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environment

Real-time feedback helps save energy and water

Those who take long showers use a great deal of water and energy. Yet people who enjoy taking long showers do not usually realize to what extent they are damaging the environment. However, if a clever measuring system shows current consumption, this immediately leads to increased efficiency. The consumption information available on the display is incentive enough to reduce water and energy consumption when showering on average by 22 per cent. This was shown by a study conducted by the Universities of Bonn and Bamberg, as well as ETH Zurich. The results have initially been published online in the journal Management Science. The print edition will be published soon.

Traffic noise reduces birds' response to alarm calls

Pollution can take many forms–including noise. Excess noise in the environment from sources such as traffic can have negative effects on animals that rely on sound to communicate and get information about their surroundings. A new study from The Condor: Ornithological Applications shows that traffic noise makes birds less responsive to alarm calls that would otherwise alert them to dangers such as predators.

Can Radioactive Waste be Immobilized in Glass for Millions of Years?

How do you handle nuclear waste that will be radioactive for millions of years, keeping it from harming people and the environment?It isn’t easy, but Rutgers researcher Ashutosh Goel has discovered ways to immobilize such waste – the offshoot of decades of nuclear weapons production – in glass and ceramics.Goel, an assistant professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, is the primary inventor of a new method to immobilize radioactive iodine in ceramics at room temperature. He’s also the principal investigator (PI) or co-PI for six glass-related research projects totaling $6.34 million in federal and private funding, with $3.335 million going to Rutgers.

High levels of PCBs threaten whales and dolphins

Scientists are raising serious concerns about the future of whales and dolphins in European waters who are continuing to suffer from the effects of toxic chemicals that were banned decades ago, but continue to linger in the environment.According to a new study led by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), which was just published in the journal Scientific Reports, whales and dolphins in Europe  have been found to have some of the highest levels of polychlorinated byphenyls (PCBs) in the world.

Lettuce vs. Bacon: Which is Worse in Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Contrary to recent headlines — and a talk by actor Arnold Schwarzenegger at the United Nations Paris Climate Change Conference — eating a vegetarian diet could contribute to climate change. In fact, according to new research from Carnegie Mellon University, following the USDA recommendations to consume more fruits, vegetables, dairy and seafood is more harmful to the environment because those foods have relatively high resource uses and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per calorie. 

Bioart: An Introduction

Joe Davis is an artist who works not only with paints or pastels, but also with genes and bacteria. In 1986, he collaborated with geneticist Dan Boyd to encode a symbol for life and femininity into an E. coli bacterium. The piece, called Microvenus, was the first artwork to use the tools and techniques of molecular biology. Since then, bioart has become one of several contemporary art forms (including reclamation art and nanoart) that apply scientific methods and technology to explore living systems as artistic subjects.

EVs vs. Gasoline-Powered Cars – Which has the cleaner lifecycle?

It’s the trick question that has left many of us stumped: from the earliest stages of manufacture to the years driving on the road until they are sent to the junkyard, are conventional automobiles or electric cars cleaner for the environment? While acknowledging that electric vehicles (EVs) emit no emissions when running on our streets and highways, many have assumed that those pesky rare earth metals in their massive batteries and the emissions associated with producing the power canceled out any environmental benefits that their drivers enjoyed. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), a two-year study has provided the answer.

Outsourcing manufacturing to China and the climate

In a study published today in the journal Nature Climate Change, scientists from three universities demonstrate that buying a product made in China causes significantly higher carbon dioxide emissions than purchasing the same product made elsewhere. The study, titled “Targeted opportunities to address the climate–trade dilemma in China,” is available here.”The amazing increase in Chinese manufacturing over the past 15 years has driven the world economy to new heights and supplied consumers in developed countries with tremendous quantities of lower-cost goods,” said co-author Steven J. Davis, UCI assistant professor of Earth system science. “But all of this has come at substantial cost to the environment.”

Fracking Chemicals can cause Endocrine Disruption

There is mounting data to suggest that hydraulic fracturing (fracking) can have adverse affects on the environment. A new study, however, suggests that populations living close to fracking sites also have a higher incidence of health complications.