by Megan Stilley on May 24th, 2013
Frankenstein’s Cat (2013) by Emily Anthes is about biotechnology and how animals populations are helping to enhance the field. Anthes is a science writer and is obviously very into biotechnology. The technologies Anthes discusses are cloning, “pharming”, tracking, prosthetics and spying. All of these involve animals of all different species.
This book enticed me because of a NPR clip discussing “pharming”, in relation to the book. Pharming uses animals to produce medication for human consumption. Pharming primarily uses animals that produce milk and it involves implanting a human antibody into the animal embryo. When the animal is born it produces the antibodies for certain conditions or diseases, when the animal is milked and we consume their milk, we treat said condition. When these animal reproduce their offspring carry the same antibody, so it is a relatively low cost way to produce pharmaceuticals.
by Chris DeArmond on May 23rd, 2013
Projects funded by the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Program and Vehicle Technologies Program are required to be presented and peer-reviewed during an Annual Merit Review (AMR). The conference, which was attended by roughly 2,000 people, is designed to help DOE make funding decisions for upcoming years. Though many of the presentations were highly technical, I thought the government-sponsored event was worthwhile because it connects industry experts and allows them to share their experiences with new fuel cell technologies and applications.
by Stephen Wade on May 22nd, 2013
People are funny, stubborn creatures sometimes. Even as evidence continues to pile up, habits persist. No matter one’s values or decision making process, it is hard to see how biking isn’t the preferred method of transportation.
Biking is healthy. A thirty minute bike commute burns 300 calories, reduces heart disease risk by 50%, helps the average person lose 13 lbs. over a year, and reduces the likelihood of obesity. Second, biking is cheap. The annual operating expenses of biking versus driving are $300 and $8,000, respectively. If one is obese, the increased exercise can lower health costs by $500 a year. Also, biking is fantastic for the environment. In May of last year during Ann Arbor’s Commuter Challenge month, “1,817 participants in the event were able to save 278,000 pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere by not driving to work at least one day out of the month – the equivalent of the annual emissions of 25 cars.” Finally, in a country that values freedom and independence, biking uses self-generated energy and one can easily learn how to fix their own bike.
by Justin Manger on May 21st, 2013
Yes, big improvements in air quality have been made over the last several decades. However, there is still some foul air out there, and most of it can be found in California. According to the American Lung Association’s State of the Air Report for 2013, of the top 10 areas in the U.S. with the worst air, only 2 were not in California. That dubious distinction goes to Cincinnati-Middletown-Wilmington, Ohio-Ky.-Ind. metropolis and Pittsburgh-New Castle, Pa.
The list stands for itself:
by Sean Connell on May 20th, 2013
Korea’s green growth agenda, the focus of a recent post, marked a significant shift for an advanced economy once focused on growth at all costs to a new paradigm of sustainable development, improving the environment, and green technologies. Korea’s aspirations for its green growth vision were not limited to just within its own borders, however. While drawing significant international attention to its domestic policies, Korea has also utilized its increasingly prominent global role to advocate green growth.
by Mac Maloney on May 19th, 2013
In the 1960’s and 1970’s, Berkeley, California was known as the place to fight for change. And, part of that change included the way people ate. In 1971, Alice Waters took that to the next level when she opened up her now world famous restaurant Chez Panisse. The restaurant was at the forefront of the organic/ “eat local movement,” which truly was revolutionary at the time. It should come as no surprise that a generation later, Berkeley’s Bison Brewing Company would be creating its own revolution as one of the first fully organic breweries in the world.
by Eric Wilson on May 18th, 2013
For those who don’t follow national weather patterns, it was an exceptionally snowy April, especially in Minnesota, or shall I say even for Minnesota. There was at least some snow on the ground from roughly December 8th through May 2nd in the Twin Cities. This limited data set causes people to make comments like the following, “I don’t want to hear anymore about global warming.” A bus rider** made this very statement the day after Earth Day.
by Megan Stilley on May 17th, 2013
Last year we had a massive garden. It took up the majority of our backyard with peas, leeks, carrots, beans, summer squash, winter squash, lettuces, broccoli, tomatoes, collards and herbs. But to be honest, it was a lot of work and a lot of it was a bust. It was extremely hot and dry last summer so while we had lots of plants, many of them didn’t produce. I know we weren’t the only ones that dealt with this issue, since I consulted with friends that garden and they had the same issues. It was really disheartening to put all the work into a garden and not get the produce in the end.
With that in mind, we decided to make our garden smaller this year. In Colorado, greens and lettuces do really well. So we planted lots of these: two kinds of kales, spinach, two kinds of lettuce, arugula, and chard. We got a late start on planting these, but that was probably a good thing since we had snow the first week of May. We decided for our other vegetables to just go ahead and buy the plants for less work and in hopes that they would be more productive. We planted tomatoes, peppers, herbs and summer squash. I am hoping this summer will be more plentiful than last year but that really depends on the heat.
by Chris DeArmond on May 16th, 2013
The Department of Energy (DOE) last week was excited to announce the commencement of industrial-scale carbon capture and utilization demonstration projects at two hydrogen production facilities in Port Arthur, Texas. Though renewable energy will play an important role in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, some argue that capturing the carbon released from fossil fuels will be necessary if we are to continue using them as a primary energy source.
by Eric Wilson on May 14th, 2013
Ask any ecologist or biologist and they’ll probably tell you that greater diversity in a system, usually referred to as biodiversity, increases its health and long term viability. Extending this to human populations, a diversity of ideas and perspectives makes for a healthier society. While conflict and strife are inevitable, co-existing is in our best interest.