Day: October 22, 2021

Permafrost thaw could release bacteria and viruses

Read the full story from the European Space Agency.

When considering the implications of thawing permafrost, our initial worries are likely to turn to the major issue of methane being released into the atmosphere and exacerbating global warming or issues for local communities as the ground and infrastructure become unstable. While this is bad enough, new research reveals that the potential effects of permafrost thaw could also pose serious health threats.

As part of the ESA–NASA Arctic Methane and Permafrost Challenge, new research has revealed that rapidly thawing permafrost in the Arctic has the potential to release antibiotic-resistant bacteria, undiscovered viruses and even radioactive waste from Cold War nuclear reactors and submarines.

When cows move, they help fight climate change and repair soil. Virtual fencing can help ranchers guide where they graze

Read the full story from CPR News.

Despite years of back-to-back drought worsened by a warming climate, the grass here seems to be improving. Luark and Wallner are crediting a new technology that allows them to move cattle without physical fences. 

Under the system, cows are outfitted with shock collars — similar to ones for training dogs — that use GPS and reception towers to form a virtual fence controlled by a computer. The technology from Vence (for “virtual fence”) makes it easier for Luark to move his cattle and determine how long they should spend grazing in a particular spot. 

Prolonged exposure to air and noise pollution may increase heart failure risk in women: study

Read the full story at The Hill.

Prolonged exposure to air pollution and traffic noise may increase the risk of heart failure in women, according to a study released Wednesday.

Smoggier skies, lower scores? A Brazilian study examines the effects of air pollution on students’ cognitive performance

Read the full story from the University of Chicago Press Journals.

A new study published in the Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists looks at the causal relationship between outdoor air pollution levels on nationwide university entry examination day and students’ cognitive performance in Brazil.

In “The Effects of Air Pollution on Students’ Cognitive Performance: Evidence from Brazilian University Entrance Tests,” authors Juliana Carneiro, Matthew A. Cole, and  Eric Strobl use Brazilian data on concentrations of ozone (O3) and particulate matter (PM10) and a data set of students’ scores to examine the impact of air pollution on academic performance in national examinations. The air pollution data focuses on Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo—Brazil’s most industrialized states—using air pollution and weather monitoring station data to build a unique data panel from 2015–17.

Disneyland Resort pilots new program aimed at reducing food waste

Read the full story from Spectrum News 1.

Disneyland Resort has rolled out a pilot program aimed at reducing food waste. The program is being tested at Galactic Grill in Tomorrowland, which has separate bins for trash, food waste and mixed recycling, including liquids. The resort has a goal of zero waste by 2030 and says it already diverts more than five million pounds of food from landfills each year.

Climate change is causing problems for puffins

Read the full story from NPR.

Maine’s population of rare Atlantic puffins took a hit this year, as the number of chicks to survive a tough summer plummeted.

The state’s coastal bays and the Gulf of Maine is among the fastest-warming large water bodies on the planet, making the puffins’ fate a test-case for how climate change could disrupt marine ecosystems worldwide.

Google turns its AI on traffic lights to reduce pollution

Read the full story at Engadget.

Poorly timed traffic lights don’t just waste precious minutes. Like Google’s chief sustainability officer Kate Brandt pointed out at a media event yesterday, they’re also bad for the environment and public health. The company unveiled a slew of sustainability-centric products and updates today that aim to help users make more informed, environmentally friendly decisions. But it’s also been working on a project that could use AI to make traffic lights more efficient and, as a result, decrease pollution in general. 

When your vehicle stops at an intersection, that idling time leads to wasted fuel and “more street-level air pollution,” Brandt said. Google’s new project would use AI to measure and calculate traffic conditions and timing at a city’s intersections, then time them more efficiently. Brandt said one of the company’s AI research groups has been able to accurately calculate and gather this data and train a model to optimize inefficient intersections. 

GHub: The new place to be for ice sheet scientists

Read the full story from the University of Buffalo.

With NSF funding, ice sheet and computer scientists have created a new online platform that aims to reduce bottlenecks in research on ice sheets and sea level rise

Most concrete produces pollution. This concrete is made of it

Read the full story at Fast Company.

The material that builds our world is the same one destroying it. Researchers in Tokyo have an intriguing solution.

Is upcycling the answer to America’s food waste problem?

Read the full story at Food Processing.

Joining the Food For Thought podcast this week is Pulp Pantry’s Kaitlin Mogentale here to talk about the upcycling food movement and how the process of taking one company’s food waste can turn into another company’s product gold.

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