‘LarvalBot’ underwater drone will reseed coral reefs damaged by climate change

 

Since August 2018, the Great Barrier Reef in the ocean off Australia has had a special protector — an autonomous underwater drone called RangerBot that has monitored the status of the reef and protected the corals from the predatory crown-of-thorns starfish. But now researchers at Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Australia have announced that the RangerBot has a new mission: it is to be rechristened “LarvalBot” and will be repurposed to spread coral babies.

Scientists have collected hundreds of millions of coral spawn from the surviving corals of the Great Barrier Reef which have not yet succumbed to coral bleaching. These spawn are then reared into baby corals in special floating enclosures, and once they have grown large enough to survive on their own, they are delivered by the LarvalBot to a designated location in the reef. If necessary, many coral larvae can be distributed at once in a “larval cloud” that can blanket an entire damaged area of a reef. This technique is called larval restoration and may be reef’s best hope for the future.

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How Bill Gates aims to save $233 billion by reinventing the toilet

Gates Foundation spent $200 million funding toilet research

LIXIL is among companies drawn to potential $6 billion market

Bill Gates thinks toilets are a serious business, and he’s betting big that a reinvention of this most essential of conveniences can save a half million lives and deliver $200 billion-plus in savings.

The billionaire philanthropist, whose Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation spent $200 million over seven years funding sanitation research, showcased some 20 novel toilet and sludge-processing designs that eliminate harmful pathogens and convert bodily waste into clean water and fertilizer.

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Can mushrooms be the platform we build the future on?

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Ecovative thinks it can use mycelia, the hair-like network of cells that grows in mushrooms, to help build everything from lab-grown meat to 3D-printed organs to biofabricated leather.

Can mushrooms be the platform we build the future on?

When the first bioreactor-grown “clean meat” shows up in restaurants–perhaps by the end of this year–it’s likely to come in the form of ground meat rather than a fully formed chicken wings or sirloin steak. While it’s possible to grow animal cells in a factory, it’s harder to grow full animal parts. One solution may come from fungi: Mycelia, the hair-like network of cells that grows in mushrooms, can create a scaffold to grow a realistic cut of meat.

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GM is getting into the electric bike business

We blended electrification engineering know-how, design talents

General Motors said it plans to bring two new electric bikes to market next year — one folding and one compact — as the automaker makes a broader push into electrification and other ideas that try to move beyond its traditional business model of producing and selling gas-power vehicles.

The automaker didn’t have a lot of information to share about the e-bikes or its ultimate plans. For instance, Hannah Parish, director of General Motors Urban Mobility Solutions, wouldn’t say if GM plans to launch a bike-sharing service as a result of these two new products. “I can’t say anything is on or off the table at this point,” she added.

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’Venus Flytrap’ spheres catch and destroy BPA

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Scientists have created micron-sized spheres built to catch and destroy bisphenol A (BPA), a synthetic chemical used to make plastics.

BPA is commonly used to coat the insides of food cans, bottle tops, and water supply lines, and was once a component of baby bottles. While BPA that seeps into food and drink is considered safe in low doses, scientists suspect prolonged exposure affects the health of children and contributes to high blood pressure.

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Scientists create artificial wood that is water – and fire resistant

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The synthetic material is faster to make than natural wood.

A new lightweight substance is as strong as wood yet lacks its standard vulnerabilities to fire and water.

To create the synthetic wood, scientists took a solution of polymer resin and added a pinch of chitosan, a sugar polymer derived from the shells of shrimp and crabs. They freeze-dried the solution, yielding a structure filled with tiny pores and channels supported by the chitosan. Then they heated the resin to temperatures as high as 200 degrees Celsius to cure it, forging strong chemical bonds.

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The world’s first hydrogen train is now in service

 

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Two Coradia iLint trains have begun running a line in northern Germany.

The world’s first (and second) hydrogen-powered trains have entered service in northern Germany, marking the start of a new era for sustainable travel. Two Coradia iLint trains, made by Alstom, have begun working the line between Cuxhaven and Buxtehude just west of Hamburg. Until now, the nearly 100km-long line has been serviced by diesel trains, but will now play host to near-silent engines.

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Wind-powered Water Seer pulls 11 gallons of clean drinking water from thin air

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A new device that relies on simple condensation to collect clean water from the atmosphere promises to provide up to 11 gallons of safe drinking water without an external power source, greenhouse gas emissions, or adverse environmental impacts. What’s more, the innovative Water Seer collection device could potentially run forever, gifting generations of people with access to ‘liquid gold’ in areas of the world where a harsh climate or lack of infrastructure make access to clean drinking water a major problem. Water Seer is powered by a simple wind turbine, and the device could easily be the first step toward a sustainable, enduring solution to water shortages around the world.

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Photos show how Microsoft took a big step forward in its crazy plan to power the internet from the sea

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Microsoft has put a data centre in the sea in an experimental effort to see if it can provide internet services faster to coastal cities using renewable energy.

As part of its bigger Project Natick “moonshot,” Microsoft has put the data centre on the seafloor close to Scotland’s Orkney Islands.

The data centre is submerged 117 feet under the sea and is powered by a submarine cable running from Orkney. Microsoft picked the islands because it wants its data centres to run on renewable power, and Orkney is a major hub for renewable energy.

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Record-breaking paper water purifier operates at near 100% efficiency

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Researchers at the University at Buffalo have created a highly efficient device that uses sunlight and black carbon-dipped paper to clean water. The paper is placed in a triangular arrangement, which enables it to vaporize and absorb water with nearly 100 percent efficiency. The simple, inexpensive technology could be deployed in regions where clean drinking water is chronically unavailable or areas that have been acutely affected by natural disasters.

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Hemp is the multibillion-dollar cannabis opportunity few have heard about

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If the move to make it legal succeeds, entire industries could be revolutionized.

Today, the U.S. is the world’s largest consumer of hemp products. But because of the federal prohibition imposed on cannabis and hemp, the U.S. is importing an estimated $100 million of hemp products each year.

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One of the world’s filthiest industries just agreed to clean up its act

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The shipping industry sets sail toward a carbon-free future.

Cargo-shipping regulators have struck a historic deal to set their dirty fuel-burning industry on a low-carbon course.

On Friday, the International Maritime Organization agreed for the first time to limit greenhouse gas emissions from global shipping. The nonbinding deal marks a critical shift for the sector—which, until last week, was the only major industry without a comprehensive climate plan.

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