Sao Paulo, Brazil, 2013. Subways abound in fine particles often carried by brakes or trains. Diego Torres Silvestre/Flickr

What you need to know about subway air quality

Subways seem like the perfect solution to improve air quality in cities. But what about air quality underground?
Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes viewed through a microscope in Broward County, Florida, in June 2016. AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

Hurricanes ideal for Zika spreading mosquitoes

Vast amounts of standing water in Houston and other hurricane-flooded areas are dangerous not only because of toxins. The water is a dangerous breeding ground for mosquitoes that transmit Zika.
Picking up the pieces in Florida after Hurricane Irma. AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

Why hurricanes won’t spur climate action

For the first time in years, Americans are acutely aware of the perils of extreme weather, but don't expect views on climate risks to shift overnight.
Using solar power could give the U.S. military some advantages – and more security. Diane Durden/U.S. Marine Corps

U.S. military eyes solar power to protect grid

US military bases usually get their electricity from the civilian grid, which is vulnerable to attack and to disaster. Solar-powered microgrids could protect national security, and would save money.
Bacteria cultured from a sample of air in a public building. Khamkhlai Thanet/

Bacterial baggage: Humans infect planet

When jetting off on holiday, we rarely give a second thought to what microbes we might be taking with us. But humans spread trillions of bacteria around the globe, potentially harming ecosystems' balance.
“Snowball Earth” happened around 700 million years ago. from

Ancient volcanoes made Earth ‘Snowball’ planet

Earth's thermostat can fail spectacularly at times. Around 700 million years ago, huge volcanic eruptions triggered "Snowball Earth".
Colleen Burge counts oysters on an oyster aquaculture lease in California. Collin Closek

Deadly herpes virus threatens oysters

Oysters grow in seawater and filter their food from it, so how do you shield them from waterborne diseases? Scientists are working to develop strains that are resistant to a fast-spreading herpes virus.
Flooding from Hurricane Harvey. Can the region rebuild infrastructure so that it can better withstand extreme weather events? AP Photo/David J. Phillip

Rules to rebuild in era of ‘unprecedented’ weather

After extreme weather events like Hurricane Harvey, city planners need to think about the smartest way to rebuild. Here are some no-regrets infrastructure investment ideas.
Satellite image on Sept. 7, 2017 shows three hurricanes: Irma in the center just north of the island of Hispaniola, Katia on the left in the Gulf of Mexico and Jose in the Atlantic Ocean on the right. NOAA via AP

Are strong hurricanes climate change impact?

What scientists know – and don't know – about the linkage between climate change and hurricanes.
Plants make proteins based on whatever genetic material you give them. Carl Davies, CSIRO

Can random DNA lead to safe antibiotics?

Inserting a random DNA mishmash into a plant or bacterium directs it to make a novel protein. Sifting through the resulting molecules, researchers may find ones have medical or agricultural uses.
A man hangs fish to dry on the western shore of Lake Turkana. Reuters/Goran Tomasevic

Dam raises fears of harm to environment, people

Ethiopia's GIBE III dam has been labelled the world's most controversial dam due to environmental and social impacts and the displacement of indigenous people.
Could the new invention spell the end of rooftop fans? Christophe Finot/Wikimedia Commons

How the sky can boost air conditioner efficiency

The invention of silver and plastic-clad roof panels that can cool themselves down even under the Sun's full glare promise to make air conditioning much more energy-efficient.
The Maputo Convention recognises traditional rights of local communities and indigenous knowledge. Shutterstock

Africa’s new biodiversity laws will protect people

After decolonisation and independence a new conservation document was needed, one that looks after the needs of the people. That's what the Maputo Convention aims to do.

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