America’s first private high-speed train could take 3M cars off the roads

December 11, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

America isn’t known for high-speed rail travel. But a new express train project taking off in Florida could shake up that perception. Brightline , owned by Florida East Coast Industries , will be the country’s first private, high-speed rail service, and will allow people to travel from Fort Lauderdale to Miami in half an hour, on trains powered by diesel electric engines. Floridians could soon get around Southeast Florida in around an hour aboard Brightline. The $3 billion project could take up to three million cars off the roads, on trains the company says were “designed with green in mind” with diesel electric engines that are quieter and spew less emissions . They’ll operate in Florida’s densest population corridor, where over six million people live and tourists continually visit. Related: Amtrak purchasing new high-speed trains to speed up travel between New York, Boston and Washington DC Brightline will start transporting travelers from West Palm Beach to Fort Lauderdale this month, and in early 2018 into downtown Miami . Phase 2 will take people all the way to Orlando . Much of Brightline’s marketing revolves around ease, advertising frequent departures and the ability to book on the fly. They say rideshares will be waiting at their modern stations, and while traveling people can take advantage of free WiFi. All Aboard Florida obtained state approval earlier this year to sell bonds to finance Brightline, and said no public money will go towards paying for it. The Brightline project is the first test into an American foray into high-speed rail, according to Florida Atlantic University’s Center for Urban and Environmental Solutions director John Renne. The vehicle speeds still won’t be as fast as some trains in other countries. Brightline trains will travel at 120 miles per hour (mph) at their fastest, but during the rollout they’ll operate at around 80 mph. The company has not yet confirmed ticket prices; a 2015 study they commissioned suggested it could be around $16 to go from Miami to West Palm, which is around $10 more than the price to journey on a government-run train on a similar route. + Brightline Via Brightline and NPR Images via Brightline and Brightline Twitter

Read the rest here:
America’s first private high-speed train could take 3M cars off the roads

Remarkable bacteria survives extremely harsh conditions by eating nothing but air

December 11, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Scientists have discovered a strange new bacteria in the Antarctic that can survive the planet’s most extreme conditions just by breathing air. The discovery could help us find alien life in space. Scientists found microbes in Antarctica that exist on a diet of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and hydrogen, in places where other life forms could never survive. But if life can survive in the extreme temperatures, darkness and strong radiation found in Antarctica, it stands to reason that life could survive in similar conditions in space. Related: Scientists warn thawing soil could suddenly unleash deadly pathogens unseen in centuries “The big question has been how the microbes can survive when there is little water, the soils are very low in organic carbon and there is very little capacity to produce energy from the Sun via photosynthesis during the winter darkness,” said Belinda Ferrari, lead researcher of the University of New South Wales team who made the discovery. Via Science Alert Lead image via Desposit Photos ( 1 , 2 )

Originally posted here:
Remarkable bacteria survives extremely harsh conditions by eating nothing but air

Venezuela’s last remaining glacier is melting away

December 6, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Venezuela’s last remaining glacier will be completely gone within the next 10 to 20 years. Until as recently as 1991, five glaciers were found in the Sierra Nevada de Mérida mountain range in Venezuela . As climate change has accelerated, so too has the meltdown. Named for the nearby Pico Humboldt, Venezuela’s second highest peak at over 16,000 feet, the Humboldt Glacier is one-tenth of the size it was three decades ago. Scientists hope to study the glacial disappearing act so as to learn more about what other communities might expect in a warming world. “This is a tragedy that should be highlighted as one more consequence of irresponsible behavior in energy-intense economies,” said Walter Vergara, a forest and climate specialist at Global Restoration Initiative in Latin America , according to GlacierHub . Unfortunately, Venezuela’s current political and economic crises make an international scientific study very difficult. The Humboldt glacier was last studied by an international team in 2015. Even then, the data was limited; a research team from Westfield State University in Massachusetts was only able to conduct a GPS survey and gather basic observations. While some data, such as measurements of ice coverage and reflection of solar radiation, can be studied using satellites, they would be more accurate if more researchers were able to spend time at Humboldt. Related: Venezuelans are getting Fridays off to battle an energy crisis It is often difficult for Venezuelan scientists to find success at home due to the economic and political crises that has gripped their country in recent years. Despite the challenges, Venezuela is not without its environmental heroes.  “Venezuela’s Minister for Environment, Ramón Velásquez-Araguayán, is a smart and capable climate scientist who is very sensitive to climate change issues and environmental conservation ,” Ángel G. Muñoz, a postdoctoral research scientist at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society at Columbia University, and Princeton University, told GlaicerHub. Still, it is likely that Venezuela will soon become the first country to lose all of its glaciers . Sadly, it is not likely to be the last. Via GlacierHub Images via Wikimedia and Serge Saint/Flickr

