China claims major energy breakthrough with ‘flammable ice’

May 19, 2017 by  
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China has claimed a major energy breakthrough, but its eco credentials are dubious at best. Researchers say they managed to extract gas from flammable ice in the South China Sea. A frozen mix of natural gas and water known as methane hydrates, the ‘breakthrough’ is expected to revolutionize the future of energy . We’re not sure that’s a good idea. Flammable ice could be our planet’s final great source of carbon-based fuel , according to the BBC. Vast deposits can be found under essentially every ocean. But it’s incredibly difficult to extract gas from flammable ice – in part because it catches fire so easily – a lighter held up next to the ice will do the trick. Related: Japan Successfully Taps ‘Flammable Ice’ as an Energy Source for the First Time Japan so far has led the way in working to mine the potential energy source, but China’s latest efforts could mark a milestone on the path to extracting gas from methane hydrates. Chinese media said the country had succeeded in extracting an average of 16,000 cubic meters of gas per day in the South China Sea. Scientist Praveen Linga of the National University of Singapore told the BBC, “Compared with the results we have seen from Japanese research, the Chinese scientists have managed to extract much more gas in their efforts. So in that sense it is indeed a major step towards making gas extraction from methane hydrates viable.” But Linga warns extraction must be done carefully. Methane could escape from the methane hydrates during extraction, which could harm the planet as methane holds greater potential to affect climate change than carbon dioxide, according to the BBC. It’s hard to tell if flammable ice extraction will fall into the pitfalls of the oil and gas industry, with greed taking precedence over our planet. The BBC also described flammable ice as a very energy intensive source of fuel. Linga says there’s still a long way to go, and he said realistic commercial options might be ready in 2025 at the earliest. Via the BBC Images via William Winters, USGS and U.S. Geological Survey on Flickr

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China claims major energy breakthrough with ‘flammable ice’

Scientists may have found evidence for a parallel universe

May 19, 2017 by  
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A parallel universe may not just be a quirk of science fiction anymore; scientists think they may have found evidence for the idea of a universe other than our own. It all has to do with a strange Cold Spot, which researchers haven’t had an easy time explaining; some even suggest it could actually be an optical illusion. But new research reveals something far more bizarre may be going on. NASA first discovered the baffling Cold Spot in 2004. The Cold Spot is 1.8 billion light years across and, as you may have guessed, colder than what surrounds it in the universe. Scientists thought perhaps it was colder because it had 10,000 less galaxies than other regions of similar size. They even thought perhaps the Cold Spot was just a trick of the light. Related: ‘Largest-ever’ new map of universe shows 1.2 million galaxies But now an international team of researchers think perhaps the Cold Spot could actually offer evidence for the concept of a multiverse. The Guardian explains an infinite number of universes make up a multiverse; each having its own reality different from ours. These scientists say they’ve ruled out the last-ditch optical illusion idea. Instead, they think our universe may have collided with another in what News.com.au described as something like a car crash; the impact could have pushed energy away from an area of space to result in the Cold Spot. Physicist Tom Shanks of the University of Durham said in a statement , “We can’t entirely rule out that the Spot is caused by an unlikely fluctuation explained by the standard model. But if that isn’t the answer, then there are more exotic explanations. Perhaps the most exciting of these is that the Cold Spot was caused by a collision between our universe and another bubble universe.” If more research backs up this new idea, “…then the Cold Spot might be taken as the first evidence for the multiverse – and billions of other universes may exist like our own.” Eight scientists from institutions in the United Kingdom, Chile, Spain, and the United States collaborated on a study recently published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society . Via The Independent , News.com.au , and The Guardian Images via Pexels and Pixabay

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Scientists may have found evidence for a parallel universe

Researchers discover worlds deepest underwater sinkhole in the South China Sea

August 1, 2016 by  
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The Sansha Ship Course Research Institute for Coral Protection used a variety of equipment, including underwater robots and sonar scanners, to determine the sinkhole’s size: 300.89 meters in depth, 130 meters in width (426 feet) at the entrance, and 36 meters in width (118 feet) at the bottom. The depth of the mysterious sinkhole far exceeds the Dean’s 202-meter-deep Blue Hole in the Bahamas , which previously held the title as the world’s deepest sinkhole. The dimensions were measured during field research trips over the past year. Related: Mysterious sinkhole develops a surprising and beautiful ecosystem in China Aside from its record-breaking depth, the beautiful and mysterious “Dragon Hole” is also drawing headlines because of its location in the hotly disputed South China Sea . Locals have gone so far to describe the sinkhole as the “eye” of the South China Sea due to its location in a coral reef near the contested Paracel Islands. The discovery of the “world’s deepest” sinkhole is also likely to boost tourism interest in the area, which China hopes to develop into a Maldives -like attraction. Despite claims that developers will focus on environmental protection, the developing tourism may spell trouble for the coral-rich waters. Via DailyMail Images via Huanqiu

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Researchers discover worlds deepest underwater sinkhole in the South China Sea

China aims to construct a "space lab" 10,000 feet under the South China Sea

June 13, 2016 by  
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China takes top billing in this week’s news of the “what the huh?” variety. China is working to secure rights to the South China Sea in order to build what can only be called a “space station” deep below the ocean’s surface . The proposal involves a platform built 9,800 feet under the waves, where dozens of crew members would be stationed. The purpose? Primarily to aid in the country’s offshore mining efforts. Evidently, word has not yet reached China about what a devastating practice that can be. The Chinese Science Ministry recently gave a presentation on the plan, although many details aren’t available to the public at this point. Essentially, the country wants to construct a deep sea scientific hub where crews could survive, underwater, for up to a month. Theoretically, all manner of ocean-related scientific research could be conducted there. The project was mentioned in China’s five-year economic development plan, released in March, wherein this deep sea lab was ranked second in priority among the top 100 scientific projects the country aims to undertake. Related: China is building artificial islands in disputed South China Sea territory After Chinese authorities reviewed the plan, it was evidently decided to speed up progress on the underwater platform, although there have been no announcements related to the project’s time line, design, cost, or specific location. It’s presumed at this time that President Xi Jinping’s administration is targeting the South China Sea , evidenced by the country’s efforts to secure sovereignty over the highly disputed waters. China already considers more than 80 percent of the South China Sea under its sovereign territory, in the face of opposition from Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and the Philippines, which all stake some claim to various parts of the same region. What will happen next in the evolution of China’s underwater ‘space station’ project is anyone’s guess. Via Motherboard Images via Jennifer C/Flickr and  Wikipedia

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China aims to construct a "space lab" 10,000 feet under the South China Sea

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