Day: October 18, 2013

Study on jellyfish energy consumption will improve bio-inspired robotic designs for Navy

Read the full story at

Virginia Tech College of Engineering researchers are part of a national study that has cracked how jellyfish move with the lowest cost of transport of any animal. The findings will be used as researchers continue to design bio-inspired jellyfish for the U.S. Navy.

CEOs Report Frustrated Sustainability Ambition

Read the full story at Triple Pundit.

More than two thirds of CEOs (67 percent) believe that business is not doing enough to address global sustainability challenges, while the same percentage report that the private sector is not making sufficient efforts to address global sustainability challenges, according to a survey by the United Nations Global Compact and Accenture.

The survey of 1,000 CEOs found that most believe the failure to make a link between sustainability and business value is the fastest growing barrier of the past ten years, and are calling for increased incentives and rewards for sustainability leaders seeking to embed sustainability throughout their organizations.

Citizen Science: How A Facebook Game Could Help Us Tackle Climate Change

Read the full story from Think Progress.

Dan MacLean knew a fungus was killing off ash trees in the U.K. by the thousands.

He also knew, through his work at Norwich’s Sainsbury Laboratory, that some trees had shown resistance to the fungus, Chalara fraxinea, and if he and his fellow scientists could just identify which gene was responsible for the resistance, they could potentially cross-breed a strand of fungus-tolerant trees. But computer programs provided only limited help, and human scientists didn’t have the time or resources to sift through thousands of ash genes.

So MacLean and his colleagues did what any serious scientist in search of answers would do when faced with a dilemma: they took the problem to Facebook.

Updated Green Globes Building Certification Program Now Built On ANSI Standard

Read the full story at Today’s Facility Manager.

The Green Building Initiative (GBI) has announced the release of the most significant upgrade to the Green Globes® for New Construction (NC) program since it first became available in the U.S. in 2006. Green Globes is a web-based program for green building guidance and certification that includes an on-site assessment by a certified third party. The program is used to advance the overall environmental performance and sustainability of commercial buildings.

WHO now puts air pollution in the same category as tobacco smoke, UV radiation and plutonium

Read the full story at Treehugger.

We already knew that air pollution killed more people than AIDS and malaria combined, but sadly the problem isn’t always getting the attention it deserves. So it’s good to see the World Health Organization (WHO), who last year recognized that diesel exhaust can causes lung cancer, officially label air pollution as “carcinogenic to humans”.

New app lets you quickly scan cosmetics to see if they’re potentially toxic

Read the full story in Grist.

Think Dirty miiiight be the best app ever (I see you, bus-finder app, but you ain’t helping me avoid cancer). In the same vein as those barcode-scanning apps you can use at the supermarket to pick a decent wine, the free app will tell you if shampoo or makeup contains potentially toxic chemicals (“BHA / BHT, PEGs, petrochemicals, parabens, phthalates, formaldehyde releasing agents, siloxanes, sulfates, fragrance/parfum and non-biodegradable ingredients”).

‘Toxic bomb’ ticks on Maldives rubbish island

Read the full story at

Descending by plane into the Maldives offers a panoramic view of azure seas and coral-fringed islands, but as the tarmac nears, billowing smoke in the middle distance reveals an environmental calamity.

Thilafushi Island, a half-hour boat trip from the capital, is surrounded by the same crystal clear waters and white sand that have made the Indian Ocean archipelago a honeymoon destination for the rich and famous.

But no holidaymaker sets foot here and none could imagine from their plane seats that the rising smoke is the waste from residents and previous visitors being set alight by men like 40-year-old Fusin.

A migrant from Bangladesh, he is one of several dozen employees on “Rubbish Island”—the biggest waste dump in the country where he’s paid $350 a month for 12-hour shifts, seven days a week.

BP oil refinery waste piles up on Southeast Side

Read the full story in the Chicago Tribune.

By the end of the year, the oil giant BP is expected to complete work on new equipment that will more than triple the amount of petroleum coke produced by its Whiting refinery on Lake Michigan. The project will turn the sprawling Indiana plant into the world’s second-largest source of petroleum coke, also known as petcoke, and Chicago into one of the biggest repositories of the high-sulfur, high-carbon waste.

BP this week confirmed that all of its petcoke is shipped a few miles across the state border to sites in the East Side and South Deering neighborhoods. Residents say black clouds of dust blow off uncovered piles of petcoke and coal in the area so frequently that people are forced to keep their children inside with the windows closed.