Earth Sciences

There are more than 120,000 varieties of rice stored at the germplasm bank at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines, but a new paper focused on varieties that met important criteria - currently grown by farmers, have a high yield potential, be disease and pest-resistant, grow to the right size and have strong enough roots to withstand monsoon-force winds - to find out which ones could were optimal in regards to nitrogen.

Nitrogen is one of three main nutrients required for crops to grow, it also costs the most to produce. 

Organic farming should be in a Golden Age. Organic marketing groups, and the junkyard dogs they pay to attack scientists (1) finally got mandatory labeling on conventional food, the public is already spending $13,000,000,000 on organic food in the U.S. alone, and margins have shown to be much higher.

I have long wondered why everyone doesn't switch to organic farming.

It's that pesky free market. 

If man-made greenhouse gas emissions are going to cause more droughts and storm surges on a persistent basis, why did it take so long? And why is it only a concern in the last 25 years, rather than in the 1930s, when things were really hot?

A new estimate claims it's because the natural atmosphere already contained carbon dioxide  that human-induced changes were relatively small. Had these natural concentrations been lower, the effects of the emission of harmful greenhouse gases would have been felt much earlier.

A new class of high-performing organic molecules inspired by vitamin B2 can safely store electricity from intermittent energy sources like solar and wind power in large batteries.

The high-capacity flow battery uses organic molecules called quinones, which store energy in plants and animals, and a new class of battery electrolyte material. They contend in their study that it is high-performance, non-flammable, non-toxic, non-corrosive, and its low-cost could enable large-scale, inexpensive electricity storage.
Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin recently signed Federal Law 358-FZ, which bans genetic engineering of plants and animals for the indefinite future.
If the food industry is not in crisis, it certainly contains an increasing level of complexity and associated risks. A recent analysis suggested 50% of US food production is wasted, with global estimates above 30%.

Retailers want perfect produce, leading to wastage occurring throughout the food supply chain. They also seek low prices, leading to industrialization of processes.

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health  graduate student Sara G. Rasmussen, from their Department of Environmental Health Sciences, says that people with asthma who live near bigger or larger numbers of active hydraulic fracturing (fracking) natural gas wells are 1.5 to four times likelier to have asthma attacks than those who live farther away.

A decade ago, ancient technology - using natural water to perform work - was the green goal. Today, dams are bad but now wind is back in fashion.

Declining Antarctic sea ice extents were a cornerstone of climate models - unless they began increasing. It may be that both are just natural fluctuation according to a new paper which shows that the negative phase of the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO), which is characterized by cooler-than-average sea surface temperatures in the tropical eastern Pacific, has created favorable conditions for additional Antarctic sea ice growth since 2000.

Obviously that could mean that sea ice may begin to shrink as the IPO switches to a positive phase. Climate models have done a poor job of accounting for nature, they have tended to take a trend and made it linear into the future. Nature is not that predictable. 


New work suggests Earth's ancient magnetic field was significantly different than the present day field, originating from several poles rather than the familiar two. 

Earth generates a strong magnetic field extending from the core out into space that shields the atmosphere and deflects harmful high-energy particles from the Sun and the cosmos. Without it, our planet would be bombarded by cosmic radiation, and life on Earth's surface might not exist. The motion of liquid iron in Earth's outer core drives a phenomenon called the geodynamo, which creates Earth's magnetic field. This motion is driven by the loss of heat from the core and the solidification of the inner core.