Environmental monitoring has come a long way since the proverbial canary in the coal mine. Now we use bees.
Airports in Germany are using honeybees as "biodetectives," regularly testing their honey for a suite of pollutants, the New York Timesreports. This year's first tests were conducted in early June at Düsseldorf International Airport, and the bees got a clean bill of health. That means the air was clean, too.
In an effort to restore Andean glaciers to their former color, a Peruvian inventor is breaking out the paint at 15,000 feet.
Eduardo Gold -- who is not a scientist -- is working with a small crew of Peruvian villagers to mix egg whites, lime and water to make an environmentally friendly whitewash, once again giving the Andes a snowcapped look.
The super-accurate Earth-mapping satellite TanDEM-X has beamed back its first images, and they're detailed enough to show waves breaking in the Indian Ocean.
The German satellite is in excellent health and ready to team up with the TerraSAR-X satellite to create the most precise world maps ever made, BBC reports.
By Suzanne LeBarrePosted 06.28.2010 at 11:15 am 9 Comments
The Dice House looks like part of a Monopoly set, but the design has real-world ambitions. The 30-by-30-by-30-foot concept home, designed by the British architecture firm Sybarite, improves on standard building tech to erase its carbon footprint.
A year behind schedule, a team of French engineering students is finally preparing to send Nephelios, the solar-powered manned airship they've developed, on its maiden voyage across the English channel.
Just because residential water is cheap and plentiful here in upstate New York is no reason to waste it, and the average household does plenty of wasting: A single flush consumes three to seven gallons of water. Inefficient toilets and long showers are two of the biggest water wasters, together accounting for more than 40 percent of the 350 gallons of water used daily in a typical American home. But my eco-home is anything but typical—its graywater recycling system can save at least 110 gallons a day.
It's been a big week for bacteria. Last week, a Canadian geo-scientist proposed using carbon-eating, methane-excreting microbes to turn crude into cleaner natural gas while still in the well. Now, researchers have found similar bacteria rapidly turning a CO2-filled coal mine into a veritable methane factory, blending CO2 and hydrogen atoms in the coal into natural gas, sans environmentally harmful mining.
Could you live in a future without bottled water? In Concord, Mass., 82-year-old Jean Hill hopes so. Her campaign against what many see as an environmental evil has moved the town to vote for an outright ban, as the New York Times covers today.
It would be easy to dismiss Mitchell Joachim’s fantastical vision for ecological supercities, with their flocks of jetpacks and mass-transit blimps that look like flying monster jellyfish, as science fiction—if he wasn’t actually building them
By John Bradley Posted 06.23.2010 at 10:45 am 14 Comments
Architect Mitchell Joachim points out, frequently and without prompting, that his futuristic proposals are always based on existing technologies. No wonder he feels the need to say it. Consider some of his ideas: jetpacks tethered together in swarms, houses grown from living trees, low-altitude blimps prowling New York City with chairs hanging below them for pedestrians to hop on and off (24/7 ski lifts on Broadway!), and WALL-E-like machines that erect buildings and bridges from recycled waste.
In recent years, the U.S. military has been making small strides toward a greener energy standard – the Navy wants to create a green strike group by 2012, while the Air Force has been testing biofuels in its aircraft. But for troops on the ground relying increasingly on electronic devices, solar is the way forward. With that in mind, DARPA has assembled an industry-academic team of photovoltaic leaders to create the next generation of battle-ready solar cells that achieve 20 percent conversion while standing up to harsh combat conditions.