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Environment

Because they’re known for being effective killers of bacteria, silver nanoparticles have been finding their way into a wide variety of antimicrobial materials. There are concerns, however, regarding the consequences of those nanoparticles being shed by the material and entering the environment. In particular, there are worries that through continuous low-level exposure to the nanoparticles, bacteria could develop a resistance to them. Now, researchers from Sweden’s KTH Royal Institute of Technology have announced the development of a new type of antibacterial material, that they claim won’t cause such problems. Read More
Although more of us than ever are choosing to live in cities, that doesn't mean we have lost our love for green open spaces. The popularity of parks and areas which haven't been wholly taken over by urban development suggests we haven't lost our yearning for something other than man-made materials. Caroline Brahme's Grey to Green is a concept designed to add a splash of natural color back to urban areas. Read More
Just over a century after Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s Antarctic expedition came to a tragic close, Britain’s latest and greatest Antarctic Research Station has opened and will become fully operational over the coming weeks. The £25.8 million (US$40.6 million) facility was designed by Hugh Broughton Architects and engineering firm AECOM, and represents a continued commitment from the UK's scientific community to maintain a cutting-edge facility in the region. Read More
A new species of robot fish has been spotted in the Kalamazoo River in the state of Michigan, where more than a million gallons of oil spilled in July 2010. Developed primarily by Xiaobo Tan, an associate professor at Michigan State University (MSU), the robot's sensors detected crude oil at various sites along the river. Read More
An increasing number of homes are being built to blend in with their location more fully and offer a way of life in tune with nature. However, two concept homes designed by Antony Gibbon go further than this, by promising a comfortable and elegant dwelling which doesn’t just blend in, but almost becomes part of the local surroundings. Read More
The PNC Financial Services Group hopes to exceed LEED Platinum requirements along with promoting a healthy indoor workplace with its latest development – the Tower at PNC Plaza. Located in downtown Pittsburgh on the corner of Fifth and Wood Streets, the building will be approximately 800,00 gross sq.ft (74,322 sq.mt) in size with a construction budget of approximately US$240 million. The "breathing" design created by architecture firm Gensler moves away from the traditional closed air-conditioned environment and has the lofty aim of becoming the greenest skyscraper in the world. Read More
As the old adage goes, knowledge is power. Following this principle, Arizona State University researchers have developed a computer program called Hestia, that is capable of estimating the greenhouse gas emissions of specific roads and even buildings. With its high level level of detail and accuracy, the software can help cities make more precise calculations about their GHG footprint as well as more informed decisions related to carbon mitigation efforts. Read More

As the Deepwater Horizon disaster showed us, we need to develop better ways of cleaning up oil spills. While many ideas have been put forth, scientists from Pennsylvania State University have come up with something that particularly shows promise – a polymer that soaks up 40 times its weight in oil. Read More

Since its creation, Google Maps has proven again and again how devoted it is to digitizing as much of the world's surface as possible. But while the company may have covered a huge chunk of the Earth from hiking trails to snow covered slopes, it has yet to tackle the 71 percent of the planet that is covered by oceans ... until now. Google recently unveiled some new underwater locations for Google Maps, where users can explore panoramic views of ocean life and coral reefs from around the world using Street View. Read More
Researchers at the University of Nottingham have developed another weapon in the ongoing war to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases emitted from fossil fuel-burning power plants. The researchers have created a new porous material called NOTT-300 that they claim is cheaper and more efficient than existing materials at capturing polluting gases, such as carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide, from flue gas. Read More
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