Coffee Extinction

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A new study released by scientists at the U.K. Royal Botanic Gardens has concluded that wild Arabica coffee plants are at serious risk of going extinct within this century due to climate change. Two main types of analysis were performed: a locality analysis and an area analysis. In the locality analysis the most favorable outcome is a c. 65% reduction in the number of pre-existing bio climatically suitable localities, and at the worst, an almost 100% (99.7%) reduction, by 2080. In the area analysis the most favorable outcome is a 38% reduction, and the least favorable a c. 90% reduction, by 2080…. read more

Plastic Alternatives

Plastic Alternatives

Bioplastics are a topic up for debate. While some think it a better choice than conventional plastics, some critics say that it is an unnecessary use of a portion of the food supply which is already strained considering the vast populations that are food insecure. Massive plastic consumption and pre-packaged convenience comes at a high price. Pollution that does not biodegrade and toxic by-products from manufacturing processes being just a few issues. While some innovations seek to create compounds that can be used like plastics, but made smarter with renewable resources, some of these up and coming products still have questionable… read more

Sweden – Out of Garbage

Photo Credit: Fotopedia

Sweden is a Scandinavian county that has embraced recycling. So much so that a quarter of a million homes are powered by the incineration of waste. Last October they ran into a problem, this squeaky clean nation of 9.5 million had run out of garbage. The landfills have been tapped dry and Sweden has been forced to import trash from neighboring countries, such as Norway. Sweden is so trash-strapped that officials are shipping in 80,000 tons of refuse annually. Norway pays Sweden to take its excess waste, Sweden burns it for heat and electricity, and the ashes remaining from the incineration… read more

Teaching Kids About Energy

Tio Ghost Light

Energy conservation is a growing subject, and one that kids should be aware of. The younger children learn these habits, the longer they will practice them over their lifetime. We now know enough about the effects of energy consumption and over-consumption that we should be teaching today’s youngsters about the importance of saving energy. Tim Holley has designed a light switch to do just that. He calls it “Tio,” and it’s a ghost-shaped light switch that gives kids a visual reminder of how much energy they’ve used by leaving lights on. Tio starts out a green and smiling ghost. If… read more

The Earth At Night

NASA Earth Observatory/NOAA NGDC

The Earth’s artificial lights have been captured by NASA’s new Suomi NPP satellite. The main shot of the United States is a composite of high-resolution images taken in April and October 2012. It seems the East Coast needs to work on their energy saving habits. Many satellites are equipped to look at Earth during the day, when they can observe our planet fully illuminated by the sun. With a new sensor aboard the NASA-NOAA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP) satellite launched last year, scientists now can observe Earth’s atmosphere and surface during nighttime hours. The new sensor, the day-night band of… read more

NASA Moon Space Station

Orbiting base around the Moon

Since the 1960’s, when NASA successfully placed a man on the Moon, more ambitious plans have surfaced (and often died) in the so-called race to ensure humanity’s dominance of the cosmos. Recently, NASA has experienced a chaotic amount of budget cuts, management shifts, mission alterations, and more. However, a new deep-space plan with some logic and sense behind it may prove to be the next big thing in space travel. Once we returned from the Moon, the next project vision was that we should place a base on the Lunar surface for permanent colonization. It would also serve as a… read more

5th Highest Global Temps

Photo Credit: NOAA

The globally-averaged temperature for November 2012 marked the fifth warmest November since record keeping began in 1880. November 2012 also marks the 36th consecutive November and 333rd consecutive month with a global temperature above the 20th century average. Most areas of the world experienced higher-than-average monthly temperatures, including far eastern Russia, Australia, the central and western United States, northern Africa, and most of Europe and western Asia. Meanwhile, central Asia, Alaska, much of western and central Canada, and the eastern United States were most notably cooler than average. The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for November… read more

Underwater Sensors

Swimming with sensors

Scientific breakthroughs in nanotechnology have taken electronics to the next level by making the circuit smaller and smarter, but a professor at the University of California is proving that he can design circuits which can be pushed, pulled and even used under water. Thin film electrochemical sensors are directly printed on a flexible wetsuit by the team led by Joseph Wang paving the way for water resistive electronic sensors which has a potential application under water. With funding from the U.S. Navy and with the help of some members of his team who like to surf, Wang and team designed… read more

Screening Touch Screens

Touch screen devices

Nowadays we are surrounded by numerous gadgets- Cellphones, Tablets, Handhelds, Smart Kiosks, Gaming Consoles. The list is virtually endless and more devices keep being added every week. But there is one common input for all these devices: the Touch Screen. Touch Screens come in all shapes and sizes. They are easy to use and they have found their application in almost all of our devices. We all know how to use these screens, but what we don’t know is how these screens manage to act as both input and output devices at the same time. The Touch Screens that we… read more

Acoustic Energy

Acoustic energy waves

While some of us get irritated by the noise, Jeong Ho You finds an innovation from it. Jeong Ho You, a mechanical engineer at the Southern Methodist University, says “Acoustic energy is everywhere”. With tiny resonating chambers, he wants to trap some of acoustic energy and convert it to low-amperage currents which can power small electronic devices. Similar to Ho You, Mark Sheplak, a research fellow at the University of Florida has worked with acoustic energy. In fact he has built an acoustic energy harvester for a NASA jet engine research project. He says “A lot of people wrote it off because there… read more