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+ - Harvard Scientists Say It's Time to Start Thinking About Engineering the Climate

Submitted by merbs
merbs (2708203) writes "Harvard has long been home to one of the fiercest advocates for climate engineering. This week, Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences published a research announcement headlined “Adjusting Earth’s Thermostat, With Caution.” That might read as oxymoronic—intentionally altering the planet’s climate has rarely been considered a cautious enterprise—but it fairly accurately reflects the thrust of three new studies published by the Royal Society, all focused on exploring the controversial field of geoengineering."

+ - The Software Big Oil's PR Firm Uses to 'Convert Average Citizens'

Submitted by merbs
merbs (2708203) writes "The CEO of the world’s largest PR firm has a policy when it comes to campaigns that focus on the environment. “We do not work with astroturf groups and we have never created a website for a client with the intent to deny climate change," Richard Edelman wrote in a blog post in August. That may actually turn out to be true. Technically. Edelman may not work with astroturf groups. Instead, it appears to prefer to build them itself, from the ground up, using sophisticated proprietary software platform designed to “convert” advocates and then "track" their behavior."

+ - The US-China Climate Deal Changes Everything

Submitted by merbs
merbs (2708203) writes "As a result of the deal, which negotiators have reportedly hashed out over a nine-month period, in secret, the US has promised to double the rate at which it's cutting carbon pollution—slashing emissions over a quarter from 2005 levels by 2025. Meanwhile, China has pledged to ensure its greenhouse gas output peaks by 2030. The two nations are by far the world's largest contributors to global warming—combined, they account for a jaw-slackening 40 percent of the world's emissions.

And until now, the two nations have not seen eye to eye on fighting climate change. In fact, it's closer to the opposite: they've been outright hostile."

+ - Buying goods to make nuclear weapons on eBay, Alibaba, and other platforms->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "The blossoming of online Internet-trading platforms has at least one downside: insufficient inspectors and product controls when it comes to goods relevant to nuclear proliferation.'On Alibaba (and other platforms), one can purchase many of the specialized items needed for the manufacture of nuclear weapons. A short list of items advertised for sale on the site include metals suitable for centrifuge manufacturing, gauges and pumps for centrifuge cascades for uranium enrichment, metallurgical casting equipment suitable for making nuclear weapon ‘pits,’ and high-speed cameras suitable for use in nuclear weapon diagnostic tests. A company on an Alibaba-owned Chinese Internet-trading platform even posted an ad for the sale of the rare metal gallium, which the seller trumpeted could be used to stabilize plutonium.' Although many companies have strict compliance procedures in place to help avoid proliferation, many do not. There are several procedures these platforms can put into place to minimize risk, and both national (and international) regulators have a role to play, as well as shareholders. Great read."
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+ - These Drones Hold the Key to Understanding How Fast Greenland Is Melting

Submitted by merbs
merbs (2708203) writes "Thank glaciologist Jason Box for the Arctic bird’s-eye view of one of the most serene, alien landscapes on the planet. Box spends much of his time in Greenland, where he uses drones to measure 'dark snow'—snow that has accumulated soot and dust, thanks to human activity—which absorbs more sunlight and melts faster. Drone photography, then, may hold the key to understanding just how fast Greenland is melting."

+ - Can doctors be trained to use open source to save hospitals from bankruptcy?->

Submitted by jenwike
jenwike (2888285) writes "Luis Ibanez is a software engineer at Google and before that worked on open science at Kitware. He lays out the financial crisis many US hospitals are in after they have purchased closed, proprietary Electronic Health Records systems they cannot maintain and do not understand. So, how much would it cost to implement VistaA, an open source software EHR system developed by the VA? Zero dollars. And, how many developers would it take to employ to run and maintain VistA in hospitals across the country? Four. Do the math."
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+ - One more thing to worry about: Salt is turning farmland into wasteland worldwide->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "This article by Brian Merchant looks at how poor irrigation pracetices are ruining farmland to the tune of about 8 square miles a day, perhaps permanently. Even good quality water contains salt, and poor irrigation systems leave behind too much of it. 'The UN report brings some fairly astonishing findings—his team estimates that 2,000 hectares of farmland (nearly 8 square miles) is ruined daily by salt degradation. So far, nearly 20 percent of the world’s farmland has been degraded, an area approximately the size of France.' Since the problem is especially acute in arid areas, climate change is expected to make things worse. Great read at Motherboard."
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+ - Laser-Propulsion Could Give Space Rockets a Serious Boost->

