Posts

July 29, 2014

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8:18 PM | Silent but Deadly
By Miriam Wasser Down on the farm (well, on George Orwell’s Animal Farm, at least), the Seventh Commandment states: “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.” Allegories aside, farm animals aren’t equal in the real world, either—and that’s even true when it comes to flatulence, which, believe it or not, is a major contributor to climate change. Cows are by far the worst offenders, but today […]
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7:14 PM | EIA: OPEC Earned $826 Billion In Oil Export Revenues in 2013
The EIA estimates that, excluding Iran, members of OPEC earned about $826 billion in net oil export revenues in 2013.
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6:12 PM | Topological Insulators Could Power Memory Devices
A new phase of matter known as topological insulators, until recently known only for esoteric quantum-mechanical properties, might have a practical use in controlling magnetic memory and logic devices.

Mellnik, A., Lee, J., Richardella, A., Grab, J., Mintun, P., Fischer, M., Vaezi, A., Manchon, A., Kim, E., Samarth, N. & Ralph, D. (2014). Spin-transfer torque generated by a topological insulator, Nature, 511 (7510) 449-451. DOI: 10.1038/nature13534

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4:47 PM | EU to Stop Its Energy Dependence on Russia
The EU imports more than half of the energy it consumes and that can make it vulnerable to external energy suppliers such as Russia. To improve the situation, the European Commission presented a plan to reduce this dependence, which was discussed by Parliament’s industry committee last week.
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4:09 PM | Fracking regulations go political
  If they weren’t already, fracking and fracking regulations are becoming more and more political.  Colorado is at the forefront of this debate due to the proximity of extraction operations and affluent communities such as Boulder, CO.  Several of these communities … Continue reading →
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3:08 PM | Researchers Efficiently Convert Ethane to Ethanol
A new material, designed and patented by researchers at Berkeley Lab, converts ethane to ethanol with an efficiency that could cut natural-gas refining costs.

Xiao, D., Bloch, E., Mason, J., Queen, W., Hudson, M., Planas, N., Borycz, J., Dzubak, A., Verma, P., Lee, K. & Bonino, F. (2014). Oxidation of ethane to ethanol by N2O in a metal–organic framework with coordinatively unsaturated iron(II) sites, Nature Chemistry, 6 (7) 590-595. DOI: 10.1038/nchem.1956

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2:31 PM | Geckos Lost in Space, the EPA’s Climapalooza, Big Oil Takes on Candy Crush
By Jason Bittel Road trip, anyone?: This week hundreds of people—from hardcore environmentalists to local farmers (and yeah ... Big Coal, too)—will be heading to Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Denver, and Washington, D.C. for public hearings on the Environmental Protection Agency's proposal to limit pollution from power plants. The Natural Resources Defense Council (which publishes OnEarth), Sierra Club, and the National Wildlife Federation have speakers […]
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12:26 PM | Graphics that repay careful study
The Visual Display of Quantitative Information by Edward Tufte (2nd ed., Graphics Press, 2001) celebrates communication through data graphics. The book provides a vocabulary and practical theory for data graphics, and Tufte pulls no punches — he suggests why some graphics are better than others, and even condemns failed ones as lost opportunities. The book outlines empirical measures of graphical performance, and describes the pursuit of graphic-making as one of sequential […]

July 28, 2014

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8:38 PM | High and Dry
By Sharman Apt Russell Nineteen sixty. I was 5 years old and talking politics with my best friend’s mom. No, I chattered, my mom had never voted for Barry Goldwater, former city councilman and now U.S. senator from Arizona. She just didn’t trust the man. Whoa! My best friend’s mom seemed to expand like a red balloon. Didn’t I know that the future of Phoenix, my hometown, depended on men like Barry Goldwater? Gulp. Well, no, I […]
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7:20 PM | Bacteria Produce Unique Battery Electrode Material
A group of scientists at the Okayama University, Tokyo Institute of Technology and Kyoto University has shown that iron oxide nanoparticles produced by bacteria in groundwater has a potential to be used as anode material for lithium-ion batteries.

Hashimoto, H., Kobayashi, G., Sakuma, R., Fujii, T., Hayashi, N., Suzuki, T., Kanno, R., Takano, M. & Takada, J. (2014). Bacterial Nanometric Amorphous Fe-Based Oxide: A Potential Lithium-Ion Battery Anode Material, ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 6 (8) 5374-5378. DOI: 10.1021/am500905y

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6:03 PM | Study: It Is Feasible to Power California With Renewables
A new Stanford study discovers that it is economically and technically feasible to convert California’s energy infrastructure to renewables like solar energy, wind and hydroelectricity.
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4:45 PM | JRC Measures Smart Meter Deployment Across EU
According to the Joint Research Center (JRC), the EU in-house scientific service, over 70% of European consumers will have a smart meter for electricity by 2020.
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3:08 PM | NAS Report Provides Lessons Learned from Fukushima Accident
The National Academy of Sciences has published a new congressionally mandated report entitled “Lessons Learned from the Fukushima Nuclear Accident for Improving Safety of U.S. Nuclear Plants.”
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2:21 PM | When Icebergs Attack, Maggots in the Loo (Yup), the Problem with NYC’s Rat Problem
By Jason Bittel Daddy knows best: Longmont, Colorado, voted to ban fracking a year and a half ago, but a state district judge just struck down the town’s ban, saying it conflicts with state regulations (see "Hometown Heroine"). The highlight (lowlight?) of the story is undoubtedly the following quote from Judge D.D. Mallard’s ruling: “While the Court appreciates the Longmont citizens' sincerely-held beliefs about risks to their health and […]
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