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Tag Archives: Environment

A Danish research team has found an incredible short-cut  – a lake water sample the size of a shot-glass can contain evidence of an entire lake fauna.

It’s so effective in counting not only which creatures are present, but how many, that the researchers think that in future it may even be used to count fishing quotas.

Researchers at the Natural History Museum of Denmark found that rare and threatened animal species could be monitored simply by taking note of the DNA traces in fresh water environments.

‘In the water samples we found DNA from animals as different as an otter and a dragonfly,’ says Philip Francis Thomsen.

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Designed by Stefano Boeri- architect, academic and former editor of design and architecture magazine Domus – his Bosco Verticaleis a towering 27-story structure, currently under construction in Milan, Italy.

Once complete, the tower will be home to the world’s first vertical forest.

In summer, oaks and amelanchiers will shade the windows and filter the city’s dust; in winter, sunlight will shrine through the bare branches.

(Reuters) – Heavy rains, deep snowfalls, monster floods and killing droughts are signs of a “new normal” of extreme U.S. weather events fueled by climate change, scientists and government planners said on Wednesday.

“It’s a new normal and I really do think that global weirding is the best way to describe what we’re seeing,” climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe of Texas Tech University told reporters.

“We are used to certain conditions and there’s a lot going on these days that is not what we’re used to, that is outside our current frame of reference,” Hayhoe said on a conference call with other experts, organized by the non-profit Union of Concerned Scientists.

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The artificial leaf shows particular promise as an inexpensive source of electricity for homes of the poor in developing countries. Our goal is to make each home its own power station.

‘One can envision villages in India and Africa not long from now purchasing an affordable basic power system based on this technology.’

The device bears no resemblance to Mother Nature’s counterparts on oaks, maples and other green plants, which scientists have used as the model for their efforts to develop this new genre of solar cells.

About the shape of a poker card but thinner, the device is fashioned from silicon, electronics and catalysts, substances that accelerate chemical reactions that otherwise would not occur, or would run slowly.

Placed in a single gallon of water in a bright sunlight, the device could produce enough electricity to supply a house in a developing country with electricity for a day, Nocera said.

It does so by splitting water into its two components, hydrogen and oxygen.

The hydrogen and oxygen gases would be stored in a fuel cell, which uses those two materials to produce electricity, located either on top of the house or beside it.

Nocera, who is with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, points out that the ‘artificial leaf’ is not a new concept.

The first artificial leaf was developed more than a decade ago by John Turner of the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado.

Although highly efficient at carrying out photosynthesis, Turner’s device was impractical for wider use, as it was composed of rare, expensive metals and was highly unstable — with a lifespan of barely one day.

Nocera’s new leaf overcomes these problems.

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