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Author: Frankie Schembri

Description: Hotter temperatures brought by climate change are already bringing challenges to agriculture–weather extremes including more drought, more flooding, and more high heat all of which damages crops causing lower yields and lower nutritional content. A new study confirms another threat. "As temperatures rise, nearly all insects multiply and rev up their metabolisms.” Even without warming temperatures, “insects already consume 5% to 20% of major grain crops” worldwide. Studies predict that global wheat crops will decrease by 46%, rice crops will decrease by 19%, and corn crops will decrease by 31% as the Earth warms an average of 2 degrees C by the year 2100, if not sooner. On top of those losses, the new study shows that “yield lost to insects will increase by [another] 10% to 25% per degree C of warming” especially for corn and wheat. These losses will have the greatest impact in temperate areas like the corn belt in the U.S. Midwest. The U.N. estimates that at least “815 million people worldwide already go hungry every day." “The people hardest hit by crop loss will be the world’s poorest households."

Title: Ravenous insects may be coming for our crops in a warming world

Year: 2018

Publication: Science

Full text: http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/08/ravenous-insects-may-be-coming-our-crops-warming-world

Dig deeper: http://science.sciencemag.org/content/361/6405/916

Serial Number: 50
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Author: Heather Murphy

Description: All we seem to hear these days is bad news. So, make a little bit of an effort today and make someone happy. A recent study looking at the reasons why so few people actually send thank you notes found “that many people totally miscalibrate the effect of an appreciative email. They underestimate the positive feelings it will bring.” People “also overestimate how insincere the note may appear and how uncomfortable it will make the recipient feel.” In the study, the people receiving thank you notes expressed a noticeably higher rating of happiness than the senders predicted. "People tend to undervalue the positive effect they can have on others for a tiny investment of time.” So, send a thank you note, tell someone that you appreciate them. Make another person–and yourself–feel good.

Title: You Should Actually Send That Thank You Note You’ve Been Meaning to Write: New research showed the recipients of an emailed expression of gratitude felt much more “ecstatic” than writers expected.

Year: 2018

Publication: New York Times

Full text: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/20/science/thank-you-notes.html

Dig deeper: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0956797618772506

Serial Number: 17
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Author: Henry Fountain

Description: Lack of fresh water for agricultural use and for human consumption is a growing and very serious problem globally–including rich countries. Read this article for a look at how climate change is affecting rivers in the western United States. The Rio Grande and the Colorado are experiencing significantly reduced flows due to warmer temperatures, longer and more frequent droughts, less snow and less winter precipitation overall, and the need to serve more people. By May, stretches of the Rio Grande had already completely dried up. “Both of these rivers are poster children for what climate change is doing to the Southwest” U.S. These events are not a theory or a future projection, it is happening today. How can we as a society and as individuals mitigate and adapt?

Title: In a Warming West, the Rio Grande Is Drying Up

Year: 2018

Publication: New York Times

Full text: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/05/24/climate/dry-rio-grande.html

Dig deeper: https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1002/2016WR019638

Serial Number: 24
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Author: Henry James Garrett

Description: Research has shown that “people tend to empathize more readily with those who look, sound, and behave like themselves.” Humans are not alone in being able to empathize–to feel the pain of others. Rats can also do it–and are used in research to test this effect. For example, “a white rat raised among only white rats will do nothing to save a black rat from a trap.” “Rats, like humans, can be biased in how they act on, or don’t act on, their empathy.” But, it’s not color alone that causes the bias. “A white rat raised among only black rats would save a black rat from a trap–but would fail to save other white rats.” And, white rats raised with both black and white rats will rescue rats of both colors. It is the social context that determines the extent of empathy–not the color and physical appearance.
What can this mean for us?
“Prejudice is not baked-in; it is the result of our ignorance.” A failure to learn about people of different kinds–immigrants, people who observe a different religion, who live in a different place, who speak a different language, who look different, who are of a different gender or sexual orientation, and on and on–can mean “we fail to recognize their pain as genuine pain."

Title: The Kernel of Human (or Rodent) Kindness: What we can learn from lab rats that don’t show empathy for other rats.

Year: 2018

Publication: New York Times

Full text: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/28/opinion/empathy-research-morality-rats.html

Dig deeper: https://cdn.elifesciences.org/articles/01385/elife-01385-v1.pdf

Serial Number: 76
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Author: Hiroko Tabuchi

Description: "A quarter of the world’s 100 busiest airports are less than 10 meters/32 feet above sea level. 12 of those airports–including hubs in Shanghai, Rome, San Francisco, and New York–are less than 5 meters above sea level.” This makes these airports–and significant amounts of world air traffic–especially vulnerable to rising sea levels and extreme weather. The picture shows the Kansai International Airport, near Osaka, Japan, that was inundated by sea water amid the typhoon that hit Japan the first week of September. The airport and runways were damaged, planes were grounded, and passengers were stranded at the airport for 30+ hours. This is one of many examples. “Air travel accounts for about 3 percent of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide,” but that is expected to triple by 2050. Climate change is also impacting air travel in other ways–“extreme heat can ground planes because hotter, thinner air makes achieving lift difficult; a changing climate can also increase turbulence."

