Posts

July 10, 2014

+
6:56 PM | 31 Flavors and Then Some
There are nearly 1,900 recorded edible insect species on Earth, and counting. How many different types of meat have you sampled in your lifetime? Most people never go beyond the standard dozen-plus basics of chicken, beef, pork, lamb, and maybe five to ten kinds of fish. This is a fairly limited flavor palate—the “beginner box”
+
6:56 PM | This Forest Is Bugged
Rainforest Connection is a tiny nonprofit launched two years ago in San Francisco by Topher White. White, 32, is “upcycling” used Android smartphones into solar-powered spy gadgets, which he mounts in the canopy of protected forests. The devices record periodic snippets of audio, uploading the clips over the cellular network to his servers, which scan
+
6:56 PM | Watchmen of the Global Forest
In February, the World Resources Institute launched the first interactive, regularly updated map of the world’s forests. Two years in the making, the Global Forest Watch Web service integrates terabytes of data from a vast archive that includes multiple satellite feeds. It builds on detailed maps of forest change published two years ago in Science
+
6:54 PM | Dietary Restrictions
“The Chinese do eat probably the world’s greatest diversity of beasts,” wrote Craig Simons in his Fall 2013 feature story “Chinese Takeout.” And with China’s population growing, these culinary preferences pose serious risks to biodiversity. The country’s government, however, is beginning to crack down on treasured wildlife on the menu. The Chinese newswire Xinhua reported
+
6:54 PM | Solar Is Big­—and Cheap—in Texas
Over the past several years, an unexpected flood of cheap natural gas has taken a bite out of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions. But natural gas is still a fossil fuel. As John Carey explained in “Gas Pains” (Conservation, Summer 2013), renewable energy sources need to reach price parity with gas in order for it to
+
6:54 PM | Conservation and Poverty Reduction
Ever since conservationists started to marry protected area management with social programs, the relationship has been rocky and ill-defined. In “Conservation and Poverty” (Conservation, Spring 2011), Fred Pearce explored economic advancement in biodiverse regions. A recent study looked at communities in Costa Rica whose welfare improved after protected areas were established nearby. (1) Economists found
+
6:54 PM | Does Wood Construction Benefit the Climate?
In the “Think Again” section of Conservation’s Summer 2012 issue, Sarah DeWeerdt laid out the carbon-storing virtues of using wood in skyscraper construction (“Tall Wood”). According to a new study, the benefits of using more wood in building and bridge construction are multiplied when you account for the energy- and emission-intensive steel and concrete that
+
6:53 PM | Free the Seed
In “Closed Source Crops” (Conservation, Summer 2011), Paul Salopek explored how a handful of large corporations are laying the groundwork to control the genetic data of our major food crops. This consolidation of the seed industry has broad implications for biodiversity and food security in a warming world. Now a group of plant breeders, farmers,
+
6:15 PM | Why You Should Elbow the Elevator Button
In 1997, I was living in Manhattan when the New York Observer–a sardonic weekly–published a front page story entitled, “New York is Germ City!” As the Seattle Times recalls: The paper asked a laboratory to analyze swab samples taken throughout Manhattan and found the city an effective incubator for all sorts of staph and strep and E. […]The post Why You Should Elbow the Elevator Button appeared first on Collide-a-Scape.
+
6:11 PM | Laser Helps Understand Inner Workings of Solar Panels
Believe it or not we don’t totally understand how solar cells work, particularly organic thin-film photovoltaics. But scientists Canada, London and Cyprus have recently used lasers to shed some light into the process, which could help make more efficient solar panels tomorrow.

Provencher, F., Bérubé, N., Parker, A., Greetham, G., Towrie, M., Hellmann, C., Côté, M., Stingelin, N., Silva, C. & Hayes, S. & (2014). Direct observation of ultrafast long-range charge separation at polymer–fullerene heterojunctions, Nature Communications, 5 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms5288

Citation
+
5:32 PM | Maine Is the New Florida
By Miriam Wasser Here we are, right in the thick of summer—it’s hot, it’s humid, and you break into a sweat the moment you step out of the air-conditioning. I feel for you, friend. But just imagine what it’s going to be like as climate change continues to heat things up over the coming decades. Well, now you don't have to! This infograph from Climate Central shows us how much hotter 1,001 U.S. cities are going to be in the summer […]
+
5:27 PM | I’m disappointed in you, El Niño
You showed such promise, El Niño, but this is simply unacceptable: The chance of a strong El Niño is not favored in any of the ensemble averages for Niño-3.4. At this time, the forecasters anticipate El Niño will peak at weak-to-moderate strength during the late fall and early winter….
+
5:08 PM | In disappearing Mexican jungle, it’s tribes vs. biologists
Joshua Partlow, reporting for the Washington Post: Land struggles have a storied history in Mexico. They were at the heart of the country’s biggest political upheavals, dating to its decade-long revolution at the turn of the 20th century. During the 1994 Zapatista uprising here in Chiapas, the masked Mayan farmers who seized towns across the […]∞
+
5:08 PM | In Urbanization Update, U.N. Sees Tokyo Atop Megacities List Until 2030
Despite Japan's shrinking population, a new U.N. report on urbanization trends puts Tokyo at the top of the megacities list through 2030.
+
5:04 PM | Night-Time Lights Intensity Indicates Regional Favoritism
Researchers at Monash University and the University of St Gallen have used satellite data on night-time light intensity and information about the birthplaces of political leaders in 126 countries to pinpoint regional favoritism.

