Solar energy that doesn’t block the view

Read the full story from Michigan State University.

A team of researchers at Michigan State University has developed a new type of solar concentrator that when placed over a window creates solar energy while allowing people to actually see through the window…

The research was featured on the cover of a recent issue of the journal Advanced Optical Materials.


New Research Links Tornado Strength, Frequency to Climate Change

Read the full story from Florida State University.

New research by a Florida State University geography professor shows that climate change may be playing a key role in the strength and frequency of tornadoes hitting the United States.

Published Wednesday in the journal Climate Dynamics, Professor James Elsner writes that though tornadoes are forming fewer days per year, they are forming at a greater density and strength than ever before. So, for example, instead of one or two forming on a given day in an area, there might be three or four occurring.

Urban heat—not a myth, and worst where it’s wet

Read the full story at

A new Yale-led study quantifies for the first time the primary causes of the “urban heat island” (UHI) effect, a common phenomenon that makes the world’s urban areas significantly warmer than the surrounding countryside and may increase health risks for city residents.

Decision could boost use of popular weed killer

Read the full story from the Associated Press.

Faced with tougher and more resistant weeds, corn and soybean farmers are anxiously awaiting government decisions on a new version of a popular herbicide — and on genetically modified seeds to grow crops designed to resist it.

Critics say more study is needed on the effects of the herbicide and they are concerned it could endanger public health.

Ohio farmers point to algae law loophole

Read the full story in Great Lakes Echo.

Ohio farmers caught in the headlights of the recent Toledo water crisis are defending their voluntary efforts to reduce phosphorus run-off to Lake Erie. That runoff is the primary source of toxic algae blooms. But Ohio farm groups and environmentalists say a new state law that will certify fertilizer use doesn’t go far – or fast – enough.

These folks feed their family with a garden in their swimming pool — and you can, too

Read the full post at Grist.

When Dennis and Danielle McClung bought a foreclosed home in Mesa, Ariz., in 2009, their new yard featured a broken, empty swimming pool. Instead of spending a small fortune to repair and fill it, Dennis had a far more prescient idea: He built a plastic cap over it and started growing things inside.

Thus, with help from family and friends and a ton of internet research, Garden Pool was born. What was once a yawning cement hole was transformed into an incredibly prolific closed-loop ecosystem, growing everything from broccoli and sweet potatoes to sorghum and wheat, with chickens, tilapia, algae, and duckweed all interacting symbiotically to provide enough food to feed a family of five.

California cemeteries dig deep to save water

Read the full post at Grist.

Californians are getting creative to cope with the state’s ongoing extreme drought —  from painting their dead lawns green to witchcraft. One of the latest casualties to the state’s water woes: its cemeteries.

Take the historic Savannah Memorial Park located in urban eastern Los Angeles County. Officials there have started replacing lawns with native plants and more drought-tolerant grasses, and using mulch and trees donated from the city to help retain moisture.

According to the Los Angeles Daily News, Savannah cemetery officials are trying to curb water use by 60 percent: