Britain’s first floating solar panel project has been constructed in Berkshire, as part of a scheme its architect hopes will offer a blueprint for the technology that could be built at hundreds of selected sites across the country.
The project, consisting of 800 solar panels, was installed in early September on a reservoir at a 300-acre fruit farm close to the village of Wargrave. The program is reportedly eligible for renewable energy subsidies, funded by energy bill payers.
The developer of the scheme, Mark Bennett, told the Telegraph that the floating panels generate more revenue than conventional solar farms positioned on fields because earnings from potentially valuable farmland need not be forfeited to create space for them.
Josie Garthwaite reports on the latest devolopment in genetic engineering that could revolutionize agraculture.
Genetically modified organisms today usually have just one engineered gene. Scientists now want to create organisms with whole new gene clusters.
Thousands of researchers will descend on Boston this fall for an event billed as the world’s largest gathering of synthetic biologists. The field is evolving so rapidly that even scientists working in it don’t agree on a definition, but at its core synthetic biology involves bringing engineering principles to biotechnology. It’s an approach meant, ultimately, to make it easier for scientists to design, test, and build living parts and systems—even entire genomes.
If genetic sequencing is about reading DNA, and genetic engineering as we know it is about copying, cutting and pasting it, synthetic biology is about writing and programming new DNA with two main goals: create genetic machines from scratch and gain new insights about how life works.
In Boston, scientists and students will showcase so called “synbio” projects developed over the summer, including systems ranging from new takes on natural wonders, like the conversion of atmospheric nitrogen to a useful form (nitrogen fixation), to newly imagined functions, like an odorless E. coli cell meant to crank out a lemony, edible “wonder protein” containing essential amino acids.
I want to thank Mary at Skepchicks for alerting me to this story
Some great food for thought here.
Dolphins are certainly intelligent. And they are certainly far from our line. It seems hard to find a definite answer, but it seems that the last common ancestor of humans and dolphins was a small mammal existing during the reign of the dinosaurs. Humans and dolphins have been indicated by red rectangles, and their last common ancestor with a red circle.
This red circle is well before the K-T boundary (indicated by the dotted line), hence represents a mammal living in the literal shadow of the dinosaurs.
We can apply a convergent evolution argument to this common ancestor. Thus, assuming that subsequent evolution was somewhat independent, getting from that common ancestor to dolphin level of intelligence is something that can happen relatively easily.
Can we go further? Well, what if we applied the argument twice? Let’s bring in the most alien looking of the high-intelligence animals: the octopus.
Researchers from the Carnegie Institution have discovered that our Solar System’s water probably originated as ices that developed in interstellar space.
Thankfully, comets and asteroids offer a natural “time capsule” of the environment during the early days of our Solar System. Their ices can reveal information about the ice that encompassed the Sun after its birth.
Prior to this study, researchers had yet to determine whether the ice in the protoplanetary disk surrounding the Sun came from the Sun’s own parental interstellar molecular cloud or whether this interstellar water had been eradicated and was re-formed by the chemical reactions occurring in the solar nebula.
One of the biggest factors is the war on drugs and its racist law enforcment policies, which target impoverished, black populations despite the fact that whites and blacks use drugs at similar rates.
“Drug laws are not uniformly enforced across all segments of our society, and this perpetuates the cycle of poverty and crime,” Hart said.
Hart said he first began questioning his thinking when he discovered that drugs like crack and meth are not nearly as addictive as he had been told. He points out in his talk that 80 to 90 percent of people who use illegal drugs are not addicted.
A $74 million Indian spacecraft entered orbit around Mars today after an almost yearlong voyage, and for 11 percent the cost of the U.S.’s Maven probe.
Mangalyaan, or “Mars craft” in Hindi, made orbit after a trip of about 661 million kilometers (411 million miles), the Indian Space Research Organization said. The satellite is India’s first Mars mission and reached the red planet two days after the $671 million Maven craft.
“History has been created today,” Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, wearing a red vest, said in a speech today at the ISRO’s office in Bengaluru, formerly known as Bangalore. “We have dared to reach out into the unknown and have achieved the near impossible.”
Image via io9.com
Mark Strauss has posted a story over Io9 that should embarrass creationists everywhere, including a former actor turned creation “scientist.”
A few years ago, ex-teen heartthrob Kirk Cameron went on Fox News as a pitchman for young-Earth creationism. Claiming there were no transitional fossils, he ridiculed evolution saying that, if it were true, we would have duck-crocodile hybrids. Ha, ha—oh, wait, scientists found a dinosaur that’s half duck, half croc.
Cameron appeared as an “expert” on Fox News prior to the airing of an ABC Nightline segment, featuring footage of Cameron participating in a debate on the existence of God.
This is so very delightful.
FROM PR WEEK
tate Farm has pulled an ad featuring anti-vaccine activist Rob Schneider after a social media campaign urged the insurance company to end its affiliation with the actor.
Social media pages Food Hunk, Science Babe, and Chow Babe, all of which refute pseudoscience claims, started the anti-Schneider campaign last week, questioning how a company that sells insurance could hire a celebrity spokesman so openly against vaccinations.
The activists have encouraged consumers with State Farm policies to get involved by contacting their agents and telling them that “someone who publicly states dangerous opinions should not be a spokesperson for a health insurance company.”