Friday, January 9, 2015

Singapore: collision between two cargo ships causes stroke for the Pacific

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A freighter of Libyan crude and a freighter bulk oil Singaporean collided last week in the Singapore Strait, causing the spill of 33,000 barrels of oil to the Pacific.

According to the Sea Port Authority of Singapore, the ship from Libya, and the Singaporean vessel Alyarmouk, Sinar Kapua, collided at about 11 nautical miles northwest of white rock East of Singapore. Reuters writes that it was the damage caused in the cargo tanks from Alyarmouk, resulting from the collision, which caused the stroke.

The Alyarmouk traveling from Malaysia to China, while the Sinar Kapuas travelled from Hong Kong to Singapore. Maritime Port Authority of Singapore said that the two companies responsible for the vessels have already been called to clean the spill.

With the accident last week, the number of strokes in the Strait of Singapore rises to 11. The most violent occurred in 1997 when 28,463 tonnes were spilled into the sea.

Foto: United States Government Work/Creative Commons

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Portugal guides already gathered 30 tons of Cork since 2005

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Launched in 2005, the draft Action corkscrew, developed by Portugal guides, has allowed the collection of 30 tons of Cork Stoppers used, taking them to recycling. According to the Portuguese Association, the project has a "dual-objective: to contribute to the preservation of the environment, reusing a natural resource; and collaborate with institutions of social solidarity, since the value that results from the sale of the corks for [these].

With sampling points in the districts of Faro, Lisbon, Porto, Santarem, Viana do Castelo, Braga, Viseu and the autonomous regions of Azores and Madeira, Portugal guides have placed rolhões in cafes, restaurants, schools or hotel units. "We remain fully available to provide rolhões to all interested parties," said the Green Savers Sara Noble, President of the Association of Guides Portugal.

In addition to collection, Portugal Guides Association has carried out a series of initiatives to promote recycling of Cork Stoppers, such as exposure to Action Project Acorn "corkscrew", which was held in the Municipal Environmental Interpretation Centre of Viana do Castelo and the "Stopper" fair which took place at the gates of the city of Ponta Delgada and on which the tabs have put several products on display, all of them made from reusing corks.

Those interested in contributing to the collection of Stoppers Portugal Guides Association can contact the tabs of these districts and request a rolhão, combining the location and date for delivery. Subsequently, the guides do the replacement of the rolhão and the collection of corkscrews.

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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Japan: rice passes for the first time in tests of radioactivity from the disaster of Fukushima

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Since the disaster of Fukushima, in 2011, the rice grown in Japan showed high levels of radioactivity. This year, and for the first time since the nuclear disaster, the rice harvested presents levels of radioactivity under safety standards implemented by the Japanese Government.

Government sources indicated that 360,000 tons of rice were verified and all showed levels of radioactivity under 100 becquerels, the value stipulated by the Government. "The fact that the amount of rice that does not pass our tests has been consistently declining over the last three years indicates that we are taking the right decisions," indicates Oonami Tsuneaki, government official, cites the Inhabitat.

After the nuclear disaster of Fukushima, the Japan was forced to suspend its exports agricultural and fishing, which severely damaged the country's farmers and fishermen. The restrictions have now been lifted, but due to the constant radiation leaks from several central countries, particularly South Korea, still do not import food products from Japan.

Photo: Narcís Molina Montasell / Creative Commons

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Mexico: La Paz will be a 100% solar city at the end of 2015

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When a new solar plant start producing electricity by the end of 2015, La Paz, on Mexico, will become a 100% solar city. The Aura central Solar I, Latin America's largest solar plant, began operations last year and already provides 64% of the electricity that the city of 200,000 inhabitants need. With Grupotec I starts work, the Mexican city's energy needs are to be fully supplied with solar energy.