Title: Many Major Airports Are Near Sea Level. A Disaster in Japan Shows What Can Go Wrong.

Year: 2018

Publication: New York Times

Full text: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/07/climate/airport-global-warming-kansai.html

Dig deeper: http://www.met.reading.ac.uk/~williams/publications/s00376-017-6268-2.pdf

Serial Number: 53
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Author: Ian Sample

Description: According to a major study that followed more than 123,000 volunteers over 34 years, "people who stick to 5 healthy habits in adulthood can add more than a decade to their lives." The 5 habits are: not smoking, having a body mass index between 18.5 and 24.9, moderately to vigorously exercising at least 30 minutes per day, drinking alcohol in moderation, and eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Women who stuck to these habits in adulthood lived about 14 years longer while men who followed these habits lived about 12 years longer (than those who did not). "Adopting a healthy lifestyle could substantially reduce premature mortality and prolong life expectancy."

Title: The five habits that can add more than a decade to your life: Major study calculates effect on lifespan of habits including healthy eating and not smoking


Year: 2018

Publication: The Guardian

Full text: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/apr/30/the-five-habits-that-can-add-more-than-a-decade-to-your-life

Dig deeper: https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.117.032047

Serial Number: 47
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Author: IRENA

Description: The renewable energy industry is a major employer worldwide; the number of jobs increased 5.3% in 2017; total employment climbed to 10.3 million people. China, Brazil, India, Germany, Japan, and the U.S. are the top employers in renewable energy. Among renewables, solar photovoltaic is the largest employer with 3.4 million jobs worldwide. Click the link for an in-depth look at the numbers ...

Title: Renewable Energy and Jobs - Annual Review 2018

Year: 2018

Publication: Renewable Energy and Jobs - Annual Review 2018

Full text: http://irena.org/publications/2018/may/renewable-energy-and-jobs-annual-review-2018

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Serial Number: 32
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Author: James Gorman

Description: Some day when future humans or another species dig back through time, what will they find to “determine who we were and how we shaped our world?”Amazingly, what may be most plentiful will be chicken bones. “65 billion or so chickens [are] consumed each year.” At any given time, “there are about 23 billion chickens on Earth … ten times more than any other bird.” Beyond the numbers is the incredible genetic and physical transformation of the chicken itself. Largely since the 1950’s, the “modern broiler chicken” has been bred and mutated to “eat insatiably” and “gain weight rapidly.”It grows so quickly, it is “subject to numerous bone ailments” and now is entirely dependent on human technology and factory farming to survive … which it does not for very long as chickens on average are sent to slaughter after only 5 to 9 weeks. There are a range of opinions of what exactly this means, and what it says about human beings and the environment we have created. But in the future after humans perhaps are long gone, “the lasting sign of how we changed the living world, will be the broiler chicken."

Title: It Could Be the Age of the Chicken, Geologically: With 65 billion chickens consumed each year, the signature fossil of the modern epoch may be the leftovers.

Year: 2018

Publication: New York Times

Full text: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/11/science/chicken-anthropocene-archaeology.html

Dig deeper: https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rsos.180325

Serial Number: 73
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Author: James Temple

Description: It has long been noted that the number of suicides increases during “warmer months.” Recent research that analyzed “decades of historical data” “concluded that 1 degree C increases in monthly average temperatures increase suicide rates by 0.7 percent in the United States and 2.1 percent in Mexico.” With projections of surface temperature increases of 2.1 to 2.5 degrees C by 2050 in North America, this could mean “9,000 to 40,000 additional suicides.” Why? One hypothesis is thermoregulation–high temperatures are tied to mental well-being. Following this lead, researchers analyzed data from more than 600 million Twitter posts and found that as the monthly average temperature increases, the use of “depressive language in tweets” also increases. “It appears that heat profoundly affects the human mind and how we decide to inflict harm."

Title: Climate change could drive tens of thousands of additional suicides in North America

Year: 2018

Publication: MIT Technology Review

Full text: https://www.technologyreview.com/s/611681/climate-change-could-drive-tens-of-thousands-of-additional-suicides-in-north-america/

Dig deeper: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-018-0222-x

Serial Number: 0
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Author: James Temple

Description: As of May 30, 2018, a supercritical carbon dioxide demonstration power plant began operation in Texas, USA. Operated by NET Power, LLC, the technology is powered by natural gas and generates electricity using CO2 itself to run the turbine. The technology–called the “Allam Cycle”–may eliminate “virtually all emissions from natural gas power generation without requiring expensive … carbon capture equipment.” The end result could be the production of “low-cost electricity from natural gas while generating near-zero atmospheric emissions, including full CO2 capture.” “If it plays out as advertised, it could be an actual game changer.”

Title: Potential Carbon Capture Game Changer Nears Completion: If it works as expected, the Net Power natural gas demonstration plant will capture carbon at nearly no cost.

Year: 2017

Publication: MIT Technology Review

Full text: https://www.technologyreview.com/s/608755/potential-carbon-capture-game-changer-nears-completion/

Dig deeper: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/net-power-achieves-major-milestone-for-carbon-capture-with-demonstration-plant-first-fire-300656175.html?tc=eml_cleartime

Serial Number: 19





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