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How Exascale Computers Can Verify The Universe

Proving the universe seems like a gargantuan task, but we might have a chance to do so with exascale...

How Microbes Can Mine Rocks In Space (And How It Could Save Earth)

Mining is a messy process. It takes a lot of effort to break open rocks to get the materials needed...

Early Earth's Oxygen Buildup May Be Due To Longer Days

Earth shifted from an anaerobic atmosphere to an aerobic one early in its life. However, for a...

From Diapers To Sticky Notes - A Revolution In Recycling

Diapers are not what you'd think about first when you consider recycling. The CBC estimates the...

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Mark PierceRSS Feed of this column.

Retired geologist and earth scientist, specialising in ore deposits and isotope geochemistry. Before retirement, I led the Australian government's pre-competitive geoscience programs for minerals... Read More »


Do we have a nitrogen emergency? Most people aren't aware of the role nitrogen plays in our atmosphere. According to NASA, Nitrogen makes up about 78% of our atmosphere. Despite being so prevalent, we give it relatively little thought. We've spent years worrying about carbon dioxide and its impact on the environment that nitrogen has slipped by relatively unbothered. Yet nitrogen pollution is a significant enough problem to demand attention from the United Nations.

One of the things that scientists rely on to accurately predict climate change is the amount of carbon sequestered underground. Carbon dioxide in the air leads to increased global warming, exacerbating climate change. When plants have a lot of access to carbon dioxide, they photosynthesize more. Scientists have assumed for a long time that this led to a high concentration of carbon sequestered under the ground. As plants took in this carbon dioxide, they transformed it into compounds and organic structures such as roots and leaves, which would add to the amount of carbon stored underground.

Climate change is one of the most pressing concerns our civilization has. Time Magazine paints a grim picture of what the role is likely to look like in less than thirty years if we don't address the issue. However, it's not as simple as changing one thing. Several inputs and outputs affect climate change. There's no question that leaving it unattended could spell disaster for some communities, however. One by one, these communities will see an evident difference in their climate and weather. The American West is one of those areas that is seeing a definite shift in the environment.

When one thinks about chemistry, one doesn't usually consider quantum mechanics to play a part. Yet it does. When it boils down to it, all matter is a combination of a handful of subatomic particles and the forces holding them together. Chemistry, is in essence, applied physics. For decades, scientists have been trying to determine how to follow a chemical reaction from its initial state through all of its quantum states to its products. The hope was that, by doing so, researchers could understand the quantum dynamics that drive these reactions. Until now, it has mostly been speculation. However, a recent paper published in Nature by Liu et al. suggests that this may be possible.

With climate change a constant hot button issue, the rise of any new industry to a massive and global scale always attracts interested parties. The same has also been true for the CBD industry, which was globally valued over $500 million USD in 2020 and expected to top $4 billion USD by 2027. 

Allergies are nothing new for many people. They grow up suffering the effects of hay fever from season to season. A recent study in the journal Thorax has explored a link between hay fever and being exposed to prenatal pollutants. The findings are pretty surprising. The body of research on the topic isn't as large as it should be, but the study hopes to present conclusions based on a large sample size of subjects. If air pollutants are indeed causing this increase in hay fever, how do we prevent its continued increase? Before we explore the study's findings, we must first understand hay fever and its connection to pollutants.