View original post here:
Venezuela’s last remaining glacier is melting away

Spectacular wildflower roof grows atop a dreamy Texan cabana

December 6, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

You might not think a cabana could outshine a glistening blue pool—especially in the Texan heat—but this Pool House in Texas’ City of West Lake Hills is a scene-stealer. Murray Legge Architecture designed this dwelling topped with a flourishing wildflower green roof in a project that’s so beautiful we can’t help but wonder what the main residence looks like. The pool house project was also designed to minimize impervious surfaces and aid in management of stormwater runoff. A modernist beauty, the City of West Lake Hills Pool House and the surrounding area emphasize clean lines, steel framing, and glass. Light-colored stone stairs leading down to the pool are raised off the slope to allow water to pass through, while grasses grow in the space between treads. An innovative suspended and permeable stone terrace system surrounds the L-shaped pool. Stone also makes up much of the Pool House and are stacked in large blocks to give the exterior a beautifully textured appearance. Glazing wraps around the front of the building and opens up to create an indoor-outdoor dining area complemented by an outdoor wood stove and high-end residential kitchen. Timber is featured prominently in the Pool House, where it lines the interiors and is used for furnishing. The vaulted roof arches upwards, echoing the surrounding canyon hills, and gives the structure a more airy feel. Related: 42mm Architecture’s sculptural Pool House in India is wrapped in a curved concrete shell “Impervious cover and storm water run-off regulations within the city are very restrictive,” wrote the architects. “The City of West Lake Hills granted a variance to allow the construction of a garden roof and accepted it as permeable cover through a variance process. This variance was a first for the City of West Lake Hills and points to the city’s progressive environmental policies.” The architects also added that they stacked much of the project’s equipment and programs beneath the green roof to minimize impervious surfaces. + Murray Legge Architecture Images by Ryann Ford, Murray Legge, Whit Preston

View original post here:
Spectacular wildflower roof grows atop a dreamy Texan cabana

Scientists discover cheap method to identify "lost" 99% of ocean microplastics

December 1, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

The world’s oceans are awash with hazardous microplastics that are largely invisible to the naked eye. These tiny plastic fragments, which are less than 5 millimeters in diameter and originate from the breakdown of synthetic clothing fibers, polyester from disposable bags and bottles, and so-called “microbeads” from facial scrubs and other exfoliants, mostly go undetected, according to scientists. In fact, previous surveys suggest only 1 percent of marine plastic waste is identifiable. To suss out the “missing” 99 percent, researchers from the University of Warwick in England decided to shine a light on the problem—quite literally—by using fluorescent dyes. Gabriel Erni-Cassola and Joseph A. Christie-Oleza from Warwick’s School of Life Sciences, who spearheaded the research, claim that the new technique can detect microplastics as small as 20 micrometers—about the width of a single human hair. Because the dye they created binds only to plastic, the “tagged” microplastics show up easily among other natural materials when viewed under a fluorescence microscope. Related: Is synthetic clothing causing “microplastic” pollution in our oceans? Testing the method on samples of surface sea water and beach sand from the coast around Plymouth, the scientists said they were able to extract a far greater number of microplastics than they would have with traditional methods. “Using this method, a huge series of samples can be viewed and analysed very quickly, to obtain large amounts of data on the quantities of small microplastics in seawater or, effectively, in any environmental sample,” said Erni-Cassola in a statement.”Current methods used to assess the amount of microplastics mostly consist in manually picking the microplastics out of samples one by one—demonstrating the great improvement of our method.” Meanwhile, the team at Warwick discovered that the largest quantity of microplastics less than 1 mm in diameter was polypropylene, the ubiquitous polymer found in plastic bags and takeout containers. This finding proves that “our consumer habits are directly affecting the oceans,” the scientists said. Related: Which personal-care brands are still polluting the oceans with microbeads? The research is still in its early days, Christie-Oleza insisted, but it’s a beginning. “Have we found the lost 99 percent of missing plastic in surface oceans?” he said. “Obviously this method needs to be implemented in future scientific surveys to confirm our preliminary findings. It is important to understand how plastic waste behaves in the environment to correctly assess future policies.” + University of Warwick Top image by by Gaetano Cessati on Unsplash

