sábado, 19 de Abril de 2014

Molecules can store solar energy indefinitely


Solar power walks with great strides for the MIT scientist: microscopic and Harvard University found a way to store solar energy in molecules that can be used to heat homes, water or for cooking.

These molecules can store the heat forever and be used indefinitely, not emitting greenhouse gases. Although the investigation is still at the beginning, the laboratory tests have demonstrated the feasibility of the phenomenon, called photoswitching.

"There are molecules, known as photoswitching, can take on two different forms, as if they had a hinge in the Middle", explained researchers in a press release published in the journal Nature Chemistry. "Expose them to light allows them to absorb the energy and change from one configuration to the other, who then stays stable over a long period of time".

To release this energy, simply expose the molecules to a small amount of light, heat, or electricity, and then switch to the other way. "In fact, they behave as loadable batteries: take the energy from the Sun, store it indefinitely and then release it in the request", explained the Nature Chemitry.

According to The Atlantic, this technology could be used in countries where people still use wood for cooking, which creates dangerous levels of air pollution inside the House, leads to deforestation and contributes to climate change.

"To Cook, simply leave the unit in the Sun during the day," said Timothy Kucharsk, leader of the investigation. Another one of the versions of the appliance can be used to heat buildings. Kucharski said that the MIT and Harvard are now investigating molecule that can absorb more than the energy of the Sun, so that they can be more easily used.

Foto: Moyan_Brenn (back soon, sorry for not commenting)/Creative Commons

London opens first coffee for cats


It's called Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium. And as the name indicates, the space is a place for cats-cats coffee, more specifically.

This cafe where cats are the hosts opened in February and is the first cat Cafe in London, in Shoreditch. However, the fashion of cafés of cats is not new â€" in Japan, where it is sourced, these establishments are common and in 2012 and 2013 opened cat cafes in Vienna, Paris and Madrid.

The idea of the Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium is simple: cats â€" that were adopted in an institution â€" roam freely through space and customers can interact with the animals while they eat or drink. Additionally, the cat lovers who do not have conditions to have its own cat can help take care of the cats of this coffee or help in animal nutrition.

A visit to space costs €6,20-amount that helps pay health care and feeding of animals â€" and is limited to a maximum of two hours. Children under eight years can not enter the room once, as shown in the website, "cats are afraid of the children". It is also not allowed to take photographs inside with flash.

Despite the prohibitions, the coffee is already quite popular among Londoners, referring to Atlantic Cities, and has bookings until June. Second, Anna Kogan, owner of space, the intention is to adopt more cats in the future, but required the prior approval of the Board of London. Currently the Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium has 11 cats.

Shoreditch should have briefly also a café for dogs, the Happiness of Hounds.

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Global warming is making the smaller salamanders


For many centuries were considered immune to fire but, after all, the heat is affecting the size of the salamanders. A new study has revealed that the wild salamanders of North America are getting smaller as their natural habitat is becoming hotter and drier, forcing a greater expenditure of energy to survive in this climate more austere.

Researchers at the University of Maryland concluded that the salamanders of the Appalachian mountains are almost one tenth smaller than its predecessors of the mid-twentieth century. The difference in sizes is sharper in the Appalachian South and the smaller highs â€" places where the data indicate that temperatures have risen more and more land dried up.

Previous studies indicated that some animals would get smaller as a result of global warming and this new study reinforces this assumption. According to Karen Lips, one of the main authors of the study, this is one of the larger and faster mutation rates ever recorded in any animal ". "We don't know exactly how and why that is happening, but our data clearly indicate that there is a correlation with climate change," said Lips.

There is also a simulation study that shows that the modern salamanders are so active as their ancestors were. However, to maintain this rate of activity, the contemporary animals need spend more 8% 7% of energy. To get this extra power, the salamanders must make choices. May have to spend more time looking for more food or resting in cooler locations than looking for potential partners.

Foto: GGL1/Creative Commons

sexta-feira, 18 de Abril de 2014

C&A launches campaign to draw attention to the shortage of organic cotton


"We're taking Bio Cotton every person, every day", is the objective and also the name of the most recent C&A campaign for promoting the use of organic cotton. To encourage the purchase of products made from organic cotton, but also to draw attention to the shortage of this same product, the clothing brand has released a brochure on this raw material.

The booklet explains the additional value and current challenges in the production of organic cotton and indicates opportunities for organisations involved in the global supply chain, as well as the particular responsibility of the garment industry in maximize the use of organic cotton.

Following this environmental concern, the C&A establish as a goal for all of its cotton from sustainable production by the year 2020. "Companies can make a difference, not only in producer countries as well as sales markets, to alert its customers to the theme of organic cotton. Our experience tells us that it is possible to realize, meet demand and make a profit ", indicates in a statement Thorsten Rolfes, director of corporate communications for Europe.

