environment

This Real-Life 'Mr. Fusion' Can Turn Leftovers Into Energy

Well, it’s 2015, and right on cue, humanity has apparently invented its very own Mr. Fusion. The s0-called “Biobattery”, designed by German scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Energy and Safety Technology, will eat everything from human waste to coffee grounds and spit out electricity.


How To Read Satellite Data Maps Of The Earth

NASA’s Earth Observatory has spent over 15 years using satellites to collect hordes of real-time data across our planet’s surface. They reveal everything from temperature and energy use, to how much radiation we beam into space. Here’s how to understand satellite data maps to understand our planet’s vital signs.


The Double Cyclone Disaster That Smashed Into Australia Last Week

Here you can see a composite satellite photo of two cyclones hitting northern Australia within six hours of each other this week. In the upper left is Cyclone Lam, and in the lower right is Cyclone Marcia. It’s beautiful but also terrifying.


A Guide To The Most Destructive Events In The History Of Earth

If you want a little disaster porn this evening, you can watch this How Stuff Works podcast about possible causes of the five mass extinctions that nearly extinguished all life on Earth. After that cheerful topic, I also talk about why scientists believe we’re heading into a sixth mass extinction.


Massive Forest Fires Could Be Cooling The Earth

Wait, what? A forest fire may not sound like a great way to cool off, but Earth’s climate is a complicated beast. It turns out that some of the world’s fiercest blazes are actually lowering our planet’s temperatures.


The Foods That Will Survive The Disasters Of The Future

When we think of the future of food, we think of crops that are bred to be stronger, more production, and even more nutritious. But it turns out that these super-crops can have unexpected weaknesses — as one scientist realised after a cyclone hit eastern India in 2009.


Strange New Land Is Growing Along Louisiana's Disappearing Coastline 

Louisiana’s wetlands are famously disappearing, thanks to a century of dredging and drilling in the Mississippi River. A football field-sized swath of land falls into the ocean every hour. But along on small part of the coastline, the land is actually growing. Welcome to Atchafalaya Bay.


We're Dumping Eight Million Tonnes Of Plastic Into The Ocean Every Year 

Garbage in the ocean is a big problem, but we never really knew how big. A study published today in Science drops a rough but still astounding estimate: eight million tonnes per year, 20 to 2000 times what we originally thought.


How To Turn Carbon Dioxide Into Rock And Bury It Forever (Hopefully) 

What do we do with a problem like carbon dioxide? We want to remove the excess from our atmosphere, but how? In Iceland, geologists are burying the greenhouse gas with water, so that basic chemistry can turn it into solid rock inside what the New York Times calls “a geological soda machine”.


Which Countries Are Most Likely To Be Wiped Out By Future Disasters?

The results of a new report show which countries are the most vulnerable to risk — and the most ready to respond when disaster strikes.