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Fuel For Thought: Is There Hope For Africa?

While driving up Africa from Johannesburg (South Africa) to Arusha (Tanzania) – over 4,000 kilometres via Botswana, Zambia and Malawi in 5 days – we saw this amazing juxtaposition with a man carrying over 100-pounds of charcoal on his bicycle being passed by a 20-tonne truck carrying gasoline. Both on their way to the nearest market…

Myanmar, Bangladesh and India: Prospects for Energy Cooperation

Guest article by Mirza Sadaqat Huda As the world turns its eyes on reforms in Myanmar / Burma and investment rushes in, the opportunities and challenges of trade and peace-building with Myanmar’s neighbours to the West, Bangladesh and India deserve further study. In this guest article, one of my doctoral students, at the University of…

The Fracker’s Quest: More Water

By Peyton Fleming, Ceres DENVER – Hydraulic fracturing (aka fracking) has recast the U.S.’s energy future, but it’s also shining a light on fragile water supplies, which could crimp the industry’s growth. The pinch is especially strong on shale energy producers and state regulators who are scrambling to find ways to keep the water flowing…

British Columbia Bans Oil and Gas Development in Sacred Headwaters

The response to a decade of work came yesterday, when the B.C. government announced a permanent ban on oil and gas exploration in the Sacred Headwaters.

Europe Asks If It Can Probe Uranus

This past September the giant planet Jupiter made its closest approach to Earth since 1951, briefly becoming the brightest object in the night sky, aside from the moon. And not too far from that brilliant dot, sky-watchers with even modest binoculars could easily spot one of Jupiter’s distant relatives: the icy gas planet Uranus. Uranus’…

Hubble Space Telescope’s New Classic

This past Saturday, April 24, marked 20 years since the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope aboard the space shuttle Discovery. Hubble was released into orbit the following day, but it wasn’t until May that astronomers got a look at the first pictures from their shiny new observatory. The scientists—and eager members of the public…

Big Baby Stars Light Up a Cosmic Rose

To the human eye, the Rosette nebula appears as a vague ghost of a cloud around a bright star cluster in the constellation Monoceros, the Unicorn. But to the infrared eye of the Herschel Space Observatory, this cosmic rose lights up with astonishing color: —Image courtesy ESA/PACS & SPIRE Consortium/HOBYS Key Programme Consortia More precisely,…

Watching a Planet’s Birth in Real Time

Your friendly neighborhood geologist will tell you that the age of the Earth is 4.54 billion years, give or take 45 million. Since modern humans have been around for only about 60,000 years of that time, it’s hard for us to even guess at how exactly the planet was born. Luckily we have a variety…

Jupiter’s Great Red Spot Experiences Shrinkage

It’s kind of like a wool sweater that’s been put through the dryer. Except the sweater is a hurricane-like storm as wide as three Earths, and the dryer is Jovian climate change. —Image courtesy NASA/JPL/University of Arizona From 1996 to 2006, Jupiter’s Great Red Spot shrank by about 15 percent, according to researchers at the…

Planetary Trivia: What’s the Mass of Uranus?

All eyes swiveled toward me when the tie-breaker question was asked at last week’s pub quiz: How many times Earth’s mass is that of Uranus? [insert suppressed giggle here] Think you know? Think carefully. This is pub quiz after all, not Jeopardy—who’s to say the question writers knew the difference between size and mass? On…

What’s Inside Saturn?

What’s going on inside a gas giant? Sending spacecraft in to investigate is a risky proposition—the deeper you go, the higher the heat and pressure, so you’d be burned up and/or crushed before you got far enough to record much. But thanks to various probes and telescopes operating at safer depths, we know a good…

NASA to Send Snarky High-School Girl to Jupiter

Okay, not really, but I couldn’t resist. In reality, the agency has approved a new spacecraft dubbed Juno that will launch in 2011, making it into an elliptical polar orbit around Jupiter by 2016. The mission isn’t named for the teenage darling of independent film, but for the Roman goddess who was the jealous sister-wife…

Better Gas Mileage From a Filter?

By Seth Bauer My car is now filter-tipped. Last week, I let Skip Hansen, from a company named Sabertec, saw the ends off of my car’s tailpipes and clamp on his $199 product, The Blade. Kind of cool looking, the device is a filter-lined metal tube that captures particulate matter (soot) and some of the…

A Crater By Any Other Name

It’s been just over two weeks since the MESSENGER spacecraft swooped past Mercury during its second flyby of the innermost planet. Since the initial fervor, the MESSENGER team has been faithfully releasing images collected during the close encounter, some of which are providing data-hungry scientists with fodder for speculation about Mercury’s geologic processes. Today’s offering…