“DNA is the future of computing,” Jian-Jun Shu tells PhysOrg. And why not? Silicon is slow by comparison, computes in a binary system, creates waste heat, and is not particularly easy on the environment. DNA-based computing can perform better than silicon in several respects, Shu says, and he and a few of his students at Nanyang Technical University in Singapore have set out to prove it.
In further proof that we never know just how much we don't know, a paper published in Nature suggests that biologists in the UK have discovered an entirely new and unique branch in the tree of life. A group of mysterious microscopic organisms related to fungus are actually so different that they make up their own kind of fungal group.
In December 2006, William Tahil, an energy analyst, published a paper online titled "The Trouble with Lithium." His argument would be alarming to the many people who had placed their hopes for a cleaner, more prosperous economy on the rapid development of electric cars powered by lithium-ion batteries.
The trouble, he proposed, was that the world didn't contain enough economically recoverable lithium to support such a switch. Moreover, the viable pockets of lithium that did exist were concentrated in just a few countries. "If the world was to swap oil for Li-Ion based battery propulsion," he wrote, "South America would become the new Middle East. Bolivia would become far more of a focus of world attention than Saudi Arabia ever was. The USA would again become dependent on external sources of supply of a critical strategic mineral while China--home to significant lithium deposits--"would have a certain degree of self sufficiency."
Regretting having that "one more" scotch last night? This might make you feel a little better: your tipple of choice may soon be providing sustainable energyto 9,000 homes in Scotland, where a new 7.2-megawatt biomass plant will burn the "draff" leftover from the whisky distilling process.
The project, slated to begin operating in 2013, will be located in Rothes in Speyside, the famed whisky producing region that is home to such recognizable labels as the Famous Grouse, Chivas Regal, and Glenfiddich (all of which will contribute biomass to the plant).
With rare earth supplies uncertain and gold and silver prices spiking, a new international project wants to mine a potentially huge untapped source of minerals and metals: that dresser drawer where you’re hoarding all your old cell phones.
BioDomes could safely rid rural areas of wastewater
By Caitlin KearneyPosted 04.29.2011 at 10:10 am 1 Comment
Roughly 7,000 rural communities in the U.S. deal with sewage the old-fashioned way: by dumping it into an open holding pond and letting sunlight and bacteria do the rest. Not only do these ponds smell bad, but it takes the bacteria a long time to render the sewage nonhazardous, a situation that could pose a contamination risk to waterways.
Residents of New Jersey, a state well known for its elegant aesthetic sense, are unhappy with the solar panels installed on electrical poles in leafy residential neighborhoods by the state's largest utility company. In suburban Bergen County, locals call the panels "ugly," "hideous," and an "eyesore," in addition to protesting their installation with complaints and (possibly) vandalism, according to the New York Times.
Today's environmental question of the day from CSX.
PopSci readers: CSX rail transportation provides CO2 emissions savings in one year equivalent to taking 1 million passenger vehicles off the road. What do you do to curb CO2 emissions? Answer below for a chance to be entered to win an Apple TV, thanks to CSX.
Biotech companies will soon perform their own studies to determine whether their genetically modified seeds are safe for the environment, according to a new federal plan. That means companies like Monsanto, which provides about 90 percent of the world's transgenic crops, will help the government decide whether their own products should be approved.
Robotic moon bases, chips implanted in our brains, self-driving cars, and high-speed rail linking London to Beijing. According to a dazzling number of technology predictions that single out the year 2020, it's going to be to be one hell of a year. Here, we take a look at some of the wonders it holds in store.