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Environment

Connected Conservation: Using drones, sensors and Wi-Fi to stop poachers

By their very nature, wildlife reserves are generally located in remote areas beyond the reach of typical communications technologies. This is good news if you're a poacher trying to infiltrate area, and bad news for patrol teams working to keep them out. But a new initiative is looking to tip things in the good guys' favor by fitting out an African nature reserve with high-tech gear, such as seismic sensors and infrared drones, all of which is networked to keep tabs on who exactly is going in and out of the park.Read More

Off color: 93% of Great Barrier Reef struck by mass coral bleaching event

Last month, an aerial survey of the northern section of Australia's Great Barrier Reef returned some pretty grim results, finding that the World Heritage Site had been hit with the worst coral bleaching event in its history. The researchers have now continued their work along this magnificent stretch of coastline and the news isn't getting any better. The results of their end-to-end study now reveal that 93 percent of the reef has been affected by bleaching as a result of warmer sea temperatures in the area.Read More

Semiconductive fabric soaks up oil spills while fighting bacteria and pollutants

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill may have been catastrophic in many ways, but if there's any silver lining to the disaster it's the efforts to find better ways to better extract oil from water that emerged in the aftermath. The latest candidate to emerge in this area is a multipurpose fabric covered in tiny semi-conducting rods, affording it a unique set of properties that could see it used to deal with everything from water decontamination to wiping down your kitchen counter.Read More

Hybrid excavator promises big fuel savings

Komatsu has introduced the HB365LC-3, a 36-tonne (39.7-ton) hydraulic hybrid excavator to the European market. Compared to its diesel-only counterpart, the PC360LC-11, the Komatsu Hybrid is 20 percent more fuel efficient.Read More

Today's CO2 may become tomorrow's concrete

As carbon emissions continue to rise and cause the planet to warm up, we need to find ways to reduce them. Capturing carbon at the source of its emission is one of the solutions, but there is still the problem of storing all the carbon sucked out of the atmosphere. If that captured carbon could be put to good use, then perhaps we could have the perfect capturing system in place. This is the line of thinking that researchers at University of California (UCLA) are currently pursuing, and they have some big plans for all that carbon: turning it into concrete.Read More

Is Asia's water supply in trouble?

Based on a series of simulations ran through sophisticated computer models, researchers from MIT are highlighting the possibility that a significant percentage of the population of Asia could suffer severe water shortages by the year 2050. As a basis for the study, the team made use of a pre-existing MIT-generated computer model designed to simulate Asia's complex economic, climate, and growth characteristics. A detailed water-use model known as a Water Resource System was then introduced, and the team ran a number of simulations aiming to cover the widest range of potential scenarios.Read More

Hybrid system could clean up coal power

Even though 2015 saw the biggest decline in coal usage around the world on record according to Greenpeace, the use of the material is still thriving globally. In fact, according to the US Energy Information Administration, global coal consumption was at about eight billion short tons in 2012 (around 7.2 billion tonnes), the most recent year for which the agency provides statistics. So if coal isn't going away any time soon, what is there to do about the fuel source that is often blamed for pollution and global warming due to carbon emissions? Make it more efficient. And that's exactly what a new hybrid energy system out of MIT could do.Read More

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