2,871 articles from APRIL 2021

Our Digital World Can Deliver a Greener Industrial Future

The globalization of manufacturing has transformed some of the world’s poorest nations to unprecedented levels of economic prosperity. But the resulting increase in poorly controlled emissions and eco-degradation has caused unsustainable levels of local air and water pollution, destabilizing the climate and threatening biodiversity. Just as the vast development of technology hastened...

Our Planet Faces Twin Climate and Nature Crises. Here’s How We Can Tackle Both

Nature and climate are inextricably linked. Nature loss drives climate change and vice versa. Right now, both are in crisis. Repairing our natural climate—reversing deforestation, for example, or conserving ecosystems to sequester and store carbon—addresses both these crises. So-called natural climate solutions are one of the most important and cost-effective ways to stay on track...

The Story Behind TIME’s ‘Climate Is Everything’ Cover

To illustrate the dramatic effects of climate change on our interconnected world for the April 26 issue of TIME, we turned the cover canvas over to “an artist who paints without a paintbrush.” Malaysian artist Red Hong Yi spent two weeks creating an image that is part sculpture, part performance art. She and her six-person team constructed a 7.5 x 10-foot world map out of 50,000...

Vanessa Nakate: How Educating Girls Will Help Combat the Climate Crisis

When you think of climate solutions, you probably think of renewable energy or electric vehicles. But while we need these kinds of innovations, there are other powerful solutions we are not paying proper attention to. There exists an environmental solution that can reduce inequality, build resilience to the climate crisis and reduce emissions all at the same time. It’s called educating...

COVID-19 lockdowns linked to pollution spikes in some cities

Lockdowns last year in response to COVID-19 resulted in drastic cuts to emissions, especially from vehicle tailpipes, and yet some urban areas saw a paradoxical spike in ozone air pollution. A new study led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) used a sophisticated computer model to disentangle the complicated web of atmospheric chemistry and meteorology to determine the causes of...

First 3D-printed proton-conductive membrane paves way for tailored energy storage devices

The advent and increased availability of 3D printing is leading to more customizable parts at lower costs across a spectrum of applications, from wearable smart devices to autonomous vehicles. Now, a research team based at Tohoku University has 3D printed the first proton exchange membrane, a critical component of batteries, electrochemical capacitors and fuel cells. The achievement also brings...

3,500-year-old honeypot is the oldest direct evidence for honey collecting in Africa

Honey is humankind's oldest sweetener—and for thousands of years it was also the only one. Indirect clues about the significance of bees and bee products are provided by prehistoric petroglyphs on various continents, created between 8,000 and 40,000 years ago. Ancient Egyptian reliefs indicate the practice of beekeeping as early as 2600 year BCE. But for sub-Saharan Africa, direct archaeological...

With the right price path, there is no need for excessive carbon dioxide removal

Technologies to remove CO2 from the atmosphere, such as reforestation or bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS), are an indispensable part of limiting climate change in most scenarios. However, excessive deployment of such technologies would carry risks such as land conflicts or enhanced water scarcity due to a high demand for bioenergy crops. To tackle this trade-off, a team of...

Epigenetic regulator HP1a: Study reveals how DNA organizes itself in the nucleus

The DNA molecule is not naked in the nucleus. Instead, it is folded in a very organized way by the help of different proteins to establish a unique spatial organization of the genetic information. This 3D spatial genome organization is fundamental for the regulation of our genes and has to be established de novo by each individual during early embryogenesis. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute...

Revealing the routes of the Hanseatic era online

The Hanseatic League was a confederation of merchant guilds and market towns in Northwestern and Central Europe, which came to dominate trade in the region for 300 years. A digital platform has now been built which reveals the long-distance trade routes in Northern Europe between 1350 and 1650. The Research Center for Hanse and Baltic History, the Universities of Magdeburg, Aarhus and Nijmegen,...

How can we conserve Seychelles giant trevallies?

A recent study has revealed that to better conserve the giant trevally, an economically important game fish in the Seychelles, its nursery areas should be protected, along with the larger areas the adults of the species frequently use. The study advises that St. Joseph Atoll, the nursery area in the study, should not allow extractive fishing for species like giant trevally.

Respiratory viral pathogens like SARS-CoV-2 easy to test on-site with new nanofilm

Researchers in South Korea have developed a plasmonic isothermal recombinase polymerase amplification (RPA) array chip. This first plasmoinc isothermal PCR technology can detect eight types of pathogens (four bacteria and four viruses) that cause acute respiratory infectious diseases; the analysis takes only 30 minutes. The research was led by Dr. Sung-Gyu Park and Dr. Ho Sang Jung of the Korea...

Photonic MEMS switches going commercial

One of the technical challenges the current data revolution faces is finding an efficient way to route the data. This task is usually performed by electronic switches, while the data itself is transferred using light confined in optical waveguides. For this reason, conversion from an optical to an electronic signal and back-conversion are required, which costs energy and limits the amount of...

New evidence regarding emerald production in Roman Egypt coming from Wadi Sikait

A new paper published in the Journal of Near Eastern Studies presents the results of and images from the resuming of the archaeological seasons in the Mons Smaragdus region in the Egyptian Eastern Desert. The region is known for Roman-era emerald mines, chronicled by authors like Pliny the Elder and Claudius Ptolemy, rediscovered in the 19th century by the French mineralogist Fréderic Cailliaud....

Massive fragment screen points way to new SARS-CoV-2 inhibitors

New research published in Science Advances provides a template for how to develop directly acting antivirals with novel modes of action that would combat COVID-19 by suppressing the SARS-CoV-2 viral infection. The study focused on the macrodomain part of the Nsp3 gene product that SARS-CoV-2 uses to suppress the host cell's natural antiviral response. This part of the virus's machinery, also known...

Lisa P. Jackson: The Fight Against Climate Change Is a Fight for People

When I was 8 years old, I wrote a letter asking President Nixon to do what he could to protect our planet. I didn’t know I’d one day go on to lead the agency he founded, the Environmental Protection Agency, or build on that work at Apple. But I saw the impact pollution was having on my community, contaminating our air and water. I knew then, as I know now, that when people’s...

The Pandemic Remade Every Corner of Society. Now It’s the Climate’s Turn

On her third day as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Marcia Fudge phoned the White House. She had taken over an agency with a role to play addressing a range of crises as the lack of affordable housing in U.S. cities has left hundreds of thousands homeless and millions more in financial straits.…

Brian Gardiner obituary

Palaeontologist who studied the bony ancestors of salmon and cod, and what lungfish had in common with four-limbed animalsEarly in his scientific career, Brian Gardiner, who has died aged 88, was seduced by fossils – the remains, shapes or traces of ancient organisms preserved in rock. Brian wanted to learn how these should be interpreted and classified and what they reveal about evolution. In...

Snake species from different terrains surrender surface secrets behind slithering success

Some snake species slither across the ground, while others climb trees, dive through sand or glide across water. Today, scientists report that the surface chemistry of snake scales varies among species that negotiate these different terrains. The findings could have implications for designing durable materials, as well as robots that mimic snake locomotion to cross surfaces that would otherwise be...