Scientists just found a chunk of North America attached to Australia

January 24, 2018 by  
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Billions of years ago, getting from North America to Australia would have taken no time at all. That’s because researchers just confirmed that the two distant continents were once attached to one another. Scientists at Curtin University found sandstone rocks in Queensland that aren’t native to Australia, but are found all over eastern Canada, confirming the long-ago link. According to the new information, a chunk of what is now Queensland broke away from eastern Canada 1.7 billion years ago, eventually connecting with northern Australia 100 million years later. The result was a supercontinent known as Columbia/Nuna. 300 million years after Nuna formed, it broke apart, but the piece of Canada stuck with Australia as it moved away. Scientists have suspected that Australia was near North America or Siberia when Nuna was around, but this is the first time they’ve been able to confirm it. Related: Ancient ocean crust in the Mediterranean Sea may predate supercontinent Pangea “This was a critical part of global continental reorganization when almost all continents on Earth assembled to form the supercontinent called Nuna,” said Adam Nordsvan, part of the research team. The scientists published their findings in Geology last week . Via Slashdot and Live Science images via Deposit Photos Flickr , and Geology

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Scientists just found a chunk of North America attached to Australia

Tesla’s massive Australia battery rakes in estimated $1 million AUD in a few days

January 24, 2018 by  
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The world’s largest battery storage project – Tesla’s South Australia battery – has not only helped stabilize the grid , but it could be quite profitable. Electrek reported the 100 megawatt (MW)/129 megawatt-hour (MWh) Powerpack project, operated by French company Neoen , may have raked in an estimated one million Australian dollars (AUD) in just a few days. The South Australia battery, part of Neoen’s Hornsdale Power Reserve , is used in two ways. Per Electrek, the government has access to a large amount of the capacity to stabilize the grid, and so far it seems the system has been put to good use – it reacted in milliseconds to crashed coal plants in December. And then Neoen has access to around 30 MW/90 MWh “to trade on the wholesale market.” Related: Tesla’s South Australia battery starts delivering power a day early It appears the company has been making good use of the battery. The system can “switch from charging to discharging in a fraction of a second,” according to Electrek, so Neoen can take advantage of changes in power prices – especially in times of high demand. RenewEconomy shared a graph with data from January 18 and 19 at the Hornsdale Power Reserve “showing the actual price achieved during the buying (charging) and selling (generation). It’s hard to be sure, but it might have made around $1 million over the two days from the wholesale market.” In the graph, Electrek pointed out that Neoen could sell electricity for as much as $14,000 AUD – around $11,294 – per MWh. And during overproduction, the system can charge itself at nearly zero cost. The publication also pointed out that use of the battery storage system is specific to Australia’s energy market – it might not be quite as valuable in other markets around the world. But it seems many people in Australia are interested in installing more such systems – Tesla and Neoen already have plans in the works for another battery in Victoria , and RenewEconomy said other batteries are coming in South Australia, New South Wales, Queensland, and the Northern Territory. + Hornsdale Power Reserve Via Electrek and RenewEconomy Images via Hornsdale Power Reserve and Tesla

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Tesla’s massive Australia battery rakes in estimated $1 million AUD in a few days

Beer with biodegradable six-pack rings finally hits the market

January 24, 2018 by  
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SaltWater Brewery in South Florida is the first brewery to test biodegradable six-pack rings. Designed by start-up E6PR , the Eco Six-Pack Ring is made from wheat and barley, which allows it to be composted. And best of all? The six-pack ring is not harmful to aquatic life if swallowed. If widely adopted, this groundbreaking product could result in a significant decrease in both plastic pollution and wildlife injuries or deaths related to ingestion of or entrapment in six-pack rings. Initially introduced as a concept in 2016, E6PR’s green six-pack holder required considerable fine-tuning, a process that continues as the startup aims to expand production. “Bringing the product to the level of performance that we have right now was really challenging,” Francisco Garcia, Chief Operating Officer at E6PR, told Fast Company . Since the current model is made from wheat and barley, it is technically edible, though human consumption of the product is not advised. The next iteration will be made from brewing waste by-products in a production facility soon to open in Mexico . Related: This Louisiana craft beer pioneer ‘went green’ long before it was cool If the current roll-out of E6PR’s green six-pack holder proves successful, the startup hopes to expand the product’s usage to other breweries. In addition to its collaboration with craft beer maker SaltWater Brewery, E6PR is also working with a large brewing company to test the scalability of the product. “For Big Beer, it’s really about making sure that we can not only produce the E6PRs, but also apply them at the speed that those lines require,” Marco Vega, co-founder of ad agency and E6PR collaborative partner We Believers , told Fast Company . E6PR also hopes to bring its green drink packaging to other beverages like soda. As E6PR and other companies race to release market-competitive, green packaging products, consumers and environmentalists have reason to hope the tide may someday turn against plastic pollution, more than 8 million tons of which is dumped into the world’s oceans each year. Via Fast Company Images via E6PR

