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Just don't bring a nuclear power plant! Mission to Mars as envisioned by Pat Rawlings in 1985 for NASA. Image: Pat Rawlings / NASA.

NASA's warning - SpaceX crash highlights dangers of nuclear power in space

Karl Grossman

2nd July 2015

Sunday's SpaceX crash sends a powerful warning of the dangers of nuclear power on spacecraft, writes Karl Grossman. But will NASA listen? Despite the success of solar-powered missions, it's planning to use plutonium to power future missions and a new report asserts a continuing need for the technology - even as Russia ditches the idea. more...
Image: Breaking the Frame.

Exposing technocracy - the mindset of industrial capitalism

David King

27th June 2015

Technology is crucial to all the big issues, but criticism is hampered by mythologies and structures of power, writes David King. Designed by and for corporate interests, modern industrial technologies embody a 400-year old technocratic philosophy of control of nature and people which must be confronted. more...
Elephants examine the tusk of a poached sibling. Photo: Karl Ammann, author provided.

Where does ivory come from? Now we know, with forensic DNA analysis

Samuel Wasser

25th June 2015

Forensic analysis of DNA in ivory seized by police and customs officials reveals where it comes from, writes Samuel Wasser, giving valuable information to law enforcers. But this powerful tool is only as effective as the national authorities, and Tanzania, a major ivory hotspot, has been very slow to respond to warnings. more...
'Nullius in verba' (Don't take anyone's word for it) - motto and coat of arms of the Royal Society, used in its bookplate. Photo: kladcat via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY).

The Royal Society's assault on the science of GM foods must cease

Steven M. Druker

25th June 2015

The Royal Society wants us to take its word that GM crops are safe and healthy, writes Steven Druker. But it refuses to retract its errors, apologise to those whose reputations it has impugned, or enter into constructive debate on the issue. To restore its scientific integrity, it must abide by its own motto. more...
The Sellafield nuclear reprocessing site from Drigg Beach, Cumbria, UK. Photo: Ashley Coates via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Civil servants must speak out: 'the time has gone for nuclear power'

Paul Flynn MP

18th June 2015

Despite the PR spin the truth about nuclear power is clear, says Paul Flynn. Current projects are plagued with technical failures, cost escalations and long delays - while renewables power ahead. As tin-eared ministers refuse to get the message, it's time for civil servants to speak out direct to the public. more...
Sending men to the moon was easy compared to building a green energy future - they hadn't got the world's most powerful and heavily subsidised industry against them. Photo: NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

'Global Apollo' programme for renewables cannot take off without political power

James Dyke

4th June 2015

The Apollo Programme proposed this week to make renewable energy cheaper than coal through technological advances is welcome, writes James Dyke. But the real problems are political, not technological. Unless we back the Apollo vision by challenging the power of fossil fuel companies, it can never succeed. more...
The lights may be green - but what about the energy? Photo: Dennis van Zuijlekom via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Coal-heavy utilities stand in the way of a green internet

The Ecologist

12th May 2015

Powered by 100% renewable energy, Apple is maintaining its lead as the internet's greenest company, But others are lagging behind: Google has yet to reach 50% and relies heavily on coal, while Amazon's AWS, the massive 'dark cloud' of the web, won't even answer questions. more...
Aluminum - the metal these cans are made of - could soon be powering our batteries, and propelling the renewable energy revolution forward. Photo:Ishikawa Ken via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

The new battery that could power the renewable revolution

Mark Shwartz & The Ecologist

26th April 2015

A new high-performance 'aluminum-ion' battery could be the technical breakthrough needed to boost the renewable energy takeover. It's safe, uses abundant low-cost materials, recharges in one minute and withstands many thousands of recharge cycles. more...
The Flamanville nuclear plant in Normandy, France, was already years late and billions of budget - before news emerged that its steel reactor vessel contains serious metallurgical faults. Photo: schoella via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA).

