environment

Mitsubishi admits to cheating fuel consumption tests

Mitsubishi admits to cheating fuel consumption tests

In a page right of the book on Volkswagen's emissions scandal, Japanese car maker Mitsubishi has admitted to "improper conduct" in regard to the testing data on fuel economy for roughly 625,000 of its vehicles. The company issued a public statement earlier today, explaining that it was conducting an investigation into the employees who "conducted testing improperly to present better fuel consumption rates," as well as apologizing for the misrepresentation.

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March 2016 rounds out 11 straight months of record-breaking heat

March 2016 rounds out 11 straight months of record-breaking heat

It surprises no one at this point, but the announcement has to be made anyway: March 2016 broke yet another heat record, being crowned the new ‘hottest month’ on record. March was the eleventh straight month to be designated the warmest ever recorded, and so if April manages to set the same record, we’ll officially have a straight year of increasing heat. How much warmer is the Earth? According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the months comprising 2016 so far have been an average of 2.07F degrees above recorded average.

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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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