Just before he died, Stephen Hawking predicted the ‘end of the universe’

March 19, 2018 by  
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Just before he died, Stephen Hawking was working on a groundbreaking study that predicted the end of the world and sought to prove the multiverse theory. His co-author Professor Thomas Hertog, of KU Leuven University in Belgium, says that the work is so important that Hawking could have received a Nobel Prize had he not passed away last week . Hawking’s paper, titled “A Smooth Exit From Eternal Inflation,” looks at ways in which humans could identify parallel universes – known as the multiverse theory – using probes on spaceships. It also theorizes about the end of the universe, saying that it will end as the stars run out of energy. Related: Beloved physicist Stephen Hawking passes away at 76 The paper is currently being reviewed by a leading scientific journal, and while it will no doubt contribute to our understanding of the world around us, sadly, Hawking can’t win a Nobel Prize for his work. “He has often been nominated for the Nobel and should have won it. Now he never can,” Prof Hertog told The Sunday Times . Via The Independent an CNBC Images via Wikimedia and Flickr  under CC license

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Just before he died, Stephen Hawking predicted the ‘end of the universe’

Agtech start-up Plenty plans to grow hydroponic peaches

March 19, 2018 by  
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San Francisco -based start-up Plenty is expanding the possibilities of what can be grown on indoor farms, with its sights set on peaches. Plenty uses a hydroponic growing system, which feeds crops through a steady flow of nutrient-rich water, to grow high-quality, local produce. This kind of system is typically used to grow annual crops, not perennial trees like peaches. Nonetheless, Plenty’s success has the company confident that it can break new ground. “[Plenty’s kale] is nothing like the tough, bitter leaf we’re used to,” Plenty CEO  Matt Barnard proudly stated to Wired . “It’s sweet and velvety. People say we should find another name for it.” Plenty grows its crops indoors thanks to light supplies by LEDs and vertically-aligned growing spaces. This allows for greater crop density, which best serves the urban environment in which Plenty farms. In addition to its environmental benefits, Plenty’s local harvest tastes better too. “Right now, produce often has to travel 3,000 miles from the farm to consumer,” said Barnard, “which is why so many farms grow iceberg lettuce , which tastes of nothing. Our salads are spicy and citrusy and sweet at the same time. People are amazed they can eat it without salad dressing.” Related: 6 places where soil-less farming is revolutionizing how we grow food The primary obstacle to greater success for operations like Plenty is cost. “Anyone can buy some shelves, some lights, irrigation,” said Barnard. “The challenge is to get your produce down from $40 per pound to $1. At the moment, for example, we have an expensive peach.” Plenty plans to incorporate data and machine learning capabilities into the system, so as to allow for algorithmic alterations based on plant needs. “Now we are having what I like to [call] a ‘Google moment,’” explained Barnard. “Just like Google benefited from the simultaneous combination of improved technology, better algorithms and masses of data, we are seeing the same.” Via Wired Images via Plenty and Depositphotos

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Agtech start-up Plenty plans to grow hydroponic peaches

Airbus wants to harpoon a satellite and bring it back to Earth

March 19, 2018 by  
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The aeronautics company Airbus is currently testing a three-foot harpoon they hope will catch the nonfunctional satellite Envisat and pull it back to Earth. This particular proposal may also address the rising problem of space debris. “If we can design a harpoon that can cope with Envisat, then it should be able to cope with all other types of spacecraft including the many rocket upper-stages that remain in orbit,” project engineer Alastair Wayman told the BBC . Prior to launch, the harpoons are being tested by being shot at high speeds into various materials that are used to build satellites. “The harpoon goes through these panels like a hot knife through butter ,” said Wayman. “Once the tip is inside, it has a set of barbs that open up and stop the harpoon from coming back out. We’d then de-tumble the satellite with a tether on the other end.” In the end, the ancient technology of the harpoon may prove more effective than robotic arms in space. “Many of these targets will be tumbling and if you were to use a robotic arm, say, that involves a lot of quite complex motions to follow your target,” explained Wayman.”Whereas, with the harpoon, all you have to do is sit a distance away, wait for the target to rotate underneath you, and at the right moment fire your harpoon. And because it’s a really quick event, it takes out a lot of the complexity.” Related: Space Scientists Develop Harpoon System to Capture Rogue Satellites and Clean up Space Junk Prior to its sudden death in 2012, Envisat, operated by the European Space Agency (ESA), was the world’s largest civilian Earth observation satellite. The ESA hopes to bring it back home, starting with a scaled-down harpoon expedition known as the RemoveDEBRIS Mission. The RemoveDEBRIS demo satellite will bring its own debris into space, then attempt to catch it. This experiment will also test a net-based system. Via BBC Images via European Space Agency and  RemoveDEBRIS Mission

