In a new study published in the peer reviewed Public Library of Science (PLOS), researchers emphasize that there is sufficient evidence that meal-derived DNA fragments carry complete genes that can enter into the human circulation system through an unknown mechanism. (0) I wonder if the scientists at these biotech corporations have already identified this method? […]
If we are rational and consider objective scientific evidence of environmental collapse including groundwater depletion, topsoil loss, chemical contamination, ocean dead zones, species extinction, bio-diversity reduction and climate disruption, we need to be apocalypticists, argues Robert Jensen.
We are all apocalyptic now, or at least we should be, if we are rational.
Because "apocalyptic" is typically associated with religious fanaticism and death cults - things that rational people tend not to take literally or seriously - this claim requires some explanation.
First, a definition: The term is most commonly used in reference to the Book of Revelation, also known as The Apocalypse of John, the final book of the Christian New Testament. The two terms are synonymous in their original meaning - "revelation" from Latin and "apocalypse" from Greek, both mean a lifting of the veil, a disclosure of something that had been hidden.
Two-step artificial photosynthesis mimics nature’s efficient way of gathering energy
Scientists from Japan have harvested solar energy using an exceptionally large number of light absorbers to relay photons via antennas into one final energy acceptor. This two-step sequence closely mimics natural photosynthesis, resulting in greater and more efficient energy transfer.
Previously, researchers had only used one-step light harvesting systems, greatly limiting the number of absorbers able to feed light into a single reaction centre. Now, by imitating photosynthetic systems, Osamu Ishitani at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, Shinji Inagaki at the Japan Science and Technology Agency and their co-workers have efficiently harvested light using the highest number of artificial leaves to date.
The team combined 440 periodic mesoporous organosilica (PMO) tubes bridged by light-absorbing biphenyl (Bp) groups with five stick-shaped rhenium(I) pentamer units connected to one ruthenium(II) trisdiimine complex (Ru–Re5). This Ru–Re5–Bp–PMO hybrid system concentrates photons absorbed by the large framework of Bp–PMO in two steps: first to the rhenium oligomers, and then to the ruthenium reaction centre.
‘Photon collection has always been a problem in developing efficient solar energy conversion systems because the molecules are so small and solar light is so dilute,’ says Ishitani. ‘This new system is fantastic because now we can accumulate light from a large area and into, say, a photocatalyst.’
Other researchers are enthusiastic about the work. ‘The bio-inspired design of their synthetic assembly is certainly intriguing, because it mimics some important features of photosynthetic light harvesting systems,’ comments Erwin Reisner, an expert in solar fuel generation at the University of Cambridge in the UK.
Steve Dunn, who investigates energy harvesting materials at Queen Mary, University of London, UK, regards the system as ‘genuinely transformational’. ‘While it might prove difficult to manufacture real world devices or applications with this latest breakthrough, there is no doubt that this development is significant and exciting.’
Ishitani and his team plan to merge their light harvesting technique with their work on photocatalysts for CO2 reduction, and hope to eventually apply this future system to water oxidation photocatalysis. He emphasises the long road ahead and says many more breakthroughs are needed before we can use such artificial photosynthesis in daily life, but that developing these systems is crucial for humanity.
For decades, there has been a stalemate in the car vs. bike wars — the most expensive cars claim higher top speeds, but much more affordable bikes have had them beat in every other performance metric. No longer, with the launch of the McLaren P1, a production car can now claim to beat any bike going, everywhere. It is simply faster than a motorcycle....
Metro.us Artist David Cerny on sculpting giant middle finger aimed at Czech president Metro.us From his pickled Saddam Hussein to a London bus doing press-ups, Czech artist David Cerny has established a reputation for surreal and shocking pieces.
Incredible moments doesn't just happen only for Humans, It happens for all other beings too. These amazing photos show animals in a way that you've never seen them before. Each image serves as a reminder that we share the planet with some truly awe-inspiring creatures.
Want to know when the Anthropocene started exactly? It will only cost an entirely revamped scientific effort in archaeology, ecology and paleontology, among other disciplines, at an unprecedented planetary scale, according to a new paper calling for such a scheme.
The putative start date for what scientists have begun to call the Anthropocene—a newly defined epoch in which humanity is the dominant force on the planet—ranges widely. Some argue that humans began changing the global environment about 50,000 years back, in the Pleistocene epoch, helping along if not outright causing the mass extinctions of megafauna, from mammoths to giant kangaroos, on most continents. Others date it to the emergence of agriculture some 7,000 years ago. The most definitive cases to be made coincide with the start of the industrial revolution and the dawn of the atomic age. The beginnings of burning fossil fuels to power machines in the 19th century initiated a change in the mix of atmospheric gases , and the first nuclear weapon test on July 16, 1945, spread unique isotopes across the globe.
There is little doubt from the archaeological record that humans have been altering ecosystems on a local scale for at least 50,000 years if not longer, but the extent of that alteration remains unknown. Recent work by ecologist Erle Ellis of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and others suggests that for at least 3,000 years hunting, farming and burning have shaped most landscapes on the planet, based on computer models.
To definitively prove that with field evidence would require the kind of archaeological and ecological effort the world has never seen, a scheme Ellis and co-authors lay out in a paper in the inaugural issue of the new open-access journal Elementa, devoted to the Anthropocene. That plan, they say, would have to be global in scale—to eliminate the bias in current research toward the most accessible archaeological sites—as well as unusually open. Few scientific disciplines are as secretive as archaeology, paleontology and paleoecology, given that careers are made (or not) based on access to specimens.
The payoff would be a true historical baseline for what is "natural" for the first time, complementing efforts like the Long Term Ecological Research Network and the new National Ecological Observatory Network, among others. "What is a natural system has a cultural history as part of its constitution," says archaeologist Dorian Fuller of University College London, a co-author of the paper and a supporter of "Big Archaeology," who notes that the ecosystems of Amazonia, Europe and even the western U.S. are all products of at least millennia of human activity.
Prospects for such a global effort are, admittedly, dim, not least because it is unclear who would fund such work. But a global, synthetic effort is the only way to answer the question: How long have humans been terraforming? "This is great scientific work that can be done and needs to be done," Ellis argues. "It will help us define the role of humans in shaping the Anthropocene and will mark a scientific triumph for humanity: a full empirical account of our rise to global stewardship of the biosphere."
Last month, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere surpassed 400 parts per million for the first time in roughly three million years. If the current trend, which fits the worst-case scenario laid out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), persists, CO2 concentrations will rise above 800 ppm toward the end of this century – with devastating consequences. Indeed, the predicted global average temperature increase of 2.4-6.4°C caused by such high ambient CO2 concentrations is expected to trigger the worst outcomes foreseen in the IPCC scenarios, including the loss of an estimated 40% of species, more frequent extreme weather events, and widespread water scarcity. In order to avoid imposing such risk and uncertainty on future generations, global carbon emissions, which stand at 8.5 gigatons annually, must be halved by 2050.
EarthTechling WIND TURBINE- BIRD DEBATE FLARES WITH NEW MASSIVE FATALITY FIGURE. A published study has concluded that 573,000 birds and 888,000 bats were killed by wind power in 2012. The figure on birds – which includes 83,000 raptors – is about 30 percent higher than the 444,000 estimate by a U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service biologist in 2009, when the U.S. had about half as much installed wind capacity.... http://www.earthtechling.com/2013/07/wind-bird-debate-flares-with-new-fatality-figure/
May 14, 2013 Grist
OBAMA ADMINISTRATION GIVES WIND INDUSTRY A PASS FOR KILLING TENS OF THOUSAND OF PROTECTED BIRDS
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