ESA launches world’s first mission to explore the "atmospheres of hundreds of planets"

March 23, 2018 by  
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Behold a brand new era of space exploration. The European Space Agency (ESA) just selected the Atmospheric Remote-sensing Infrared Exoplanet Large-survey (ARIEL) mission from three candidates to launch what Nature describes as the “world’s first space telescope dedicated to studying the atmospheres of exoplanets.” The four-year, $552 million will launch on the Ariane 6 rocket in 2028. The agency said we’ve found thousands of exoplanets with a massive range of sizes, masses, and orbits, but we haven’t uncovered a pattern connecting such characteristics to the parent star’s nature. “In particular, there is a gap in our knowledge of how the planet’s chemistry is linked to the environment where it formed, or whether the type of host star drives the physics and chemistry of the planet’s evolution,” according to ESA. Related: Kepler data reveals 20 potential habitable worlds ESA plans to zero in on hot and warm planets, “ranging from super-Earths to gas giants orbiting close to their parent stars.” Nature said a spectograph will scrutinize light filtering through an exoplanet’s atmosphere while it passes by its host star, “revealing chemical fingerprints of gases that shroud the body.” ARIEL could detect signs of water vapor, methane, and carbon dioxide, and also measure exotic metallic compounds. ESA says such findings could help place an exoplanet in context of a host star’s chemical environment. ESA Director of Science Günther Hasinger said in the statement, “ARIEL is a logical next step in exoplanet science, allowing us to progress on key science questions regarding their formation and evolution, while also helping us to understand Earth’s place in the universe .” + ESA’s Next Space Mission to Focus on Nature of Exoplanets Via Nature Images via ESA/ATG medialab, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO and NASA Ames/JPL-Caltech

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ESA launches world’s first mission to explore the "atmospheres of hundreds of planets"

Trump fails to evade climate change lawsuit filed by 21 youths

March 8, 2018 by  
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21 young people have been taking on the United States government over climate change in the lawsuit Juliana v. U.S. since 2015, and President Donald Trump failed at attempts to dodge them. The plaintiffs just won a victory: the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the case can indeed move towards a trial, Bloomberg reported . 21-year-old plaintiff Kiran Oommen said in a statement , “The question of the last few years has not been ‘do we have a case’ but rather ‘how far will the federal government go to prevent justice.’ We have seen that they are willing to go to many lengths to cover up their crimes and maintain the status quo, but not even the Trump administration can go far enough to escape the inevitable tide of social progress.” Today the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the Trump administration’s “drastic and extraordinary” petition for writ of mandamus in the landmark climate lawsuit, Juliana v. United States, brought by 21 youth supported by Our Children’s Trust. The Court ruled that the Juliana case can proceed toward trial in the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon and that the Trump administration had not satisfied the factors necessary for an extraordinary writ of mandamus. #youthvgov A post shared by Our Children's Trust (@youthvgov) on Mar 7, 2018 at 12:13pm PST The 21 plaintiffs — mostly teenagers , according to Bloomberg — say the government, in backing a climate change-inducing energy system, has violated their rights to property, liberty, and life, and hasn’t protected vital public trust resources. Barack Obama’s administration first attempted to extinguish the case in 2016, according to Bloomberg, and the Trump administration said the case is based on “utterly unprecedented legal theories.” Bloomberg said they utilized a rare procedural maneuver to contend a federal judge overstepped her authority — in 2016, she refused to dismiss this case. But the three-judge panel at the Ninth Circuit was unanimous, deciding the issues the federal government raised are “better addressed through the ordinary course of litigation.” Jacob made a sign, had his photo taken with his sign, & now it's posted online. Be like Jacob. #youthvgov A post shared by Our Children's Trust (@youthvgov) on Feb 6, 2017 at 3:05pm PST Related: Trump tries to keep 21 kids’ climate change lawsuit from going to trial Julia Olson, co-counsel for the plaintiffs and executive director of Our Children’s Trust , one of the organizations supporting the kids, said the Ninth Circuit’s move signaled a “green light for trial.” She said they’ll ask for a trial date in 2018. The question of the last few years has not been “do we have a case” but rather “how far will the federal government go to prevent justice.” We have seen that they are willing to go to many lengths to cover up their crimes and maintain the status quo, but not even the Trump administration can go far enough to escape the inevitable tide of social progress. The Ninth Circuit’s decision affirms that we are on the side of justice, and for justice we are moving forward. #seeyouincourt #youthvgov #julianavsus #ourchildrenstrust A post shared by Kiran Oommen (@kiran_oommen) on Mar 7, 2018 at 1:20pm PST Oommen summed it up this way: “We’ll see you in court.” + Our Children’s Trust Via Bloomberg Image via Gage Skidmore on Flickr

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Trump fails to evade climate change lawsuit filed by 21 youths

