Former NASA chief scientist says Americans ‘under siege’ from fake climate news

June 12, 2017 by  
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The science is in on climate change – it’s real and hurting Earth right now. But not all Americans are aware of the threat, according to former NASA Chief Scientist Ellen Stofan. She said the country’s citizens are “under siege by fake information that’s being put forward by people who have a profit motive.” Stofan said the science on climate change is unequivocal. Nevertheless there are still deniers of the phenomenon in the United States – some holding top government positions. Stofan said disinformation and half-truths designed to confuse people have been spread about climate change, and now many people in the country are unaware of the pressing consequences of carbon emissions continuing as is. Related: Americans don’t trust climate change science because of fossil fuel industry’s disinformation She said oil and coal companies have been behind the disinformation, telling The Guardian, “Fake news is so harmful because once people take on a concept it’s very hard to dislodge it.” Stofan said she saw “an erosion of people’s ability to scrutinize information” across the political spectrum, not just on the left or the right. “All of us have a responsibility. There’s this attitude of ‘I read it on the Internet therefore it must be true,” she said. Stofan said the American science community has been realizing the threat of climate change fake news during the past six months, and are working to communicate more with the public and share information with the press. During her career Stofan pointed to planetary science as important for understanding the environment here on Earth. She said planetary science has offered proof that atmospheric carbon dioxide results in a warmer climate . She finds similarities between Earth’s carbon emissions and the runaway greenhouse effect on the planet Venus . Venus once had oceans but now the volcano and lava plain-strewn planet has temperatures nearing 500 degrees Celsius – Space.com described the planet as “our solar system’s analog to hell.” Stofan told The Guardian, “We won’t go all the way to Venus, but the consequences of putting more and more CO2 into the atmosphere are really dire. There are models that suggest if we burn off all our fossil fuels , the Earth would become uninhabitable for humans.” She said our first job should be to keep Earth habitable. Via The Guardian Images via Pexels and Wikimedia Commons

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Former NASA chief scientist says Americans ‘under siege’ from fake climate news

Scientists unveil first printable, stable perovskite solar cell good for 10K hours

June 12, 2017 by  
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The mineral perovskite has been touted as the next big thing for renewable energy , potentially giving solar cells a 31 percent maximum efficiency – but water-soluble and perovskite solar cells typically don’t last long in the real world. 11 scientists at institutions in Switzerland and Italy may have finally achieved what researchers have been working towards since around 2009: a stable perovskite solar cell. Their solar cells stayed stable in real world conditions for longer than a year. Perovskite solar cells have already been built with an efficiency of more than 22 percent, but that’s in a laboratory. Oxygen and moisture go to work on the cells once they’re outside. But this team led by scientists at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne drew on a new type of structure in the solar cell to create one the university says is ultra-stable. Related: Austrian scientists create a cheap, flexible solar cell just 3 micrometers thick They designed a hybrid 2D/3D perovskite solar cell. According to ScienceAlert, the 2D perovskite serves as a protective window to guard against moisture, so the 3D perovskite can generate electricity . The solar cells were built up layer by layer – like a sandwich, according to ScienceAlert – by putting different ingredients atop one another. The team built 10 by 10 centimeters squared solar panels , with what the university described as a fully printable industrial-scale process. The hybrid 2D/3D perovskite solar cells are resistant to oxygen and water, while still able to transport electrical charges. They absorb light from the whole visible spectrum, according to the university. The efficiency isn’t great yet – just 11.2 percent. But the university noted that efficiency was constant for over 10,000 hours, with zero loss in performance. Project leader Mohammad Khaja Nazeeruddin told ScienceAlert, “The important finding in this manuscript is identifying the presence of multi-dimensional 2D/3D interface. We believe [this] will trigger many further studies…widening the prospects for perovskite photovoltaics .” The journal Nature Communications published the advance online the beginning of this month. Via ScienceAlert and Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne Images via PublicDomainPictures.net and Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

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Scientists unveil first printable, stable perovskite solar cell good for 10K hours

