What if we could get our gasoline, diesel fuel and jet fuel from yeast instead of from oil wells? That's not as crazy as it sounds. In fact, it's already happening on a small scale. And there's a vigorous research effort to ramp this up on a massive scale.
One of the more innovative approaches uses a new technology called "synthetic biology." Jay Keasling is one of the leaders in this hot field.
The U.S. is ready for tornadoes, but not tsunamis.
That's the conclusion of a panel of scientists who spoke this week on "mega-disasters" at the American Geophysical Union's science policy meeting in Washington, D.C.
The nation has done a good job preparing for natural disasters like hurricanes and tornadoes, which occur frequently but usually produce limited damage and relatively few casualties, the panelists said. But government officials are just beginning to develop plans for events like a major tsunami or a large asteroid hurtling toward a populated area.
Climate change seems like this complicated problem with a million pieces. But Henry Jacoby, an economist at MIT's business school, says there's really just one thing you need to do to solve the problem: Tax carbon emissions.
"If you let the economists write the legislation," Jacoby says, "it could be quite simple." He says he could fit the whole bill on one page.
Basically, Jacoby would tax fossil fuels in proportion to the amount of carbon they release. That would make coal, oil and natural gas more expensive. That's it; that's the whole plan.
Images of a wire grill-cleaning brush bristle in a patient's omentum, surrounded by soft tissue stranding inflammation. The third image is a specimen radiograph from omental resection that confirms foreign object removal.
Local doctors are concerned about cases of metal bristles getting stuck in people’s intestines. The University Health System and the Methodist Hospital have teamed up to study the strange but growing problem.
The bristles come from those wire brushes used to clean the barbecue grill, and people sometimes ingest the tiny wires without knowing it.
Johnny Littrell of Floresville said it happened to him and the pain felt like an ice pick sticking into his abdomen.
"They did a CAT scan and said I had a piece of bone in my intestines," he said.
In case you missed it Monday, we're rebooting our technology blog to focus on the intersection of innovation and culture. The updated approach both widens our view of technology — for example, two-ply toilet paper was innovative at one point — and sharpens our gaze. You won't find general tech business news in this space anymore.
We want to turn now to a new study about social media, specifically Facebook. You've probably seen that the site is unbelievably popular among college students. You can find them posting updates on the bus, chatting in the library, tagging photos while they walk. But even though nearly every student has Facebook, there's a new study that says different groups use the site in many different ways. And according to the study, at least, that can have surprising implications for student success in college and even beyond.
Sony and Microsoft are preparing to launch their latest gaming consoles this fall with price tags from $400 for the PlayStation 4 and $500 for the Xbox One. But this week, a $99 game console went on sale and sold out at Target and Amazon.
Global Thermostat's pilot plant in Menlo Park, Calif., pulls carbon dioxide from the surrounding air. The next challenge is to find uses for the captured gas.
Credit Courtesy of Global Thermostat
"If they don't tell you you're crazy, you're not doing something worthwhile," says Peter Eisenberger, co-founder of Global Thermostat, a firm that's building a device to pull carbon dioxide from the air.
Every year, people add 30 billion tons of carbon dioxide to the air, mostly by burning fossil fuels. That's contributing to climate change. A few scientists have been dreaming about ways to pull some of that CO2 out of the air, but face stiff skepticism and major hurdles. This is the story of one scientist who's pressing ahead.