Posts Tagged ‘energyandenvironment’

NYTimes: The Compost King of New York

March 9, 2017

The Compost King Interesting #biogas business model for trash, revolving around the different grades of garbage

Stop buying organic food if you really want to save the planet | New Scientist

January 3, 2017

Stop buying organic food if you…want to save the planet Argues it’s not #energy efficient & bad for the #climate

Beyond batteries: This technology could revolutionise energy | New Scientist

December 11, 2016

Beyond #batteries Using capacitors to store short-term needs reduces wear on
conventional cells & boosts performance

Greenland Is Melting – The New Yorker

November 7, 2016

When a country melts Calving of Greenland’s icesheets portends >3′ rise in sea level. Has this been set into motion?


“I first visited the Greenland ice sheet in the summer of 2001. At that time, vivid illustrations of climate change were hard to come by. Now they’re everywhere—in the flooded streets of Florida and South Carolina, in the beetle-infested forests of Colorado and Montana, in the too warm waters of the Mid-Atlantic and the Great Lakes and the Gulf of Mexico, in the mounds of dead mussels that washed up this summer on the coast of Long Island and the piles of dead fish that coated the banks of the Yellowstone River.

But the problem with global warming—and the reason it continues to resist illustration, even as the streets flood and the forests die and the mussels rot on the shores—is that experience is an inadequate guide to what’s going on. The climate operates on a time delay. When carbon dioxide is added to the atmosphere, it takes decades—in a technical sense, millennia—for the earth to equilibrate. This summer’s fish kill was a product of warming that had become inevitable twenty or thirty years ago, and the warming that’s being locked in today won’t be fully felt until today’s toddlers reach middle age. In effect, we are living in the climate of the past, but already we’ve determined the climate’s future.

Global warming’s back-loaded temporality makes all the warnings—from scientists, government agencies, and, especially, journalists—seem hysterical, Cassandra-like—Ototototoi!—even when they are understated. Once feedbacks take over, the climate can change quickly, and it can change radically. At the end of the last ice age, during an event known as meltwater pulse 1A, sea levels rose at the rate of more than a foot a decade. It’s likely that the “floodgates” are already open, and that large sections of Greenland and Antarctica are fated to melt. It’s just the ice in front of us that’s still frozen.”

Greenland Is Melting – The New Yorker

November 5, 2016

When a country melts Calving of Greenland’s icesheets portends >3′ rise in sea level. Has this been set into motion?

Product — Solight Design

August 26, 2016

.@Solar_Puff Neat cubes that store the day’s sunlight for light during the night. Designed w/ a social angle.

an update on kerosene storm lamps

Breathtaking |The Economist

August 12, 2016

Breathtaking Air quality in big cities may cut ~1 year from life expectancy. London significantly worse than NYC

Professor Sir David MacKay, physicist – obituary

July 4, 2016

“It was here that the consumer could make a difference: “ ’Turn your thermostat down’ is, by my reckoning, the single best piece of advice you can give someone,” he told an interviewer. “So is ‘fly less’ and ‘drive less’. But hybrid cars and home windmills are just greenwash.”

David MacKay (with energy-efficient bicycle): ‘I love renewables, but I’m also pro-arithmetic’ Credit: Graham Turner

In July 2015 MacKay was diagnosed with terminal stomach cancer, for which he underwent chemotherapy, a process he documented on a blog, “Everything is Connected”.

On April 10, just four days before his death, he posted an “open letter” to the directors of Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge in which he wrote: “The hospital is a great one, the staff are wonderful, and I’m grateful for everything the NHS does for me here. But I do have just one impassioned question and plea… Why oh why oh why does [the hospital] not have any semblance of intelligent thermal environmental control?””

Obit quotes him days before his death: “Why oh why…does [the hospital] not have any…intelligent thermal…control?”

Ambient Energy Orb & Joule

April 30, 2016

Ambient Devices is the leading provider of displays and systems that deliver instant, effortless access to information at a glance. Ambient’s energy products, including the Energy Orb and new Energy Joule

A Radical Attempt to Save the Reefs and Forests

April 18, 2016

An…Attempt to Save the Reefs & Forests Engineering the #chestnut tree to express OxO, a defense against its blight


“Powell attended graduate school in the nineteen-eighties, around the same time as Gates, and, like her, he was fascinated by molecular biology. When he got a job at the forestry school, in 1990, he started thinking about how new molecular techniques could be used to help the chestnut. Powell had studied how the fungus attacked the tree, and he knew that its key weapon was oxalic acid. (Many foods contain oxalic acid—it’s what gives spinach its bitter taste—but in high doses it’s also fatal to humans.) One day, he was leafing through abstracts of recent scientific papers when a finding popped out at him. Someone had inserted into a tomato plant a gene that produces oxalate oxidase, or OxO, an enzyme that breaks down oxalic acid.

“I thought, Wow, that would disarm the fungus,” he recalled.

Years of experimentation ensued. The gene can be found in many grain crops; Powell and his research team chose a version from wheat. First they inserted the wheat gene into poplar trees, because poplars are easy to work with. Then they had to figure out how to work with chestnut tissue, because no one had really done that before. Meanwhile, the gene couldn’t just be inserted on its own; it needed a “promoter,” which is a sort of genetic on-off switch. The first promoter Powell tried didn’t work. The trees—really tiny
seedlings—didn’t produce enough OxO to fight off the fungus. “They just died more slowly,” Powell told me. The second promoter was also a dud. Finally, after two and a half decades, Powell succeeded in getting all the pieces in place. The result is a chestnut that is blight-resistant and—except for the presence of one wheat gene and one so-called “marker gene”—identical to the original Castanea dentata.”