environment

Researcher creates super-strong metal that can float

Researcher creates super-strong metal that can float

Metal is a commonly used material on boats, cars, and other similar structures because of its strength, but it brings with it downsides, one of the biggest being its weight. In the future this might not be a problem, in that work is being done now to retain (or even surpass) a metal’s strength while at the same time making the material considerably lighter. One researcher in particular, Nikhil Gupta of NYU Polytechnic University, has been working on something he calls “syntactic foam”, which are various composite materials that are super strong -- and in one case, boasting a low enough density to float on water.

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11,000-year old ice shelf about to disappear forever

11,000-year old ice shelf about to disappear forever

NASA confirms that Antarctica's Larsen B ice shelf is becoming unstable and will soon break up and melt. A team is currently investigating the ice shelf is lead by Ala Khazendar of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. "Although it’s fascinating scientifically to have a front-row seat to watch the ice shelf becoming unstable and breaking up, it’s bad news for our planet," said Khazendar. "This ice shelf has existed for at least 10,000 years, and soon it will be gone."

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Bee aware: “unheard of” honey bee death rates in action

Bee aware: “unheard of” honey bee death rates in action

For the first time ever, summer losses of Honey Bee populations in the United States have outweighed the winter. While the Winter Season loss of Honey Bee populations has done down compared to last year, annual losses are up, in the second-largest loss of population in five years and one of the biggest losses in recorded Bee Keeping history. Why does this matter to you? Because approximately 1 out of every 3 mouthfuls of food you digest benefits directly or indirectly from honey bee pollination.

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Bee colony losses in the US decrease a tiny bit

Bee colony losses in the US decrease a tiny bit

Bee population numbers are important, so much so that data on colony information has been tracked for the past several years, but particularly the last handful of years. The Apiary Inspectors of America, Bee Informed Partnership, and United States Department of Agriculture recently published the preliminary data on honey bee colony losses as determined in the ninth annual national survey. Though there was still losses (as expected), the numbers are slightly better than the last year, with the losses dipping below the previous winter's numbers.

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Apple pledges to help take care of China’s environment

Apple pledges to help take care of China’s environment

Doing business in China doesn't mean simply wooing the market with products that appeal to them. It also means playing by their rules and sometimes playing the same game they are playing. Apple is doing part of that today by announcing its commitment to using, promoting, and establishing renewable resources in China, aligning with the country's own environmental initiatives. This involves multiple projects and endeavors, ranging from nurturing managed forests that produce essential virgin fiber to installing solar panels that will power Apple's Chinese offices and stores.

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Spiders spiked with graphene weave ultra-strong webs

Spiders spiked with graphene weave ultra-strong webs

University of Trento researchers have discovered a way to give spiders ultra-strong silk, and it involves spiking the spiders with graphene. The graphene (or carbon nanotubes) is said to only be as thick as an atom, and is mixed with water and then sprayed onto spiders. When those spiders weave silk, the resulting silk is so strong it eclipses the strongest natural spider silk (from a giant riverine orb spider) 3.5 times. The researchers describe most of the silk produced as "super silk".

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Rorqual whales have stretchy nerves for taking big gulps

Rorqual whales have stretchy nerves for taking big gulps

Some of the world’s largest vertebrates — rorqual whales — have a unique feeding strategy that is, researchers have discovered, facilitated by stretchy nerves, something that perhaps isn’t surprising given how widely these whales open their jaws to eat. It has long been known that these whales take big gulps when feeding, and according to a new study published in Cell, those giant mouthfuls are possible, in part, due to elastic nerves that are not common in vertebrates. The discovery was accidental.

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GreenIQ Smart Garden Hub takes control of irrigation

GreenIQ Smart Garden Hub takes control of irrigation

It’s warm enough in many places now to prep the garden, and with the garden comes some particulars, one of which is managing the irrigation needs. This includes working around the weather to ensure the watering schedule isn’t too often or too little, and ideally includes optimizing the schedule so that water is not wasted. GreenIQ wants to be that solution, serving as a control hub of sorts for your garden's irrigation to automatically tweak the watering process as needed.

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Extinction of your favorite animal more real than you realize

Extinction of your favorite animal more real than you realize

This week a study published in Science Advances has suggested that the extinction of some of the world's most beloved animals is a clear and present danger. Fourty-four of the 74 largest terrestrial herbivores are now threatened with extinction, 12 of them "critically endangered" or extinct in the wild. Many of the species in decline, suggests the study, "are poorly known scientifically, and [are] badly in need of basic ecological research." Not only will they die unless we do something, we'll never know what they are all about in the first place.

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Climate change could cause 16% of species to become extinct

Climate change could cause 16% of species to become extinct

Humans have had a big effect on the climate, and all species on Earth will suffer because of it. In a new paper published in Science recently, Mark Urban, an ecologist with the University of Connecticut, has said that climate change could cause 16-percent of all known species on our planet to become extinct…if we don’t do something about it now, that is. Such extinctions would then also have a serious effect on the planet and all that remain in it, though some regions would be hit harder than others.

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