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Puerto Rico’s power outage keeps getting weirder and more infuriating.

Here’s the idea: Build underwater barriers in front of the glaciers most vulnerable to collapse, keeping warm ocean water from sloshing in to melt them.

Princeton glaciology postdoc Michael Wolovick presented this concept at the American Geophysical Union conference in December, as the Atlantic reports.

The Antarctic glaciers Wolovick studies are subject to disastrous feedback loops: The more they melt, the more they are exposed to melt-inducing seawater. Recent studies have suggested these massive stores of ice could collapse much faster than previously thought, potentially raising sea levels by 5 to 15 feet by the end of the century (that’s seriously bad news for coastal cities).

Wolovick has been researching the feasibility of slowing that collapse with ‘sills’ constructed out of sand and rock along the fronts of these vulnerable glaciers. Unlike a seawall, they would be entirely underwater, but would keep warm ocean water from reaching a glacier’s vulnerable base.

That could stall glacial retreat dramatically, and maybe even reverse it. In Wolovick’s virtual experiments, even the least successful version of the sills slowed a glacier’s collapse by 400 or 500 years.

It’s all still a huge if, Wolovick admits, that requires more research. But if it works, it could buy some crucial time against sea-level rise.

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Puerto Rico’s power outage keeps getting weirder and more infuriating.

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Donald Trump Lied To Us About His Health

Mother Jones

In December 2015, Donald Trump released a letter from his physician stating that he takes “81 mg of aspirin daily and a low dose of a statin.” Yesterday we learned that’s untrue. Here’s the New York Times:

President Trump takes medication for three ailments, including a prostate-related drug to promote hair growth, Mr. Trump’s longtime physician, Dr. Harold N. Bornstein, said in a series of recent interviews. The other drugs are antibiotics to control rosacea, a common skin problem, and a statin for elevated blood cholesterol and lipids.

The hair-growth drug, Propecia, has been associated in some men with “depression, anxiety and mental fogginess.”

This is all good for a few jokes, but there’s something serious here too: Once again, Trump has lied to us. He released a letter saying he takes only one prescription drug. He actually takes three, and obviously he knew this. What else is he lying about?

Source:  

Donald Trump Lied To Us About His Health

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Charts of the Day: Is Ted Cruz in 1st or 4th Place in Iowa?

Mother Jones

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Here is a test for you. Which of these polls of the Iowa caucuses do you believe?

The Pollster average of recent polls still shows Trump with a big lead over Cruz in Iowa. The latest Monmouth poll shows Cruz with a big lead. Is Monmouth an outlier? Or an indication of a recent big surge by Cruz that hasn’t shown up in the averages yet? Place your bets.

Taken from – 

Charts of the Day: Is Ted Cruz in 1st or 4th Place in Iowa?

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Pesticides just got a whole lot smaller. Is that a good thing?

Pesticides just got a whole lot smaller. Is that a good thing?

By on 22 Jan 2015commentsShare

Nanoparticles are basically the X-Men of the molecular world, in that they are unpredictable, elusive, and come in a dizzying array of forms.

So it should come as no surprise that scientists are now researching a new type of nanotechnology that could revolutionize modern farming: nanopesticides. (Cue: Ooo, ahh) Recent studies have suggested that the nano-scale pesticide droplets could offer a range of benefits including raising crop durability and persistence, while decreasing the amount of pesticide needed to cover the same amount of ground. But they’re also looking at the hefty potential for trouble: No one knows if the nanopesticide particles will seep into water systems, and, if they do, if they will harm non-pests like bees, fish, and even humans.

As we’ve written before, nanotechnology involves engineering particles that are tinier than the tiniest tiny. (More technically, we’re talking anything measured in billionths of a meter.) Scientists find this useful, since most substances behave much differently at that scale. Already, nanotechnology has changed the medical world, with nanoparticles used to purify water, protect against UV rays, and detect contamination.

The same could be true in farming. By shrinking the size of pesticide droplets down to nano-scale, scientists could help decrease overall pesticide use in U.S. agriculture. Which is a big thing — although we’ve come down a bit from the pesticide heyday of the 1980s, we still poured out 516 million pounds of pesticides in 2008 alone. Yipes. Here’s more on the potentially game-changing tech, from Modern Farmer:

By shrinking the size of individual nanopesticide droplets, there is broad consensus — from industry to academia to the Environmental Protection Agency — that the total amount of toxins sprayed on agricultural fields could be significantly reduced. Smaller droplets have a higher total surface area, which offers overall greater contact with crop pests. As well, these tiny particles can be engineered to better withstand degradation in the environment, offering longer-lasting protection than conventional pesticides.

Because many pesticides have been linked to birth defects, nerve damage, and cancer, scientists are pretty damn jazzed about the idea of using less of them.

But wait! Before we all lose our heads over the extreme tinification of agricultural chemicals — scientists still believe there could be a dark side to spraying our food and land with untested substances unknown to nature and immune to the usual kinds of breakdown (whaaa?! no way!).

So researchers across the world are slipping into lab coats and digging in. One project, led by Oregon State researcher Stacey Harper, is currently looking into how the compounds interact with their environment in “nano-sized ecosystems.” The research is still in its beginning stages, but the findings are slated to be published by the end of the year.

There is an obstacle and, surprise, it’s money. Scientists need more — more even than the $3.7 billion the the U.S. has invested through its National Nanotechnology Initiative to date — to assess fully the possible risks and rewards of nanotechnology.

Meanwhile, we giants here in the macro-world will continue enjoy the benefits of nanotechnology in our sunscreen, clean water, and scrumptious caramelly treats — even if invisible to us. As long as they don’t start manipulating magnets …

Source:
Everything You Need To Know About Nanopesticides

, Modern Farmer.

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Pesticides just got a whole lot smaller. Is that a good thing?

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Solar Power Conspiracy?

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