Bringing Vacationers Together, For The Good Of The Planet
Five percent of the world's CO2 emissions come as a result of holiday travel. Two researchers are looking into ways to encourage vacationers to reduce their carbon footprint by using social media to share rides and information.
Kecia Lynn has worked as a technical writer, editor, software developer, arts administrator, summer camp director, and television host. A graduate of Case Western Reserve University and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, she is currently living in Iowa City and working on her first novel.
What's the Latest Development?
Two researchers at Bournemouth University's School of Tourism are looking into ways to mitigate the effects of tourism -- specifically, travel to and from typical vacation spots, such as campsites and the beach -- on the environment. Janet Dickinson and Viachaslau Filimonau are participating in a larger collaboration, the Sixth Sense Transport Project, which seeks to "revolutionise the travel decision making process" by encouraging the use of social media and mobile technology. Dickinson says they want to "[find] out about people's travel decision making and whether their behaviour can be changed if they realise 200 other people living alongside them are about to make the same journey."
What's the Big Idea?
Five percent of the world's carbon dioxide emissions come from holiday travel, which, if "holiday travel" were a country, would put it in the top 10 on a list of emission-producing countries. That said, the project's goal is not to restrict traveling, but to provide incentives that will help reduce unnecessary travel. The first step is to figure out how open people are to sharing, and from there the team hopes to learn about vacationers' habits and eventually invite them to try certain apps while on vacation.
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Here's the science of black holes, from supermassive monsters to ones the size of ping-pong balls.
- There's more than one way to make a black hole, says NASA's Michelle Thaller. They're not always formed from dead stars. For example, there are teeny tiny black holes all around us, the result of high-energy cosmic rays slamming into our atmosphere with enough force to cram matter together so densely that no light can escape.
- CERN is trying to create artificial black holes right now, but don't worry, it's not dangerous. Scientists there are attempting to smash two particles together with such intensity that it creates a black hole that would live for just a millionth of a second.
- Thaller uses a brilliant analogy involving a rubber sheet, a marble, and an elephant to explain why different black holes have varying densities. Watch and learn!
- Bonus fact: If the Earth became a black hole, it would be crushed to the size of a ping-pong ball.
From time-traveling billiard balls to information-destroying black holes, the world's got plenty of puzzles that are hard to wrap your head around.
- While it's one of the best on Earth, the human brain has a lot of trouble accounting for certain problems.
- We've evolved to think of reality in a very specific way, but there are plenty of paradoxes out there to suggest that reality doesn't work quite the way we think it does.
- Considering these paradoxes is a great way to come to grips with how incomplete our understanding of the universe really is.
In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.
- The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
- Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
- Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
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