Nuclear reactor flaws raise Hinkley C safety fears

Paul Brown & Oliver Tickell

14th April 2015

A serious flaw in the steel reactor vessel of a nuclear plant under construction in France raises safety fears for the EPR design, write Paul Brown & Oliver Tickell - and casts a dark shadow over the UK's troubled Hinkley C nuclear project. more...
A wondrous new wave power device? Sadly no: a lot of useful energy going to waste on the sea defences of Brighton Marina. Photo: Barry Goble via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Ocean energy plus cybernetics can supply a quarter of the US's power

Shalinee Kishore

14th April 2015

Wave power has a huge part to play in supplying the US with clean, renewable electricity, writes Shalinee Kishore. But to achieve its full potential, we must harness not just the energy of waves, but their predictability - and so so ensure the smooth integration of wave power into the electricity grid. more...
'Altered Genes, Twisted Truth' front cover (cut).

Altered Genes, Twisted Truth

Jane Goodall

26th March 2015

The history of genetically modified food has been one of systematic deception and fraud by corporations, scientists, media and regulators, Steven Druker writes in his remarkable new book. Jane Goodall finds the story by turn fascinating, chilling, distressing and ultimately, hope-inspiring. more...
The melting Chukchi Sea, 20th July 2011: the US Coast Guard Cutter Healy encountered only small patches of sea ice in the Chukchi Sea during the final days collecting ocean data for the 2011 ICESCAPE mission. Photo: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center via Fl

Save the Arctic sea ice while we still can!

John Nissen

5th March 2015

The Arctic Ocean is coming close to complete summer meltdown, writes John Nissen - indeed it could happen as soon as September, triggering a severe deterioration in climate across the northern hemisphere. With fast-rising temperatures predicted in the coming decade, we must act now to save the Arctic, before it's too late. more...

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Industrial fumes caught in early morning sunshine in Chilwaukee, Wisconsin. Photo: Light Brigading via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0).

Survivable IPCC projections are based on science fiction - the reality is much worse

Nick Breeze

27th February 2015

The IPCC's 'Representative Concentration Pathways' are based on fantasy technology that must draw massive volumes of CO2 out of the atmosphere late this century, writes Nick Breeze - an unjustified hope that conceals a very bleak future for Earth, and humanity. more...
New technological advances could make the power of Atlantic waves into a competitive source of renewable energy. Photo: Albert Bridge via Wikimedia Commons.

New technologies promise cheap wave power

Paul Brown

23rd February 2015

Scandinavian inventors are hoping that efficient new waves power technologies will for the first time make the sector competitive with other renewable energy sources, writes Paul Brown - opening up a massive new clean energy resource around the world. more...
Thunderstorm in Colorado, USA, on 28th June 2013. Photo: Bryce Bradford via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).)

Geoengineering - the case is not made

Clive Hamilton

14th February 2015

The geoengineering genie should remain firmly stopped up in its bottle until a robust case is made for letting it out, writes Clive Hamilton - and that's something the NRC's new report signally fails to achieve, providing no rationale for deploying the technology, or even experimenting with it. more...
Different types of UAVs work in various challenging situations. Photo: Thomas Snitch (CC BY-NC-ND).

Satellites, mathematics and drones take down Africa's poachers

Thomas Snitch

3rd February 2015

Using new technologies to take on poaching in Africa is reaping big dividends, writes Thomas Snitch. Where drones are deployed as part of an integrated package of measures, poachers quickly give up. The trouble is, they move to other unprotected locations. So we must extend the program to all of Africa's most at-risk areas. more...
A typically dark, narrow Cairo street in the Boulaq El Dakrour district. Photo: Patrick Keddie.

