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Citizen Science: Volunteer to Find Interstellar Stardust Online

The interstellar dust particles returned to Earth by the Stardust mission are the first such pristine dust particles ever collected in space, and scientists are eager to “get their hands” on them. We estimate that Stardust collected less than 100 interstellar dust particles. They are tiny-only about a micron (a millionth of a meter) in [...]

Castles Made of Sand? San Francisco’s Treasure Island Redevelopment Project Under Scrutiny

The Treasure Island/Yerba Buena Island Project is a comprehensive plan to redevelop the former naval station located on Treasure Island and Yerba Buena Island in San Francisco into a mixed-use community. Among other amenities, the project will include up to 8,000 residential units, up to 140,000 square feet of commercial and retail space; up to [...]

Increasing rate of primary forest cover loss in Indonesia over 2000-2012

Extensive clearing of Indonesian primary forests results in increased greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity loss. However, there is no consensus on the areal extent and temporal trends of primary forest clearing in Indonesia. Here we report a spatially and temporally explicit quantification of Indonesian primary forest loss, which totalled over 6.02 Mha from 2000 to [...]

Occurrence and persistence of future atmospheric stagnation events

Poor air quality causes an estimated 2.6–4.4 million premature deaths per year. Hazardous conditions form when meteorological components allow the accumulation of pollutants in the near-surface atmosphere. Global-warming-driven changes to atmospheric circulation and the hydrological cycle are expected to alter the meteorological components that control pollutant build-up and dispersal, but the magnitude, direction, geographic footprint [...]

Potential for concentrating solar power to provide baseload and dispatchable power

Previous studies have demonstrated the possibility of maintaining a reliable electric power system with high shares of renewables, but only assuming the deployment of specific technologies in precise ratios, careful demand-side management, or grid-scale storage technologies. Any scalable renewable technology that could provide either baseload or dispatchable power would allow greater flexibility in planning a [...]

Limited potential of no-till agriculture for climate change mitigation- TERA

The Emissions Gap Report 2013 from the United Nations Environment Programme restates the claim that changing to no-till practices in agriculture, as an alternative to conventional tillage, causes an accumulation of organic carbon in soil, thus mitigating climate change through carbon sequestration. But these claims ignore a large body of experimental evidence showing that the [...]

Product Sustainability Index (ProdSI)- TERA

As a result of the rapidly depleting global resources, continuing climate change and increasing environmental pollution, and the associated growth in customer awareness, improving product sustainability has become a global trend. Comprehensive sustainability assessment techniques are needed to assess a product’s sustainability performance throughout its entire life cycle. This article presents the Product Sustainability Index [...]

A New Use of ‘Race’: The Evidence and Ethics of Forensic DNA Ancestry Profiling- TERA

Recent advances in population genetics have made it possible to infer an individual’s ancestral origin with a high degree of reliability, giving rise to the new technology called ‘DNA Ancestry Profiling’. Bioethicists have raised concerns over using this technology within a forensic context, many of which stem from issues concerning race. In this article, I [...]

The Tragedy of the Commons as an Essentially Aggregative Harm

This article identifies ‘the tragedy of the commons’ as an essentially aggregative harm and considers what agents in such a scenario owe to one another. It proposes that the duty to take reasonable precautions requires that agents make efforts to establish collective solutions to any essentially aggregative harm to which they would otherwise contribute.Baylor Johnson [...]

Prehistoric deforestation at Chaco Canyon?

Ancient societies are often used to illustrate the potential problems stemming from unsustainable land-use practices because the past seems rife with examples of sociopolitical “collapse” associated with the exhaustion of finite resources. Just as frequently, and typically in response to such presentations, archaeologists and other specialists caution against seeking simple cause-and effect-relationships in the complex [...]