New NASA tool shows which melting glaciers will affect coastal cities

November 17, 2017 by  
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NASA has developed a new tool  that individuals and communities can use to determine the precise impacts that sea level rise will have on individual coastal cities . This newly accessible information will enable scientists and policymakers to have a more complete understanding of the consequences of climate change in specific areas. “This study allows one person to understand which icy areas of the world will contribute most significantly to sea level change (rise or decrease) in their specific city,” said Eric Larour, one of the study’s authors, in an interview with CNN . While most coastal communities around the world understand the imminent risks to their survival from sea level rise , this tool allows them to plan more precisely for the future. Current projections estimate that coastal communities will face a sea level rise of one to four feet, depending on location. Since the impact of melting sea ice will be felt differently in different places, it is important for communities to have as precise and accurate information as possible. NASA’s new tool, developed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, incorporates the rotation of the Earth and gravitational variables to more precisely identify how specific bodies of melting ice will impact certain communities. Related: Boston outlines its plans to adapt to rising sea levels To create this tool, researchers conducted a study in which they analyzed data for 293 coastal cities to calculate local sea level rise and the glacial source of this newly liquid water. Glaciers farthest away from a particular city tended to be the most responsible for its sea level rise, due to gravity. “Ice sheets are so heavy, that when they melt, the gravity field is modified, and the ocean is less attracted to the ice mass,” said Larour in an interview with CNN . “This means that locally, close to the ice change itself, sea level will decrease.” Larour hopes that this new tool will empower local communities to make informed decisions as they prepare for unfolding impacts of climate change . + NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Via CNN Images via NASA and Depositphotos

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New NASA tool shows which melting glaciers will affect coastal cities

Keystone 1 oil pipeline leaks 210,000 gallons days ahead of Keystone XL permit decision

November 17, 2017 by  
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210,000 gallons of crude oil seeped out of the TransCanada -owned Keystone 1 pipeline this week – mere days before Nebraska’s Public Service Commission (PSC) is set to make a decision on whether or not to grant a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline. The first Keystone pipeline, running from Canada through the Great Plains, leaked oil southeast of Amherst, South Dakota. According to The Washington Post , this spill is just the most recent in a series. The first Keystone pipeline leaked in 2011 and 2016. This new spill was detected early in the morning, and happened in “either a grass or an agricultural field,” according to South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources environmental science manager Brian Walsh, and that, based on what they know, “the spill has not impacted a surface water body.” Related: Nebraska landowners install solar panels in the path of the Keystone XL pipeline Image of Amherst incident taken earlier today by aerial patrol as part of our initial response. For more updates, visit https://t.co/8yWI1Oq2EM pic.twitter.com/uRNtYUdVjL — TransCanada (@TransCanada) November 16, 2017 TransCanada said the leak was completely isolated in 15 minutes. They said they got permission from the landowner to assess the spill and start planning for cleanup. Next week on Monday, the PSC will decide whether or not to grant a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, also to be owned by TransCanada. Critics and activists say the company shouldn’t receive one, especially after the recent spill. 350.org executive director May Boeve said in a statement, “This is exactly the kind of disaster we can expect more of if Keystone XL is approved. No matter what TransCanada says, there’s no such thing as a safe fossil fuel pipeline.” President Donald Trump gave TransCanada a federal permit in March, and other states have approved Keystone XL’s path. According to Reuters, PSC isn’t allowed to consider the potential of spills from Keystone XL as the venture has an environmental permit. Their decision will be on whether or not the pipeline’s route would be in the best interest of the state’s residents, but a rejection would be a setback for the controversial project. Boeve said, “ Indigenous peoples , farmers, and ranchers along Keystone XL’s proposed route have been holding the line against this project for years. Whatever Nebraska commissioners decide on Monday, we’ll be ready for the work ahead to stop this and all new fossil fuel projects that threaten our communities and climate .” Via The Washington Post and Reuters Images via shannonpatrick17 on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

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Keystone 1 oil pipeline leaks 210,000 gallons days ahead of Keystone XL permit decision

