Friday, April 18, 2008

New Plastic Bags Biodegrade in Four Months

Plastic Bags Biodegrade On the heels of reporting about Canada's probable move to ban BPA plastics comes a story about researchers working at Missouri University of Science and Technology to develop hybrid plastics that would biodegrade in landfills within four months. As our editor Nicole Dyer pointed out in a comment to the BPA post, the larger and more important issue facing plastics is their propensity to stick around forever.

As we pointed out in our article about the waste gyre in the Pacific Ocean, plastics will eventually photodegrade into microscopic bits, but those polymer molecules will forever be inorganic toxins. The Missouri S&T scientists are working to change that by focusing their attention on a biodegradable polyester. (...more)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Food Riots and Waste

An apple a day gets thrown away. In fact, 4.4 million apples get thrown away in the UK every day, the majority of which are still perfectly edible. This is according to information released this week by the UK government funded Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP).

Between the farm gate and my plate, half of the food produced is wasted. Enough from the UK alone to meet half the import needs of the entire African continent. A while back Japan gave a big food donation to Africa including $3 million of food to Burundi. We throw away 40 times more than that in a year. According to the University of Michigan (PDF), it takes 7 times more energy to get food to the average American stomach than it gives you. How much fossil fuels does it cost to get all the other stuff we’re used to eating? (...more)

Friday, April 11, 2008

Space Debris Illustrated: The Problem in Pictures

Space junk, space debris, space waste — call it what you want, but just as junk and waste cause problems here on Earth, in space spent booster stages, nuts and bolts from ISS construction, various accidental discards such as spacesuit gloves and cameras, and fragments from exploded spacecraft could turn into a serious problem for the future of spaceflight if actions to mitigate the threat are not taken now.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Couple sues Google because their home is on Google Maps Street View

google maps street viewA couple in Pennsylvania has decided to try to cash in on Google's wealth and sue the California-based company for putting images of the couples house online at Google Maps Street View. Since the images were taken from a public road I'm not sure they even have a case but it will be interesting to see how it develops.

A Pittsburgh couple has sued Google because photos of their house are now on Google Maps Street View. They allege that ever since the photos have appeared on Street View, the value of their property has plummeted. Property records indicate that the domicile was purchased for a cool $163,000, which, I’m pretty sure, wouldn’t buy a garbage can in any livable city in this country.

They want some $25,000 in damages from The Google. (source)

Thursday, April 03, 2008

View from the 140th Floor of the Burj Dubai

View from the 140th Floor of the Burj Dubai