Technology

How the Ice in Your Drink is Imperiling the Planet

Want to save the Earth? Easy, just buy a couple of ice trays. To the long list of human inventions that are wrecking global climate—the internal combustion engine, the industrial era factory—add the automatic ice maker.

Climate modelers have long known that households are far bigger contributors to global warming than most …

Geothermal: A More Grounded Power Source for Japan?

On Sunday, over 17,000 people took to the streets of Tokyo to let their government know they’ve had it with nuclear power. It was an unusual display of mass disgruntlement in the Japanese capital, but these are unusual times. Residents walked through the neighborhood of Koenji – reportedly the birthplace of Japanese punk – with …

In Japan, Vending Machines to Charge Electric Cars

Sure, Japanese vending machines got a bad wrap awhile back for selling schoolgirls’ underwear, but that was then. If you’ve been to Tokyo recently, you know and love the machines’ for their convenience and ingenuity. For example, unlike their un-evolved counterparts in most of the world, Japanese vending machines have a couple of …

Genetically Modified Mosquitoes Released in Malaysian Forest

A government-run institute in Malaysia announced this week that it had released 6000 genetically modified mosquitoes into an uninhabited patch of forest in December to combat dengue fever.

The experiment, which is now over, was aimed at controlling the local mosquito population by having altered male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes mate …

Climate: Some Last Thoughts on the Cancún Summit

I’m back from Cancún, and I miss the weather there, if not the all-night hours of the assignment. You can read a longer version of my analysis of the conference over here, which includes some details on the last-minute drama as Bolivia tried to block adoption of the Cancún Agreements, only to be deftly overruled by Mexico. Juliet …

How Rice (You Heard Me) Can Save the World

Another blueprint for the Green Green Revolution was announced today at the 3rd International Rice Congress, and this time it’s all about — you guessed it — rice. Well, according to rice types anyway (the corn guys might have a different theory). But the scientists that unveiled the Global Rice Science Partnership (GRiSP), a …

Vacationing in Space? The Planet Could Pay

To hear Richard Branson tell it, your next vacation will be in space. On Friday, Branson, the swashbuckling CEO of Virgin Airlines and the newer Virgin Galactic,  cut the ribbon on a  2-mi. (3.2 km) runway in La Cruces, N.M., which will be used in as little as 18 months, he promises, to begin carrying paying tourists into suborbital …

More on Rare Earths: Looking for a Way out From Under a Monopoly

 

 

Last month, after China and Japan locked horns over Tokyo’s arrest of a Chinese fishing captain whose boat collided with the Japanese Coast Guard, shipments of rare earths from China to Japan started to dry up at over 30 different Japanese companies. Since then, Beijing has stuck to its story – that the there is no …

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