Currently, the C&A is the largest buyer of organic cotton, having sold more than 100 million products made with the material in fiscal year 2013. The percentage of organic cotton used in clothing the brand, given the totality of cotton, is 38%.

About 75% of organic cotton processed by the company, grown without the use of pesticides and artificial fertilizers, comes from agricultural projects that are supported by C&A-near 60 thousand Indian farmers benefiting from these projects.

The scarcity of organic cotton

Despite the growing demand for organic cotton by international markets, global production of this matter is decreasing. Compared with the total output of cotton on a global scale, the cultivation of biological variant is only 1%.

Organic cotton production increased until 2011. However, after this year, the yield of crops subsequently decreased by 8%. Even though, at the same time, 50% of the producing countries have increased production of organic cotton. According to C&A, the reasons for the decrease of production relate to the "lack of knowledge with regard to organic farming methods and a lack of cooperation between the communities."

Foto: moria/Creative Commons

Caixa Geral de Depósitos adheres to the 10 principles of the Global Compact


Caixa Geral de Depósitos just signed a commitment with the United Nations Global Compact, the UN (United Nations), the largest voluntary corporate responsibility initiative in the world.

"This membership stems from the CGD commitment to work towards continuous implementation of the ten principles which that organization advocates", explains the Portuguese institution in a statement.

The Global Impact is an initiative that proposes strategic policies for companies undertaking to align its business with 10 universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour practices, environmental protection and anti-corruption.

These principles derive from the Universal Declaration of human rights, the Declaration of Principles of the International Labour Organization, the United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations Environment Programme.

By subscribing to these principles, CGD will integrate and collaborate actively in Portuguese network, as well as in the Global Compact networks that exist in the countries where it has operations with relevant impact on society, economy and environment â€" and therefore contribute to the development of local communities.

"This bond strengthens the CGD commitment to Corporate Sustainability Program, allowing you to assign a practicality and greater reach to the values and principles that we advocate for the group," concluded the institution.

Foto: USAID_IMAGES/Creative Commons

quinta-feira, 17 de Abril de 2014

Norwegian fisherman finds vibrator in cod (with video)


The news is as unusual as worrisome. A Norwegian fisherman found a vibrator inside the stomach of a cod in Norway. Bjørn Frilund explained to The site that he was "amazed" by the discovery, but believes he has an answer to this event.

"Fish eat all sorts of different things. And this vibrator is orange and it looks like your food. We have octopi on Norway, multicolored thought he was eating one of them, "explained Frilund, of 64 years.

"I've never seen anything like this, it was completely unexpected," continued the Norwegian fisherman, which explains why the subject should have been thrown out by a passenger on one of the cruises that passes in the Barents Sea.

Frilund discovered the vibrator â€" a wireless object and with a small electric motor â€" on April 7, but the news just now reached the international press.

Despite the unusual, this news is so worrisome as expected. Is not a Virgin: every year, thousands of animals â€" and not only â€" die due to ingestion of plastic and articles wrongly placed in their habitat.

According to Paula Sobral, the Portuguese Association of Marine Trash â€" an entity created in November â€" the swabs are more residues found on the beaches in Portugal. Remember that episode of the green economy.

Ecover laundry detergent produces from algae oil


Soon it will be possible to wash the clothes with detergents produced from algae oil, a more sustainable alternative to Palm oil, which is used today in most detergents.

The new laundry detergent cleaner was produced by Ecover, a company that produces and markets more sustainable cleaning products as part of the brand's commitment to replace the use of palm oil.

Palm oil is widely used in cleaning products and in food industry and is one of the causes of deforestation, once the rainforests and peat areas are replaced by palm plantations, particularly in Southeast Asia. Deforestation, in turn, increases carbon emissions and threatens biodiversity, especially orangutans.

"The algae oils have a high value of functionality and a lot smaller ecological footprint than most tropical oils such as palm oil, which makes them ideal for products for the home, where the tropical oils are widely used. The research carried out, it was discovered that algae are able to produce one of the most pure and clean oils available, "says Dirk Develter, director of the Department of research and development of Ecover, in a statement.

Already in 2009, the Ecover replaced, in its range of cleaning products, surfactants from Palm oil rapeseed alternatives with origin in Europe. Currently, the tropical oils (coconut and Palm) are currently the main sources of all surfactants, after crude oil.

Initially, 7% of the ingredients of the new Ecover detergent will be produced based on seaweed, and the aim is to increase its presence as the algal oil is being studied and developed.

The product should be launched on the European market â€" and in Portugal â€" at the end of 2014. In the domestic market will be possible to find in the new detergent, as well as other products from Ecover, Jumbo stores, El Corte Inglés, Supermarkets and other specialty shops Panache Biological, referred to the Ecover in notified.

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