Archive for the 'Environment' Category

Making Fuel From Carbon Dioxide in the Atmosphere

Saturday, April 6th, 2013

Recycle LogoResearchers at the University of Georgia have created genetically-modified bacteria that take carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to make carbohydrate chemicals. (Note that hydrogen gas was added for the experiment.) From the article: “We can take carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere and turn it into useful products like fuels and chemicals without having to go through the inefficient process of growing plants and extracting sugars from biomass.”

I am a firm believer that technology can solve many of our problems. And this, should it prove to be economically viable in large scales, is a good example of just that.


Clean Coal May Soon Be a Reality

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

Recycle LogoResearchers at Ohio State University have found a way to release the energy in coal without producing greenhouse gases or pollution. The process is called coal-direct chemical looping, and it looks very promising. This could be big, very big.

Link #1:…

Link #2:…
(via Kim Komando)

The Connection Between Violent Crime and Leaded Gasoline

Friday, January 4th, 2013

ThiefThe linked articles give compelling evidence for the case that leaded gasoline caused the huge spike in violent crime starting in the ’60s, as well as the equally sharp decline starting in the ’90s. From the cover story:

“All of these studies tell the same story: Gasoline lead is responsible for a good share of the rise and fall of violent crime over the past half century.”

“Everyone over the age of 40 was probably exposed to too much lead during childhood, and most of us suffered nothing more than a few points of IQ loss. But there were plenty of kids already on the margin, and millions of those kids were pushed over the edge from being merely slow or disruptive to becoming part of a nationwide epidemic of violent crime.”

Thanks to Josh for these links.

Link #1 (synopsis):…

Link #2 (cover story):…

Tapping Into Existing Renewable Energy Sources

Saturday, August 4th, 2012

Recycling LogoThe linked article discusses how geothermal energy from Iceland will be sent to mainland Europe. It also covers plans to build solar farms in Africa that will help power southern Europe. Now that’s what I’m talking about! For some time now I’ve been wondering why they don’t carpet the Sahara with huge solar farms—this would be such an economic boon for the African states, and it just makes environmental sense. So it’s good to hear that plans are underway to make that happen. I can see it going even further, where energy from the solar arrays is used to power massive desalinization plants, thus bringing fresh water to the African nations that most need it. I believe Northern Africa could be transformed into a prosperous region, much in the same way that oil has transformed Middle Eastern countries such as Saudi Arabia.


Sci-fi Becomes Sci-fact: Mining Asteroids

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Galaxy[EDIT: Yes, this is a duplicate article. My bad.]

While it hasn’t actually happened yet, plans are underfoot to capture a near-Earth asteroid and mine it for precious metals. Asteroid mining was a staple of ’50s science fiction, and now we have people putting up money to make it happen. Should it prove feasible, it will also give us more resources and stave off the catastrophes predicted by limited-resource doomsayers.

(via Kim Komando)

Viruses That Generate Electricity

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

LightbulbResearchers in California have developed sheets of piezoelectric viruses that, when pressure is applied, generate an electrical current. In one experiment, the viruses power a small LCD.


Is Global Warming Anthropogenic?

Friday, June 1st, 2012

Recycle LogoGlobal warming has moved from the realm of science into that of politics. There appear to be two main issues of contention. First, is global warming actually happening? Second, if temperatures are rising, is humanity the cause (is it anthropogenic)? The first question seems to be debated less and less and was covered in a recent Chad’s News post. The second question has transformed into a matter of opinion, becoming dogmatic and removing itself somewhat from hard science. The linked article discusses a recent study that comes down on the side of anthropogenic global warming. One interesting note in the study’s simulation is that the release of aerosols has lessened the impact of global warming.

Here at Chad’s News we think that global warming is real and is probably anthropogenic, but we shrug our shoulders and say, “So what. Climate change happens and the world adapts.”


Sci-fi Becomes Sci-fact: Mining Asteroids

Friday, May 11th, 2012

SpaceMining asteroids has long been a staple of science fiction. Now an effort is underway to make it a reality, by a company named Planetary Resources. Admittedly, the mining will take some years to actually occur, and the first asteroid will be smaller than 50 meters. And the asteroid won’t actually be from the asteroid field that’s between Mars and Jupiter. But still…. What I find interesting is that this is another example of technology solving our sustainability problems—asteroid mining has the potential to bolster the limited resources we have here on the planet Earth.


Global Warming Gets a Rigorous Analysis

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Recycle LogoGlobal warming skeptics have brought up concerns about the rigor of studies showing a significant increase in global temperatures. Some critics have even accused researchers of purposely skewing the results. To set the record straight, Berkeley Earth set out to redo the various studies, this time with full scientific rigor and verifiability. Their conclusion is that the previous studies are accurate. I’m assuming this means that the “hockey stick” graph of global temperatures is correct.


Colony Collapse Disorder Solved

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

BeeLong-time Chad’s News readers may recall this post, where we discussed the mysterious death of honeybees, known as colony collapse disorder. Researchers have been working hard at finding the cause and are now reporting that it’s the neonicotinoid family of pesticides. Scientists at Harvard were able to recreate colony collapse disorder using imidacloprid, one of those pesticides.

Thanks to Josh for this topic.


Turn Ordinary Windows Into See-Through Solar Panels

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

Recycle LogoFrom the linked article: “3M has developed a see-through film that turns ordinary windows into solar panels. … A square meter of the film can generate roughly enough electricity to charge an iPhone under peak sunlight, but still allows for high visibility.” It’s an easy, do-it-yourself install and will go on sale sometime this year.

(via Kim Komando)

A Round-the-Clock Solar Power Plant

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

Recycle LogoOne of the problems with alternative energy sources such as wind and solar is their intermittent nature. Sometimes the wind is blowing and sometimes it isn’t. And the sun goes down every night. This is one of the reasons why fossil fuel plants are still a mainstay for any major power utility.

This problem has led to a quest for ways to store energy such that an alternative fuel power plant can supply energy on demand. One such method uses compressed air, while another has large batteries. More recently, a company named SolarReserve has received a $737 million loan guarantee from the US government for the construction of a round-the-clock solar power plant in Nevada—a plant that uses molten salt to store energy accumulated during daylight hours.

(via Slashdot)