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Stories by David Biello

How Microbes Can Build Electric Grids

New research demonstrates that bacteria exploit conducting minerals in their environment to shuttle electrons between species, allowing greater growth

June 4, 2012 — David Biello

Once-Rare Butterfly Species Now Thrives, Thanks to Climate Change

The once rare brown argus butterfly is on the move, expanding its range and numbers in the U.K.—and it's all thanks to climate change.Thus far, the world's climate has warmed roughly 0.8 degree Celsius over the course of the last century or so, thanks to a rise in greenhouse gas concentrations now approaching 400 parts-per-million...

May 24, 2012 — David Biello

Millennia-old Microbes Found Alive in Deep Ocean Muck

A sparse community of microbes can persist for eons in the clay beneath the deep blue sea. When scientists drilled into the Pacific Ocean bottom and pulled up a long core of clay, they also pulled up microbes living on so little that it was hard for the scientists to tell if they were alive in the first place.The microbes are still being precisely identified but they are not like the other deep-sea extremophiles that scientists have found everywhere from hydrothermal vents to more than a kilometer beneath some parts of the ocean floor...

May 18, 2012 — David Biello

Soot May Help Shift Tropics North

Soot may be responsible for the tropics expanding north, according to an analysis involving multiple computer models of the climate. By absorbing sunlight and trapping extra heat in the atmosphere, the tiny, black particles may be helping the poleward march of tropical conditions.The research will be published in Nature on May 17...

May 16, 2012 — David Biello

How to Feed the World While Earth Cooks

A conference on feeding the world must also feed itself. Having attended more than my share of such conferences, I can say that the norm is keynotes that rally the troops in favor of organics while said troops munch on tortilla or potato chips...

May 8, 2012 — David Biello

How Biodiversity Keeps Earth Alive

Species loss lessens the total amount of biomass on a given parcel, suggesting that the degree of diversity directly impacts the amount of life the planet can support

May 3, 2012 — David Biello

Royal Society Calls for Redistribution of Wealth and More Birth Control to Save Planet

During the 352-year life span of the Royal Society, the human population has risen from less than one billion people to seven billion and counting. That boom has been supported by science and technology—Watt's coal-fired steam engine, Haber and Bosch synthesizing nitrogen fertilizer, Fleming's discovery of penicillin—and continues today as the world's population expands at the rate of 78 million people per year.Now the Royal Society wants the world to do something about population growth in a bid to stave off environmental and economic calamity, according to a new report dubbed "People and the Planet" released on April 26...

April 26, 2012 — David Biello
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