Menu

Blog

Archive for the ‘sustainability’ category: Page 422

Apr 3, 2017

Climate change is causing PTSD, anxiety, and depression on a mass scale

Posted by in categories: climatology, food, habitats, health, neuroscience, sustainability

Depression, anxiety, grief, despair, stress—even suicide: The damage of unfolding climate change isn’t only counted in water shortages and wildfires, it’s likely eroding mental health on a mass scale, too, reports the American Psychological Association, the preeminent organization of American mental health professionals.

Direct, acute experience with a changing climate—the trauma of losing a home or a loved one to a flood or hurricane, for example—can bring mental health consequences that are sudden and severe. After Hurricane Katrina, for example, suicide and suicidal ideation among residents of areas affected by the disaster more than doubled according to a paper led by Harvard Medical School, while one in six met the criteria for PTSD, according to a Columbia University-led paper. Elevated PTSD levels have also been found among people who live through wildfires and extreme storms, sometimes lasting several years.

But slower disasters like the “unrelenting day-by-day despair” of a prolonged drought, or more insidious changes like food shortages, rising sea levels, and the gradual loss of natural environments, will “cause some of the most resounding chronic psychological consequences,” the APA writes in its 69-page review of existing scientific literature, co-authored by Climate for Health and EcoAmerica, both environmental organizations. “Gradual, long-term changes in climate can also surface a number of different emotions, including fear, anger, feelings of powerlessness, or exhaustion.”

Continue reading “Climate change is causing PTSD, anxiety, and depression on a mass scale” »

Mar 31, 2017

Transparent Solar Panels Could Charge Your Phone and Home

Posted by in categories: habitats, mobile phones, solar power, sustainability

The future is here, and it’s transparent tech.

Read more

Mar 31, 2017

Solar-Powered Graphene Skin Enables Prosthetics to Feel

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, cyborgs, robotics/AI, sustainability

The team tested their device on a prosthetic hand. When the skin patches on the skin were enabled, the prosthetic could touch and grab soft objects like a normal hand. But when the skin was not turned on, the hand crushed the objects.

The skin requires just 20 nanowatts of power per square centimeter, according to the paper. Right now, the energy captured by the photovoltaic cells has to be used immediately, but the team has another prototype in development that includes flexible supercapacitors to store excess energy.

Continue reading “Solar-Powered Graphene Skin Enables Prosthetics to Feel” »

Mar 30, 2017

This fully transparent solar cell could make every window and screen a power source

Posted by in categories: engineering, mobile phones, solar power, sustainability

Back in August 2014, researchers at Michigan State University created a fully transparent solar concentrator, which could turn any window or sheet of glass (like your smartphone’s screen) into a photovoltaic solar cell. Unlike other “transparent” solar cells that we’ve reported on in the past, this one really is transparent, as you can see in the photos throughout this story. According to Richard Lunt, who led the research at the time, the team was confident the transparent solar panels can be efficiently deployed in a wide range of settings, from “tall buildings with lots of windows or any kind of mobile device that demands high aesthetic quality like a phone or e-reader.”

Now Ubiquitous Energy, an MIT startup we first reported on in 2013, is getting closer to bringing its transparent solar panels to market. Lunt cofounded the company and remains assistant professor of chemical engineering and materials science at Michigan State University. Essentially, what they’re doing is instead of shrinking the components, they’re changing the way the cell absorbs light. The cell selectively harvests the part of the solar spectrum we can’t see with our eye, while letting regular visible light pass through.

Scientifically, a transparent solar panel is something of an oxymoron. Solar cells, specifically the photovoltaic kind, make energy by absorbing photons (sunlight) and converting them into electrons (electricity). If a material is transparent, however, by definition it means that all of the light passes through the medium to strike the back of your eye. This is why previous transparent solar cells have actually only been partially transparent — and, to add insult to injury, they usually they cast a colorful shadow too.

Continue reading “This fully transparent solar cell could make every window and screen a power source” »

Mar 30, 2017

First on the Martian menu: spuds

Posted by in categories: climatology, space, sustainability

LIMA, Peru (AP) — If human beings finally reach Mars, they may find themselves depending on the humble, if hardy potato.

Scientists in Peru have used a simulator that mimics the harsh conditions on the Red Planet to successfully grow a small potato plant.

It’s an experiment straight out of the 2015 Hollywood movie “The Martian” that scientists say may also benefit arid regions already feeling the impact of climate change.

Read more

Mar 28, 2017

Physicist Wants To Beam Solar Energy Back From Moon’s Surface

Posted by in categories: solar power, space, sustainability

The Moon as a collecting point for solar energy for use on Earth and maybe even into the outer solar system.


One man’s decades-long dream of harnessing sunlight from the lunar surface.

Read more

Mar 27, 2017

Solar Powered e-Skin Could Take Prosthetics to the Next Level

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, cyborgs, robotics/AI, sustainability

Ingenious e-skin invented by scientists from the University of Glasgow improves the performance of prosthetic limbs through sensitive sensors.

Read more

Mar 25, 2017

Liquid energy storage system gets the “MOST” out of the Sun

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, solar power, sustainability

Solar power is potentially the greatest single energy source outside of controlled nuclear fusion, but the Sun is literally a fair weather source that relies on daytime and clear skies. To make solar energy a reliable, 24-hour source of energy, a team of scientists at Sweden’s Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg is developing a liquid energy storage medium that can not only release energy from the Sun on demand, but is also transportable.

The Chalmers team has been working on variants of its system, called a MOlecular Solar Thermal (MOST), for over six years, with a conceptual demonstration in 2013. It differs from other attempts to store solar energy in things like heated salts and reversing exothermic reactions in that the MOST system stores the energy directly in the bonds of an organic chemical.

Join more than 500 New Atlas Plus subscribers who read our newsletter and website without ads.

Read more

Mar 25, 2017

Tesla Model 3 safest car on the road

Posted by in categories: sustainability, transportation

Safety has been a preoccupation of consumers and carmakers for the past few decades, with some companies — like Volvo — making it their key selling point.

Automobiles are already far safer now than ever before, but advances in technology keep raising the bar for what consumers expect. And Morgan Stanley auto analyst Adam Jonas thinks the forthcoming Tesla Model 3, priced at $35,000 and expected to launch later this year, will lead the way in dramatic fashion.

Between 30,000 and 40,000 people are killed in car accidents every year in the US alone, so the stakes for drastically improved safety are high.

Continue reading “Tesla Model 3 safest car on the road” »

Mar 25, 2017

Tesla Solar Roofs Tiles Are Coming Out Next Month

Posted by in category: sustainability

Tesla is finally rolling out their own solar roof tiles.

Read more