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— Environment

Sir Patrick Stewart gets behind effort to collect whale mucus using "Snotbot" drones

By - July 27, 2015 6 Pictures

Gathering good biological data about whales can be difficult without bugging the big mammals with large planes, boats, tags, sampling darts or even biopsies and lethal study techniques. Instead, the Ocean Alliance wants to send custom drones to collect whale mucus – aka snot – for study and they've enlisted the help of Sir Patrick Stewart for the crowdfunding effort to finance the project.

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— Environment

Synthetic material mimics coral's ocean-cleaning attributes

By - July 24, 2015 2 Pictures

Humanity's industrial processes have a huge impact on the and, releasing harmful substances such as mercury, arsenic and lead into the water. Chinese researchers are hoping that synthetic coral that mimics the ability of the real thing to collect harmful heavy metals from water could help in the clean up effort, with tests on the effectiveness of the aluminum oxide structure so far showing promising results.

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— Environment

Drones aid ailing chimpanzee populations

By - July 24, 2015 4 Pictures

Getting eyes in the sky could mean great things for conservation efforts of all kinds. Already we are seeing drones put to use in ridding Australia's rainforests of invasive weeds, warding off would-be poachers of African wildlife and monitoring killer whales off the west coast of North America. Another beneficiary of this versatile technology could be endangered chimpanzees living in remote jungle locations. By equipping drones with cameras researchers have been able to pick out their nests from above, greatly assisting in efforts to conserve their dwindling populations.

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— Environment

New production process makes PLA bioplastic cheaper and greener

By - July 21, 2015 1 Picture

Polylactic acid (PLA) is a biodegradable bioplastic that is already used to produce a variety of everyday items, such as cups, trays, bowls and vegetable wrapping foil. Unfortunately, the current PLA production process is expensive and produces waste. Researchers at the KU Leuven Centre for Surface Chemistry and Catalysis in Belgium have now developed a new production technique that is cheaper and greener and makes PLA a more attractive alternative to petroleum-based plastics.

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— Environment

Study suggests volcanic eruptions behind pause in climate change

By - July 10, 2015 3 Pictures

Over the last few years, many possible explanations have been bandied about for the so-called pause in climate change, a plateau in global surface air temperatures that is out of step with rising greenhouse gas concentrations. But now an international research effort is laying responsibility at the feet of volcanic eruptions, whose particles it has found reflect twice as much solar radiation as previously believed, serving to temporarily cool the planet in the face of rising CO2 emissions.

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