Posts Tagged: ‘climate change’

When viewed from the standpoint of geologic time, what is humanity’s ultimate contribution to the planet? As destructive and game-changing as the cataclysmic events separating whole epochs, have we ushered in an Age of Man with our agriculture, industrialism and war? What was the world like before our steam-powered industrial ascension? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Julie and I ask hard questions about humanity’s relationship with planet Earth. Will we continue to remake the world as we see fit, or will we become true stewards of the planet?

Tags: , , , ,

This post is something of an update to a post I wrote last October, an uncharacteristically optimistic post concerning the Gulf oil spill. Here’s a link to the post, but the upshot of it is that a study was published that the methane released by the broken Deepwater Horizon well was being eaten and thereby degraded by methane-ingesting bacteria in the Gulf. These bacteria, the report suggested, eat methane between 10 to 100 times faster than we used to think they could. Another study that came out last January effectively gave the all-clear, the methane-eating bacteria had consumed pretty much all of the methane from the Gulf spill, rendering all sourpuss Gulf residents’ complaints moot.

Tags: , , , ,

There are two well-known biofuels that are widely available today: ethanol and biodiesel. Ethanol comes (in most cases today) from the fermentation of corn, using approximately the same process that has been used for centuries to make beer and then whiskey. Biodiesel comes from soybean oil or corn oil using a fairly simple process. A […]

Tags: , , , , ,

In the following article, a really interesting question is explored. The question is: Is there a better, more efficient way to launch airplanes? Electric Aviation is the Future of Transport If you think about how airplanes take off now, you can see the potential problem. The pilot positions the plane at the end of the […]

Tags: , , , , ,

Imagine that you run a shipping company that owns large container ships or supertankers. Your ships are burning lots of fuel – tens of thousands of gallons per day. The Emma Mærsk shown here burns something like 40,000 gallons per day at full speed: What if you could save 10,000 gallons per day? That is […]

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Early this morning, NASA’s Glory satellite was supposed to launch and get itself into orbit. Had it done so, here is the kind of stuff it would have been doing: Total Solar Irradiance = The sun’s brightness. Formerly known as the Solar Constant. Glory’s TIM – Total Irradiance Monitor – would have given a much […]

Tags: , , , , ,

I’ve blogged before about the whole nuclear winter versus global warming issue and it’s still something that always comes across as a relevant comparison of two man-made atmospheric changes or the bland witticism from the type of person who doesn’t believe in climate change and who fails to see the downside to nuclear warfare. It all depends on who’s doing the talking. In this latest bit of news, it’s NASA scientist Luke Oman.

Tags: ,

Imagine that men and women are automobiles parked next to each other in a garage. The male car (painted blue, naturally) is a full-sized sedan that gets, oh, 15 miles to the gallon. The gal-mobile is a VW Bug with an imitation flower sitting cheerily in the built-in vase compact car that chugs along at 25 miles to the gallon. Which car gobbles up more gas and emits more carbon? The bigger man-sedan.

Tags: , , , , ,

Today’s a big day in potato preservationist circles. Yes, there is such a thing. It marks the beginning of a massive collaborative effort to safeguard one of the world’s most important crops: the potato, of course. South American potato farmers and plant scientists worried about the fate of our favorite tubers have decided to start sending seeds from more than 1,500 different South American potato varieties to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in remote Longyearbyen, Norway. Quite a change for potatoes used to their historic mountainous home in the Peruvian Andes.

Tags: , , ,

You Asked:

Will there be enough food to feed people in 2050? — Garry, Bristol, United Kingdom

Marshall Brain Answers:

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Recent Postings by Category