How 'Green' Are Wood Pellets as a Fuel Source?

How 'Green' Are Wood Pellets as a Fuel Source?

The wood pellet industry argues that it provides an alternative to coal and relies on a sustainable resource: forests that will regrow in the future and remove carbon from the atmosphere .But many scientists and conservation groups say the opposite: that burning wood is as dirty as coal, and the claim of carbon neutrality is an error that will boost emissions and make it impossible to keep the planet from warming further.

This Dam Simple Trick Is a Big Green Energy Win

This Dam Simple Trick Is a Big Green Energy Win

There is even more potential out there: A 2016 US Department of Energy report found that an additional 4.8 gigawatts of electricity could be generated by retrofitting non-powered dams over the next three decades.

Seeing Red: What the Color of House Finches Can Tell Us

Seeing Red: What the Color of House Finches Can Tell Us

As an ornithologist and doctoral student at the University of Michigan, Hill began looking for a system where he could test the basic theory as to why birds evolve these “ornaments”, particularly their colorful feathers.

Why Skincare That Burns Is So Satisfying

Why Skincare That Burns Is So Satisfying

In the case of skincare, the sense of justice arises when we feel like we have done more to earn the effects of our painful creams and microneedlers.

How Healthy Is a Farm's Soil? Check How Active Its Microbes Are

How Healthy Is a Farm's Soil? Check How Active Its Microbes Are

Since he started farming for himself in the early 1990s, he’s tried any number of tests that measure soil health, like basic nutrient profiles and fatty acid assays.“A lot of what people currently do is look at what the structure of soil is, but not what it does—the microbial activity,” Mohamed says.

The Long-Lost Tale of an 18th-Century Tsunami, as Told by Trees

The Long-Lost Tale of an 18th-Century Tsunami, as Told by Trees

They could use them to better understand the aftermath of quakes and tsunamis in this highly populated yet risky zone, and to validate the flooding models that policymakers use to prepare for future disasters.

A Third of Shark and Ray Species May Face Extinction

A Third of Shark and Ray Species May Face Extinction

The health of “entire ocean ecosystems” and food security is in jeopardy, said Dulvy, a former co-chair of the shark specialist group of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).The number of species of sharks, rays, and chimaeras, known together as chondrichthyan fishes, facing “a global extinction crisis” has more than doubled in less than a decade, according to the paper published September 6 in the journal Current Biology.

Dolphins Eavesdrop on Each Other to Avoid Awkward Run-Ins

Dolphins Eavesdrop on Each Other to Avoid Awkward Run-Ins

In their experiment, Curé’s team tested how dolphins responded when the researchers parked their boats overhead and played them social noises recorded from other groups.So to test how the animals respond, researchers play a recording of those sounds over a speaker and watch what happens.

Have You Seen A Weasel Lately?

Have You Seen A Weasel Lately?

“The authors of this paper are active field biologists, and we noticed that we just don’t see weasels in our data after field work,” says coauthor Roland Kays, research professor of forestry and environmental resources at North Carolina State and head of the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences’ Biodiversity Lab.

How Citizen Science Aids Horseshoe Crab Conservation

How Citizen Science Aids Horseshoe Crab Conservation

Females are bigger than males, and instead of mating then laying eggs, the females drop eggs in sandy nests and then males, which have attached themselves to the females, release sperm directly on top of the eggs, says Berlynna Heres, Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission researcher and lead author of the recent paper “Using Citizen Science to Track Population Trends in the American Horseshoe Crab.”.

This Tiny Robot Mimics the Mantis Shrimp's Mighty Punch

This Tiny Robot Mimics the Mantis Shrimp's Mighty Punch

Now, a team of Harvard University researchers has come up with a new biomechanical model for the mantis shrimp's mighty appendage , and it built a tiny robot to mimic that movement, according to a recent paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Radioactive Rat Snakes Could Help Monitor Fukushima Fallout

Radioactive Rat Snakes Could Help Monitor Fukushima Fallout

Gerke’s recent study suggests that rat snakes may be useful bioindicators of radioactive contamination in nuclear disaster zones.

This Barnacle-Inspired Glue Seals Bleeding Organs in Seconds

This Barnacle-Inspired Glue Seals Bleeding Organs in Seconds

Yet it’s hard to create a seal on wet tissue, and most commercial products used to stop dangerous bleeding rely on coagulants which take minutes to work.In a study published this month in Nature Biomedical Engineering, his team demonstrated how this arthropod-like glue can stop bleeding in seconds.

Sunny-Day Flooding Is About to Become More Than a Nuisance

Sunny-Day Flooding Is About to Become More Than a Nuisance

Those higher sea levels coupled with another lunar cycle will drive a national leap in high-tide flooding, starting with what Thompson and researchers call “a year of inflection.”.

Shrinking Birds with Longer Wings?

Shrinking Birds with Longer Wings?

Her most recent research, published this summer in the Journal of Animal Ecology , focuses on a unique data set: A collection from the Chicago Field Museum that goes back four decades and includes more than 70,000 birds killed during migration in collisions with the Windy City’s skyscrapers.