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Beer with biodegradable six-pack rings finally hits the market

Two Trappist-1 planets are highly likely to be habitable

January 24, 2018 by  
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Scientists have concluded that two planets orbiting the dim dwarf star known as Trappist-1 are highly likely to be habitable by humans due to the potential presence of water and sufficient heat. Trappist-1 and its seven orbiting planets were discovered last year, elating scientists who had never encountered a solar system with so many Earth-size planets in a habitable zone of space. This new revelation indicates there may be more Earth-like planets throughout the Milky Way galaxy than once thought. To determine the habitability of the Trappist-1 planets, Dr. Amy Barr of the Planetary Science Institute and colleagues in Hungary constructed mathematical models of each planet, including its interior. From these models, the team found that six of the seven planets are likely to have water, solid or liquid, while one may even host a global ocean . In an innovative move, the team also used models of each planet’s orbit to extrapolate their surface temperatures. “The planets are also on eccentric orbits – kind of egg-shaped – so every time the planet goes around the star it gets stretched and squeezed,” Barr told the Guardian . This effect is known as tidal heating and increases the likelihood of habitability by warming the planet and facilitating a more dynamic flow and chemistry within the planet’s mantle. Related: New periodic table sorts 3,700 known exoplanets into 18 categories In a paper to be published in  the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics , the team concluded that planets d and e are the two most likely to be habitable by humans. Planet d is estimated to have an average surface temperature of 15C (59F), though it may be as low as just above the freezing point for water. In contrast, planet e is thought to have temperatures that parallel those of Antarctica . Ultimately, more research needs to be done to determine the precise conditions of these planets, including whether they are able to hold water or if they possess an atmosphere. A successful launch of NASA ‘s next-generation telescope, the James Webb, will likely shed more light on these fascinating exoplanets. In the meantime, computer models offer glimpses into worlds that may harbor extraterrestrial life. Via the Guardian Images via NASA   (1)

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Two Trappist-1 planets are highly likely to be habitable

Outdoor recreation can’t beat the heat of climate change

November 23, 2016 by  
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If you do business in a place like Montana, Big Sky Resorts, Columbia and Newell Rubbermaid offer lessons in adaptation.

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How a student project helped to change JetBlue’s course

October 13, 2016 by  
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Sponsored: The airline’s head of sustainability and Columbia Earth Institute grad student sought for alternative fuel to take off.

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How a student project helped to change JetBlue’s course

The ultimate sustainable rain jacket is here

July 3, 2016 by  
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A new rain jacket from Columbia is being touted as the world’s first eco-friendly, high-performance jacket without the use of any toxic perfluorinated compounds. Called the OutDry Extreme EcoShell, the fabric is a breathable and sustainable solution to extreme weather. Not only has the Portland, OR sportswear company eliminated PFCs, but it’s also found a way to make the garment from 100% recycled content.

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San Vicente Ferrer community center brings high quality education to a small farming community in Columbia

April 12, 2016 by  
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Can D.C. help flush away misconceptions about biosolids?

November 6, 2015 by  
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In an effort to move beyond the ick factor, District of Columbia water officials are among those reconsidering their approach to solid waste.

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Tapping into Nature: Bioinspired innovation as economic engine

November 6, 2015 by  
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Millions of designs in nature that can be used for products will mean 2 million jobs and $425 billion by 2030, transforming construction and energy.

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