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Archive for the ‘climatology’ category

Aug 15, 2016

Electric vehicles can meet drivers’ needs enough to replace 90 percent of vehicles now on the road

Posted by in categories: climatology, sustainability

Could existing electric vehicles (EVs), despite their limited driving range, bring about a meaningful reduction in the greenhouse-gas emissions that are causing global climate change? Researchers at MIT have just completed the most comprehensive study yet to address this hotly debated question, and have reached a clear conclusion: Yes, they can.

The study, which found that a wholesale replacement of conventional vehicles with electric ones is possible today and could play a significant role in meeting climate change mitigation goals, was published today in the journal Nature Energy by Jessika Trancik, the Atlantic Richfield Career Development Associate Professor in Energy Studies at MIT’s Institute for Data, Systems, and Society (IDSS), along with graduate student Zachary Needell, postdoc James McNerney, and recent graduate Michael Chang SM ‘15.

“Roughly 90 percent of the personal vehicles on the road daily could be replaced by a low-cost electric vehicle available on the market today, even if the cars can only charge overnight,” Trancik says, “which would more than meet near-term U.S. climate targets for personal vehicle travel.” Overall, when accounting for the emissions today from the power plants that provide the electricity, this would lead to an approximately 30 percent reduction in emissions from transportation. Deeper emissions cuts would be realized if power plants decarbonize over time.

Aug 2, 2016

Tesla is building an electric minibus based on the Model X

Posted by in categories: climatology, economics, Elon Musk, energy, robotics/AI, sustainability

Elon Musk has been a busy man lately as he works to transition the world to renewable energy and sustainable transportation with the goal of decarbonizing the global economy to meet the challenge of climate change. To meet that goal, Tesla will need to address “high passenger-density urban transport” – and Musk just confirmed plans to create a fully autonomous electric Minibus using the Model X chassis.

Jul 27, 2016

A stunning prediction of climate science — and basic physics — may now be coming true

Posted by in categories: climatology, physics, science

NASA researchers suggest sea levels may be plunging around Greenland because of ice loss and a resulting decline in gravitational pull.

Jul 20, 2016

Physicists Say They’ve Figured out How Spacecraft Could Make It Through a Wormhole

Posted by in categories: climatology, cosmology, physics, space travel, sustainability

A new paper asserts that a physical body might be able to pass through a wormhole in spite of the extreme tidal forces that are at play.

A physical object, such as a person or a spacecraft, could theoretically make it through a wormhole in the centre of a black hole, and maybe even access another universe on the other side, physicists have suggested.

Continue reading “Physicists Say They’ve Figured out How Spacecraft Could Make It Through a Wormhole” »

Jul 6, 2016

Singularity Hypotheses

Posted by in categories: climatology, economics, education, health, policy, robotics/AI, singularity, sustainability

Artificial intelligence (AI) technologies offer great promise for creating new and innovative products, growing the economy, and advancing national priorities in areas such as education, mental and physical health, addressing climate change, and more. Like any transformative technology, however, AI carries risks and presents complex policy challenges along a number of different fronts. The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is interested in developing a view of AI across all sectors for the purpose of recommending directions for research and determining challenges and opportunities in this field. The views of the American people, including stakeholders such as consumers, academic and industry researchers, private companies, and charitable foundations, are important to inform an understanding of current and future needs for AI in diverse fields. The purpose of this RFI is to solicit feedback on overarching questions in AI, including AI research and the tools, technologies, and training that are needed to answer these questions.

Jul 1, 2016

Half Of North America’s Electricity Will Be Emissions-Free By 2025

Posted by in categories: climatology, nuclear energy, sustainability

North american leaders set goals to mitigate climate change.

President Obama, Prime Minister Trudeau of Canada and President Peña Nieto of Mexico met in Ottawa on Wednesday, agreeing on goals and targets to lower emissions, raise efficiency and bring better protections to the environment.

Renewables, nuclear and carbon capture and storage technology will be on the table to help North Americans meet their goal of 50 percent clean, emissions-free energy by 2025.

Continue reading “Half Of North America’s Electricity Will Be Emissions-Free By 2025” »

Jul 1, 2016

Something To Celebrate: The Ozone Hole Is Really Healing

Posted by in category: climatology

Only volcanoes are being difficult about the ‘hole’ thing.

Jun 30, 2016

The sun is losing its spots — and here’s why that’s a bad thing for all of us

Posted by in category: climatology

The sun is losing its spots, and it’s certainly something that we shouldn’t take lightly. According to news.com.au, our fireball has gone blank for the second time this month, leading Meteorologist Paul Dorian to believe that the next solar minimum is approaching and there will be an increasing number of spotless days over the next few years. This matters because the amount of sun spots reportedly affects our climate.

So, let’s start with solar minimum. What is it exactly? Well, NASA explains it to be when the sun’s natural solar cycle shows the lowest amount of sunspots. You see, when at its best, the sun’s surface is covered in visible dark blemishes, or sunspots. The sun goes through a natural solar cycle approximately every 11 years, and each cycle is marked by the increase and decrease of sunspots – with the highest number of sunspots in any given solar cycle being the “solar maximum” and the lowest number being “solar minimum.”

The sun at its best.

Jun 29, 2016

End of nations: Is there an alternative to countries?

Posted by in categories: climatology, security

Nation states cause some of our biggest problems, from civil war to climate inaction. Science suggests there are better ways to run a planet.

By Debora MacKenzie

Try, for a moment, to envisage a world without countries. Imagine a map not divided into neat, coloured patches, each with clear borders, governments, laws. Try to describe anything our society does – trade, travel, science, sport, maintaining peace and security – without mentioning countries. Try to describe yourself: you have a right to at least one nationality, and the right to change it, but not the right to have none.

Continue reading “End of nations: Is there an alternative to countries?” »

Jun 16, 2016

Nanorods could harvest water in dry climates

Posted by in category: climatology

Sometimes it’s the accidental discoveries that make the biggest impact. Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have learned that carbon-rich nanorods created in a botched experiment might be ideal for harvesting water. When there’s relatively low humidity (below 50 percent), the rods trap water inside their gaps; if it’s any more humid, however, they promptly expel that water as vapor. It’s a very unusual trait that’s likely caused by water condensing into a “bridge” in the nanorods, whose surface tension forces them to close and eventually kick the water out.

If scientists can refine the shape of these nanorods and get them to spray water on a consistent basis (only 10 to 20 percent do that right now), the implications are huge. They’d be ideal for harvesting and purifying water in dry climates — you could gather ambient moisture until there’s enough to drink. Alternately, you could use it for anti-sweat clothing that soaks up your perspiration and spits it outside. All told, you’d have direct control over just when and how you get water.

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