For a medium-sized city like La Paz, the bet on renewable energy is a major breakthrough. The Solar Aura I replaced an old power station and can provide energy to 164,000 inhabitants of the town. The new central Grupotec I will provide between 40 to 42% of the energy necessary to La Paz, through 97,000 photovoltaic panels and an installed capacity of 30 megawatts, as well as a storage capacity of 11 megawatts, writes the Inhabitat.

As the central Solar I, Grupotec Aura I will have a power purchase contract of 20 years with the local electric company. The energy will be sold at a rate equal to the cost of production and the price of electricity to the end-customer should remain unchanged.

Photo: Creative Commons/Macaronimami

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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Largest truck in the world is equipped with electric motors Siemens

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The largest truck in the world is at the service of a coal mine in Siberia and has the peculiarity of being powered by four electric motors. The vehicle can carry more than 500 tonnes â€" the equivalent of seven Airbus A320-200 aircraft.

The engines that allow the vehicle to move are the result of a technology developed by Siemens-Siemens Train Automation System â€" which has been implemented in less than 2 years. The drive system consists of four electric motors of 1,200 kW each. The technology, in addition to more ecological, allows you to increase the transport capacity by about 25%, and a significant reduction of costs per tonne and increased operational efficiency, indicates Siemens said in a statement.

The vehicle is owned by BelAZ and has 20 meters long, 10 wide and 8 tall, running at a maximum speed of Deadman/h when empty. The truck runs on eight tires, which were designed in such a way that each can withstand a load of 100 tons.

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Scientists map genome of bowhead whales for the first time

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Bowhead whales, Baleana mysticetus, is the mammal with the greatest longevity and can reach the 210 years. The longevity of this whale has almost no comparison with most mammals and even inside of cetaceans, their average life expectancy stands out in several years by comparison with other species.

Now and for the first time, scientists were able to map the complete AND bowhead whales. Researchers from two different studies have joined efforts and identified the genome of this species by comparing it with the minke whale â€" a species which may have a lifespan between 30 and 50 years.

The comparison of the two genomes has enabled scientists to identify two gene mutations in the DNA of bowhead whales: the ERCC1 and PCNA, genes related to longevity and cancer resistance and DNA repair, writes the Dodo.

The study was conducted in the Liverpool Centre for Genomics Research, with collaboration of scientists from Alaska, Spain, South Korea, Denmark and Ireland.

According to João Pedro Magalhães, Portuguese researcher at the University of Liverpool who led the study, the conclusions drawn from the study of the DNA of this species of whale can contribute to the study of human genetics. For example, drugs that can activate human genes similar to those found on bowhead whales can be used to combat serious diseases.

Bowhead whales has a population relatively stable thanks to the introduction, in 1986, of a moratorium that regulates fishing subsistence purposes only. There are an estimated 24,900 these whales roam the Arctic and subarctic waters.

Foto: Ross Bishop/Creative Commons

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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Wakati: the solar refrigeration for developing countries

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Technically, Wakati is not a refrigerator-why does not use cooling-, but the function is equal to: preserve foods. In developing countries, where electricity is scarce and expensive, a medium that can preserve food for longer can have a big impact on income and way of life of the most disadvantaged populations.

The Wakati is a species of sterile box, solar-powered, which lets you store and ventilate the food. For the preservation is possible, the small three-watt solar panel on top of the box lets you feed a fan which gradually evaporates a small reservoir of water, creating a damp and cool environment inside the Wakati.

In addition to airing, the device has no temperature control mechanism, so that is not a solution to long-term food preservation. However, the fact that allow increase in a few days the conservation of food in these countries is a big step. Products that have one or two days of validity in hot climates can be preserved during ten days in Wakati. Thus, families can have products in food conditions own for more days and farmers also have more time to sell their products before they are unfit for consumption.

Currently, have already been provided about 100 systems in areas of Haiti Wakati, Uganda and Afghanistan, writes the TreeHugger.

The Wakati was developed by Arne Pauwels, within the framework of a master's project at the University of Antwerp, where he studied product development. The implementation of technology was possible through various partnerships with companies and non-governmental organizations.

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