Tools for Mars are being developed in preparation for colonization

Turns out chitin is quite useful when you need a wrench.

Credit: Dotted Yeti / Shutterstock
  • Researchers at the Singapore University of Technology and Design constructed Mars-ready tools in preparation for colonization.
  • The team chose chitin as a cheap and abundant material to fashion a wrench and habitat.
  • Chitin occurs naturally in arthropod exoskeletons, fungus, and fish scales.
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What is environmental racism?

It can mean citizens drinking contaminated groundwater or being schooled in decaying buildings with asbestos problems.

Photo by bennett tobias on Unsplash
Poisoned tap water in Flint, Michigan. Toxic waste dumps in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. A town in China where 80% of children have been poisoned by old computer parts. What do these things have in common?
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Nano diamond batteries have one company all charged-up

Utilizing nuclear waste converted to diamonds, the company's batteries will reportedly last thousands of years in some cases.

Image source: Oleksii Biriukov/Shutterstock
  • Nuclear reactor parts converted to radioactive carbon-14 diamonds produce energy.
  • To keep them safe, the carbon-14 diamonds are encased in a second protective diamond layer.
  • The company predicts batteries for personal devices could last about nine years.
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Water heist: Up to half of the world's supply is being stolen, study finds

A new study examines the under-researched area of water theft around the world.

Image source: Dan Gold/Unsplash
  • From 30% to 50% of the world's water is illegally or improperly taken.
  • Agriculture industries are implicated in the majority of water theft.
  • In some areas, it's so normal that it's barely noticed.

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'A world with no ice': Confronting the horrors of climate change

The complacent majority needs to step up and call for action on climate change.

  • Climate change is often framed as a debate that has split society down the middle and that requires more evidence before we can act. In reality, 97 percent of scientists agree that it is real and only 3 percent are skeptical. A sticking point for some is the estimated timeline, but as Columbia University professor Philip Kitcher points out, a 4-5 Celsius temperature increase that makes the planet uninhabitable is a disaster no matter when it happens.
  • In this video, 9 experts (including professors, astronomers, authors, and historians) explain what climate change looks like, how humans have already and are continuing to contribute to it, how and why it has become politicized, and what needs to happen moving forward for real progress to be made.
  • David Wallace-Wells, journalist and New America Foundation National Fellow, says that the main goal of climate action is not to win over the skeptical minority, but to "make those people who are concerned but still fundamentally complacent about the issue to be really engaged in a way that they prioritize climate change in their politics and their voting and make sure that our leaders think of climate change as a first-order political priority."
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