning Herald via The Atlantic Wire]

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Mpowerd's Luci solar lantern hands-on

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2013/01/08/mpowerds-luci-solar-lantern-hands-on/

Mpowerd's Luci solar lantern handson

Luci is Mpowerd's "little solar lantern with a big impact" and for the price and light produced -- 1200 lumens -- it does seem to fit the bill. But what really makes this lantern so fantastic, is that Luci is aimed to provide "solar justice" for those off the grid or perhaps suffering through some type of natural disaster and it is done on the cheap. Luci is a solar-powered LED lantern that will juice up in the sun in six hours and then produce six to 12 hours of light from that charge. The light runs in three different modes, low, high, or a distress mode where it flashes, costs only $15.99, is collapsible, lightweight and has a one-year lifespan. Well done Mpowerd, Luci seems a great tech and design innovation in that it solves a problem in a very elegant and simple way.

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Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Era Of Gas-Guzzling Cars Is Officially Over

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/cafe-fuel-economy-2012-2013-1

The average fuel economy of cars in America hit 23.5 miles per gallon, the highest figure ever recorded, according to the University of Michigan.

It's also at least the fifth-consecutive year the figure has set a record.

Michigan's eco-driving index calculates the fuel economy of all model-year vehicles sold in America, then weighs them by sales volume to arrive at its index.

The index also found average monthly emissions of greenhouse gases generated by an individual U.S. driver has improved 21 percent since October 2007, to 0.79 in October 2012, according to Gasbuddy

Here's the MPG chart — the figure ticked down slightly at the end of the year as gas prices decreased:

mich cafe gas mpg

SEE ALSO: JP MORGAN'S COMPLETE GUIDE TO THE MARKETS

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