Space Tourism Faces Obstacles

Image of Virgin Galactic's White Knight 2 spaceship

Elon Musk, Richard Branson, and Jeff Bezos. These are the leaders when it comes to space tourism and innovating the private sector of space exploration. We’re all rooting for them to succeed, because it means we’ll be one step closer to living out Star Trek in real life. Unfortunately, the tourism industry has hit a little snag, namely on the environmental side of things. As it turns out, black carbon buildup in the atmosphere has been predicted to grow in correspondence with the emerging flights of private space companies such as SpaceX and Virgin Galactic. The majority of environmental scientists… read more

Can WiFi Signals Kill Plants?

Can WiFi Signals Kill Plants?

Noteworthy science isn’t only reserved for grant funded research studies. A team of ninth grade students from Hjallerup School in North Jutland, Denmark have created an international buzz among the realm of the scientifically involved. Lea Nielsen, Mathilde Nielsen, Signe Nielsen, Sisse Coltau and Rikke Berg recently decided to investigate WiFi routers and their effect, if any, on plant life for a class science project. Their findings are profoundly interesting. Similar published studies have also been done, many with related results. They had the idea for the study when they thought about their nightly cellphone habits, which sometimes included sleeping with them… read more

Your Idea for Solving the Climate Crisis Could Win $10,000

Climate CoLab

An online forum from MIT, called Climate CoLab, provides a place where people can create proposals for solutions for dealing with climate change, in essence harnessing the collective intelligence of people across the world to work toward climate solutions. And it’s also a place where the best idea gets a $10,000 award and an invitation to present their proposal at conference at MIT. The contest from Climate CoLab breaks down the complex problem of climate change into a series of more related sub-problems, which are simpler to address than the overarching subject of climate change as a whole. People can… read more

Satellite To Weigh World’s Forests

Biomass satellite

The more we know about our planet, the more we can better understand how we’re both destroying and saving it. Having new data for everything from forestry statistics, to ocean levels, erosion, pollution, and population growth will allow us to evaluate what we’re doing right, and what we can be doing better. Biomass, the 7th satellite in the Earth Explorer mission, was created for such a purpose; to “weigh” the world’s forests, and provide us with detailed information about our planet. This expedition will shed new light on the damage we’re doing to the Amazon Rainforest, and other large bodies… read more

Are Algae Powered Vehicles a Possibility?

Are Algae Powered Vehicles a Possibility?

There are many ways of converting substances to biodiesel fuel, and researchers are continually finding new ways to use neat materials for gassing up vehicles. Algae are one example of a conceivable substance that seems to have some potential. When mixed with sunlight, bacteria and carbon dioxide, algae, in its water dense environment produces a lot of oil. In fact, an alga’s mass contains around 50% oil, which can be gathered, processed and converted into biodiesel fuel. Palm oils, in contrast, contain about 20% of convertible oil. Algae are naturally carbohydrate rich and can be turned into ethanol. Using algae as… read more

It’s Boiling Under The Sun

It's boiling under the sun

Basic physics states that steam cannot exist without a boiling liquid. An innovative and possibly revolutionary new method of utilizing solar power follows that law. The problem with steam power is the inefficiency and waste associated with the initial boil of a liquid. Traditional methods of boiling liquid are dependent on convection, a process involving both conduction (heat diffusion) and advection (heat transfer by bulk fluid flow) whereby heat is introduced to the material. Slowly the temperature of the liquid increases from the heat application area to the other areas of the liquid. This is the method stove-top heating elements use,… read more

New Citizen Science Project Brings Butterfly Enthusiasts and Scientists Together

fendersbluebutterfly

Who doesn’t love butterflies? They’re beautiful, fragile, and extremely important to our ecosystems. They’re also incredibly sensitive to changes in their habitats, from changing temperatures to increasing urban sprawl. And now, just about anyone can help scientists better understand them, by contributing to a new citizen science project. eButterfly, from Oregon State University, is an online portal for recording sightings of butterflies across the US and Canada, which will help add virtual manpower to the cadre of scientists that are gathering data on one of the Earth’s most elegant inhabitants. “What we need, and what we believe eButterfly will provide,… read more

97% of Peer-Reviewed Climate Papers Agree on Human-Caused Global Warming

97percent

Talking to the average layman, you might think that human-caused climate change is a debatable topic, but when talking to actual climate scientists, there is an overwhelming amount of agreement on it. A meta-analysis of thousands of climate papers that expressed a position on anthropogenic global warming found that over 97% of them endorsed the theory of human-caused global warming. That finding runs contrary to public perceptions of climate change, according to lead author John Cook: “There is a gaping chasm between the actual consensus and the public perception.” – Cook A poll taken in 2012 by the US Pew… read more

Smart Glass: Not Just For Windows

Smart Glass: Not Just For Windows

Over the past few years, glass used for windows has become increasingly more energy efficient due to new techniques and designs. Traditionally made windows can lose up to 30% of a home’s energy and cause heat fluctuations. Smart glasses are one innovative update in the window design world that considerably increases energy efficacy. Researchers have found that thinly coating vanadium dioxide nanoparticles with a specialized film helps windows function at a heightened level, therefore increasing energy saving capabilities. Applied to films and the materials used to make glass, smart glasses like BioGlass use this application. Glass for windows has customarily… read more

New Gold Extraction Method Uses Cornstarch instead of Cyanide

gold rocks hammer

Sometimes happy little accidents happen in the lab that eventually lead to big changes in the outside world, and a team of Northwestern University scientists may have stumbled upon one that could really clean up the process of gold recovery. In the movies, you can pick up gold nuggets by hand, or pan out enough in a stream to fill your pocketbook, but in the real world, extracting gold can take a whole lot more work, especially with low-grade ores. Current gold recovery methods use highly toxic cyanides or mercury, which takes a toll on the environment, especially the production… read more