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Dry water has been found to have several potential environmentally-friendly uses

You know, I’m pretty sure I remember a Far Side cartoon or something, where someone was selling powdered water – “Just add water!” Well, dry water isn’t quite the same thing. It’s 95 percent liquid water, but that water takes the form of tiny droplets each encased in a tiny globe of silica. The resultant substance is dry and granular. It first came to light in 1968, and was used in cosmetics. More recently, a University of Liverpool research team has been looking into other potential uses for the substance. They have found several, but most interesting is its ability to store gases such as carbon dioxide.  Read More

One of Otarian's new London restaurants

A vegetarian diet, according to its proponents, has a lighter ecological footprint, reduced resource impacts, and lower carbon emissions than the non-vegetarian equivalent. A new fast-casual vegetarian restaurant chain, however, is taking “eating green” to a whole new level. Otarian, which already has locations in New York and opens in London this Friday, is the first global chain to carbon footprint all of its menu items according to the internationally recognized PAS 2050 standard. Not only can diners see the carbon figures for each item listed on the menu, but foods that generate too large of a footprint are simply not offered. The restaurant is also testing out the World Resources Institute's new product carbon foot printing standard, which Otarian claims “will help diners to understand the environmental impact of their food choices in a highly measurable and quantifiable way.”  Read More

One of the Air Clean paving slabs in a laboratory setting

Last month, we told you about an experiment with air-purifying concrete that was recently conducted in the Netherlands. Researchers resurfaced 1,000 square meters of a busy road with concrete paving stones that contained titanium dioxide (TiO2), a photocatalytic material that removes automobile-produced nitrogen oxides (NOx) from the air and converts them into nitrate with the aid of sunlight. When the air was tested up to one-and-a-half meters above those stones, NOx levels were found to be 25 to 45 percent lower than above regular concrete on the same road. Now, a similar study is underway in Germany, and is already showing promising results.  Read More

Mosquitoes won't lay their eggs wherever they detect a newly-identified chemical compound

Mosquitoes could be having a tough time of it before too long. First, scientists announced an experimental new technology that utilizes gene-silencing nanoparticles to keep mosquito larvae from fully developing their protective exoskeletons. This leaves them much more vulnerable to insecticides, once they become adults. Now we have word of another study, in which researchers have identified a natural, environmentally-friendly chemical compound that causes female skitters to go elsewhere to lay their eggs.  Read More

The Plastiki is made almost entirely from recycled and/or recyclable plastic

What do you do if you want to draw attention to the threats faced by the world’s oceans, in particular the huge amount of plastic waste that ends up in them? Easy, you sail across the Pacific Ocean, visiting and documenting environmental hot spots along the way. That, at least, is what the crew of the Plastiki are in the process of doing. The group of six adventurers set out from San Francisco on March 20th, with Sydney, Australia as their final destination. Three and a half months into the 11,000 nautical mile journey, they’re currently about 4,000 miles from the finish line. What makes their odyssey particularly remarkable is their sailboat, the Plastiki – a craft made almost entirely from recycled and/or recyclable plastic that gets the majority of its flotation from approximately 12,500 two-liter plastic bottles.  Read More

The BP oil spill, as shown in a NASA satellite image

Whether it's reaching orbit, landing on the moon, building more efficient cars or speeding up human genome sequencing, the X PRIZE has become synonymous with driving innovation. Now there's another scenario that's crying out for the kind of radical breakthrough theses prizes are designed to achieve – the oil spill crisis in the Gulf of Mexico. The X PRIZE Foundation is planning to answer this call with a new prize aimed at incentivizing privately-funded methods to quickly clean up crude oil from the ocean and coastlines around the spill.  Read More

Sony LX900 features Face Detection and Presence Sensor technology

Are you one of those people who like to have the TV on just for a bit of background noise? Or perhaps you'll leave it on while you're surfing the net or reading a book, in the hope that whatever comes on next will be a bit more interesting. If this sounds like you, then you might stand to save a few dollars on your power bills should you decide to get one of the new Sony Bravia TVs with Face Detection and Presence Sensor technology. These new features, which will dim or turn off the screen if you look away or leave the room, are included in the new Sony LX900 3D TVs due out any day now. Whilst Hitachi also appears to be researching facial recognition technologies for televisions, it looks like Sony is going to be the first to release a product with these capabilities.  Read More

BP's Deepwater Horizon oil well

The damaged Deepwater Horizon oil well in the Gulf of Mexico is a huge environmental disaster that's said to be gushing anywhere from 5,000 to 100,000 barrels of crude oil into the ocean per day. BP has deployed a reported 2.5 million feet of oil booms in an effort to contain the slick, as well as bringing in over 1,100 vessels to skim it and even burning some of it off the water’s surface. One need only watch the news, however, to realize that some other ideas are needed. BP has received over 10,000 suggestions for dealing with the disaster and is looking into approximately 700. What follows is a look at some - but by no means all - of those products being touted as a solution, and what they would supposedly do to the oil.  Read More

Earthwatch's 'Climate Change in Tropical Rainforests' expedition (Photo: Zoe Gamble)

It can be extremely frustrating, watching the destruction of our environment and not being able to do a thing about it. Sure, you can give money, write letters and take part in rallies, but... wouldn’t you rather be out there on the front lines, where you could physically help save the threatened habitats, animals and cultures? Well, you can. In fact, you’ve been able to for the past 39 years. Next year, the US-based Earthwatch Institute will celebrate 40 years of giving people the chance to volunteer on environmental research projects all over the world.  Read More

By 2030, e-waste from developing countries is expected to be double that of developed nati...

As developing nations such as India and China continue down the road to prosperity, it’s not surprising that their citizens have been eager to spend their newfound wealth on material possessions. Makers of consumer goods are increasingly turning their attention to the developing world as a potentially huge market. All that consumption will ultimately lead to something else, however - a glut of worn-out, obsolete electronic products, chock-full of toxic substances. In fact, according to a new report from the American Chemical Society, by 2030 the e-waste generated by developing nations will be double that of the developed world.  Read More

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