Thursday, November 21, 2013

Screw Salt, Wisconsin Is De-Icing Its Roads With Cheese Brine

Source: http://gizmodo.com/screw-salt-wisconsin-is-de-icing-its-roads-with-cheese-1468422497

Screw Salt, Wisconsin Is De-Icing Its Roads With Cheese Brine

Life handed Wisconsin lemons, and Wisconsin has come right back with the cheesiest lemonade you ever did see. Instead of spending thousands of dollars to dispose of cheese brine every year, Wisconsin will be putting that liquid provolone gold right back to use by pouring it onto the roads—which, in turn, is making them safer than ever before.

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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Artificial Photosynthesis: Making Cheap Hydrogen From Water and Light

Source: http://gizmodo.com/artificial-photosynthesis-making-cheap-hydrogen-from-w-1467371140

Artificial Photosynthesis: Making Cheap Hydrogen From Water and Light

Hydrogen is one of the most promising fuels of the future but right now it's expensive to produce in bulk. Enter the work of a team of Stanford researchers who believe they can make it as cheap as fossil fuels—using just some water and sunlight.

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The actual probability of Earth going to hell in the next few decades

Source: http://sploid.gizmodo.com/the-actual-probability-of-earth-going-to-hell-in-the-ne-1467435315/@kcampbelldollaghan

The actual probability of Earth going to hell in the next few decades

We know that climate change is already affecting Earth's weather in a major way, but we don't exactly know how bad things are going to get. However, scientists have a pretty good idea of the probabilities of Earth going to hell in the next few decades. This video shows them.

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Thursday, November 14, 2013

New Maps Show Where Earth's Forests Are Being Destroyed

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/high-resolution-global-map-of-forest-change-2013-11

Forest change cover

The first high-resolution global map of changes in forest cover over the last 12 years shows which parts of the world are losing forests at an alarming rate.

Using Landsat satellite images of Earth's surface provided by the U.S. Geological Survey (this data had previously not been available for free) combined with cloud computing support from Google, researchers mapped global tree cover, loss, and gain between 2000 and 2012.

More than 650,000 Landsat images were used to build the map at a spatial resolution of around 100 feet, meaning that one pixel represents an area of 100 feet by 100 feet on the ground.

The study, published online in the journal Science on Thursday, Nov. 14, revealed many key trends about worldwide forest change.

Between 2000 and 2012, 888,000 square miles (an area roughly the size of Mexico and Arizona combined) of forest was lost, while 309,000 square miles (an area about half the size of Alaska) of new forest was established.

You can see an interactive global map of forest change here.

"Losses or gains in forest cover shape many important aspects of an ecosystem including, climate regulation, carbon storage, biodiversity and water supplies, but until now there has not been a way to get detailed, accurate, satellite-based and readily available data on forest cover change from local to global scales," Matthew Hansen, a professor at the University of Maryland and co-author of the study, said in statement.

Of the four climate domains — tropical, subtropical, temperate, and boreal — the tropics experienced the greatest forest loss with an estimated increase in loss of 811 square miles per year. Tropical rainforests accounted for 32% of the world's forest loss — half of whic! h occurr ed in South American rainforests.

Although historically, Brazil has accounted for half of global tropical rainforest loss, the country has cut their deforestation rate in half over the last decade. Brazil's reduction in forest clearing (partly a result of stronger efforts to document trends in deforestation using Landsat data) was offset by increasing forest loss in Indonesia, Malaysia, Paraguay, Bolivia, Zambia, Angola, and other countries. 

The animation below shows forest loss in Sumatra's Riau province in Indonesia. The country is a major target of giant logging, mining, and palm companies and showed the greatest forest loss over the study period.

hansen1.gifIn boreal forests — spanning northern regions of Russia, Scandinavia, Canada, and Alaska — fire is the biggest reason for forest loss.

