California bill to ban single-use plastic by 2030 failed to pass

After China stopped accepting recylables, California was put in a tough place.

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  • California attempted to ban single use plastics by 2030.
  • The bill couldn't pass through the necessary channels and was stopped by industry lobbyists.
  • Microplastics and plastic pollution in general are becoming increasingly more detrimental to the environment.
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MIT launches a fleet of Transformer boats

Clusters of bot boats may offer cities dynamic solutions to rising waters.

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  • Amsterdam is working with MIT to develop a way to move activity from the streets to the canals.
  • A paper announces that the boats can now assemble themselves into various shapes.
  • Flexible urban infrastructural systems such as this are likely to grow in importance.
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The next clean energy source? Snow.

Researchers from UCLA invent a device that generates electricity from a rather unusual source.

Photo credit: Bryce Evans on Unsplash
  • UCLA scientists have invented a cheap, flexible, and simple device called snow-TENG that generates electricity when it comes into contact with snow.
  • Scientists have known that snow carries an electrical charge for several decades, but this device is one of the first to capitalize on that effect.
  • The researchers believe that snow-TENG could be used in movement-tracking applications or as a simple weather station that requires no battery to operate.
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New evidence shows Neanderthals got 'surfer's ear'

Our relationship with water still matters.

Photo: Eric Cabanis/AFP/Getty Images
  • According to new research, half of Neanderthal skulls studied had exostoses — aka "surfer's ear."
  • The condition is common in mammals that spend a lot of time in water.
  • Though today we are largely disconnected from nature, the consequences of our relationship to it are still felt.
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Solar-powered desalination plant in Kenya gives fresh water to 25,000 people a day

Turning salt water into fresh water with the power of the sun.

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  • New solar-powered desalination plant provides fresh water in Kenya.
  • The plant is already able to support 25,000 people a day.
  • As more water-scarce regions pop up worldwide, technology such as this offers an energy efficient way to provide fresh water.
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