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Environment

Cyberforests help scientists predict the effects of climate change

Considering that it takes hundreds of years for forests to grow, it can be difficult to assess how they'll be affected by climate change in the long term. To address that problem, researchers at Washington State University have created the world's first computer simulation capable of growing realistic forests, using the model to predict how things like frequent wildfires or drought might impact forests across North America.Read More

E. coli bacteria produce a "green" blue dye

In its traditional form, the textiles industry isn't exactly a poster child for eco-friendliness – this is largely due to the widespread use of toxic synthetic dyes. That's why there's an increasing demand for less harmful, natural alternatives. Just such an alternative has recently been developed by scientists at Utah State University, who discovered that E. coli bacteria can produce a deep blue dye known as indigoidine.Read More

A green process for extracting gold

A research team at the University of Saskatchewan has found what may be an inexpensive and environmentally-friendly way of recycling gold from jewelry and electronics. Using a solution of what is essentially reusable table vinegar, the team has shown that for CAD$66 (about US$47) it can produce one kilogram (2.2 lb) of gold with 100 liters (26 gal) of reusable waste water – this is as compared to current methods that can cost over CAD$1,500 (US$1,070) and create 5,000 liters (1,321 gal) of toxic, non-reusable waste. Read More

Cheaper, longer-lasting perovskite solar cells could be on the way

Perovskite solar cells are one of the most exciting green energy technologies to emerge in recent years, combining low cost with high energy conversion rates. Now, researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) have found a way to cut their cost even further by developing a charge-carrying material that is much cheaper, highly efficient, and could even help address the technology's current major weakness by significantly lengthening the lifespan of the panels.Read More

GE turns out the lights on CFLs

Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) that could fit into standard light sockets only hit the market in the 1980s, but the signs are their days may be numbered. GE has announced it will cease production of CFLs this year and instead switch its focus to producing LEDs.Read More

Study looks at long-term impact of farming

Human use of land for crops and herds has completely altered the world's landscapes. A new field of research called experimental socio-ecology looks to the past to predict the consequences of this type of human activity in the future. Researchers at Arizona State University have spent the last 10 years studying the effects that small-scale farmers have had on land in the Mediterranean, and now they have released a report with the findings of the project.Read More

Statistically, humanity is almost certainly responsible for global warming

The world is getting warmer, with 13 out of the 15 warmest years on record occurring in the current century. But just how sure are we that humanity's burning of oil and coal is the key factor in the temperature increase? A new project, led by researchers at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, has answered that very question, working to estimate the likelihood of those temperature trends occurring naturally.Read More

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