environment

198 whales swim ashore in New Zealand

198 whales swim ashore in New Zealand

No, they weren't coming ashore to take the Hobbiton tour. On New Zealand's South Island on Friday, nearly 200 pilot whales beached themselves - most likely on accident. Scientists are speculating that these whales may have been in an area where their built-in sonar abilities were messed with, leading them to swim up and over the area they'd normally be comfortable in. These whales can't, after all, survive on the shore for extended periods of time. They breath oxygen, but they still need to be wet.

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New Megadrought may be worst in 1000 years

New Megadrought may be worst in 1000 years

If you're living in the West, you may want to start thinking about conserving your water. A group of scientists from NASA, Columbia University, and Cornell University have published a paper in Science Advances which suggests a 35-year drought - or "megadrought," as they call it - will be hitting the Southwest and central Great Plains in the near future. This will happen, they say, if we stay on our current trajectory of greenhouse gas emissions. If emissions continue as they are, there's an 80% chance, this team says, that we'll hit at least one "decades-long" megadrought between the years 2050 and 2100.

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Geoengineering not so great, so says Science

Geoengineering not so great, so says Science

Two reports from the Nation Academy of Sciences (NAS) have arrived this week suggesting that so-called "geoengineering" isn't good for the planet. They suggest that the term "geoengineering" isn't a legitimate term, saying instead that the term "Climate Intervention" would be more appropriate. Why, you might ask, do they say that we shouldn't be trying to control the weather? It's simple: we don't yet know the consequences of our actions. Methods for changing our planet's makeup like albedo modification and carbon dioxide removal may still have dire consequences we don't yet understand.

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400-year old pollution found in Andean ice cap

400-year old pollution found in Andean ice cap

A group of scientists have announced that they've found some extremely old pollution this week, picked up in an ice cap in the Peruvian Andes. Traces of air pollution, they suggest, date back to over 400 year-old mining operations that happened hundreds of miles away. Researchers suggest that this is the first clear evidence of human-made air pollution in South America from any time before the Industrial Revolution. Pollution here likely originated in what's now Bolivia - in the Potosí mountaintop silver mines.

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Tricksy Bill Gates gets Jimmy Fallon to drink poo-derived water

Tricksy Bill Gates gets Jimmy Fallon to drink poo-derived water

Far too many people do not have adequate access to bottled or otherwise sanitized drinking water. This results in disease and many other problems, and though efforts to eliminate the issue have been around for a long time, effective solutions are still lacking. Enter the Omniprocessor, a somewhat large contraption that uses different processes to convert "sludge" (sewage water) into purified drinking water; at the same time, the machine burns up the waste, eliminating it from the environment and likewise any diseases it would bring about.

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Bill Gates samples drinking water extracted from poop

Bill Gates samples drinking water extracted from poop

It is fair to say some of us have become a bit jaded when it comes to hearing about Bill Gates' latest exploits. Never one to shy away good causes and oddball ways of drawing attention to them, the philanthropic billionaire has done everything from releasing mosquitoes on an unsuspecting audience to dousing himself with ice water. Still, Mr. Gates' newest demonstration of the seemingly unmentionable has managed to catch popular attention, and for good reason: he drank a glass of water extracted from poop.

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Silent, tree-shaped wind turbines to debut in Paris

Silent, tree-shaped wind turbines to debut in Paris

Wind-generated power has the potential to make a huge contribution to varying renewable energies around the globe, but the issue of where turbines are built can be a big issue for some communities, or even countries. When wind turbines can't be built off-shore, some places feel constructing them on land ruins the scenery of the landscape, takes up too much space, or generates too much noise. Enter France's NewWind, which has been developing aesthetically pleasing, tree-shaped turbines meant to run silently within cities, at ground level.

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Yellowstone’s striking springs explained

Yellowstone’s striking springs explained

Yellowstone National Park may be notorious for its brightly colored geothermal springs, but it's human meddling not Mother Nature that's responsible for the tourist attraction. Researchers at Montana University's Optical Technology Center and the Brandenburg University of Applied Sciences were able to turn back the clock - virtually, at least - to show what the natural pools would have been like decades ago, before trash, coins, and rocks tossed in by park visitors messed up the geothermal balance. Turns out, they really should be a whole lot more blue, something we can see today with a little juggling of digital cameras and temperature probing.

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Bpeer tracks your home’s air quality

Bpeer tracks your home’s air quality

Bpeer is a health tracker of a different sort, monitoring the environment around you for things like gas, pollution levels, air quality, and less health-related things like humidity and noise levels. The detector can be used both indoors and outdoors, with the design resembling an alarm clock and its app dishing up all the details. Both iOS and Android is supported, but Bpeer's integrated display also provides details for times a phone isn't convenient.

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UK gets its first human, food waste powered bus

UK gets its first human, food waste powered bus

The "poo bus". OK, cue all dirty jokes and puns you might have been inspired to make from this, but this is a rather serious endeavor, but one that will still have some people raising their eyebrows or twitching their noses at the idea. Over at Bristol in the United Kingdom, water supplier Wessex Water has unveiled a bus that uses waste, both from humans and our leftovers, to power an eco-friendly bus. Provided people would actually want to ride on a thing they know is fueled in that manner.

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