SCIENCE IN THE NEWS WEEKLY
A Hidden Risk of Biofuel Crops
Such non-food crops as reeds and wild grasses may seem an attractive alternative to corn for making biofuel, but scientists warned last week that many of the crops being discussed qualify as invasive species. As such, they could spread to adjacent farms and other land, doing economic and ecological harm in the process.
In other news, researchers say the encroachment of conifer forests on Arctic tundra threatens to accelerate warming in the far north in areas now covered by reflective snow much of the year.
A new study in the journal Nature Geoscience suggests that we may experience fewer rather than more hurricanes as the world warms. But there may be a "modest increase" in the intensity of the storms.
The Washington Post looked at how symbols can overshadow substance when it comes to climate change initiatives. When the 2 million residents of Sydney, Australia, turned off their lights for an hour, it was a dandy publicity stunt—that didn't really save a significant amount of energy.
And the Minneapolis Star Tribune featured local television meteorologist Mike Fairbourne, who is among thousands of scientists who have signed a petition saying that human influence on global warming is exaggerated. The petition drive is the work of several staff members at the non-profit Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine.
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VIDEO: The Promise and Peril of Drones
The automation of tasks at work and at home is just around the corner, including driving cars, piloting planes, delivering packages, and transporting weapons. Unmanned aerial vehicles are rapidly evolving to meet both society’s and the military’s needs in automation and better efficiency.
During her time as one of the first female fighter pilots in the US Navy, Dr. Missy Cummings observed that computers could take off and land a plane more precisely than humans. Because of this breakthrough and her fascination with this growing technology, she began human–drone interaction research.
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