environment

Mt. Paeku, the DPRK’s mysterious volcano, studied for first time

Mt. Paeku, the DPRK’s mysterious volcano, studied for first time

In North Korea, it is called Mount Paektu. In China, it’s known as Changbai. Measuring about 9,000ft in height, the volcano has laid dormant for many, many years after having once exploded so violently it sent debris as far away as Japan. To gain a better understanding of the volcano and when another eruption could occur, an international team of researchers have been granted access into North Korea to study it, possibly learning more about its history and what humans can expect from its future.

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Apple recovered two thirds of e-waste collected last year

Apple recovered two thirds of e-waste collected last year

With new phones, tablets, and laptops coming out all the time, we often upgrade our devices well before we need to. Those devices will get sold, or given to other people, but at some point, they will hit their end of life. And regardless of whether the device just became too old to be useful, or it suffered a catastrophic death, it has to go somewhere. And simply throwing it in the trash isn't a good option.

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Inky the Octopus escapes from aquarium, slips down pipe to freedom

Inky the Octopus escapes from aquarium, slips down pipe to freedom

In a move that's straight of out the cephalopodic version of Shawshank Redemption comes the story of Inky, an octopus living held captive in a New Zealand aquarium. Three months ago, it has been revealed, Inky took advantage of a rare moment, slipping out of its enclosure when a maintenance worker failed to close the lid completely. It was a quick and dirty trip to the ocean from there, suction cup marks being the only sign of Inky's escape.

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Chinese researchers develop solar cell that can charge in rain

Chinese researchers develop solar cell that can charge in rain

We are always in the search alternative sources of energy, mostly from renewable resources. In practice, that usually translates to solar and wind power, mostly the former. But while the sun is almost always available, at least during the day, it can sometimes be hidden for hours under a torrent of rain. To get past at least that situation, a group of researchers from the Ocean University of China and Yunnan Normal University are developing a new time of solar cell that can generate electricity even without the sun. At least as long as there is rain.

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Radioactive boars are taking over Fukushima farmland

Radioactive boars are taking over Fukushima farmland

Since the earthquake and resulting nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011, radioactive boars have been breeding in great numbers, and now only a handful of years later they’ve become a major pest, affecting nearby farmland and posing big problems for residents in neighboring cities. Boars are enough of a problem — radioactive boars are another issue altogether, as they must be disposed of in a safe manner. The growing number of boars have caused nearly a million dollars in damage to crops, and the number will continue to rise if a solution isn’t found.

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Newly created transparent wood paves way for greener homes

Newly created transparent wood paves way for greener homes

In what seems like a bit of modern day alchemy, researchers have managed to transform real wood into still-real transparent wood, giving it a somewhat cloudy appearance like roughed up acrylic or dry craft glue. According to the study, which was published in Biomacromolecules earlier this month, the researchers were able to achieve a level of transparency as high as 85-percent, and a haze level as low as 71-percent to create what they call “optically transparent wood.”

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Arctic sea ice hits a record low, second year in a row

Arctic sea ice hits a record low, second year in a row

NASA declared January this year as the warmest month, displacing last year's record. It wasn't just living creatures, however, who were affected by the heat. Unsurprisingly, the volume of ice in our polar regions, particularly the Arctic north, were drastically affected as well. While frozen seawater normally expands during the fall and winter months, NASA has measured the Arctic sea ice area at 5.607 million square miles. While that may still sound big, it's slightly lower than that 5.612 million square miles from last year, making it the lowest recorded number since 1979.

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Yellowstone hotspot had 12 ancient ‘super-eruptions’

Yellowstone hotspot had 12 ancient ‘super-eruptions’

Some really big eruptions happened during Yellowstone’s past, but they all may pale in comparison to a bunch of so-called “super eruptions” that took place in Idaho millions of years ago. According to researchers, these exceptionally massive eruptions happened between 8 and 12 million years ago, and were much, much larger than previously believed, eclipsing a bunch of ancient eruptions that happened in the same general region.

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Australia to research whether wind farms harm human health

Australia to research whether wind farms harm human health

Wind farms probably don’t have much of an effect on human health, but that doesn’t stop the conspiracy theories and complaints. To address those concerns, the Australian government has just announced a pair of grants that will fund research in how wind farms affect human health…if they do at all. The two grants total $3.3 million, and were granted by the National Health and Medical Research Council.

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How to recycle an old iPhone with Apple Renew

How to recycle an old iPhone with Apple Renew

As you may have heard, Apple has a new robot named Liam, and he can take apart more than 1.2 million iPhones every year. Liam is working as part of Apple’s newly announced recycling program “Renew,” dismantling customers’ old iPhones to extract the useable materials inside. Any Apple customer can participate in Renew as a way to recycle their old iPhone: there are two ways to get started.

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Apple sets the bar for sustainable business

Apple sets the bar for sustainable business

A couple years ago, Apple set a big goal for itself: to run entirely on renewable energy (that is, electricity generated with wind, solar, and water). While the company hasn’t wholly fulfilled that goal yet, it has made great strides toward doing so — in fact, it is running 100% on renewable energy in the United States, as well as some other places. That’s only the start, though — with everything from a new R&D project that harvests materials from old gadgets to supporting sustainable forests, Apple has set the bar for other companies.

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Apple Renew harvests the parts from your old iPhones

Apple Renew harvests the parts from your old iPhones

Apple is zeroing in on the environment and efforts to preserve it, detailing a slew of achievements, current efforts, and future goals at its event today. Among other things, the company has introduced an R&D project called "Liam" that takes apart recycled iPhones, harvesting the individuals materials for reuse in other items like solar panels and tools. As well, the company has some goods news about its renewable energy efforts.

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