Melting permafrost

The very name ‘permafrost’ implies permanently frozen, but thanks to global warming, that’s changing…the permafrost is melting.  Why should you care?  Because frozen within is a very, very large amount of greenhouse gasses (methane AND CO2).  Scientists estimate that the gasses released from permafrost will eventually be about 15% of that produced by our human activities.  So, not exactly mind-blowing, but when you consider that we’re already failing to reduce emissions to the levels necessary to avert catastrophic global warming, this will make it just that much harder for us to do so.

Face it.  We, as a species, lack the will power, resolve, and courage to change our habits and avert the global warming that most scientists believe will happen.  It’s the sad truth that I’ve become resigned to, unless we can find a source of energy that is so cheap as to make fossil fuels outrageously expensive by comparison.  Greed and fear are some of the most basic human motivators; fear of a warming climate is insufficient, so we must appeal to peoples’ greed and provide a clean, renewable, zero emission energy source that is incredibly cheap.  Solar and wind are interesting, but both require large capital expense up front so don’t meet the ‘cheap’ criteria (payback needs to be in a matter of months, not years!).

Biological fuel cell

Energy storage and consumption is the bane of any new technology, especially portable ones.  Researchers at the Case Western Reserve University have accomplished something that I find quite incredible…tapping into a living organism’s biological energy system, and converting that to electricity which can then be used by human technology that has been added to the organism.  A true step closer to a living cyborg.  Awesome.  Ok, so it’s really more suitable to invertebrates at this point, but it still has incredible potential.  It also brings back memories of that scene in the Fifth Element, where a cockroach is equipped with a microphone, transmitter, and remote control, to enable Zorg’s men to eavesdrop on the President (the image here).  Read more about it over at Gizmag.