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Too many barriers to energy efficiency | Transport & Environment

Why trees shed their leaves

Something to think about while raking.<p>In temperate forests across the Northern Hemisphere, trees shed their leaves during autumn as cold weather …

Weather

600-year-old canoe found in New Zealand linked to Polynesian sailors

Centuries before Captain Cook explored the South Pacific, Polynesian seafarers in canoes crossed vast swaths of water to colonize lonely islands from Samoa and New Zealand all the way to Hawaii. But how they managed such a daring feat remains something of a mystery.<p>Now, a roughly 600-year-old canoe …

APOD: A Full Circle Rainbow over Australia (2014 Sep 30) Image Credit & Copyright: Colin Leonhardt (Birdseye View Photography) http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap140930.html Explanation: Have you ever seen an entire rainbow? From the ground, typically, only the top portion of a rainbow is visible because directions toward the ground have fewer raindrops. From the air, though, the entire 360 degree circle of a rainbow is more commonly visible. Pictured here, a full circle rainbow was captured over Cottesloe Beach near Perth, Australia last year by a helicopter flying between a setting sun and a downpour. An observer-dependent phenomenon primarily caused by the internal reflection of sunlight by raindrops, the 84-degree diameter rainbow followed the helicopter, intact, for about 5 kilometers. As a bonus, a second rainbow that was more faint and color-reversed was visible outside the first. http://www.birdseyeviewphotography.com.au Starship Asterisk* • APOD Discussion Page http://asterisk.apod.com/discuss_apod.php?date=140930 #APOD

Tiny Spanish Island Nears Its Goal: 100 Percent Renewable Energy

It actually takes quite a lot of fossil fuel power to reach the tiny Spanish island of El Hierro. You have to catch a commercial jet flight, a propeller plane and then a ferry to reach what was once the end of the known world, before Columbus set sail.<p>But once you're there, there's no need for …

"Fantasy" of Fuel From Corn Waste Gets Big U.S. Test

Project Liberty is the first of three commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plants opening this year.<p>EMMETSBURG, Iowa—Despite its grand scale, the event that marked the opening of the Project Liberty ethanol plant in northern Iowa last week at times felt a bit like a homey church function.<p>At a …

Can Genetic Engineering Save the Florida Orange?

Genetically modified oranges might save Florida's blighted groves—if Americans will drink the juice.<p>Citrus greening, the plague that could wipe out Florida's $9 billion orange industry, begins with the touch of a jumpy brown bug on a sun-kissed leaf.<p>From there, the bacterial disease incubates in …

Why going to college is important

Every three years, the Federal Reserve conducts an in-depth survey that collects data about family income, net worth, credit use, and a host of other variables that weigh on the health of the American consumer. The most recent survey was released earlier this month and reveals, among other things, …

Brazil builds giant Amazon observation tower

<b>Construction has begun on a giant observation tower in the heart of the Amazon basin to monitor climate change.</b><p>The Amazon Tall Tower Observatory is expected to rise 325m from the ground.<p>Its instruments will gather data on greenhouse gases, aerosol particles and the weather in one of the largest …

Amazon Rainforest

Is A Simulated Brain Conscious?

Scott Aaronson's answer has implications for C-3PO, the universe and the odds that you are a Boltzmann Brain.<p>Imagine standing in an open field with a bucket of water balloons and a couple of friends. You've decided to play a game called "Mind." Each of you has your own set of rules. Maybe Molly …

Fall Into A Trance Watching This Pendulum Wave Of Bowling Balls

Because a pendulum's oscillation frequency depends on its length, not its mass, you can use different colored bowling balls for a pretty effect.<p>Happy Monday! How about some simple physics to get your day started? We very much enjoyed this video, posted yesterday, of a giant outdoor DIY pendulum toy …

Delta Cephei is a famous variable star

Delta Cephei doubles in brightness every 5.36 days and thereby helped establish the known distance scale of our galaxy and universe.<p>At the southeast …

Astronomy

Giant Dinosaur Could Fill in 'Black Hole' of Fossil Record

<i>This story was updated at 5:54 pm ET on Sept. 8.</i><p>A giant dinosaur found in Tanzania once lived during a lush, green period when flowering plants …

Paleontology

When Scientists Give Up

Ian Glomski thought he was going to make a difference in the fight to protect people from deadly anthrax germs. He had done everything right — attended one top university, landed an assistant professorship at another.<p>But Glomski ran head-on into an unpleasant reality: These days, the scramble for …

New Dinosaur Species Unearthed in Tanzania

Paleontologists have unearthed a new species of dinosaur in Tanzania, a long-necked, plant-eating giant that crops up in varied forms on every …

Paleontology

Arctic archaeologists find Franklin expedition ship

Canadian archaeologists have found one of the Franklin expedition’s ships — lost since the Arctic explorers famously disappeared in 1846 — off of …

Biofuels: E Coli Modified To Make Engine-Ready Propane

<i>E coli</i> bacteria have been genetically modified to produce engine-ready propane for the first time.<p>“This opens up possibilities for future sustainable production of renewable fuels that at first could complement, and thereafter replace fossil fuels like diesel, petrol, natural gas and jet fuel,” …

Terrawatch: Bárðabunga plays the waiting game

In recent weeks all eyes have been turned towards Iceland's Bárðarbunga volcano, wondering what kind of fireworks her rumbles might produce. Buried beneath 850 metres of ice under the Vatnajökull glacier, this volcano has erupted more lava than any other volcano on the planet in the last 10,000 …

Magical Nighttime Long Exposures and Composites by Matt Payne

Oregon-based photographer Matt Payne's passion for the outdoors shines through in his stunning landscape and nightscape photography. He finds the most enchanting moments in which vibrant colors and lively motion overhead complement the stillness of the world below.<p>Payne uses long exposures and …

Landscape Photography

Archaeologists Discover Two Long Lost Ancient Maya Cities in Jungle of Mexico

In an amazing new discovery in the jungles of Mexico, archaeologists have uncovered two ancient Mayan cities, including ruined pyramid temples, …

Bizarre TomTato Grows Tomatoes and Potatoes on a Single Plant!

A horticulture center in the UK has spent the better part of a decade developing something that the vast majority of us didn’t realize the world was …

Java-Heads Rejoice! They Sequenced the Coffee Genome

Researchers have sequenced the genome of the coffee tree. After comparing coffee genes with those of other caffeine producers, they conclude that the ability to make caffeine arose independently at least twice.<p><b>Scientists now have a draft sequence</b> for the genome of <i>Coffea canephora</i>, whose beans …