Jessi Gowan

City Greening Needs to be Done Properly to Mitigate Harmful Impacts of Global Warming

Covered in heat-trapping asphalt and concrete, cities can become urban heat islands that can stay hot even into the late-night hours. According to some studies, the heat-stress index for many European cities will double by 2050, when compared with adjacent rural areas. By 2100, some cities may even see a temperature increase of 8 degrees Celsius. While adding more trees and creating larger areas of shade seems like a perfect […]

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Artificial Photosynthesis: Liquid Fuel Created from Sunlight by “Bionic Leaf”

Researchers at Harvard have developed a system of artificial photosynthesis – creating liquid fuel from sunlight, carbon dioxide, and water. Described in a new paper published in Science, the process could be a big step in reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. Daniel Nocera, a professor of energy science at Harvard, and his colleague, Pamela Silver, have achieved the process at an efficiency of 10 percent using pure carbon dioxide […]

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Are We Running Out of Water?

More than half of the world’s population may be facing serious daily water shortages by 2025 if we keep up our current patterns of consumption. Scientists around the world are warning global policy makers about this impending crisis, hoping to avoid the potential catastrophe. “What’s happening bit by bit is that water scarcity is becoming increasingly common around the world, no matter where you look – as country after country […]

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How Creative Constraints Drive Innovation and Discovery

“Imagine you’re asked to invent something new,” begins a recent TED-Ed lesson by advertising account manager Brandon Rodriguez. “It could be whatever you want, made from anything you choose, in any shape or size.” While having the freedom to explore your imagination to come up with an invention of your choice might seem liberating, Rodriguez said most people are, in fact, paralyzed when faced with such a challenge. Without any […]

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Avoid City Pollution by Taking Side Streets

A new study has revealed that simply taking side streets while walking through a city can cut an individual’s exposure to air pollution by half – and providing pedestrians with specific guidelines to avoid high-traffic routes could significantly benefit public health. According to the World Health Organization, air pollution is now the “world’s largest single environmental health risk” – especially since 80 percent of the global urban population residing in […]

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Are Chemicals Disrupting Our Hormones?

With health concerns like obesity, cancer, and diabetes on the rise and declining sperm counts and fertility rates, scientists are starting to take a hard look at the environmental factors that may be contributing to these issues. One theory is that otherwise “safe” chemicals are disrupting our endocrine systems – impacting normal functions regulated by hormones, including reproduction, metabolism, puberty, and more. While humans are exposed to hundreds of chemicals […]

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Scientists claim native Australian plants may offer a potential cure for Zika virus

A potential cure for the Zika virus has been discovered by Queensland researchers, using compounds sourced from a native Australian plant. Through a partnership between Australian-based biotech company Health Focus Products Australia (HFPA), researchers from Queensland University of Technology (QUT) have discovered the compound, found in a common Australian plant, halts the virus – preventing it from replicating without causing damage to mammalian host cells. While the plant itself is […]

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Making Modern-Day Night Soil

While the practice of collecting “night soil” from urban households in China to be repurposed as fertilizer in rural rice paddies might be somewhat outdated, the idea of using excrement to maintain soil fertility continues to be promoted by environmentalists around the world. Over the last fifteen years, humanure has become a more mainstream topic – with community groups throughout the United States urging their neighbours and municipal governments to […]

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SCC Urged to Reconsider Decision to Chop Down Fruit Trees in UFS

Western Australia Councilor Chris Cornish is urging the Sunshine Coast Council (SCC) to consider reducing the red tape around verge gardens – after council workers cut down 18 fruit trees in the Urban Food Streets (UFS) precinct at Buderim. The gardens span 11 streets and provide sufficient produce to feed approximately 200 households – but the council has decided that if residents do not obtain free permits and take out […]

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Climate Change Threatens Global “Doomsday Vault”

The “Doomsday Vault” may be threatened by rising global temperatures, as the warm winter weather of 2016 caused melting and rainfall even in the Arctic. Tucked away in an abandoned coal mine on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen, the Global Seed Vault was created in 2008 to provide safe storage for millions of seed samples of the most vital food sources in the world – ensuring that even in the […]

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Unusual Units of Measurement

There are many units of measurement that aren’t included in any coherent system – and often don’t provide a well-known base unit to help users determine an exact quantity. Some of these, like using a prominent skyscraper as a comparison to estimate the size of similar structures, are commonly heard and don’t require specific measurements. However, there are some lesser-known and more unusual units of measurement – and a surprising […]

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Borsak-Ulem Theorem simplified

A mathematical theorem proves that at any given moment on the surface of the earth, there exists at least one pair of points that have the exact same pressure and temperature. Borsak-Ulem Theorem defines antipodal points as specific points on a sphere that are located in exactly opposite directions from the centre of the sphere, or situated on diametrical end points along the sphere’s diameter. “If you place a piece […]

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