Wild bees are building nests with plastic

June 10, 2019 by  
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While plastic use is going out of vogue with more enlightened humans, it’s catching on with Argentinian bees. Scientists don’t know why Argentina’s solitary bees are now constructing nests out of plastic packaging left on crop fields. Unlike the large hive model with queens and workers, wild bees lay larvae in individual nests. Researchers at Argentina’s National Agricultural Technology Institute constructed 63 wooden nests for wild bees from 2017 to 2018. They later found that three nests were entirely lined with pieces of plastic that bees had cut and arranged in an overlapping pattern. The plastic seemed to have come from plastic bags or a similar material, with a texture reminiscent of the leaves bees usually use to line nests. Related: McDonald’s creates McHives to raise awareness of the world’s decreasing bee populations The scientists’ study, published in Apidologie, is the first to find nests entirely made from plastic. But researchers have known for years that bees sometimes incorporate plastic into nests otherwise made of natural materials . Canadian scientists have chronicled bees’ use of plastic foams and films in Toronto. Like the Argentinian bees, bees in Canada cut the plastic to mimic leaves. Scientists aren’t yet sure what to make of this architectural development. “It would demonstrate the adaptive flexibility that certain species of bees would have in the face of changes in environmental conditions,” Mariana Allasino, the Argentinian study’s lead author, wrote in a press release translated from Spanish. But will the plastic harm the bees? More research is required to gauge the risks. While microplastics are a huge threat to marine animals, some enterprising creatures find ways to use trash to their advantage. Finches and sparrows arrange cigarette butts in their nests to repel parasitic mites. Stinky but effective. “Sure it’s possible it might afford some benefits, but that hasn’t been shown yet,” entomologist Hollis Woodard told National Geographic. “I think it’s equally likely to have things that are harmful.” Via National Geographic Image via Judy Gallagher

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Wild bees are building nests with plastic

New nanofoam catalyst generates hydrogen from water quickly and cheaply

February 6, 2018 by  
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Extra electricity from renewable energy could be used to split water to obtain hydrogen – but methods to accomplish this are usually prohibitively expensive, need too much power, or draw on catalyst materials that too rapidly break down. A research team led by Washington State University (WSU) came up with a potential answer. They developed, per a press release , “a way to more efficiently generate hydrogen from water” with a sponge-like nanofoam catalyst created with the inexpensive metals iron and nickel. Hydrogen could serve as renewable fuel in a clean energy future, but it can be difficult to generate. New Atlas said the cleanest method to obtain hydrogen from water is electrolysis , but the process typically needs rare-Earth metals for catalysts. This research team drew on two abundantly available and inexpensive metals to create a catalyst they say actually performs better than many others. Related: Startup creates renewable hydrogen energy out of sunlight and water Researchers developed a simple method to create a lot of a catalyst needed for the water-splitting reaction – and it takes five minutes. Their porous nanofoam looks much like a sponge and can catalyze the reaction using less power than others thanks to “its unique atomic structure and many exposed surfaces throughout the material.” WSU said it “showed very little loss in activity in a 12-hour stability test.” WSU PhD student Shaofang Fu said in a statement, “We took a very simple approach that could be used easily in large-scale production.” They hope to gain more support to scale up the project. Beyond potential use in hydrogen fuel cell vehicles , the university said hydrogen has a variety of uses in industry. The work appears in the February issue of the journal Nano Energy . Scientists from Argonne National Laboratory and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory contributed. + Washington State University + Nano Energy Via New Atlas Images via Washington State University via Phys.org

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New nanofoam catalyst generates hydrogen from water quickly and cheaply

Airless tires could help Toyota make lighter electric cars

October 30, 2017 by  
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Airless tires could boost performance and cut down the weight of electric cars – and Toyota is interested. The automaker recently unveiled the hydrogen-powered Fine-Comfort Ride concept car fitted with the tires at the Tokyo Motor Show . The Fine-Comfort Ride is about as big as a crossover SUV, but chief engineer Takao Sato said the airless wheels could be used on any electric car. The airless tires on the Fine-Comfort Ride are comprised of a band of rubber around a plastic-aluminum hub, reports Bloomberg . Sumitomo Rubber Industries supplied the tires for Toyota . Sumitomo unveiled their Smart Tyre Concept, which includes the airless component, at the Tokyo Motor Show and said in a press release , “Airless tires contribute to greater safety and peace of mind in transportation by freeing the driver from worries about punctures and the trouble of having to manage tire pressure.” Sumitomo said there’s interest from other Japanese carmakers as well. Related: Michelin unveils airless 3D-printed tires that last virtually forever Sato said, “For automakers, the attraction of airless tires is for electrified vehicles.” At the moment the concept tires still weigh about as much as pneumatic tires, but the technology could develop to trim five kilograms – around 11 pounds – from each tire. That’s around 30 percent of each tire’s weight, and the development could come as early as 2025. Sumitomo airless tire project head Wako Iwamura said he aims to have a commercial product by 2020, according to Bloomberg, and that his tires are already comparable in price with those requiring air. The company has already been testing the tires on golf carts and minicars. Sumitomo also pioneered what they called the world’s first 100 percent fossil resource-free tires using all-natural materials back in 2013, and said since then they’ve been working to create “proprietary biomass materials based on raw materials derived from plants .” Via Bloomberg Images via Toyota

