Gentlemachines
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Gentlemachines
What's new at the crossroads of culture, technology and science
Curated by Artur Alves
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This is where your smartphone battery begins

This is where your smartphone battery begins | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Workers, including children, labor in harsh and dangerous conditions to meet the world’s soaring demand for cobalt, a mineral essential to powering electric vehicles, laptops, and smartphones, according to an investigation by The Washington Post.
Artur Alves's insight:

"The Post traced this cobalt pipeline and, for the first time, showed how cobalt mined in these harsh conditions ends up in popular consumer products. It moves from small-scale Congolese mines to a single Chinese company — Congo DongFang International Mining, part of one of the world’s biggest cobalt producers, Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt — that for years has supplied some of the world’s largest battery makers. They, in turn, have produced the batteries found inside products such as Apple’s iPhones — a finding that calls into question corporate assertions that they are capable of monitoring their supply chains for human rights abuses or child labor. "
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How climate change is changing the oceans

Climate change and the Earth's oceans

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Resources on how climate change affects the oceans
«Climate change has caused ocean temperatures to rise, a trend that will continue in the coming centuries even if fossil fuel emissions are curtailed. The uptake of carbon dioxide also makes the oceans more acidic, affecting the ability of organisms to create and maintain calcium-based shells and skeletons. Warm-water corals are particularly susceptible to these effects and may not survive the century unless carbon emissions are greatly reduced. Climate change impacts in the deep ocean are less visible, but the longevity and slow pace of life in the deep makes that ecosystem uniquely sensitive to environmental variability. Marine vertebrates at every depth are being affected, as are humans. Even if international negotiations like those kicking off soon in Paris succeed, we will be coping with the impacts of ocean climate change for centuries.»

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Biodegradation of Polyester Polyurethane by Endophytic Fungi

"Bioremediation is an important approach to waste reduction that relies on biological processes to break down a variety of pollutants. This is made possible by the vast metabolic diversity of the microbial world. To explore this diversity for the breakdown of plastic, we screened several dozen endophytic fungi for their ability to degrade the synthetic polymer polyester polyurethane (PUR). Several organisms demonstrated the ability to efficiently degrade PUR in both solid and liquid suspensions."

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The batteries in your favorite devices are literally covering Chinese villages in black soot

The batteries in your favorite devices are literally covering Chinese villages in black soot | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it

IN YOUR PHONE, IN THEIR AIR 

A trace of graphite is in consumer tech. In these Chinese villages, it’s everywhere.

Artur Alves's insight:
So-called clean technology is heavily reliant on outsourcing toxic pollution. 

"Smaller and more powerful than their predecessors, lithium batteries power smartphones and laptop computers and appear destined to become even more essential as companies make much larger ones to power electric cars. The companies making those products promote the bright futuristic possibilities of the “clean” technology. But virtually all such batteries use graphite, and its cheap production in China, often under lax environmental controls, produces old-fashioned industrial pollution. Mobile power, human toll The world has grown reliant on lithium-ion batteries that power smartphones, laptops and electric cars. But the desperate search for the ingredients carries a steep cost. 
 At five towns in two provinces of China, Washington Post journalists heard the same story from villagers living near graphite companies: sparkling night air, damaged crops, homes and belongings covered in soot, polluted drinking water — and government officials inclined to look the other way to benefit a major employer"
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Garbage Island: An Ocean Full of Plastic (Part 1/3) - YouTube

Vice sails to the North Pacific Gyre, collecting point for all of the ocean's flotsam and home of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch: a mythical, Texas-sized is...
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