Biorenewable, biodegradable plastic alternative synthesized
Fri, 22 Jun 2018 17:45:03 EDT
Polymer chemists have taken another step toward a future of high-performance, biorenewable, biodegradable plastics. The team describes chemical synthesis of a polymer called bacterial poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) ­- or P3HB. The compound shows early promise as a substitute for petroleum plastics in major industrial uses.
Major challenge in mass production of low-cost solar cells solved
Thu, 21 Jun 2018 12:18:55 EDT
A team has solved a major fabrication challenge for perovskite cells -- the intriguing potential challengers to silicon-based solar cells. The team reveals a new scalable means of applying the compound PCBM, a critical component, to perovskite cells.
New World Atlas of Desertification shows unprecedented pressure on planet's resources
Thu, 21 Jun 2018 11:19:58 EDT
The World Desertification Atlas by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre provides the first comprehensive, evidence-based assessment of land degradation at a global level and highlights the urgency to adopt corrective measures.
Buildings as power stations work: They generate more energy than they consume, data shows
Wed, 20 Jun 2018 19:37:29 EDT
The UK's first energy-positive classroom generated more than one and a half times the energy it consumed, according to data from its first year of operation, the team has revealed. The findings were announced as the researchers launched the next phase of their research, gathering data and evidence on an office building, constructed using similar methods.
How physics explains the evolution of social organization
Wed, 20 Jun 2018 17:09:54 EDT
A scientist says the natural evolution of social organizations into larger and more complex communities exhibiting distinct hierarchies can be predicted from the same law of physics that gives rise to tree branches and river deltas -- a concept called the constructal law.
Neonics are being ingested by free-ranging animals
Wed, 20 Jun 2018 16:24:17 EDT
University of Guelph researchers found residues of the insecticides in the livers of wild turkeys, providing evidence that this common agrochemical is being ingested by free-ranging animals.
Scientists calculate impact of China's ban on plastic waste imports
Wed, 20 Jun 2018 15:02:08 EDT
Scientists have calculated the potential global impact of China's ban on plastic waste imports and how this policy might affect efforts to reduce the amount of plastic waste entering the world's landfills and natural environment.
Possible link found between diabetes and common white pigment
Wed, 20 Jun 2018 12:59:07 EDT
In a pilot study, crystalline particles of titanium dioxide -- the most common white pigment in everyday products ranging from paint to candies -- were found in pancreas specimens with Type 2 diabetes, suggesting that exposure to the white pigment is associated with the disease.
Short-term responses to climate change-mediated disasters can be maladaptive in long-term
Wed, 20 Jun 2018 12:59:02 EDT
Short-term management responses to climate change-mediated disasters can be maladaptive in the long-term.
Electron sandwich doubles thermoelectric performance
Wed, 20 Jun 2018 09:48:29 EDT
Researchers more than doubled the ability of a material to convert heat into electricity, which could help reduce the amount of wasted heat, and thus wasted fossil fuel, in daily activities and industries.
'Green'-feed: Industrial microbes could feed cattle, pigs, chicken
Wed, 20 Jun 2018 09:48:25 EDT
Today, producing feed for pigs, cattle and chicken causes immense impacts for the climate and the environment. In the future, animal feed production is likely to be shifted from croplands to large-scale industrial facilities as it could bring both financial and environmental benefits. Replacing 2 percent feed with protein-rich microbes could decrease agricultural greenhouse gas emissions, global cropland area and nitrogen losses by over 5 percent.
Whether wheat weathers heat waves
Wed, 20 Jun 2018 09:47:49 EDT
Unlike humans, crops in a field can't move to air conditioning to endure a heat wave. Scientists in Australia are working to understand how heat waves impact wheat.
Climate change to overtake land use as major threat to global biodiversity
Tue, 19 Jun 2018 23:08:46 EDT
Climate change will have a rapidly increasing effect on the structure of global ecological communities over the next few decades, with amphibians and reptiles being significantly more affected than birds and mammals, a new report finds.
Living the high life: How altitude influences bone growth
Tue, 19 Jun 2018 23:08:35 EDT
A study of modern Himalayan populations shows that living at high altitude affects the length of lower arm bones, a possible indicator of differential growth of certain limb segments under high altitude stress.
Machine learning may be a game-changer for climate prediction
Tue, 19 Jun 2018 17:35:47 EDT
New research demonstrates that machine-learning techniques can be used to accurately represent clouds and their atmospheric heating and moistening, and better represent clouds in coarse resolution climate models, with the potential to narrow the range of climate prediction. This could be a major advance in accurate predictions of global warming in response to increased greenhouse gas concentrations that are essential for policy-makers (e.g. the Paris climate agreement).
Political leaning influences city water policies as strongly as climate
Tue, 19 Jun 2018 17:29:10 EDT
Researchers examined city water policies over the course of four years to create a database of water conservation policies. They also developed an associated index of the number of different categories of policies each city adopted and gathered data on the climate, water sources, population, economy and political leanings of each city and its surrounding metropolitan statistical area -- as reflected in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections.
New material for splitting water
Tue, 19 Jun 2018 12:31:22 EDT
Solar energy is clean and abundant, but when the sun isn't shining, you must store the energy in batteries or through a process called photocatalysis. In photocatalytic water splitting, sunlight separates water into hydrogen and oxygen, which can then be recombined in a fuel cell to release energy. Now, a new class of materials -- halide double perovskites -- may have just the right properties to split water.
World's first known manta ray nursery
Tue, 19 Jun 2018 12:31:15 EDT
Located in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Texas at NOAA's Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, the juvenile manta ray habitat is the first of its kind to be described in a scientific study.
Palm oil: The carbon cost of deforestation
Tue, 19 Jun 2018 12:30:18 EDT
Palm oil has become part of our daily lives, but a recent study serves as a reminder that intensive farming of this crop has a major impact on the environment. Both short- and long-term solutions exist, however. The article analyzed the carbon costs and benefits of converting rainforests into oil palm plantations.
Light pollution a reason for insect decline
Tue, 19 Jun 2018 12:24:56 EDT
Climate change, pesticides and land use changes alone cannot fully explain the decline in insect populations in Germany. Scientists have now discovered that regions that have experienced a sharp decline in flying insects also have high levels of light pollution. Many studies already suggest that artificial light at night has negative impacts on insects, and scientists should pay greater attention to this factor when exploring the causes of insect population declines in the future.

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