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Airbus wants to harpoon a satellite and bring it back to Earth

Scientists create protein-packed mats that fight pollution

March 19, 2018 by  
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Researchers have created a mat composed of active proteins that have the ability to absorb chemical pollution. In a study published in Science , scientists document how they successfully extracted an active protein from a cell without killing the former — a breakthrough that could pave the way to a new class of pollution-fighting technology. “We think we’ve cracked the code for interfacing natural and synthetic systems,” study author and professor at the University of California , Berkeley Ting Xu told Futurity . Previous attempts to remove proteins from their native environments without harming or killing them were marked by limited progress. The research team observed trends in sequences and surfaces before developing a synthetic polymer that is ideal for hosting proteins. “Proteins have very well-defined statistical pattern, so if you can mimic that pattern, then you can marry the synthetic and natural systems, which allows us to make these materials,” study first author  Brian Panganiban told Futurity . The team conducted advanced molecular simulations to ensure their polymer would effectively serve the protein’s needs. Related: Researchers shocked to discover protein that conducts electricity The experiment received funding from the United States Department of Defense, which is specifically interested in the technology’s bio-remediation potential against chemical pollution . The end result is capable of degrading insecticides and weaponized chemicals. Given its effectiveness, this bio-technology may soon be used in war zones and other contaminated areas to clean-up the mess that humanity has made. This technology can also be customized to meet the needs of a particular mess. Xu believes that his team’s approach could be used with other enzymes, which could someday lead to the creation of portable chemistry labs capable of responding effectively in the field to varied environmental challenges. Via Futurity Images via Deposit Photos , Christopher DelRe and Charley Huang/UC Berkeley

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Scientists create protein-packed mats that fight pollution

Scientists predict catastrophic loss of forest fauna and flora with existing CO2 emissions

March 19, 2018 by  
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If we don’t do something to slow down carbon emissions, we could lose up to half of all the plant and animal species in the world’s forests. A new report by the World Wildlife Federation shows that a temperature increase of more than 1.5 degrees Celsius would decimate the flora and fauna of vital ecosystems in Asia, Africa, North America, South America and Australia. Since scientists project that we are likely headed towards a rise of 3.2C, the implications could be disastrous. According to the study, a rise of 3.2C would kill off 60 percent of plant species and 50 percent of animal species in the Amazon . If countries get their act together and limit temperature rise to 2C, we will lose fewer species, but the devastation will still destroy 35 percent of species. Then there’s the grim forecast of a rise of 4.5C, which is what many experts believe we will hit if emissions remain unchanged. In that scenario, we could expect to lose more than 70 percent of reptiles and plants, and 60 percent of mammals and birds. Related: Scientists warn Amazon jungle faces “death spiral” The picture is just as dire in Africa and Australia, but with an additional impact to some species based on tension with human needs. According to the study, competition for resources in Africa, Bangladesh, Madagascar and the Caribbean could devastate animals, such as elephants , even more. “For the Amazon and Guianas, the WWF report is scary as hell. The loss of half or more of the region’s stunning plant diversity would be a biological blow of almost unimaginable severity,” said William Laurence, director at the Center for Tropical Environmental and Sustainable Science. “However, such computer models with all their assumptions and complexities are really ‘scientific cartoons’ giving us only a rough sketch of the future. But even if they’re only half right, these are very frightening cartoons indeed,” he continued. The study was published by the WWF, James Cook University and the University of East Anglia in the journal Climate Change . Via The Guardian Images via Deposit Photos ( 1 , 2 )

