Trump to Issue Far-Reaching Reversal of Obama Climate Push | Bloomberg


Trump, who has called climate change a hoax, has vowed to reorient the government so that U.S. oil and coal producers thrive and steel and auto manufacturers don’t face “job-killing restrictions.”

The coming order underscores Trump’s commitment to make good on his campaign promises, which helped propel him to victory in industrial strongholds such as West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

Source: Trump to Issue Far-Reaching Reversal of Obama Climate Push – Bloomberg

Inventing a New Kind of Matter


The breakthrough reported in the journal Science was achieved by reproducing in the lab the incredibly complex series of processes that allow cells to change shape and adapt to their environment. Cells can do this because the building blocks of its scaffolding — hollow cylindrical tubes called microtubules — are capable of self-transformation. The microtubules grow, shrink, bend and stretch, altering the cell’s underlying structure.

The Brandeis researchers extracted microtubules from a cow’s brain and placed them in a watery solution. They then added two other types of molecules found in cells — kinesin and adenosine triphosphate (ATP).

The microtubules aligned parallel to each other. A kinesin molecule came between them, connecting them like a tie between rail tracks.

Using the ATP as a fuel source, the kinesin began moving. Its top went in one direction, the bottom in another. The microtubules slid away from each other, and the structure broke apart.

But the microtubules didn’t remain free-floating for long. New kinesin came along and bound each to a new partner.

Source: Inventing a New Kind of Matter

Smarter Recycling: Turning Electronic Waste Into Dust


The research team believes this problem could be solved with scaled-up versions of a cryo-mill. Rather than heating the material, the team proposes keeping the materials at ultra-low temperatures during crushing.

Cold materials are more brittle and easier to pulverize.

“We take advantage of the physics,” Chandra Sekhar Tiwary said. “When you heat things, they are more likely to combine: You can put metals into polymer, oxides into polymers.

“That’s what high-temperature processing is for and it makes mixing really easy. But in low temperatures, they don’t like to mix. The materials’ basic properties—their elastic modulus, thermal conductivity and coefficient of thermal expansion—all change. They allow everything to separate really well.”

Source: Smarter Recycling: Turning Electronic Waste Into Dust

Self-Sustaining Bacteria Could Yield New Energy


Researchers placed a mixed culture of phototrophic and heterotrophic bacteria in a cell chamber about one-fifth the size of a teaspoon. Phototrophic bacteria use sunlight, carbon dioxide and water to make its own energy, while heterotrophic bacteria must feed on provided organic matter or phototrophic bacteria to survive.

While the cell was exposed to sunlight, an initial dose of food was added to the chamber to stimulate growth of the heterotrophic bacteria. Through cellular respiration, the heterotrophic bacteria produced carbon dioxide waste that was used by the phototrophic bacteria to kick start the symbiotic cycle.

Source: Self-Sustaining Bacteria Could Yield New Energy

No, Evolution Is Not Always Dog-Eat-Dog


Evolutionary progress can be propelled both by the competitive struggle to adapt to an environment, and by the relaxation of selective forces.

When natural selection on an organism is relaxed, the creative powers of mutation can be unshackled and evolution accelerated. The relief of an easier life can inspire new biological forms just as powerfully as the threat of death.

Source: No, Evolution Is Not Always Dog-Eat-Dog

Shell reluctant to part with California refinery amid asset sale | Reuters


The company is in the midst of a massive asset sale, shedding properties from Thailand to the North Sea to pay down debt following its $54 billion purchase of smaller British rival BG Group last year.

Shell, Europe’s largest oil company, has sold around $15 billion of assets over the past year as part of a planned $30 billion in asset sales to trim debt incurred from the transaction.

Source: Shell reluctant to part with California refinery amid asset sale | Reuters

Germany Converts Coal Mine Into Giant Battery Storage for Surplus Solar and Wind Power


Germany is embarking on an innovative project to turn a hard coal mine into a giant battery that can store surplus solar and wind energy and release it when supplies are lean.

The Prosper-Haniel coal mine in the German state of North-Rhine Westphalia will be converted into a 200 megawatt pumped-storage hydroelectric reservoir that acts like a giant battery.

The capacity is enough to power more than 400,000 homes, Governor Hannelore Kraft said, according to Bloomberg.

Source: Germany Converts Coal Mine Into Giant Battery Storage for Surplus Solar and Wind Power

10 facts about water policy and infrastructure in the US | Brookings Institution


.. a string of water-related events have made headlines, and called into question the U.S. focus on keeping critical water systems safe and functioning.

10 facts derived from their research are highlighted …

Source: 10 facts about water policy and infrastructure in the US | Brookings Institution

Lead poisoning afflicts neighborhoods across California | Reuters


Dozens of California communities have experienced recent rates of childhood lead poisoning that surpass those of Flint, Michigan, with one Fresno locale showing rates nearly three times higher, blood testing data obtained by Reuters shows.

The data shows how lead poisoning affects even a state known for its environmental advocacy, with high rates of childhood exposure found in a swath of the Bay Area and downtown Los Angeles.

Source: Exclusive: Lead poisoning afflicts neighborhoods across California | Reuters

Trump’s Budget Is An Assault On America’s Creative Soul | Co.Design


The negative consequences to public health, food safety, rural development, and the environment could be dire. But what really stings is the elimination of arts and science programs.

Gutting the National Endowment of the Arts and National Endowment of the Humanities–which represent just 0.02% of the overall budget–is not a cost-saving measure. It’s a petty political vendetta that’s symbolically undermining the creative soul of America.

Source: Trump’s Budget Is An Assault On America’s Creative Soul | Co.Design