New periodic table sorts 3,700 known exoplanets into 18 categories

November 17, 2017 by  
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A new Periodic Table of Exoplanets guides scientists and science fans alike through over 3,700 known exoplanets, including those that may host life . To organize the thousands of worlds identified since the first exoplanet was discovered in 1992, astronomer Abel Méndez? of the Planetary Habitability Laboratory at the University of Puerto Rico created a chart that sorts the exoplanets into 18 distinct categories. “We know of over 3,700 planets around other stars. They are very diverse,” Méndez? said in an interview with Gizmodo . “We can roughly classify them by their size and temperature. Only warm planets with the right size, similar to Earth, might provide some of the conditions for extraterrestrial life.” At the most general level, exoplanets , or planets beyond our solar system, are categorized based on distance from the star around which they orbit and their temperature. This places them in one of three zones: Hot Zone, Warm Zone, or Cold Zone. The exoplanets are also distinguished by size and composition (rocky “terran” planets vs. gas giants like Neptune and Jupiter ). As in the actual periodic table, each exoplanet category has a number assigned to it, which indicates how many of a particular kind of planet have been discovered. Related: Scientists discover new Earth-like planet only 11 light years away According to the Periodic Table of Exoplanets, there are 53 known exoplanets with the appropriate size, temperature and features such as liquid water and a stable atmosphere to potentially host life as we know it. “Unfortunately, we don’t know yet if they also have the right amount of water (e.g. oceans ) or the right atmosphere for life too,” said Méndez?. As for the disproportionate number of hot planets on the Table, Méndez? explained that this is due to the relative ease of discovery for hot planets and not necessarily because there are more of them. At the top right corner of the Table, a chart indicates the number of stellar systems and the number of known exoplanets for each system. To Méndez, the possibilities are endless. “I’m overwhelmed by the number and diversity of planets in the stars around us. So many places to explore in our own Solar System , but much more is waiting for us beyond,” Méndez? told Gizmodo . “I won’t be very surprised by another planet with life, Earth is the example that this is possible. I will be more surprised by something we haven’t seen before.” Via Gizmodo Images via  Planetary Habitability Laboratory/University of Puerto Rico at Aricebo and NASA

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New periodic table sorts 3,700 known exoplanets into 18 categories

The world’s first space nation officially in orbit with new satellite

November 16, 2017 by  
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Space is now officially home to the known universe’s first “space nation”. Asgardia launched its very first satellite, Asgardia-1, into orbit on November 12, 2017. Only about the size of a soccer ball, the satellite traveled aboard a NASA commercial cargo vehicle to make its two-day journey from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia to the International Space Station. The “nanosat” contains .5 terabytes of data from 18,000 of Asgardia’s 114,000 citizens to demonstrate the nation’s ability to store data independently of any earthbound state or corporation; it also contains items of national heritage, including Asgardia’s flag, coat of arms, and developing constitution. Named after Norse mythology’s city of the skies, Asgardia was founded by Russian scientist Dr. Igor Ashubeyli in October 2016. Since the country’s founding, people of many nationalities have signed up to become Asgardians. “I really want to be able to see if human beings are able to have more opportunity to express their opinions,” said Rayven Sin, an Asgardian artist based in Hong Kong , according to CNN . “The society we live in now — everything seems to be either capitalism or communism — there’s a lot of conflict. As a human being, I would hope (to see) if we could have other ways (of living). For a better life, and for more options.” Related: The isolated Pacific graveyard where spaceships go to die Once properly prepped and equipped at the International Space Station , Asgardia-1 will take flight and enter orbit on its own, where it is expected to remain for five to eighteen months before it burns up. However, this is only the beginning of Asgardia’s story. The space nation plans to seek official recognition from the United Nations as an independent nation, a challenging feat to say the least, as well as constructing orbiting habitats on which Asgardians can live. Even Ashubeyli acknowledges the challenges ahead. “We have to be like a normal country. All countries have problems, and soon we will have the same problems,” he said to CNN . “But we will have more than normal countries because we are not on Earth.” Via CNN Images via James Vaughn/Asgardia

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The world’s first space nation officially in orbit with new satellite

Hyperloop-inspired company promises 200 mph travel without the vacuum tubes

November 15, 2017 by  
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Arrivo, a high-speed transportation company founded by former SpaceX and Hyperloop One engineer Brogan BamBrogan, has announced a partnership with the Colorado Department of Transportation to construct a “ hyperloop-inspired ” track through Denver . Unlike the hyperloop design, which depends on new infrastructure, Arrivo’s system involves building open tracks on existing roadways and uses magnets to pull pods, which would hold cars, trucks, or buses, along a track at speeds of up to 200 mph. “People will tell you that a well-functioning freeway can move 2,000 to 2,500 vehicles an hour,” said BamBrogan said at a news conference. “The Arrivo system — because it’s a dedicated roadway with 21st century technology — can move 20,000 vehicles an hour.” Arrivo is distinct from Hyperloop in that it is designed for local travel rather than long, inter-city travel. For example, an Arrivo route from Denver Airport to the city’s downtown, a 32 mile journey that can take up to an hour in traffic, might instead take 8 minutes and cost as much as a toll road. Next year, Arrivo will invest $10 to $15 million into its research facility and test track in Colorado and plans to hire 40 to 50 engineers, with up to 200 engineers working on the project by 2020. Related: Winning Mexloop Hyperloop design could connect 42M people in new megalopolis The State of Colorado is enthusiastic about the project, but the partnership with Arrivo remains in its early stages. “As they prove out the technology and we prove the feasibility, then in a couple of years, we’ll talk about whether there is an infrastructure investment here,” said Shailen Bhatt in an interview with the Denver Post . “There’s no commitment by the state to say we’re going to definitely build one here, but we’re pretty confident that they’ll deliver a product that will move people quickly and safely.” Via The Denver Post and the Verge Images via Arrivo and Depositphotos

