Content about environment

It’s getting cheaper to filter carbon dioxide out of the air (theverge.com)

Climeworks says its Generation 3 DAC plants can bring the cost of capturing CO2 down to $250--350 per ton by 2030, although there are additional costs for permanently sequestering the CO2 underground or under the sea so that it doesn't escape back into the atmosphere. Across the industry, the goal is generally to get down to around $100 per ton to make the technology affordable enough to deploy widely.

Baby steps.

tags: environment

posted by matt in Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Scientists say they can make zero-emission cement (phys.org)

This discovery, published in the journal Nature, could provoke "an absolutely massive change" by providing low-cost and low-emission cement at scale, said Julian Allwood, who co-authored the research.

I didn't appreciate the distinction between cement and concrete...or the environmental impact — "nearly eight percent of human-caused CO2 emissions" — of the soaring demand for concrete, which is "already the most widely used construction material on Earth." Sounds like this could be a huge development.

tags: environment invention

posted by matt in Saturday, May 25, 2024

Artificial intelligence technology behind ChatGPT was built in Iowa — with a lot of water (apnews.com)

"Microsoft disclosed that its global water consumption spiked 34% from 2021 to 2022 (to nearly 1.7 billion gallons, or more than 2,500 Olympic-sized swimming pools), a sharp increase compared to previous years that outside researchers tie to its AI research."

The Midwest has ready access to a lot of fresh water, and tech is coming for it. Intel is building a giant fab facility near Columbus and, apparently, OpenAI developed ChatGPT in Iowa.

Cities like Toledo, Detroit, Cleveland, and Chicago should really benefit from tech's growing thirst for water. I hope Ohio and the other Great Lakes states are ready and prepared to protect our resources. I'm all for progress, and the Midwest should leverage the need for water to gain economically from this, but ensuring sustainability of our natural resources should be the first priority.

tags: tech environment greatlakes

posted by matt in Sunday, September 10, 2023

Renee and I watched a married couple walk into the ocean today as we were floating off the beach. The woman walked in, snorkel gear in one hand and a lit cigarette in the other. Renee and I looked at each other, clearly wondering the same thing — is she going to just flick that into the water? To the woman's credit, she didn't. She dunked it, then carefully placed it in a bag she had (I think for any shells she finds while snorkeling).

Renee and I looked at each other again: Nice!

Then the man walked in, a few minutes after the woman. Same thing, except for the dunking and bagging part. He looked at his kid (who had walked in before both of them), flicked his cigarette in the ocean, strapped on his mask, and swam away.

Ugh.

tags: environment florida

postposted by matt in Thursday, August 3, 2023

Gas leaf blowers and lawn mowers are shockingly bad for the planet. Bans are beginning to spread. (usatoday.com)

“For the majority of residents who own single family homes, it’s going to be all electric, all day long," said Daniel Mabe, founder and president of the American Green Zone Alliance.

Electric vehicles are the obvious elephant in the room when it comes to gas-powered engines. But, once you think of all the lawnmowers, blowers, trimmers, edgers, snowblowers, and other small equipment out there, it's easy to see that, collectively, they could be a bigger deal.

And the shift to electric for the lawn is well underway—a visit to an big box store this spring revealed that. All are stacked to the ceiling with electric mowers and trimmers.

We bought our first electric mower this year. I mostly love it. The battery claims are bullshit, of course. It doesn't even come close to the range listed on the box. My thick lawn and the wet conditions we've had so far are probably not the conditions they used to test the battery to support those claims, but I don't think my lawn is much different than most. But, it's no big deal. I just break the job up a bit, and will likely buy a second battery someday.

tags: ev tech home lawn environment

posted by matt in Sunday, April 30, 2023

Plastic Recycling Doesn’t Work and Will Never Work (theatlantic.com)

"Despite this stark failure, the plastics industry has waged a decades-long campaign to perpetuate the myth that the material is recyclable. This campaign is reminiscent of the tobacco industry’s efforts to convince smokers that filtered cigarettes are healthier than unfiltered cigarettes."

The tobacco industry is the GOAT of fooling the American public. Has the plastics industry been following its lead?

tags: environment

posted by matt in Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Samsung’s latest remote turns router radio waves into energy | Engadget (engadget.com)

I didn't know radio frequency (RF) harvesting was a thing. Using otherwise wasted energy from radio waves to recharge batteries seems sort of genius, even if it is "best suited [for] low-power devices such as TV remotes." There's a few of those on the planet (hell, we probably have a dozen lying around), so it's not hard to see the potential impact of this tech.

tags: tech environment

posted by matt in Sunday, January 2, 2022

GM takes a stake in electric boating start-up Pure Watercraft (cnbc.com)

Nice - electric boats are coming, too.

I spent a lot of time on an inland lake in Michigan as a kid, and can still see the film of gasoline that always seemed to spread behind our old Evinrude...and to which no one paid any attention. Boat people can connect with this visual because they've all seen it. I bet electric outboards will be well received once widely available and affordable.

tags: tech environment

posted by matt in Monday, November 22, 2021

Ambitious scientists reach one of the deep seas' most inaccessible places (mashable.com)

The earth still has a lot to reveal. And exploration like this, into the previously unexplored depths of the ocean, will likely support applied research and innovation for decades to come.

"'Systematic searches for new drugs have shown that marine invertebrates produce more antibiotic, anti-cancer, and anti-inflammatory substances than any group of terrestrial organisms,' says the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration."

tags: science ocean environment earth

posted by matt in Saturday, October 30, 2021

The NBA arena that plans to end single-use plastic starting this season (cnbc.com)

This seems like a great way to get environmental issues in front of American consumers. It's not without risk, though, and could backfire. Plastic products are essentially invisible to the experience now. If the substitutes are somehow inferior (warm beer, anyone?), they may negatively impact the experience of going to a game, and fans will notice. Here's hoping all goes well.

tags: sports nba environment

posted by matt in Tuesday, October 19, 2021