Archive | October, 2016

Fracking Wastewater Might Actually Be Useful

28 Oct

Fracking wastewater is mostly brine and might actually be useful.

On the list of reasons why people are unsure about fracking, wastewater usually ranks very high. The concern is that wastewater produced as a side effect of fracking could leak into other water supplies and cause great damage. It is assumed that the wastewater contains many unnatural chemicals used in the fracking process. A recent […]

Farmers Can Reduce Monoculture Hazards Through Genetic Diversity

26 Oct

Farmers can reduce monoculture hazards through genetic diversity.

Agriculture is a constant battle against the elements. Farmers need to worry about the weather, the soil, and pests that want to eat their crops before they can send them to market. As farming has become a bigger business, focused on turning over huge crops, we’ve largely turned to monoculture. When a farm grows one […]

Air Pollution Might Cause Obesity

24 Oct

Air pollution may contribute to obesity.

Obesity is on the rise globally, and has been for years. There have been a lot of studies to try and figure out why that is. A new study may have some answers. Researchers from Duke University and Duke Kunshan University found that diet and exercise might only be a part of the problem. According […]

Clear-Cutting Forests Could Release Tons of Carbon into the Atmosphere

21 Oct

Clear-cutting forests could release tons of carbon into the atmosphere.

When we talk about carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, we’re not talking about all the carbon that exists on earth. There are a number of natural factors that reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere by sequestering carbon: trees and other plants, as well as the ocean and soil. A recent study from Dartmouth […]

The Number of Pesticides, Not The Dose, Is What’s Killing Honeybees

19 Oct

Honeybee deaths may be caused by a mix of different pesticides, not just one in particular.

Bees are dying in record numbers—in fact, seven species of the Hawaiian yellow-faced bees have recently been placed on the endangered species list—but scientists are still having a hard time figuring out why. There have been numerous studies that have tried to address the question of what is causing colony collapse disorder, but so far […]

Wind Farms Responsible for Death of Birds From Miles Away

17 Oct

Wind farms may be responsible for more bird deaths than previously thought.

Wind turbines don’t produce greenhouse gases like burning fossil fuels, but they aren’t perfect. They are, unfortunately, responsible for hundreds of thousands of bird and bat deaths. The birds and bats are killed either by the blades themselves or by the pressure changes created by the turbines. The population of birds around wind turbines can […]

As Waters Get Warmer, Sand Fleas Mate More

14 Oct

Sand fleas may actually benefit from global climate change.

Climate change is going to have a very strong impact on the world, and especially on the oceans. Rising temperatures and acidification, the latter caused by the ocean sequestering more carbon dioxide than normal, is already having a negative impact on corals and other ocean life. However, at least one species will likely benefit from […]

Wetlands Responsible for Methane Spike in 2014

12 Oct

Methane emissions from wetlands may be responsible for a spike of that gas in the atmosphere.

Methane is a greenhouse gas that, though it doesn’t stay in the atmosphere as long as carbon dioxide, actually traps heat more effectively. This means that it contributes more to global warming but for a shorter time. The amount of CO2, and the time it stays in the atmosphere, means that it still contributed more […]

More Carbon Dioxide Means More Photosynthesis

10 Oct

Carbon dioxide increases photosynthesis, but will this counteract human interference with the natural carbon balance?

New research indicates that ironically, as we stabilize carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and begin to reduce it, the carbon land sink—the CO2 stored in soil and plants—will decline. This comes from research by scientists in Germany and the United Kingdom, who have found that doubling carbon dioxide concentrations will result in about a one-third […]

Huge Subantarctic Plants Take Advantage of What Light They Can Get

7 Oct

Megaherbs make use of what light they can get on the cloudy subantarctic islands.

New Zealand is far enough south in the southern hemisphere that some of its islands are in subantarctic territory. These cold and windy islands get little light, particularly in the southern winter (which corresponds to the northern hemisphere’s summer), and what light they do get is intermittent thanks to intensely cloudy and cool conditions. But […]