Beginning to see the light ... shining the sun's rays into Cairo's dark streets

Patrick Keddie

4th February 2015

Egyptian researchers have come up with a solution to the a lack of sunlight in Cairo's narrow and dingy streets, writes Patrick Keddie: a sine-wave panel that reflects light as soon as the sun rises. Initial tests indicate a potential five-fold increase in light levels. more...
Look - no gasoline! A Tesla Roadster charging up outside the company's Palo Alto HQ, California. Photo: Windell Oskay via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

Goodbye oil! Soon all cars will be electric - because they are better

Chris Goodall

10th February 2015

78 records didn't come to an end because the world ran out of shellac, writes Chris Goodall. And today's cars won't be made obsolete by a shortage of oil, or even climate change. The transition will be driven by falling prices, long range, clean air laws, and the superb style, performance and driving experience they offer. more...
Smart countries are going for renewables - like Algeria, where these panels are located. Photo: Magharebia via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

Only a mug would bet on carbon storage over renewables

John Quiggin

16th January 2015

From Australia to the UK, governments are pinning their hopes on 'carbon capture' technology stuck onto coal power stations, writes John Quiggin. But their choice carries a high risk of failure - the smart money is on renewables, energy storage and responsive power grids. more...
Another advantage of vertical axis turbines is that they can be placed closer together. Image: Vertax Wind.

Going vertical: offshore wind power must find a new axis

Maurizio Collu & Michael Borg

14th January 2015

Offshore wind turbines are trying to reproduce at sea what works on land, write Maurizio Collu & Michael Borg. But it's proving a costly and high maintenance exercise. It's time to switch to new 'vertical axis' designs that promise to be cheaper to build and operate. more...
One of the single-engine Cessnas used by the Wildlife Air Service for their marine patrols with The Black Fish. Photo: Marine Air Service.

Wildlife Air Service spreads its wings

Elizabeth Claire Alberts

6th February 2015

Aerial surveillance is a proven and effective technique in tackling wildlife crime, writes Elizabeth Claire Alberts - so the arrival on the scene of a new wildlife organization dedicated to providing air reconnaissance services to frontline environmental defenders couldn't come too soon. more...
Soon smartphones could work as mobile air quality sensors - but probably best avoided by smokers! Photo: Ed Yourdon via Flickr, (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

Information to the people! The coming air quality revolution

Prashant Kumar

15th January 2015

Air quality across the UK is currently monitored by just a few hundred fixed stations, writes Prashant Kumar. That leaves most of us ignorant about the pollution we are breathing. But tiny air quality sensors in our mobile phones could soon create a network of millions of data points - and spur much needed official action to clean our air. more...
The SPICE project will investigate the release of small particles into the stratosphere to cool the Earth by reflecting a few percent of incoming solar radiation. Photo: Hugh Hunt CC BY-SA 3.0.

What's worse than geoengineering the climate?

Nick Breeze

23rd December 2014

Film maker Nick Breeze has conducted a series of interviews with experts on 'geo-engineering' to forestall runaway global warming. Here he presents the distilled wisdom from his meetings - and concludes that we should at least be experimenting with the techniques, and studying their impacts. more...
Solar panels in space work very efficiently. But how to get them there? And how to get the power down to Earth? Image: John MacNeil via Greenpeace.

Seven breakthrough solar technologies - but will they work?

Zachary Davies Boren / Greenpeace Energy Desk

17th December 2014

A bunch of innovations are taking place in the world of solar power, writes Zachary Davies Boren - and one or more of them could just propel the technology from providing just 1% of the world's electricity, to dominating the world's energy supply. Provided they work ... more...
Digital Green records a discussion on best agronomic practice with an Ethiopian farmer for dissemination among his peers. Photo: Digital Green.

New technologies can help poor farmers - just not the ones you're thinking of

Tony Juniper

18th November 2014

Modern technology has a lot to offer small farmers in poor countries, writes Tony Juniper - just not the GMOs and pesticides that are widely touted. But how about film, digital communications and smart phones? These new media can empower farmers and allow them to share knowledge and experience of how to produce more, from less. more...

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