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Category: Environment & Nature (page 1 of 5)

Air pollution causes brain structure changes that resemble Alzheimer’s disease

Nicholas Bakalar »

Over 11 years of follow-up, they found that the greater the women’s exposure to PM 2.5, the tiny particulate matter that easily penetrates the lungs and bloodstream, the lower their scores on the cognitive tests.

After excluding cases of dementia and stroke, they also found a possible reason for the declining scores: The M.R.I. results showed that increased exposure to PM 2.5 was associated with increased brain atrophy, even before clinical symptoms of dementia had appeared. The study is in the journal Brain.

“PM 2.5 alters brain structure, which then accelerates memory decline,” said the lead author, Diana Younan, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Southern California. “I just want people to be aware that air pollution can affect their health, and possibly their brains.”

Read the whole article at the NY Times »

Published article in the journal Brain » Particulate matter and episodic memory decline mediated by early neuroanatomic biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease

Norwegians are EV obsessed and the Tesla Model 3 accounted for 12.4% of all vehicle sales in Norway from January–July 2019

California’s a huge market for Tesla, the Netherlands loves Tesla, Switzerland loves Tesla, but no state or country is as Tesla obsessed as Norway.

Whereas electric vehicles are still at 1–2% market share in many auto markets, or 6–10% in good markets, fully electric vehicles accounted for 38% of new passenger vehicle sales in Norway last month.

If you’re like me, you’d like to check your senses now and confirm the 38% related to fully electric vehicles, not also plug-in hybrids. Indeed, that’s only for the purest of the pure, while another 25% were hybrids, 41% of which were plug-in hybrids. That means nearly 50% of new vehicle sales were plug-in vehicles sales.

King of the hill among all of these electric and electrified vehicles, as usual, was the Tesla Model 3. The Model 3 is so popular there that it accounted for 12.4% of the Norwegian auto market in January–July of this year. Good luck finding a country with a 12.4% EV market share, let alone a 12.4% Tesla Model 3 market share. That percentage means that one out of every eight vehicles sold in the country was a Model 3 — not for one month, not for two months, but for a 7 month timespan.

» Read more about electric vehicle sales in Norway by Zachary Shahan in Clean Technica

Greenland’s rapidly vanishing glaciers

» BBC science editor David Shukman went back to the same spot on the Sermilik glacier, in southern Greenland, that he visited in 2004.

The air conditioner is heating up the world

There are just over 1bn single-room air conditioning units in the world right now – about one for every seven people on earth. Numerous reports have projected that by 2050 there are likely to be more than 4.5bn, making them as ubiquitous as the mobile phone is today. The US already uses as much electricity for air conditioning each year as the UK uses in total. The IEA projects that as the rest of the world reaches similar levels, air conditioning will use about 13% of all electricity worldwide, and produce 2bn tonnes of CO2 a year – about the same amount as India, the world’s third-largest emitter, produces today.

All of these reports note the awful irony of this feedback loop: warmer temperatures lead to more air conditioning; more air conditioning leads to warmer temperatures. The problem posed by air conditioning resembles, in miniature, the problem we face in tackling the climate crisis. The solutions that we reach for most easily only bind us closer to the original problem.

The global dominance of air conditioning was not inevitable. As recently as 1990, there were only about 400m air conditioning units in the world, mostly in the US. Originally built for industrial use, air conditioning eventually came to be seen as essential, a symbol of modernity and comfort. Then air conditioning went global. Today, as with other drivers of the climate crisis, we race to find solutions – and puzzle over how we ended up so closely tied to a technology that turns out to be drowning us.

Read more by Stephen Buranyi at The Guardian…

Great Barrier Reef outlook very poor

The Great Barrier Reef’s outlook has been officially downgraded from poor to very poor due to climate change.

Rising sea temperatures thanks to human-driven global warming remain the biggest threat to the reef, a five-year Australian government report says.

More at the BBC…

Amazing Video of a Crack Splitting an Antarctic Ice Shelf in Two

by National Geographic

Watch » The Icebreaker in the Arctic Ocean

This video was shot in the Arctic Ocean in March 2018.

For 7 days the crew passed through the Barents Sea to Karsky around the Novaya Zemlya archipelago on the nuclear icebreaker Yamal. They witnessed the northern lights, polar bears, watched the ships stuck in the ice being towed, and were very cold.

In the video you can see two Russian icebreakers – “50 Years of Victory” and “Yamal” with a capacity of 75,000 horsepower.

Continue reading

Plastic Bags to Be Banned in New York

Jesse McKinley, writing for NY Times:

New York State lawmakers have agreed to impose a statewide ban on most types of single-use plastic bags from retail sales, changing a way of life for millions of New Yorkers as legislators seek to curb an unsightly and omnipresent source of litter.

The plan, proposed a year ago by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, would be the second statewide ban, after California, which banned bags in 2016. Hawaii also effectively has a ban in place, since all the state’s counties bar such single-use bags.

Read More…

Watch » A Brief History of Yellowstone National Park

National Geographic put together this brief 4:22 minute video about the epic, strange, and iconic Yellowstone, the world’s first national park.

Continue reading

Happy Solstice

It’s Friday.

It’s the first day of summer for the northern hemisphere » The longest day and shortest night of the year for 88% of the world’s population.

Skye got her summer hair cut. This should keep her cooler during the summer months.

Great day to celebrate.

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