The New Switcheroo

GREEN CHEMISTRY

For most of human history, fresh water was wherever we could find it. Communities were set up on flood plains to take advantage of natural irrigation, along rivers that lent themselves to easy availability or in regions rich with aquifers that could be tapped for wells. We have steadily freed ourselves from water’s geographical tyranny,...

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Flight risks

ENVIRONMENTAL CHEMISTRY

A herring gull colony is no place for the faint of heart, says Robert Letcher, research scientist with Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) and Head of the Environmental and Analytical Chemistry Research Group in the Wildlife and Landscape Science Directorate.  Letcher speaks from experience. To those unfamiliar with herring gulls, their colonies — such...

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Out of Thin Air

SEQUESTRATION

Vox, the popular United States media site, had an insightful column this past September about what the world needs to do if it has any hope of keeping planetary warming in check.  Step one: kick fossil fuels off the power grid. Step two: Electrify everything. The idea is to take anything that currently relies on...

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Good spirits

BIOCHEMISTRY

Some real estate agents swear by the smell of baking bread as a way of enhancing the prospects of a house on the market. The yeasty aroma apparently heads straight to our brain...

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Mitigation made to measure

PETROCHEMISTRY

On June 21, India launched the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre with 20 satellites aboard, including one made by the Canadian firm GHGSat that measures greenhouse gas emissions from industrial sites, using algorithms to interpret, store and manage the data. Photo credit: GHGSat On the first day of summer...

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Silicon Renaissance

NANOTECHNOLOGY

Can silicon detect and fight cancer, turn a greenhouse gas like carbon dioxide into a fuel and form an inexpensive way to separate hydrogen from water? Is it possible to use the second-most abundant element in the Earth’s crust to create superior batteries for electric cars, low-cost lasers and literally dirt-cheap methods of detecting explosives?

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