environment

Google Street View Cars Find Hundreds Of Gas Leaks In US Cities

If you live in an old city surrounded by history, chances are you also live with hundreds if not thousands of gas leaks all around you. It’s bad for you (think explosions) and bad for the environment (think global warming), so we should probably do something about it. That’s why Google Street View and the Environmental Defence Fund (EDF) have teamed up to map methane leaks in cities.


Aerial Photos Of Coal Mining Pits Are Sublime And Terrifying

For some, coal mining conjures images of quaint Appalachian towns. In parts of Germany, where some of the world’s largest open-pit coal mines exist, the resemblance is more of an apocalyptic wasteland.


China Is Literally Moving Mountains To Build New Cities

China is on a giant building spree and nothing is going to stop it — not even mountains. Entire mountaintops are being razed to fill in valleys, paving the way for future cities. The problem is that no one really knows what they’re doing. “[E]arth-moving on this scale without scientific support is folly,” warn three Chinese engineering professors in Nature.


A Town's Famous Bioluminescent Bay Is Going Dark And No One Knows Why

For those who’ve seen it — and photographs don’t do it justice — the bio-luminescent Mosquito Bay is one of the world’s most spectacular natural sights. Tiny plankton known as dinoflagellates light up the water like a glow stick at night. But since January, the glow has faded, throwing the entire Puerto Rican town into a panic.


NASA's New Orbiter Will Watch Plants Photosynthesise From Space

For the last 25 years, scientists have been able to monitor the “greenness” of trees from space and use that as a tool for evaluating plant health. The problem is that greenness isn’t a good indicator for stresses — such as drought — because some trees (think pines) continue to be a lovely green until they’re dead. Researchers are thus turning to a new indicator: the way plants glow.


Apple Now Recycles Any Product You Give Back (And Gives You Credit)

Starting today, all of Apple’s retail stores will accept any of the company’s ageing products for recycling — and, if it looks resaleable, you might even get some store credit too.


Nine Of The Coolest Prefab Houses In History

Prefab is a buzzy topic in architecture and design circles right now, but it’s hardly a new concept. The idea of building houses in factories and shipping them to their destinations is at least a century old. Now, Taschen has published the history of these homes in a lovely coffee table book.


Where On Earth Is This Freaky Lava Pool?

Where on Earth is this freaky lava pool? Why do people hate love locks? Is it true that fire ants love the suburbs? And what do the soon-to-be-lost sounds of the industrial age sound like? All your answers are here, in this week’s landscape reads!


The U.S. Government Would Save $US400 Million If It Just Switched Typefaces

Of the many schemes to make the government more efficient, this is probably the only one that involves typography. A middle schooler in Pittsburgh has calculated that by simply switching the typeface used in government documents from Times New Roman to Garamond, it would save taxpayers $US400 million in ink.


How Global Warming Is Dissolving Sea Life (And What We Can Do About It)

The last time Earth’s oceans were this acidic, a six mile-wide sulphur-rich space rock had just smashed into the Yucatan Peninsula, unleashing a deluge of acid rain that exterminated all sea life in the the top 400 meters of the water column. Now, some 65 million years after the Cretaceous extinction, human activity is threatening to similarly decimate the ocean’s ecosystem — this time, from the bottom up.