This village in Arizona has a simple solution to light pollution

April 28, 2017 by  
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Residents of Arizona Sky Village abide by one simple rule: “Turn off your goddammed lights .” The 21-household community near Portal, Arizona is comprised of stargazers and astronomers, and almost every home has its own domed observatory. But some people also wonder if the small community could hold the secrets of fighting light pollution in America. In Arizona Sky Village, clear night skies are a major priority. There are no outdoor lights allowed, and every single window in every home must have blackout curtains. Nighttime driving isn’t forbidden, but it’s discouraged, and most residents are too busy gazing at the stars to drive anyway. Co-founder Jack Newton condensed it all into that one colorful rule: turn off those lights! Related: What City Skies Would Look Like Without Light Pollution Newton, who is nearly 75, said he spends “90 percent of my time up in my dome.” He’s made three supernova discoveries in 2017 alone, and the International Astronomical Union christened an asteroid 30840 Jackalice after him and his wife Alice. He doesn’t even own the largest telescope in the community; that honor goes to neighbor Rick Beno , who has a 24-inch telescope. Many residents once had scientific careers and now spend their retirement in Arizona Sky Village – like retired NASA astrophysicist Fred Espenak – but Newton managed department stores during his career. Few Americans benefit from the starry skies of Arizona Sky Village. The American Astronomical Society says people have a universal right to starlight; but around 99 percent of Americans actually live with a constant sky glow, according to The Guardian. Light pollution isn’t just bad for stargazing; it could have an impact on health as well. Blue lights streaming from cellphones and laptops have led to insomnia in some users and evidence isn’t conclusive yet but some studies suggest changing the light and dark rhythms in our bodies could increase the risk of diabetes, obesity, and cancer. International Dark Sky Association astronomer John Barentine said in Arizona Sky Village, “the people are already practicing what we recommend.” Kitt Peak National Observatory director Lori Allen told The Guardian to help keep skies dark, “There are three simple things people can do. Shield their lights, dim their lights, and use the right color bulbs.” Via The Guardian Images via John Fowler on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

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This village in Arizona has a simple solution to light pollution

Dear Shannon: How can I build my career each day?

October 24, 2016 by  
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Adopt these 10 habits to achieve your career goals (and don’t forget that life is not all about work).

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Dear Shannon: How can I build my career each day?

How did Germany get its energy transition right?

October 24, 2016 by  
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Germany’s 40-year transition to high renewable energy use, from feed-in tariffs to community renewables — and what America can learn.

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How did Germany get its energy transition right?

Catherine Sheehy of UL Environment on career

December 18, 2015 by  
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The program manager for UL Environment’s Advisory Services talks about her career and why environment, social and governance issues are a draw to her.

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Catherine Sheehy of UL Environment on career

Frei Otto named 2015 Pritzker Prize laureate just one day after his death

March 10, 2015 by  
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Frei Otto named 2015 Pritzker Prize laureate just one day after his death

How Building a Treehouse Led to a Career in Arbortecture

August 21, 2014 by  
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Many children spend hours playing in treehouses, but only a select few of them turn that pursuit into a career path. As a nod to days of youthful splendor, a then-23-year-old Dustin Feider created the ideal, eco-friendly version of a tree sanctuary for his final thesis project at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Inspired by  Buckminster Fuller’s infamous geodesic dome, Feider discovered that by following Bucky’s lead, he could use less material and construct a more stable structure than that of the “traditional” treehouse—most importantly, without harming the supporting tree at all. Whether by intention or kismet, Feider now runs a company called O2 Treehouse , which specializes in custom “arbor-textural creations”, and has designed dozens of structures around the globe. Read the rest of How Building a Treehouse Led to a Career in Arbortecture Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Dustin Feider , eco design , eco treehouses , Eco-friendly geodesic treehouse , Geodesic Treehouse , green design , green treehouse , Sustainability Treehouse , tree house , treehouse

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How Building a Treehouse Led to a Career in Arbortecture

Segway-esque UPnRIDE Standing Wheelchair Allows Quadriplegics to “Walk” Again

August 21, 2014 by  
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Israeli innovation has once again introduced potentially life-changing technology to the world. Dr. Amit Goffer gave millions of paraplegics (paralyzed from waist down) the opportunity to stand upright and walk with his ReWalk exoskeleton invention. But the incredible device from Israel’s Argo Medical Technologies can only be used by 10 percent of handicapped individuals. So what about quadriplegics, including Dr. Goffer, who don’t have full use of their arms? The UPnRIDE is a Segway for quadriplegics — a standing wheelchair that provides stability for all terrain use. Read the rest of Segway-esque UPnRIDE Standing Wheelchair Allows Quadriplegics to “Walk” Again Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Argo Medical Technologies , Dr. Amit Goffer , innovation , Israel , quadriplegics , RehaMed Technologies , ReWalk , segway , standing wheelchair , Technology , UPnRIDE

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Segway-esque UPnRIDE Standing Wheelchair Allows Quadriplegics to “Walk” Again

7 tools you need to climb Mount Sustainability

October 1, 2013 by  
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Are you tasked with the uphill climb of corporate sustainability? Pack these essentials in your career knapsack.

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7 tools you need to climb Mount Sustainability

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