Read the original:
Scientists discover cheap method to identify "lost" 99% of ocean microplastics

Historic train shed transformed into Tasmanian School for Architecture

November 24, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Historic train shed transformed into Tasmanian School for Architecture

A stellar example of adaptive reuse is being used to house and teach students at the University of Tasmania School of Architecture & Design. Formerly a 1951 diesel locomotive workshop, this award-winning conversion project preserves parts of the building’s industrial heritage while upgrading it with energy-efficient systems. Australian architecture firm Six Degrees led the project design in collaboration with Sustainable Built Environments to achieve an environmentally friendly design on a relatively modest budget of AUS$6.2 million. Completed in 2007, the UTAS School of Architecture in Launceston was focused on ecologically sustainable design from the start. The architects kept the heritage warehouse’s sawtooth roof and airy industrial character, but also inserted an extra level to the originally single-story building to create 4,500 square meters of usable space. The arrangement of the interior were informed by passive solar studies; offices and classrooms were located on the east side while the workshop, Learning Hub, and some studio spaces were stacked on the west end. Under-floor heating, displacement ventilation, and labyrinth cooling were also used to minimize energy demands. Related: Herzog & de Meuron are upcycling a historic gasometer into a stunning residential tower Australian plantation timber plywood is installed throughout to lend warmth in a palette primarily comprised of metal, glass, and concrete. “Our intention was to maximize the use of the existing building an continue its industrial architectural language through the building by revealing its structure,” the architects wrote in a design statement. “Simplicity is the principle that characterizes the building’s materiality. Materials in the palette have been used in their natural forms with minimal finishes applied.” + Six Degrees Images by Patrick Rodriguez

See the rest here:
Historic train shed transformed into Tasmanian School for Architecture

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

November 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

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

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

Go here to see the original:
New periodic table sorts 3,700 known exoplanets into 18 categories

Groundbreaking study confirms neonicotinoids are toxic to songbirds

November 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Groundbreaking study confirms neonicotinoids are toxic to songbirds

The controversial insecticides known as neonicotinoids don’t just harm bees – according to new research conducted by the University of Saskatchewan , they are also toxic to songbirds. The study shows that the chemicals can directly skew songbird migration . The research was led by Margaret Eng, a post-doctoral fellow. She worked alongside Christy Morrissey, a professor at the University of Saskatchewan . Reportedly, this is the first study to show that imidacloprid ( neonicotinoid ) and chlorpyrifos (organophosphate) — which are two of the most widely-used insecticides — are toxic to seed-eating songbirds. Said Morrissey, “Studies on the risks of neonicotinoids have often focused on bees that have been experiencing population declines. However, it is not just bees that are being affected by these insecticides.” Eng added, “These chemicals are having a strong impact on songbirds. We are seeing significant weight loss and the birds’ migratory orientation being significantly altered. Effects were seen from eating the equivalent of just three to four imidacloprid treated canola seeds or eight chlorpyrifos granules a day for three days.” In the past, farmers sprayed their crops with neonicotinoids. Today, many seeds are already coated with the chemicals. Said Morrissey, “Birds that stop on migration are potentially eating these seeds , but can also mistakenly ingest the chlorpyrifos pellets for grit, something they normally eat to aid in the digestion of seeds.” For the study, Morrissey and Eng captured sparrows which were migrating during the spring. The birds were then fed daily for three days with either a low or a high dose of imidacloprid or chlorpyrifos. At the end of the experiment, they learned that neonicotinoids changed the birds’ migratory orientation and resulted in them losing up to 25 percent of their fat stores and body mass. Related: Neonicotinoid insecticides kill honeybee sperm York University biology researcher Bridget Stutchbury said, “Many small migratory songbirds use agricultural land as a stopover to refuel on long flights. These neurotoxic insecticides are widely used in North America but their effects on migratory ability in birds have not been tested before. Although neonicotinoids were thought to have a lower toxicity to vertebrates, it actually proved to be more harmful to these songbirds than the older organophosphate chemicals.” Following the cessation of dosing, most of the birds survived. But Eng is still concerned about their well-being. “The effects we saw were severe enough that the birds would likely experience migratory delays or changes in their flight routes that could reduce their chance of survival, or cause a missed breeding opportunity,” she said. Morrissey concluded that the research is likely to “have major implications for regulation decisions of these pesticides . Imidacloprid and chlorpyrifos are highly controversial for their safety to the environment or to humans and a decision on a proposed imidacloprid ban in Canada is being considered, with the federal government expected to make a decision on imidacloprid and its use in Canada sometime in December.” + University of Saskatchewan Via Phys Images via PxHere, Pixabay