New hybrid solar panel harvests energy from raindrops

March 8, 2018 by  
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A team of Chinese engineers have created a new hybrid solar panel that can also harvest energy from raindrops. This new technology takes advantage of the triboelectric effect, the electrical charge of certain materials after coming into contact with a different material. Triboelectric nanogenerators (TENGs) deliberately create this charge through friction and may someday be used to capture static electricity as energy from a variety of materials, including clothing, car wheels, or touch screens. For the moment, TENGs are successfully being used to capture the latent energy of raindrops. To create a TENG, the team added two transparent polymer layers on top of their solar panel. The upper layer polymer is made from polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) while the lower layer is composed of poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene):poly(styrenesulfonate) (PEDOT:PSS). To increase the TENG’s efficiency, the polymer layers were imprinted with grooves modeled on the data side pattern of DVDs. When raindrops fall, they push the top layer into contact with the lower layer, which then acts as an electrode between the TENG and the solar panel . Related: The cost of high-efficiency solar panels fell 37% in 2017 Although the resulting electricity produced by the TENG-enhanced panel is relatively small, it nonetheless proves that such a device works and could be scaled up with further research. While this is not the first instance in which a TENG has been incorporated into a solar panel, the team describes their device as simpler, more streamlined and easier to manufacture than previous models. Theirs emphasizes the abundance of energy that exists all around us, which only needs to be harnessed to step closer towards a true clean energy economy. Via New Atlas Images via Depositphotos and ACS Nano

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New hybrid solar panel harvests energy from raindrops

$15 billion settlement approved after Volkswagen emissions scandal

October 25, 2016 by  
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After Volkswagen Group cheated emissions tests utilizing software, they were slapped with multiple lawsuits . Today Judge Charles Breyer, a federal judge at the U.S. District Court in San Francisco, approved a settlement of nearly $15 billion. In the history of the United States, this is the biggest automotive scandal settlement ever. The historic settlement is between Volkswagen Group , vehicle owners, California regulators, and the government. Under the settlement, Volkswagen will buy back vehicles from 475,000 U.S. owners of 2-liter VW and Audi cars or provide a repair if such a fix is approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Hundreds of employees have been tasked with handling buybacks. Owners can also obtain payouts from $5,100 to $9,852 if they choose the repair. Related: VW promises $14.7 billion to U.S. owners of cars affected by emissions cheating scandal 336,000 owners have registered to participate in the settlement. Volkswagen has until October 2017 to design an acceptable fix or they must offer buybacks for all affected owners. In addition to paying consumers, Volkswagen will pay billions toward environmental mitigation. A settlement with 80,000 owners of three-liter vehicles is still being negotiated. During a hearing on October 18 around 20 Volkswagen owners objected, but Judge Breyer described the settlement as “fair, reasonable, and adequate.” In the ruling he said, “The priority was to get the polluting cars off the road as soon as possible. The settlement does that.” In a statement U.S. Volkswagen CEO Hinrich J. Woebcken said they will work to ensure the program “is now carried out as seamlessly as possible.” Volkswagen isn’t in the clear yet; German prosecutors and the U.S. Justice Department are still conducting criminal investigations. Depending on the outcome of those investigations, Volkswagen may have to shell out still more money to compensate for their fraud. Via USA TODAY and the Los Angeles Times Images via Frank Behrens on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

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$15 billion settlement approved after Volkswagen emissions scandal

How New York City Threw Away the World’s Oldest Subway Tunnel

February 7, 2014 by  
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34 years ago, Bob Diamond made a remarkable discovery underneath Brooklyn’s Atlantic Avenue – the world’s oldest subway tunnel . Diamond then devoted his life to giving tours of the underground landmark until 2013, when the city ordered it sealed up. Read on to hear the rest of Diamond’s fascinating story and see how you can help him regain access to his beloved tunnel. READ MORE > Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: 169 year old Atlantic Avenue tunnel , atlantic avenue , Atlantic Avenue Tunnel , Bob Diamond , Brooklyn , fdny , historic NY sites , lawsuits , LIRR , long island railroad , New York. , NY Department of Transportation        

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How New York City Threw Away the World’s Oldest Subway Tunnel

Why PV Solar is Better than Thermal Energy for Precious Water Supplies

February 7, 2014 by  
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Lack of water is a huge problem in vast portions of the United States, where there is hardly enough to go around after the farms, ranches and cities have gotten their fill. So it really makes no sense that we waste massive amounts of water in order to generate thermal power. In fact, running these plants require four times more water than that used by every citizen in the country combined. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we had an alternative energy source that is clean, efficient and uses significantly less water? You know, something like photovoltaic solar power? Read the rest of Why PV Solar is Better than Thermal Energy for Precious Water Supplies Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: aquatic life harm , draining aquifers , drought in the US , drought water , drought water usage , saving water , Solar Power , solar power benefits , solar power use , solar power water savings , thermal power , thermal power drought , thermal power issues , thermal power problems , thermal power waste , water usage , water waste , western aquifers , wildlife harm        

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Why PV Solar is Better than Thermal Energy for Precious Water Supplies

SC Johnson Settles Lawsuits Over Greenlist Logo

July 7, 2011 by  
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SC Johnson settles two lawsuits over its Greenlist logo, promting it to rethink how to communicate product improvements.

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SC Johnson Settles Lawsuits Over Greenlist Logo

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