Hodler, R. & Raschky, P. (2014). Regional Favoritism, The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 129 (2) 995-1033. DOI: 10.1093/qje/qju004

Citation
+
3:59 PM | You might have been eating undiscovered species
Pack of dried porcini containing three species new to science (Photo: B. Dentinger)As much as Earth's unexplored wilderness shrinks every day, we are actually discovering more species than ever before. By doing more systematic and thorough surveys, by heading deeper into unknown territory and by using advanced tools like DNA barcoding, we are uncovering new species at a record rate. Last year scientists found some 18 000 new species and that does not include new species of microbial life.A […]
+
2:27 PM | EPIA Publishes Global Solar Energy Market Outlook 2014-2018
The European Photovoltaic Industry Association has just published its “Global Market Outlook for Photovoltaics 2014-2018” report. The report includes solar photovoltaic market figures for 2013 and a forecast for the 2014-2018 period.
+
2:22 PM | Tweety Gets Neonic-ed, Kermit Gets a Second Chance, Marvin the Martian Goes Mining
By Jason Bittel Hope for hoppers: Lab tests have revealed that when some frogs are exposed to the deadly chytrid fungus and then given a chance to heal, they develop resistance to the disease. Scientists are now optimistic that it might be possible to develop a vaccine, possibly saving hundreds of amphibian species across the world from extinction. New York Times The birds and the bees: Plenty of studies have come out in recent years showing how bad […]
+
2:00 PM | Communicating Science Through An Artistic Lens at Stanford
Stanford scientist Sue McConnell will receive $1 million over the next five years to sustain a program that teaches biology seniors to communicate science to the public through art.
+
1:00 PM | I’ll Trade You: Water Quality Science Edition
By Marguerite Huber The outcome of a trade can sometimes be the luck of the draw. You may not have gotten a better sandwich for the one you traded at lunch, or the all-star pitcher your team acquired in that mid-season trade may turn out to be a bust. On the other hand, the best […]
+
1:00 PM | How thinking about politics alters climate change beliefs
Each of us wears a lot of different hats: employee, parent, friend, member of an ethnic group or political party, and so on. Now researchers have found that when people are reminded of their political identity, their views on global warming can change significantly. The team refers to this condition as “salience”. For instance, “[w]hen
+
11:48 AM | Battleship Barcelona: When Child-Like Simplicity Saves the Day
I am one of those people who always thought Barcelona would be my favorite city in the world. I visited several times, and though the weather, design, and food leave you wanting little else, there... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
+
11:46 AM | What do we do with the aliens among us? by Madhusudan Katti
Over at the excellent The Nature of Cities blog, editor David Maddox is hosting the site’s 8th Global Roundtable, this time focusing on the challenge of invasive and exotic species in cities. David recently invited me (as one of the regular contributors to the blog) to take part in this roundtable with a brief essay stating […]
+
9:59 AM | Dying to save the world
Ensia has published a feature article I wrote about reports of growing violence against people who defend their local environments from powerful forces. I have reproduced it here under Ensia’s creative commons licence… Jeannette Kawas was an accountant whose concept … Continue reading →
+
7:15 AM | Book classification system
We still don’t have a date for moving into the house, and nothing is certain, but I am looking forward to the day when I can be reunited with my books. For two years now, many of them have been stored in my parents’ garage; some travelled with me to Kent and although I briefly lived in the same place as some of them, they’re now in a storage locker. Although I have missed some of my fiction favourites, it’s the distance from my reference library that has pained me […]
+
2:28 AM | The business of longform journalism on the web
Lauren Hazard Owen, writing for Gigaom: Does Byliner’s failure mean that longform journalism on the web is doomed? Or are Byliner’s problems specific to Byliner? Owen tiptoes around those questions, not explicitly answering either of them. But she does hint a bit, suggesting that Byliner had its own set of problems that haven’t affected its […]∞
+
2:09 AM | Will cities of the future be built of wood?
Courtney Humphries, reporting for the Boston Globe: On this scale, the construction industry is set up to work in concrete and steel, and doesn’t change course easily. Architects are unaccustomed to envisioning their designs in timber. They also face building codes shaped by wood’s long record as a flammable material. In that sense, its advocates […]∞

July 09, 2014

+
10:15 PM | State Officials Consider Mandatory Limits on Outdoor Watering
Wasting water outdoors amid the state's drought will begin hitting Californians in the wallet under get-tough restrictions being proposed by state regulators.
+
8:37 PM | About Those Fluoridated Water Skeptics
Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) has vibrated the internet with a whacky speech he recently gave to an audience of climate skeptics. Here’s the bit that many are picking up on: “I don’t know whether or not fluoridating the water helps people’s teeth become better or not,” said Rohrabacher, invoking his childhood memories. “I don’t know […]The post About Those Fluoridated Water Skeptics appeared first on Collide-a-Scape.
+
8:00 PM | Why Is Namibia Killing Its Rare Desert Elephants?
On Saturday, June 21 one of the Republic of Namibia’s rare desert elephants was felled by a hunter’s rifle. Unlike most of the other elephants that die on any given day in Africa, this... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
34567891011
386 Results