Excerpt from: 
Groundbreaking study confirms neonicotinoids are toxic to songbirds

Groundbreaking quark fusion generates 10 time as much energy as nuclear fusion

November 8, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Groundbreaking quark fusion generates 10 time as much energy as nuclear fusion

Physicists at Tel Aviv University and University of Chicago have discovered that quark fusion, involving the tiny particles known as quarks of which protons and neutrons are made, is an even more potentially energy-packed reaction than much-touted nuclear fusion . Although the scientists were originally concerned about quark fusion’s potential destructive power and had considered keeping the discovery secret, they came to learn that the process, still theoretical, would most likely be safe for civilian use. The newly identified kind of reaction, which could yield up to ten times as much energy as nuclear fusion, could be the answer to endless clean energy someday. A fusion reaction, whether nuclear or quark, occurs when two or more atomic nuclei are close enough to each other to form at least one different atomic nuclei and subatomic particles. In fusing, the involved reactants and products release an enormous amount of energy, which could theoretically be harvested as nearly-infinite clean energy , the holy grail of renewable technology. A quark reaction, which could yield up to ten times as much energy as nuclear fusion, involves the fusion of bottom quarks, subsequently resulting in a larger subatomic particle, a spare particle known as a nucleon, and an enormous output of energy.  It’s reaction is so potent that it is potentially more powerful than the reaction at the center of an exploding hydrogen bomb. Related: These mini spherical reactors could help scale fusion energy by 2030 “I must admit that when I first realized that such a reaction was possible, I was scared,” said Marek Karliner, quark fusion co-researcher at Tel Aviv University, “but, luckily, it is a one-trick pony.” Nuclear explosions in hydrogen bombs gain their destructive power from chain reactions. Quark fusion, it seems, could not possibly be dangerous because bottom quarks disappear only a picosecond (1/1,000,000,000,000 of a second) after they form. There simply is not enough time for these subatomic particles to form a chain reaction. “If I thought for a microsecond that this had any military applications , I would not have published it,” Karliner said, according to Live Science. Although quark fusion remains in the theoretical stage, the researchers state that it could be achieved at the Large Haldron Collider, the world’s largest and most powerful particle collider located in France . Via Live Science / Engadget Images via CERN , lead image via Deposit Photos

Originally posted here: 
Groundbreaking quark fusion generates 10 time as much energy as nuclear fusion

Study finds horse DNA in 10% of meat dishes tested in Mexico

November 6, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on Study finds horse DNA in 10% of meat dishes tested in Mexico

If you’re planning a trip to Mexico , you may want to opt for a meat-less experience. A new study found horse DNA in almost 10% of 433 samples of ground beef and meat dishes sold in public markets, butcher shops, taco stands, and street stalls in five Mexican cities. For the study, researchers at the School of Veterinary Medicine at Mexico’s National Autonomous University analyzed 433 samples of steak, prepared meat dishes from businesses, and ground beef . What they found was not encouraging. Reportedly, the highest percentage of horse DNA was found in ground beef sourced from stalls, street markets, and food stands. Unsurprisingly, less than 1 percent of vendors admitted to selling horse meat. Fortunately, horse DNA was not found in supermarket meat. Related: New Pulsar Machine Detects Horse Meat in a Matter of Minutes Last Friday, the country’s sanitary risks commission issued guidelines encouraging consumers to “closely check labels.” Few shoppers can do this, however, as researchers noted most of the meat was sold without a description. Horse DNA wasn’t the only concerning ingredient found in meat dishes in Mexico . The researchers found the steroid clenbuterol in 29 out of 43 meat samples that came back positive for horse DNA. As Phys.org reports, clenbuterol is a growth enhancer for cattle and is banned in Mexico. While horse meat is not technically illegal, its inclusion in ground beef and other meat dishes is concerning. First, the study shows that vendors are misleading consumers about the type of meat they are eating and where it is sourced from. Secondly, horses are often given medications which are not approved for animals being raised for food. Both of these should be considered as Mexico’s government takes steps to improve food regulation. + School of Veterinary Medicine Via Phys Images via Pixabay

View post: 
Study finds horse DNA in 10% of meat dishes tested in Mexico

Next Page »

Bad Behavior has blocked 1117 access attempts in the last 7 days.