16 Dec

Lately, the news regarding climate change has been dire. But researchers have come up with an unconventional plan to slow down global warming’s effects on Earth’s atmosphere. It involves tossing sulfates in the stratosphere in an effort to dim the sun.

There are several issues with this plan, though. The first is cost. The team estimates that it would cost $2.25 billion a year for the first 15 years. A second issue is the fact that there simply is no aircraft that could get the sulfates where they need to go. In order to make that happen, someone would have to build a specialized high-altitude tanker, which would then need to take about 4,000 flights every year. That number would increase linearly each year, the scientists believe.

14 Dec

25 King in Australia, said to be the world's tallest timber building, is the most recent example of how eco-friendly construction materials can be used to both practical and aesthetic effect.

The building, which opened its doors in mid-November, rises 10 stories from street level and features the use of large timbers in both the exterior and interior. Its developers maintain that the building raises the bar for commercial building design.

The architectural firm intentionally made use of timbers in place of concrete and steel, says a report from New Atlas. The timbers themselves are made of Glulam, a laminated and glued form of wood, and CLT, which stands for cross laminated timber. Using both helps to diminish a building's overall carbon footprint when compared to typical steel-and-concrete construction.

12 Dec

Now that a Chinese researcher has announced that he has found a way to create gene-edited babies, bioethicists are expressing concerns about how the news represents one more sign that gene-editing technology is moving along more quickly than it should be.

Here's why: There's currently no law that would stand in the way of gene editing either in the United States or any other country.

The Verge reports that it isn't yet apparent whether researcher He Jiankui implemented a gene-editing tool known as CRISPR cas-9 to improve the capacity of twin females to protect against HIV. But that hasn't stopped bioethicists from speaking up.

“There was inadequate regulation and no serious oversight,” Arthur Caplan, a bioethicist at New York University, said. “It’s ethically Swiss cheese, more holes than substance.”

10 Dec

Scientists have been experimenting with ways to feed humans in space. But that same technology could be put to use on Earth, where food shortages are already a real problem across the globe. NASA has taken up the challenge, using technology to speed breed six generations of crops each year.

The work is being done at the John Innes Centre, where scientists are going well beyond the annual production rate of two generations of crops. By being able to triple crop production, scientists believe they’ll able to fast-track developments like greater resistance to disease and global warming. They’ll also be able to produce a higher volume of crops to help reduce the food insecurities in various areas.

08 Dec

It’s only a matter of time before technology is able to restore vision to those who are completely blind. But some improvement is coming sooner than you think, thanks to Bionic Vision Technologies. During a trial, four Australian patients who had suffered significant vision loss due to degenerative Retinitis Pigmentosa saw notable improvement.

Prior to the trial, the four participants could sense light and dark, but they were unable to even detect a hand moving in front of them. Researchers implanted bionic eyes and the patients could detect objects around them in grayscale, which meant they could navigate without the use of guide dogs or a walking stick.

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