Day: August 15, 2018

Sea Levels Rise On A Community Not Convinced Of Climate Change

Read the full story from 1A.

Tangier Island is disappearing. It lies 16 open-water miles from the closest mainland town in Virginia. The island loses around 15 feet of coastline per year, due to rising sea levels and erosion.

Tangier Island, and its 450 residents, vaulted onto the national stage after an interview the mayor and some town residents gave to CNN. In it, they asked President Trump for help in saving the island. Eighty-seven percent of island residents voted for Trump, who has previously called climate change a “hoax.”

UW, PNNL to host energy research center focusing on bio-inspired design and assembly

Read the full story from the University of Washington.

The United States Department of Energy has awarded an expected $10.75 million, four-year grant to the University of Washington, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and other partner institutions for a new interdisciplinary research center to define the enigmatic rules that govern how molecular-scale building blocks assemble into ordered structures — and give rise to complex hierarchical materials.

Growers Are Beaming Over The Success Of Lasers To Stave Off Thieving Birds

Read the full story from NPR.

During every berry-picking season in the Pacific Northwest, blueberry and raspberry growers fight to prevent birds from gobbling up the crop before harvest. This year, some farmers are trying something new to scare away the thieving birds: lasers.

Weather agency discards nearly 7 decades of diaries kept by Mt. Fuji observers

Read the full story in the Mainichi.

Over 40 volumes of a diary kept by observers at the now-unmanned Mount Fuji observatory for 68 years were discarded from November 2017 by the Tokyo regional headquarters of the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) because they were deemed “unnecessary,” the Mainichi Shimbun has learned.

Climate Change Is Taking Down Birds in the Mojave Desert

Read the full story in Smithsonian Magazine.

Scientists from the University of California, Berkeley, resurveyed sites throughout the Mojave Desert that were originally studied at the turn of the 20th century by Joseph Grinnell, a biologist known for his meticulous field research throughout California. The surveys were conducted as part of a larger effort to recreate Grinnell’s research in order to evaluate the ecological changes between his time and ours. Using the same methods that Grinnell and his team employed nearly a century ago, the surveys showed that the 61 sites in the Mojave lost on average 43 percent of their species. The research found that 39 of the 135 breeding bird species studied were less likely to be found at a given site today than 100 years ago.

Can behavioral economics finally get Americans to stop commuting by SOV?

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

Despite the high expense of single-occupant vehicle (SOV) commuting for individuals and employers, and the environmental harm it causes, people rarely think about the broader impacts of their commutes, nor the benefits of available alternatives. Behavioral economics is a powerful framework for designing strategies that encourage mobility behavior change — and this is something Rocky Mountain Institute’s mobility team has been focused on in order to move us more quickly toward a new, shared, electric and autonomous mobility paradigm that benefits people and our planet. Behavioral economics (BE) is the application of psychology principles and insights to economic decision making.

A Toxic Substance Has Been Found in Crayons Again

Read the full story in The Atlantic.

Crayons are generally an innocuous children’s product, but a consumer-advocacy group has discovered a dangerous substance in one brand. In a newly released report on 27 back-to-school products, the United States Public Interest Research Group, or PIRG, revealed that some green crayons in packs by Playskool, available at Dollar Tree, Amazon, and eBay, contained a toxic chemical with a deadly history: asbestos. The substance is known to cause mesothelioma and lung cancer, and is suspected to contribute to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and kidney cancer.

Breathless: Pittsburgh’s asthma epidemic and the fight to stop it

Read the full story in Environmental Health News.

Asthma plagues children in Allegheny County—and air pollution is making it worse.

How bad is it? With data lacking, a pediatrician and her colleagues set out to put a number on the problem. Testing more than 1,200 elementary school students, they found that 22 percent of kids in the region have asthma. At the state level, just 10 percent of kids have asthma.

The national average? Eight percent.

And there were consistently higher rates of asthma among kids living close to the region’s big industrial polluters.

We’re going beyond the numbers. Meet the children who get pulled from school or football practice because they cannot catch their breath, and the concerned parents trying to give their kids a normal, healthy life. Meet the scientists teasing out the true cost of growing up in the shadow of belching industrial plants, and the doctors and nurses on a campaign to reach kids living at the frontlines of pollution.

“Breathless” is EHN’s in-depth look at Pittsburgh’s asthma epidemic and the fight to stop it.

World’s strongest biomaterial now comes from a tree

Read the full story in Chemical & Engineering News.

Spider silk has long been considered the strongest biological material in the world and has inspired generations of materials scientists to understand and mimic its properties. However, new findings knock spider silk off its pedestal, reporting that engineered cellulose fibers, derived from plant cell walls, are the strongest biobased material (ACS Nano 2018, DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.8b01084). The material is more than 20% stronger than and eight times as stiff as spider silk. It could eventually be used in lightweight biobased composites for cars, bikes, and medical devices, the researchers say.

Old mining techniques make a new way to recycle lithium batteries

Read the full story in Science Daily.

Using 100-year-old minerals processing methods, chemical engineering students have found a solution to a looming 21st-century problem: how to economically recycle lithium ion batteries.

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