Focus on renewable energy, not carbon capture, say researchers

Rather than scrubbing the emissions from fossil fuel plants, a new analysis suggests we should simply replace those power plants with renewable alternatives.

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  • Retrofitting carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology to fossil fuel-based power plants makes sense; our main problem, after all, is the CO2 these plants emit, right?
  • Early studies have suggested that these CCS solutions could be 85 to 95 percent efficient. A new study that is among the first to study actual field data suggests this wildly underestimates the impact of upstream and downstream sources of emissions, as well as the energy needs of CCS solutions themselves.
  • Instead, the researchers say, our best bet is to just replace fossil fuel-based power plants with ones that use renewable energy.
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Has Jurassic Park fostered misunderstanding about extinction?

While the blockbuster franchise might have given us a distorted view of science's capabilities to address species extinction, new research might come close to "resurrecting" lost species' DNA.

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  • Jurassic Park has fueled public misconceptions about science's abilities to bring extinct species back to life.
  • De-extinction technology can resurrect genetic material from extinct species into their living relatives in a way that can assist conservation efforts.
  • Fostering empathy for other-than-human lives through stories might be the key to addressing the current ecological catastrophe.
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How to deal when things fall apart

Glenn Albrecht has ideas about how to cope with the effects of a changing world: Invent a new language.

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  • In Earth Emotions, Australia philosopher Glenn Albrecht provides a blueprint for dealing with emotional turmoil resulting from climate change.
  • Technology has many wonderful applications, but distraction and entertainment cannot be the foundation of our devices.
  • Time remains for preparing to deal with the consequences of climate change, if we act now.
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Terraform Mars? How about Earth?

Fauna and flora refuse to go quietly into the Anthropocene.

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  • Pioneers of the Greater Holocene plan to strike back against concrete.
  • Seed packets and plant nutrients are the weapons of choice for standing up to humanity's destructive impact.
  • Hopeless? Maybe. Poignant? Absolutely.
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The invention that made us human: Fire

Did fire change the development of the human brain?

  • The earliest evidence for fire dates back nearly 440 million years.
  • Our hominin ancestors first used natural wildfires to flush out prey and forage for food.
  • Richard Wrangham's cooking hypothesis suggests that a ready supply of cooked food allowed the Homo lineage to develop its large, complex brains.
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