Feeding 9 billion people is possible with sustainable farming

An international team of scientists has proposed a five-point plan for feeding the world while protecting the planet. The research concludes that "feeding the nine billion people anticipated to live on Earth in 2050 without exhausting the Earth's natural resources is possible, provided that we adopt a more sustainable food production approach."

Crab Blast

Imagine a sun shining more bright than our sun does. 10 times brighter and warmer? A thousand times? How about 50 billion times? An international team of scientists has detected the highest energy gamma rays ever observed from a pulsar, a highly magnetized and rapidly spinning neutron star. The VERITAS experiment measured gamma rays coming from the Crab Pulsar at such large energies that they cannot be explained by current scientific models of how pulsars behave, the researchers said. The results, published on Oct. 6 in the journal Science, outline the first observation of photons from a pulsar system with energies greater than 100 billion electron volts — more than 50 billion times higher than visible light from the sun.

Study: Human Brain Evolved to Predict Smells

Of all our sensory organs, the sense of smell is often overlooked. While visual, auditory, and tactile perception are important, the olfactory sense also plays a subtle yet meaningful role in our daily lives. The animal brain has an amazing ability to recognize and associate smells entering the nostrils. However, according to a research study at Northwestern University Medicine, the brain is able to predict the smell even before it enters the nostrils. The brain can generate a "predictive template" that leads to expectation of a scent. This amazing ability has played an important role in animal evolution, allowing humans to react faster and more accurately to stimuli in the environment.

Why Climate Models Underestimated Arctic Sea Ice Retreat: No Arctic Sea Ice in Summer by End of Century?

ScienceDaily (Oct. 6, 2011) — In recent decades, Arctic sea ice has suffered a dramatic decline that exceeds climate model predictions. The unexpected rate of ice shrinkage has now been explained by researchers at CNRS, Université Joseph Fourier and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. They argue that climate models underestimate the rate of ice thinning, which is actually about four times faster than calculations. This model bias is due to the poor representation of the sea ice southward drift out of the Arctic basin through the Fram Strait. When this mechanism was taken into account to correct the discrepancy between simulations and observations, results from the new model suggested that there will be no Arctic sea ice in summer by the end of the century.

Eight Amazing Things About Solar Panels That Could Change the World

Green energy is one of the most rapidly expanding industries in the world right now due to so many people looking to do their part to help save the planet. With so much focus on solving global warming and reducing air pollution, smarter and cleaner forms of energy are being looked at very closely by scientists and consumers. There are several cool facts about solar power that can change the world.

Air Tax

Those who fly or are planning to fly to Europe nowadays will find that there is a heavy tax to pay loosely called environmental fees. European rules forcing all airlines to pay for carbon emissions are within the law, an adviser to Europe's highest court said on Thursday (October 6), in the latest stage of a bitter battle between the European Union and the aviation industry. From January next year, all airlines will have to buy permits under the EU's emissions trading scheme (ETS) to help cover the carbon cost of all flights that land or take off in Europe.

Drought-stricken Pacific island nation Tuvalu down to last few days of water

The drought-stricken Pacific island nation of Tuvalu is down to its last few days of water, prompting a mercy dash by New Zealand and Australia with water-making equipment. Tuvalu, the world's fourth-smallest nation sitting just below the Equator, has declared a state of emergency and is rationing water. Tuvalu has a collective land mass of just 25 sq km (10 square miles) with its highest point five meters above sea level and is one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change and rising oceans. Air force planes from New Zealand and Australia were combining on Friday to move a large desalination plant to Tuvalu, a group of small islands around 3,180 km (2,000 miles) northeast of New Zealand. "The advice is that more capacity is needed to relieve the acute water shortage and replenish stocks," said New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully in a statement.

Growing CO2 Emissions from China due to Construction

Carbon Dioxide emissions are not just from industry but may be caused by construction especially when there is a lot of new construction. Constructing buildings, power-plants and roads has driven a substantial increase in China's CO2 emission growth, according to a new study involving the University of East Anglia. Fast growing capital investments in infrastructure projects led to the expansion of the construction industry and its energy and CO2 intensive supply chain, such as steel and cement production. As a result of this transformation of China’s economy, more and more CO2 was released per unit of gross domestic product – a reversion of a long-term trend. Recently China became the world’s largest consumer of energy and emitter of CO2, overtaking the US. Previously the country’s greenhouse gas emissions growth was driven by rising consumption and exports. Today this growth is offset by emission savings from efficiency increases, but these savings are being hindered by the building of infrastructure – which is important as it dictates tomorrow’s emissions, the international team of researchers concludes.