This animation shows forest fires near Yakutsk, Russia, between 2000 and 2012.

hansen2.gif

In the southeastern United States, an area of intensive forestry, 31% of forest cover was either lost or regrown. Fire, logging, and disease are largely responsible for forest loss in western North America, according to the study. 

Screen Shot 2013 11 14 at 1.54.53 PM

SEE ALSO: American Forests Look Nothing Like They Did 400 Years Ago

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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

An 8-Year Old Girl Has Become China's Youngest Lung Cancer Patient, And The Doctors Are Blaming Air Pollution

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/an-8-year-old-girl-has-become-chinas-youngest-lung-cancer-patient-2013-11

Beijing Smog

An eight-year-old girl has become China's youngest lung cancer patient, reports said, with doctors blaming pollution as the direct cause of her illness.

The girl, whose name was not given, lives near a major road in the eastern province of Jiangsu, said Xinhuanet, the website of China's official news agency.

It quoted Jie Fengdong, a doctor at Jiangsu Cancer Hospital in Nanjing, as saying she had been exposed to harmful particles and dust over a long period of time.

Lung cancer cases among children are extremely rare, with the average age for diagnosis at about 70, according to the American Cancer Society.

But the incidence of the disease has skyrocketed in China as the country's rapid development has brought with it deteriorating air quality, particularly in urban areas.

Lung cancer deaths in China have multiplied more than four times over the past 30 years, according to Beijing's health ministry. Cancer is now the leading cause of death in the smog-ridden capital.

The report of the eight-year-old girl's diagnosis comes after choking smog enveloped the northeastern city of Harbin two weeks ago, bringing flights and ground transport to a standstill and forcing schools to shut for several days, with visibility in some areas reduced to less than 50 metres.

At the height of the smog, the city's levels of PM2.5 -- the smallest, most dangerous type of airborne particle -- reached 1,000 micrograms per cubic metre, 40 times the World Health Organization's recommended standard.

High levels of PM2.5 have been linked to health problems including lung cancer and heart disease.

Copyright (2013) AFP. All rights reserved.

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Monday, November 4, 2013

Handie prosthetic uses 3D printing and smartphones for much cheaper bionic hands (video)

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2013/11/03/handie-prosthetic-cheaper-smartphone-3d-printing/

Handie prosthetic uses 3D printing, your smartphone for substantially cheaper bionic hands video

The main aim of Handie, already a James Dyson award nominee, was to develop an artificial hand that offered a large degree of functionality without the brutal prices associated with prosthetics. With the latest model, it apparently skirts below a $400 price tag, substituting a smartphone for previously dedicated processing hardware as well as 3D printing. The use of printable parts makes Handie repairable, meaning it should last as long (or possibly longer) as models that use substantially more expensive materials. Because all the components (aside from the motors) can be printed, it means customization, design improvements and repairs are all possible -- and cheaply too. The team also has a customized mechanism for finger flexing, reducing the number of motors needed to just one per three-segment digit.

These single motors are still able to passively change direction of fingers depending on the shape of an object. The heavy thinking is all assigned to a companion app on a nearby smartphone, which cuts the costs once again. The prosthetic makers demonstrated the Handie's capabilities at an early press event for this weekend's Maker Faire Tokyo. After working on prosthetics in college, development has focused on the fact that high functionality might not be the biggest priority, especially for users that may require two hand replacements, bringing us back to Handie's simple aim: "sufficient functions at an affordable price." Compare and contrast the rougher fresh-from-the-3D-printer model against a glossier Portal-ish version in our gallery below, and check out the full video explanation after the break. %Gallery-slideshow102887%

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Friday, November 1, 2013

Incredible sky event looks like alien spaceships coming to Earth

Source: http://sploid.gizmodo.com/incredible-sky-event-looks-like-aliens-spaceships-comin-1456604943/@caseychan

Incredible sky event looks like alien spaceships coming to Earth

It looks like a scene from Close Encounters of the Third Kind, but it's real—an awesome view of one of the weirdest sky phenomena you can watch from Earth, witnessed near the town of Sirkka, in the Finnish lapland.

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