Peer review is not just quality control, it is part of the social infrastructure of research

The purpose of peer review is often portrayed as being a simple ‘objective’ test of the soundness or quality of a research paper. However, it also performs other functions primarily through linking and developing relationships between networks of researchers. In this postFlaminio Squazzoni explores these interconnections and argues that to understand peer review as simply an exercise in quality control is to be blind to the historical, political and social dimensions of peer review.

Why solar parks should replace agricultural land

Read the full story in pv magazine.

This year’s Earth Overshoot Day falls on Friday, August 2. The current UN report on biodiversity protection does not report anything good. At least two reasons for our children to demonstrate on Fridays so that we not only talk, but act, says Ralf Schnitzler, project developer, solar parks, Bejulo GmbH. He believes that now is the time to take the energy revolution seriously. Below, he lays out his arguments and ideas on how the energy transition and other transformations could be possible with solar parks.

As the climate crisis worsens, cities turn to parks

Read the full story in National Geographic.

Cities across the U.S. are seeing worse floods and hotter summers, but experts believe urban parks can help residents cope.

France moves to ban destruction of unsold consumer goods

Read the full story at Treehugger.

Luxury fashion brand Burberry created a maelstrom last year when it was found to be incinerating its own unsold merchandise. The company admitted it was destroying €32 million (US$36m) in goods annually to “protect intellectual property and prevent illegal counterfeiting by ensuring the supply chain remains intact.”

Destroying goods is not an uncommon practice in the fashion industry and among online retailers such as Amazon, but in light of growing environmental concerns, such actions appear shockingly out of touch with responsible resource use. I wrote at the time,

“There are accounts of H&M and Nike slashing unsold merchandise to prevent it from entering the counterfeit market, of luxury watchmaker Richemont destroying merchandise, and fashion brand Céline destroying ‘all the old inventory so there was no physical reminder of what had come before.'”

Now in France, the government is stepping in. Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said the country will be implementing a ban on destroying unsold or returned consumer products. The prime minister’s office reported that over €650 million (US$733m) in goods are thrown away or destroyed every year in France. Said Philippe, “It is a waste that shocks, that is shocking to common sense. It’s a scandal.”


Scientists Rinse Soils Clean of Dangerous Heavy Metals

Read the full story in R&D Magazine.

Researchers have found a way to remove heavy metals—which can be dangerous to humans and animals—from polluted soil locations found throughout the U.S.

Specially Trained Dogs Help Conservationists Find Rare Iowa Turtles

Read the full story from Iowa Public Radio.

An eastern Iowa conservation group is taking an unconventional approach to tracking rare turtles on its land. Iowa Public Radio tagged along with a man who’s trained his hunting dogs to find the reptiles for researchers. Counting the creatures will help conservationists manage the land better.

How regenerative land and livestock management practices can sequester carbon

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

For people who want to help address climate change through their daily choices, many media headlines point to avoiding meat as the biggest way to reduce their impact. With livestock as one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, it might seem that if we only eliminated animals in food production — cows, in particular — we’d save the planet. Meatless meat is exploding in popularity — even Burger King and White Castle have started offering meatless burgers on their menus. Still, despite good intentions, a blanket censure against cattle leaves out a big part of the story: humans. How animals are raised and managed by humans makes the difference in beef’s climate impact.

New method to gauge atmosphere’s ability to clear methane

Read the full story from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

Methane is one of the most potent greenhouse gases. Hydroxyl radicals (OH) react with methane and break it down, but it’s been hard for scientists to get a handle on how much OH is present in the atmosphere at high-enough spatial and temporal resolution to be useful. New research got creative and correlated data from a NASA research plane and orbiting satellites to devise a new way to determine OH levels worldwide.

Seaweed helps trap carbon dioxide in sediment

Read the full story from Florida State University.

Researchers have found that these slimy macroalgae play an important role in permanently removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Solar photovoltaic tree and its end-of-life management using thermal and chemical treatments for material recovery

Pavan Gangwar, Nallapaneni Manoj Kumar, Ashutosh Kumar Singh, Arunkumar Jayakumar, Mobi Mathew. (2019). “Solar photovoltaic tree and its end-of-life management using thermal and chemical treatments for material recovery.” Case Studies in Thermal Engineering 14, 100474.

Abstract: Solar photovoltaic trees (SPVT’s) are chosen as an alternative option for electricity generation due to numerous benefits (especially in land utilization, urban infrastructure, and landscaping). Currently, SPVT’s are available in many designs, and one among them is the novel phyllotaxy pattern. Technically, SPVT’s seem to be more reliable and cost-effective. The expected average lifetime of the photovoltaic (PV) modules used in SPVT’s is around 25 years. Once, the lifetime is over, these SPVT’s must undergo a waste management process, and the scope for recycling is very high. Even though the scope for PV waste recycling is very high, many recyclers face the problems especially in estimating material recovery potential. In this paper, thermal and chemical treatments based end-of-life (EOL) method is used to estimate the material recovery potential from the phyllotaxy pattern-based SPVT. Initial estimations on the total embodied materials of the SPVT system is evaluated based on the components material fraction. Next, under the applied EOL management method, material recovery potential is estimated as per the material (aluminum, copper, glass, silver, and steel). Lastly, a few limitations with this EOL method are highlighted, and presented results aim to serve as useful data for the recyclers to have decisions.