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Jan 21, 2021

Venus may have once been habitable: Can we make it that way again?

Posted by in categories: climatology, computing, space

From planet of love to scorching Hell planet—the image of Venus has changed considerably since ancient times, because it is no longer just the third brightest natural object in Earth’s skies. The ancients equated the mysterious third light with the goddess of love; in Greece that was Aphrodite, whom the Romans conflated with the goddess Venus. That’s where our closest planetary neighbor got its name and why Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus worked as a best-selling title, as recently as 1992, and still sells. But since the mid-20th century, we’ve known in detail why a paradise Venus is not. Average temperature on the surface is a scorching 462° Celsius (864° Fahrenheit) while atmospheric pressure is 90 times that of Earth at sea level, or equivalent to being at 900 meters depth in Earth’s oceans.

A handful of Russian landing probes have survived for several minutes on the planet’s surface before being cooked and crushed, but the conditions are unquestionably inhospitable for life forms. Consequently, you do not hear about astrobiologists searching for native microorganisms on the Venusian surface the way you hear about the search for microorganisms on Mars. Nevertheless, since the late 20th century, planetary scientists have speculated that Venus could have boasted a much more hospitable environment in the distant past, perhaps 2–3 billion years ago. That’s around the time that Earth was accumulating oxygen in its oceans and atmosphere. At that point in history, Venus and Earth may have had similar climates.

What’s been in the news lately is a study involving computer climate simulations in which data from NASA’s Magellan mission to Venus were found to support the idea of a once habitable Venus. The study involved researchers from NASA, Uppsala University in Sweden, Columbia University, and the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, AZ.

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Jan 20, 2021

Ten computer codes that transformed science

Posted by in categories: biological, climatology, computing, physics, science

Although no list like this can be definitive, we polled dozens of researchers over the past year to develop a diverse line-up of ten software tools that have had a big impact on the world of science. You can weigh in on our choices at the end of the story.


From Fortran to arXiv.org, these advances in programming and platforms sent biology, climate science and physics into warp speed.

Jan 12, 2021

The new ‘gold rush’ for green lithium

Posted by in categories: climatology, computing, mobile phones, solar power, sustainability

All the clean technologies that we need to combat climate change – whether that’s wind turbines, solar panels or batteries, they’re all really, really mineral intensive.


Cornwall, 1864. A hot spring is discovered nearly 450m (1485ft) below ground in the Wheal Clifford, a copper mine just outside the mining town of Redruth. Glass bottles are immersed to their necks in its bubbling waters, carefully sealed and sent off for testing. The result is the discovery of so great a quantity of lithium – eight or 10 times as much per gallon as had been found in any hot spring previously analysed – that scientists suspect “it may prove of great commercial value”.

But 19th-Century England had little need for the element, and this 50C (122F) lithium-rich water continued steaming away in the dark for more than 150 years.

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Jan 11, 2021

It’s Not Your Rubber Tires That Protect You From Lightning

Posted by in category: climatology

Circa 2016


Many people think that it is the rubber tires that protect them when their car is struck by lightning. In reality, their car is becoming a Faraday cage. What is that and how does it work?

Michael Faraday was a British scientist born in 1791. Although not formally educated, he had a strong interest in electromagnetism. He also credited with discovering Benzene and popularizing terms such as anode, cathode and electrode. As an apprentice for a bookbinder, he read many books which encouraged his interest in science. He soon became a well known experimental scientist leading to his name becoming a unit of electrical charge. He is also known for inventing the Faraday rotator and Faraday cage.

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Jan 11, 2021

DARPA Selects Teams to Capture Potable Water from Air

Posted by in categories: climatology, engineering, finance, government, military

Atmospheric Water Extraction (AWE) performers aim to meet clean water needs of deployed troops, even in austere environments.

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Jan 9, 2021

Imminent sudden stratospheric warming to occur, bringing increased risk of snow over coming weeks

Posted by in category: climatology

A new study led by researchers at the Universities of Bristol, Exeter, and Bath helps to shed light on the winter weather we may soon have in store following a dramatic meteorological event currently unfolding high above the North Pole.

Weather forecasting models are predicting with increasing confidence that a sudden stratospheric warming (SSW) event will take place today, 5 January 2021.

The stratosphere is the layer of the atmosphere from around 10-50km above the earth’s . SSW events are some of the most extreme of atmospheric phenomena and can see polar stratospheric temperature increase by up to 50°C over the course of a few days. Such events can bring very cold , which often result in snowstorms.

Jan 3, 2021

Atlantic discovery: 12 new species ‘hiding in the deep’

Posted by in categories: climatology, sustainability

A dozen ocean species new to science could already be threatened by climate change, scientists find.

Jan 3, 2021

Abu Dhabi is going to build the world’s largest indoor farm

Posted by in categories: climatology, sustainability

Considering the innovations in vertical farming, it seems indoor farming is gaining even more steam.

Abhu Dhabi is now about to build the world’s largest indoor farm; overcoming their desert climate and making efficient use of their limited water supply. It will be able to produce 10000 tonnes of fresh vegies every 12 months.

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Jan 2, 2021

Four ways microbial fuel cells might revolutionize electricity production in the future

Posted by in categories: climatology, sustainability

The world population is estimated to reach 9.5 billion by 2050. Given that most of our current energy is generated from fossil fuels, this creates significant challenges when it comes to providing enough sustainable electricity while mitigating climate change.

One idea that has gained traction over recent years is generating using bacteria in devices called microbial fuel cells (MFCs). These fuel cells rely on the ability of certain naturally occurring microorganisms that have the ability to “breathe” metals, exchanging electrons to create electricity. This process can be fuelled using substances called substrates, which include organic materials found in wastewater.

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Dec 20, 2020

Google Looks to Batteries as Replacement for Diesel Generators

Posted by in categories: climatology, computing, internet, sustainability

O,.o.


Google will use large batteries to replace the diesel generators at one of its data centers in Belgium, describing the project as a first step towards using cleaner technologies to provide backup power for its millions of servers around the world.

“Our project in Belgium is a first step that we hope will lay the groundwork for a big vision: a world in which backup systems at data centers go from climate change problems to critical components in carbon-free energy systems,” said Joe Kava, Vice President for Data Centers at Google. “We’re aiming to demonstrate that a better, cleaner solution has advanced far enough to keep the internet up and running.”

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