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Airless tires could help Toyota make lighter electric cars

Your Next Dell Could Come with Wireless Charging Capabilities

March 4, 2014 by  
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Dell likes to be first. They were the first to market laptops directly to college freshmen through bro-friendly language , first to ship their computers in mushroom-based packaging , and, if their recent move is any indication, the first to take wireless charging capabilities mainstream. According to a press release, Dell recently became the first major PC manufacturer to support a wireless charging standard by joining the Alliance for Wireless Power  (A4WP). Despite the obvious genius of wireless charging technology, technology makers have been slow to adopt it, and though growing, the number of third-party wireless charging options are ridiculously low. That’s all something that could change with Dell and other A4WP members leading the way. Read the rest of Your Next Dell Could Come with Wireless Charging Capabilities Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: A4WP , Alliance for Wireless Power , dell computers , dell laptops , wireless chargers , wireless charging , wireless charging capabilities , wireless charging laptops        

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Your Next Dell Could Come with Wireless Charging Capabilities

PHOTOS: World Trade Center Transportation Hub Gets a Shiny New PATH Platform

March 4, 2014 by  
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NY and NJ commuters welcomed an elegant new PATH train platform last week – the first one of its kind to open at the World Trade Center Transportation Hub in downtown Manhattan. Called Platform A , the bright, white terminal services travelers going to and from Hoboken, and features snazzy upgrades like LED-lit displays, high-tech lighting and a lively new mural entitled “Iridescent Thunderbolt.” READ MORE > Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Brookfield Place Pavilion , lower Manhattan , mixed use buildings , path , PATH Train , PATH Train Platform A , santiago calatrava , world trade center , World Trade Center PATH Station , world trade center pathway , world trade center transportation hub , WTC , WTC PATH Station , WTC Platform A , WTC West Concourse , WTC Western Concourse        

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PHOTOS: World Trade Center Transportation Hub Gets a Shiny New PATH Platform

Whole Foods Market Requires Suppliers to Label Products with GMO Ingredients by 2018

March 12, 2013 by  
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Whole Foods customers asked for it, and they got it. Last week at the  Natural Products Expo West ,  Whole Foods Market announced that by 2018, all of their suppliers must either make their products with ingredients from non-GMO verified sources or they must clearly label all products as containing GMO ingredients. Of course, while consumers would rather see the change occur immediately, Whole Foods explained that the 5-year timeframe is to allow their suppliers to adjust to the demands. In a press release, Whole Foods noted: “We are putting a stake in the ground on GMO labeling to support the consumer’s right to know. We are stepping up our support of certified organic agriculture, where GMOs are not allowed, and we are working together with our supplier partners to grow our non-GMO supply chain to ensure we can continue to provide these choices in the future.” READ MORE > Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: genetically modified objects , genetically modified organisms , GM food , GMO , GMO foods , GMO labels , GMO transparency , Natural Products Expo West , organic foods , whole foods , Whole Foods Market

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Whole Foods Market Requires Suppliers to Label Products with GMO Ingredients by 2018

Green Overload: 5 Green Products We Don’t Need More of

December 22, 2010 by  
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Photo: annnie via flickr. At TreeHugger, it seems every week there’s a press release for a new line of reusable bags or organic body care

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Green Overload: 5 Green Products We Don’t Need More of

Proposition 23 Battle Gets Smokin’ Hot as Tobacco Lobbyist Jumps Into the Fray

October 31, 2010 by  
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The Heartland Institute , which has made its name by fighting anti-smoking laws, has just rolled out a campaign in support of California’s Proposition 23 .  Prop 23 is a ballot measure designed to nullify AB 32, California’s new law regulating greenhouse gas emissions, so it’s no surprise that out-of-state oil companies are investing heavily to campaign for it. So, why is a tobacco industry lobbying organization putting its muscle behind Prop 23? Heartland and The Oil Industry For those of you familiar with Heartland, there is a pretty strong logic to its affinity for Proposition 23: the organization has a solid history of promoting the denial of climate change science .

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Proposition 23 Battle Gets Smokin’ Hot as Tobacco Lobbyist Jumps Into the Fray

Another Electric Mobile Billboard: Green or Greenwash?

March 15, 2010 by  
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Image credit: Aardvarkel It’s Monday morning, and I am feeling cynical. So when I received a press release about a “green mobile marketing vehicle” that is 100% battery powered, I must admit I scoffed. Since when has driving around a billboard been anything but a waste of resources

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Another Electric Mobile Billboard: Green or Greenwash?

Fast, Sustainable, Organic, and Now Humane: Frozen EVOL Burritos

January 23, 2010 by  
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Photo courtesy of EVOL Burrito.

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Fast, Sustainable, Organic, and Now Humane: Frozen EVOL Burritos

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