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Scientists predict catastrophic loss of forest fauna and flora with existing CO2 emissions

Swiss police to replace diesel fleet with 7 Tesla Model X-100Ds

March 19, 2018 by  
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The Swiss police are electrifying! The Basel-Stadt canton announced in a recent press release that they plan to replace their fleet of diesel vehicles with seven Tesla Model X-100D electric vehicles. Although the purchase will be expensive, at about $147,000 a piece, the police are convinced their overall costs will fall. Plus, they expressed concern about reducing their environmental impact . In addition to lower maintenance costs, the police expect the resale value of Tesla vehicles to be greater than that of their existing fleet. And they aren’t concerned with running out of juice while on a high-speed chase. “With a current charge the Tesla drives at least 500 kilometers,” they wrote in their press release. “Vehicles of the alerting patch cover an average of 200 kilometers per day per day.” Related: Dubai police unveil electric hoverbikes Dutch security firm Force Pro have customized the Basel city police’s new vehicles, according to regional daily the Basellandschaftliche Zeitung . Force Pro sales director Theo Karanfantis told the paper cited connectivity and communication as among the Tesla vehicle’s key benefits. “A conventional car brings a police officer from A to B,” he said. “What Basel police are now buying is a laptop on wheels”. Two charging stations will be installed at Kannenfeld and Clara police stations, according to the press release. Lastly, the police said the Tesla X-100D is the only electric vehicle on the market that is capable of meeting their needs. + Basel Police Via The Local Images via Tesla

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Swiss police to replace diesel fleet with 7 Tesla Model X-100Ds

ALMA: The World’s Largest Telescope Array Powers Up in Chile’s Atacama Desert

March 14, 2013 by  
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The world’s largest telescope array officially opened Wednesday in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile. The Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA) consists of 66 huge antennas directed towards the night sky to gather data and images of neighboring stars and some of the most distant, ancient galaxies. Its telescopes will have better resolution than the famous Hubble Space Telescope , and they will allow astronomers to shed light on how stars are born and how they die. Read the rest of ALMA: The World’s Largest Telescope Array Powers Up in Chile’s Atacama Desert Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: ALMA observatory , ALMA telescope array , Atacama desert observatory , Chile telescopes , space exploration , space observing technology , space research , space technology , telescopes , the universe

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Steve Jobs: 1955 – 2011

October 6, 2011 by  
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Photo: Wikipedia , CC The board of Apple has announced that Steve Jobs has died today . You were the best at what you did, Steve. Thank you for making a dent in the universe. Our most sincere condolences to his family and friends. He will be missed…. Read the full story on TreeHugger

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Steve Jobs: 1955 – 2011

Reusable Pizza Pan Could Keep Billions of Cardboard Boxes Out of US Landfills Every Year

October 6, 2011 by  
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Image Courtesy of Good News Reuse You may put your share of the more than 3 billion pizza boxes discarded in the country every year in the recycling bin, but it doesn’t mean they’re getting a second life. The grease and food (cheese, usually) left in the boxes makes them hard to recycle , if you make the effort to fold the thing enough to get it in the bin in the first place. Now, sustainably-minded Good News Reuse is looking to take a lot of th… Read the full story on TreeHugger

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Reusable Pizza Pan Could Keep Billions of Cardboard Boxes Out of US Landfills Every Year

Photographers Dedicate Their Lives to Documenting Earth’s Changing Crust (Slideshow)

August 24, 2011 by  
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Photo credit: Steve and Donna O’Meara /National Geographic Image Collection The Earth may be humanity’s only permanent home in the universe but, at times, the quiet blue marble feels frighteningly unsettled. Volcanoes and earthquakes show that the planet is, indeed, always changing both because of human activity but also in spite of it. Donna and Stephen James O’Meara have dedicated their lives to studying and photographing these incredible forces. One of the… Read the full story on TreeHugger

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