Submitted by Zothecula
Zothecula (1870348) writes "Russian scientists have proposed a novel way to accelerate a spaceship while in flight – firing a ground-based laser up its backside. The new technique uses a plasma flow caused by laser ablation to increase the exhaust efficiency of a traditional rocket propulsion system, and could theoretically accelerate an aircraft beyond Mach 10."
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+ - The Airplane of the Future Won't Have Windows 7

Submitted by merbs
merbs (2708203) writes "Hope you're not too attached to looking out the windows when you fly—the designers of tomorrow's airplanes seem intent on getting rid of them. A Paris design firm recently made waves when it released its concept for a sleek, solar paneled, windowless passenger jet. Before that, Airbus proposed eschewing windows and building its cabins out of transparent polymers. Now, the Center for Process Innovation has floated its own windowless plane concept, and it's attracting plenty of headlines, too."

+ - Wind Power is Cheaper than Coal, Leaked Report Shows 4

Submitted by merbs
merbs (2708203) writes "A leaked report shows that wind is the hands-down cheapest energy source in Europe, beating the presumably dirt-cheap coal and gas by a mile. Conventional wisdom holds that clean energy is more expensive than its fossil-fueled counterparts. Yet truly honest cost comparisons show that renewable energy sources are often cheaper than their carbon-heavy competition. The report demonstrates that if you were to take into account mining, pollution, and adverse health impacts of coal and gas, wind power would be the cheapest source of energy, period."

+ - NASA found a Delaware-sized methane 'hot spot' in the Southwest

Submitted by merbs
merbs (2708203) writes "According to new satellite research from scientists at NASA and the University of Michiganthis "hot spot" is "responsible for producing the largest concentration of the greenhouse gas methane seen over the United States—more than triple the standard ground-based estimate." It is 2,500 square miles wide, about the size of Delaware."

+ - This Twitter User was Arrested for Gamifying a Death Threat

Submitted by merbs
merbs (2708203) writes "A Twitter user with the handle @StillDMC stood at a window in downtown Los Angeles and took a photo of his rifle, the barrel aimed at what appeared to be a couple of pedestrians standing on a street corner in the distance. At 12:09 AM, he tweeted. “100 RT’s and I’ll shoot someone walking,” he wrote alongside the picture, which quickly racked up well over 100 retweets.

This is the story of what happened when a digital native tried to gamify a death threat to boost his social media profile."

+ - More than twice as much mercury in environment as thought->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "The most comprehensive estimate of mercury released into the environment is putting a new spotlight on the potent neurotoxin. By accounting for mercury in consumer products, such as thermostats, and released by industrial processes, the calculations more than double previous tallies of the amount of mercury that has entered the environment since 1850. The analysis also reveals a previously unknown spike in mercury emissions during the 1970s, caused largely by the use of mercury in latex paint."
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+ - Combating Recent, Ugly Incidents of Misogyny in Gamer Culture-> 1

Submitted by ideonexus
ideonexus (1257332) writes "2490 gamers, developers and journalists have signed an open letter supporting inclusion in the gaming community after indie game developer Zoe Quinn received backlash and harassment when her ex-boyfriend posted false accusations that she traded sex for favorable reviews of her game and feminist critic Anita Sarkeesian was driven from her home after receiving death and rape threats for her videos illustrating the way some mainstream games encourage the commodification of and violence against women. The harassment has prompted geek-dating advice columnist Harris O’Malley to declare the backlash the "Extinction Burst of Gaming Culture", the last reactionary gasp before the culture shifts to become more inclusionary."
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