New research shows plants learn like dogs

New research shows plants learn like dogs

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Understanding how biological organisms function and respond to stimuli will help biologists find new ways to help them grow and improve yields.   Pavlov’s conditioning experiments with dogs are among some of the most well known, and highly regarded, studies in scientific history, and now...

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Tests confirm Germany’s “Star in a Jar” nuclear fusion reactor works

Tests confirm Germany’s “Star in a Jar” nuclear fusion reactor works

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Nuclear fusion holds the promise of being able to help humanity harness limitless, clean energy but until now scientists have had problems containing and stabilising the plasma flows needed to fuel the final energy producing reactions.   Last year in Germany a new type of...

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The ultimate bioweapon, scientists have developed an Extinction Gene

The ultimate bioweapon, scientists have developed an Extinction Gene

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Scientists now have the knowledge and the tools they need to create, and deliver, Doomsday genes which can selectively target and exterminate entire species.   Here’s a question that occurs only to madmen and geneticists… How do you get a gene that kills a species...

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DARPA wants to use genetically modified bugs to rejuvenate dead and dying crops

DARPA wants to use genetically modified bugs to rejuvenate dead and dying crops

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Global food production is already being stretched by Earths growing population with the price of staple foods increasing by over 20% in just the past few years alone, as a consequence companies, governments and institutions are looking for new ways to increase yields in a...

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The worlds largest solar power plant goes online in Morocco

The worlds largest solar power plant goes online in Morocco

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Energy produced from renewable sources is finally getting its day in the sun, as more, larger renewable energy installations come online the economics of renewables keep getting better and better and the only way is up.   Cracked fields stretch away towards the Moroccan desert...

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Scientists turn nuclear waste into diamond batteries that last forever

Scientists turn nuclear waste into diamond batteries that last forever

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Nuclear waste is normally buried beneath ground and left forever, this new breakthrough gives nuclear processing companies a new option and a new revenue stream.   Researchers at the University of Bristol have developed a method to turn radioactive graphite blocks, a waste product of...

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Canada will phase out all coal power production by 2030

Canada will phase out all coal power production by 2030

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF The Paris Climate Accord, and more accessible, feasible and affordable renewable energy technologies appear to finally spurring government to embrace new methods of power generation   Canada, who recently began trials of North America’s first Tidal power generator in Nova Scotia, will close all of...

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North Americas first Tidal energy turbine goes online in Nova Scotia

North Americas first Tidal energy turbine goes online in Nova Scotia

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Tidal energy is still more complex and more costly to deploy, support and buy than other forms of renewable energy, with this installation the companies involved hope they can bring those costs down   The first tidal generator in North America has gone online this...

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SolarCity and Tesla are powering an entire island with solar

SolarCity and Tesla are powering an entire island with solar

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Over 1 billion people live without electricity, and the cost of reaching them using traditional energy infrastructures is prohibitive, renewables offer an affordable, and increasingly realistic alternative.   With over 1 billion people on our planet still living without electricity, and billions more living with...

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Photosynthesis breakthrough crams millions of years of plant evolution into months

Photosynthesis breakthrough crams millions of years of plant evolution into months

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Scientists have used gene editing to turn off specific plant genes to boost plant growth by 15%, if transplanted into rice, maize and wheat this could help reduce famine and hunger in the world without the need to use extra fertilisers or chemicals.   Scientists...

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It’s electric, US to cover 25,000 miles of roads with charging stations

It’s electric, US to cover 25,000 miles of roads with charging stations

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Vehicles are the world’s second largest producers of toxic gases and carbon dioxide, the new EV corridors will help people make the switch to electric vehicles sooner.   Civilisation finally looks like it’s getting serious about moving away from powering homes and cars with energy millions...

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Alaskan airlines use wood chips to fly to Washington

Alaskan airlines use wood chips to fly to Washington

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Airlines spend $3.1Bn in Europe alone paying carbon taxes. Biofuels, while often contentious, can help airlines reduce their carbon footprint and help them reduce costs   On Monday morning, Washington state based Alaska Airlines started the week off right. It sent a Boeing 737 jet...

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Modern farmers grow bacteria to grow better crops

Modern farmers grow bacteria to grow better crops

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Traditional chemical intensive farming methods change the ecology of our planet on a massive scale, by moving from chemicals to mocrobials farmers might be able to grow better crops, more productively and more sustainably.   In the back of Indigo’s Boston headquarters, a start up whose...

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The machine making the machines, Tesla’s giant Gigafactory to go live in 2017

The machine making the machines, Tesla’s giant Gigafactory to go live in 2017

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF By building a vertically integrated company that has control of it’s supply chain and product R&D Musk can realise efficiencies of scale, disrupt industries and use it to catalyse the growth of his companies, namely OpenAI, SolarCity, SpaceX and Tesla.   Twenty miles east of Sparks,...

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SolarCity’s solar Gigafactory to produce 10GW, or three large power stations, a year

SolarCity’s solar Gigafactory to produce 10GW, or three large power stations, a year

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF The new SolarCity Gigafactory will boost supply of solar products, helping to reduce their cost, which in turn should accelerate the adoption of solar power technologies.   While discussing potential improvements in manufacturing efficiency with Tesla investor Ron Baron at his conference in New York...

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Scientists use facial recognition to create a Facebook for whales

Scientists use facial recognition to create a Facebook for whales

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Smile. You won’t find these faces in the shops looking for deals…   Creating new algorithms that identify our friends in nature seems to be a growing trend – and it’s about time too. Now researchers have developed a facial-recognition algorithm for whales that could...

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Cornell’s new AI is cataloguing nature – starting with trees

Cornell’s new AI is cataloguing nature – starting with trees

What type of tree is that anyway? Cornell is creating a catalogue for Nature Engineers from Caltech have developed a method that uses data from satellite and street-level images, such as the ones that you can see in Google Maps, to automatically create an inventory of street trees that cities...

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Brazil releases billions of genetically modified Mosquitos to combat Zika

Brazil releases billions of genetically modified Mosquitos to combat Zika

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF There will always be questions about the viability and impact of releasing genetically modified organisms into our environment but with billions of mosquitos being released it might already be a moot point   Every Saturday morning, Maria do Carmo Tunussi goes door to door asking...

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Iceland drills worlds deepest well to tap energy from rivers of magma

Iceland drills worlds deepest well to tap energy from rivers of magma

Icelands geothermal project could lead to similar projects in the US that could power the whole continent Iceland, already a juggernaut in the world of sustainability, is about to turn up the heat on its geothermal efforts. Since September, engineers in southwestern Iceland have been slowly drilling into the earth...

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New electronics breakthrough lets devices run for years without batteries

New electronics breakthrough lets devices run for years without batteries

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF New transistor design scavenges energy and paves the way for ultra low power electronics.   Transistors are found in almost every electronic device and now a new ultra low power transistor design from the engineers at the University of Cambridge that lets them operate by ‘scavenging’ energy...

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