Is Your Name Ruining Your Life?

Is Your Name Ruining Your Life?

Follow-up enquiries from a journalist employing a similar tactic got the same result—the fictitious parent with the Muslim-sounding name was denied a place at the nursery for their child, while applicants with white-sounding names were given options and information on how to enroll.

Study discovers microplastics in New Zealand’s seabed

Study discovers microplastics in New Zealand’s seabed

A pilot study carried out by NIWA and the University of Auckland has found microplastics in samples collected from the seafloor in the Marlborough Sounds.

Reforestation Is Great! But We're Running Out of Seeds

Reforestation Is Great! But We're Running Out of Seeds

“Over the years, I’ve built up a network of people in the different collecting areas who helped me with seed collection,” Swift said.But while there’s a huge focus on planting trees, there’s little on where those seedlings will come from.

Why You Stay Up So Late, Even When You Know You Shouldn’t

Why You Stay Up So Late, Even When You Know You Shouldn’t

The idea of sleep procrastination was first introduced in a 2014 study from the Netherlands, defining the act simply as “failing to go to bed at the intended time, while no external circumstances prevent a person from doing so.” Revenge was added to the title in 2020 with the onset of the pandemic, but as a concept, it has actually been around for much longer.

Even Mild Brain Injuries Raise the Risk of Dementia

Even Mild Brain Injuries Raise the Risk of Dementia

When the University of Pennsylvania researchers analyzed the data on traumatic brain injuries, they found that people who sustained one head injury were 25 percent more likely to develop dementia than those who did not.

Why Covering Canals With Solar Panels Is a Power Move

Why Covering Canals With Solar Panels Is a Power Move

“By covering canals with solar panels, we can reduce evaporation and avoid disturbing natural and working lands, while providing renewable energy and other co-benefits,” says environmental engineer Brandi McKuin of the University of California, Merced, and the University of California, Santa Cruz, lead author on the paper.

The Tide Is High—and Getting Higher

The Tide Is High—and Getting Higher

A new study shows that nuisance flooding is exacerbated by dredging and the construction of piers and jetties that were intended to make coastal living easier but are in fact redirecting the flow of incoming ocean water and making high tides higher than ever before.

Microdosing's Feel-Good Benefits Might Just Be Placebo Effect

Microdosing's Feel-Good Benefits Might Just Be Placebo Effect

After the month-long testing period, they found that all psychological outcomes had improved since the start of the experiment for those in the microdosing group, including “in the domains of well-being, mindfulness, life satisfaction, and paranoia.” However, the same was true for the placebo group—with no significant differences between the two.

We Still Don’t Know How Well Covid Vaccines Stop Transmission

We Still Don’t Know How Well Covid Vaccines Stop Transmission

And because infections—especially asymptomatic ones—are more likely to be detected in the group that’s testing more frequently, the estimated 89.4 percent transmission-blocking effect of the vaccine is almost certainly too optimistic (a caveat the authors acknowledged, saying more research is needed to confirm their findings).

We Need a Global Outbreak Investigation Team—Now

We Need a Global Outbreak Investigation Team—Now

The most significant detail the group added was its apparent dismissal of the controversial laboratory release hypothesis , which Ben Embarek called “extremely unlikely.” The declaration was a boost to Beijing’s version of events, which has peddled unsubstantiated claims that SARS-CoV-2 could have originated outside of China, and kicked off a new round of geopolitical bickering over who should shoulder the blame for Covid-19 becoming a global pandemic.

Scientists Can Literally Become Allergic to Their Research

Scientists Can Literally Become Allergic to Their Research

Perversely, some allergy researchers say, it is the researchers’ passion for their subjects—the close observation, the long hours of work each day, and the years of commitment to a research project—that puts them at such high risk.“It is true that some things cause allergies more often than others, but the biggest factor is the frequency of the interaction with the study organism,” said John Carlson, a physician and researcher at Tulane University who specializes in insect and dust mite allergies.

Researchers Levitated a Small Tray Using Nothing but Light

Researchers Levitated a Small Tray Using Nothing but Light

Energy from the LEDs heats up the Mylar’s specially-coated underbelly, energizing air particles under the plastic and propelling the plates away with a tiny, but mighty, gust.

As More Women Enter Science, It’s Time to Redefine Mentorship

As More Women Enter Science, It’s Time to Redefine Mentorship

When a group of researchers at NYU Abu Dhabi published a paper in Nature Communications last fall suggesting that young women scientists should seek out men as mentors, the backlash was swift and vociferous.

A Quarter of Known Bee Species Haven’t Been Seen Since 1990

A Quarter of Known Bee Species Haven’t Been Seen Since 1990

“With citizen science and the ability to share data, records are going up exponentially, but the number of species reported in these records is going down,” said Eduardo Zattara, the lead author and a biologist from the Universidad Nacional del Comahue and Argentina’s National Scientific and Technical Research Council.

2020 Was the One of the Hottest Years on Record

2020 Was the One of the Hottest Years on Record

“I don’t think there’s much going to happen that will change that, barring a massive volcano,” says Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, which released the atmospheric data along with NOAA.