At the cusp of a new U.S. presidency, energy issues have been thrust full-force into the spotlight. Candidates talk a lot about alternatives like solar and wind, and even Clean Coal (systems that would capture carbon dioxide from coal plants to keep it out of the atmosphere). But alternative energy doesn't begin and end with these technologies.
Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) are another little-known option. Since early 2007, scientists have been trying to persuade government and industry to start experimenting with this kind of geothermal energy with limited success. But this fall, Google donated $10 million to a few EGS startup projects, and the Department of Energy also set aside more funds for geothermal research. With some pilots in early, early stages, it looks like EGS is finally taking off, albeit slowly.
But what are Enhanced Geothermal Systems, anyway? After the jump, a short primer in comic form.
On Monday, for the second time this year, NASA’s Messenger spacecraft will fly by the hot, cratered surface of the planet Mercury. The craft will come within 125 miles to take pictures and gather data while it uses the gravitational pull of the little orb to keep it on the right track for it’s mission to eventually become the first thing to orbit Mercury in 2011.
Plastic. It’s the spring in your tennis shoes, the sheath on your burrito, the skin of your air mattress . . . And, unfortunately, it could also be the hormone disruptor in your endocrine system. This is just one potential danger highlighted in the most recent issue of the journal Environmental Research, which includes a special section showcasing six new studies of the effects of plastics and plastic ingredients on the body and the earth.
Around half of our CO2 emissions aren't from big power plants, or even small power plants, according to researchers from the University of Calgary. They're from diffuse sources, like car exhaust, home heating and airplanes, which can't be easily sucked up at the source. Led by climate scientist David Keith, the Calgary group is working on technology that could soak those "diffuse emissions" right out of the air.
Their system is a kind of air scrubbing tower, which takes air and reacts the CO2 out of it by exposing it, in this case, to sodium hydroxide. Then the stuff goes through a few chemical intermediaries eventually leaving separated CO2 that can be piped away, and more hydroxide to feed back into the scrubber.
the Blu-ray format stores and plays movies in high definition—easy for new flicks shot digitally in HD, but what about classics like Metropolis (due out on Blu-ray next year) that were shot on film? The trick is to make a small digital file without losing too much information in the process, which could yield a poor-quality image. Here's how it works.
Ever since Russia planted a flag under the North Pole last year, the issue of sovereign rights under an increasingly slushy arctic has tensed. In a race to claim ownership of some of the arctic seabed, a two-ship caravan of Canadian and U.S. scientists is sailing around the Arctic Ocean right now. Their mission, which will last from September 6th to October 1st, is to measure the seabed and the continental margins in an attempt to solidify our possible rights over the far north—an area that will become accessible to oil drilling and mining as the earth warms and arctic ice melts.
This spring the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation released the draft environmental impact statement for the Fresh Kills Park Project, their plan to turn the Fresh Kills landfill—hitherto best known as a smelly Staten Island mountain—into a world class public park. The statement will be discussed at an open public hearing on September 4th, 2008, and work begins next year on the project's first small section—wrapping around the landfill's north mound and reaching down to the waterfront. This sliver should be finished within a few years, though the park in its entirety is expected to take around 30 years to complete, with $198 million in initial funding, but much more needed along the line.
Scientists say amphibian death could be the start of the first mass extinction since the dinosaurs
By Molika AshfordPosted 08.15.2008 at 3:29 pm 6 Comments
Lots of amphibians (a third to a half of all species) are dying, and their deaths are the breaking-edge of what many scientists are calling the first mass extinction since the dinosaurs checked out 65 million years ago, researchers say in a new paper published online in the Journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.