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Hyperloop-inspired company promises 200 mph travel without the vacuum tubes

"We were blown away" – researchers eliminate obstacles to fusion energy

November 15, 2017 by  
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Fusion powers the sun, and if we could harness it here on Earth, we could obtain unlimited clean energy . Scientists have been working on that aim for years, and now researchers from Los Alamos National Laboratory , Massachusetts Institute of Technology , and Texas A&M University just made a huge leap forwards. Helium , a byproduct of the process, typically bubbles and weakens the materials comprising a fusion reactor . But inside of nanocomposite solids, instead of the metal of regular fusion reactors, helium doesn’t form into destructive bubbles – it actually tunnels vein-like channels to potentially escape. Fusion energy isn’t easy to generate in part because of the difficulty in finding materials able to withstand the grueling conditions inside a fusion reactor’s core. These researchers may have found an answer by exploring how helium behaves in nanocomposite solids – and the results surprised them. Because while helium doesn’t endanger the environment , according to Texas A&M University, it does damage fusion reactor materials. Inside a solid material, helium bubbles out, akin to carbon dioxide in carbonated water. Related: These mini spherical reactors could help scale fusion energy by 2030 Michael Demkowicz, Texas A&M associate professor, said, “Literally, you get these helium bubbles inside of the metal that stay there forever because the metal is solid. As you accumulate more and more helium, the bubbles start to link up and destroy the entire material.” But inside nanocomposite solids – which Texas A&M describes as “materials made of stacks of thick metal layers” – helium didn’t bubble. Instead, it actually made channels similar to human veins. Demkowicz said, “We were blown away by what we saw. As you put more and more helium inside these nanocomposites, rather than destroying the material, the veins actually start to interconnect, resulting in kind of a vascular system.” And the researchers think the helium could then flow out of the material “without causing any further damage,” according to Texas A&M. The surprising discovery could have more applications than in just fusion reactors. Demkowicz said, “I think the bigger picture here is in vascularized solids…What else could be transported through such networks? Perhaps heat or electricity or even chemicals that could help the material self-heal .” The journal Science Advances published the research this month. Via Texas A&M University and Futurism Images via Wikimedia Commons and Texas A&M University

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"We were blown away" – researchers eliminate obstacles to fusion energy

Smog-fighting helicopters in Delhi grounded – due to smog

November 14, 2017 by  
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Delhi has been battling choking smog , prompting doctors to declare a public health emergency . The government came up with a plan: use helicopters to combat the air pollution . But there’s a problem: the helicopters can’t fly because the smog is so bad. Delhi’s government had asked state-owned company Pawan Hans to come up with a plan to deploy helicopters to drizzle water across the beleaguered city, with the hope it would help settle the smog. But Pawan Hans told city officials this week the choppers couldn’t fly in the haze. Chairman and managing director BP Sharma told The Indian Express , “Right now, with the prevailing smog, it is not possible for the helicopters to carry out operations.” Related: Delhi residents struggle to breathe as doctors declare air pollution health emergency There’s another roadblock that stands in the way: almost half of Delhi, according to an official, is part of a no-fly zone. This includes the city’s southern quarters where the prime minister, presidency, and parliament are based – and according to The Guardian , the no-fly zone is strictly policed. A Delhi government spokesperson told The Indian Express, “There are a few issues and these will be worked out while creating the [standard operating procedure]. All stakeholders are being consulted.” Experts had questioned the plan – one called it “nothing more than a load of hot air,” according to India Today . Mukesh Khare, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi professor who’s spent years working on urban air pollution, said the solution was impractical and would waste water and money, telling India Today the plan hadn’t been used anywhere in the world to take down air pollution, and that the water would dry rapidly, sending officials back to square one in a few hours. 52 percent of the particulate matter in Delhi’s air comes from dust kicked up by tens of thousands of cars , according to a 2015 study cited by The Guardian. Other factors like uncovered soil and sand from construction sites, crop burning, and slow winds have also played a role in the pollution. Via The Guardian , The Indian Express , and India Today Images via Jean-Etienne Minh-Duy Poirrier on Flickr and Shalabh Gupta on Facebook

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Smog-fighting helicopters in Delhi grounded – due to smog

Seafood traceability swims into Silicon Valley

November 10, 2017 by  
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As big names like Aramark and Thai Union progress on supply chains, smaller-fry ‘seatech’ startups bring the promise of satellite and blockchain tech.

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Seafood traceability swims into Silicon Valley

Can technology create the ‘humane economy’?

November 4, 2017 by  
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A longtime vegan is betting big on food tech from Impossible Foods, Hampton Creek and Memphis Meats to save animals — and human health.

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Can technology create the ‘humane economy’?

Can technology create the ‘humane economy’?

November 4, 2017 by  
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Comments Off on Can technology create the ‘humane economy’?

A longtime vegan is betting big on food tech from Impossible Foods, Hampton Creek and Memphis Meats to save animals — and human health.

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Can technology create the ‘humane economy’?

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