Scotland Generated Enough Renewable Energy to Power Itself

This past weekend Scotland generated enough electricity from wind turbines to meet all its power demands. A day of strong winds and low demand combined to make this the first time Scotland has achieved this renewable milestone. For a compression, in 2012 Germany got 50% of it’s electricity from renewable sources, and today Germany gets almost all of its power from renewable sources on a regular basis. In a couple years Scotland could be 100% powered by renewables. The cost of solar and wind installations continues to fall so it’s likely more regions of the world will be able to follow Scotland’s lead.

“It should also be remembered that wind power is not the only renewable power source Scotland has at its disposal.

“If we continue to take steps to reduce our energy demand, invest in storage, and increase our use of renewables we can hopefully look forward to many days that are fully powered by nature.”

The figures showed that wind turbines in Scotland provided 39,545 megawatts per hour (MWh) of electricity to the National Grid for 24 hours on Sunday. Scotland’s total electricity consumption for that day was 37,202MWh. It is unclear whether demand at any single point in the day exceeded the amount supplied by the turbines.

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The Oppression of Lawns

The concept of a lawn at a residence has a short, but rich, history. Basically, the rich had large estates and to demonstrate their wealth they had large swaths of land not used for cultivation. Today there are still people trying to show off their wealth by owning large lands of uselessness. Things seem to be changing though as people eschew their lawns – some people replace it with something good and others just don’t care about the class association.

Remember that lawns are something you can make a choice about: you can live in a place without the unnecessary space, in hot climates you can try xeriscaping, you can make your landscape green, or you can look into a long list of lawn alternatives.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the traditional American lawn has come in for some scrutiny in recent years. Some, like Baker, are abandoning regular lawn maintenance out of environmental concerns — lawns require fertilizer to grow and gas to mow, and they take up space that could otherwise be used for animal habitat.

Other folks are ditching their lawns because of the amount of water they soak up — 9 billion gallons of it per dayaccording to the EPA. Think of the miracle that is the modern water supply — pristine water pumped hundreds of miles, passed through shiny state-of-the-art filtration systemstreated with miracle chemicals that keep our teeth from falling out of our heads, and available on-demand at the twist of a knob. And then consider that we intentionally dump billions of gallons of that water out on the ground!

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Efficient Beans to Beat Drought Conditions


Beans are delicious, so delicious that earlier this year the UN declared 2016 to be year of the pulse. Around the world beans are cultivated for their protein and their ability to grow in many places. Some beans are better at growing in wet areas while others in drought conditions. This has led botanists to look into why some beans are better than others in terms of the drought resistance. They figured it out thanks to crossbreeding the beans!

What the researchers have now found is that the plants have developed two distinct strategies, depending on the soil in which they were planted and the length of the dry periods they had to endure.

One group has developed deeper roots so they can reach the available moisture in soil that retained water even when there was no rain.

The second group has smaller leaves and closes down their operations to wait for better times. Some varieties use what little resources they have left to grow as many beans as possible, to ensure the survival of the next generation.

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Thanks to Delaney!

After Conflict, Reach Out and Touch Them


An interesting new study has shown that male athletes touch each other more than female athletes after a sporting conflict. It also turns out that the male athletes demonstrate better “making up” skills – and it all comes down to touching each other. The researchers suspect that this could be some hardwired behaviour since chimps do the same thing – after a conflict they physically touch more in an almost consoling way. The researchers also point out that this behaviour in sport might be way males tend to dominate in certain social practices. Could the act of making supportive physical contact after a confrontation help people get along?

Researchers have long been puzzled by the abilities of male chimpanzees, who constantly bicker and fight, to put aside their differences and co-operate and work together in struggles for territory with other groups.
Studies showed that male and female chimps acted differently in the aftermath of fights, with males much more inclined to engage in reconciliation behaviours.
Psychologists wondered if the same habits were true for humans – and decided to analyse high-level, same sex sporting competitions for these reconciliation traits.

But across the four sports observed, men spent significantly more time touching than females, in what the authors term “post-conflict affiliation”.
“What you’ll see is that many times females brush their fingers against each other,” said lead author Prof Joyce Benenson from Emmanuel College and Harvard University.

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Britain’s Bag Ban Boasts Big Benefits

England has put a 5p charge on plastic bags last year and it’s already having a huge impact on the environment. The use of disposable bags has decreased 85% since the same time last year! Last year 7 billion bags had been handed out compared to just 500 million so far this year. The Marine Conservation Society’s annual beach cleanup noted that the number of plastic bags found on the shore was done by a third – and that’s after just one year.

The charge has also triggered donations of more than £29m from retailers towards good causes including charities and community groups, according to Defra. England was the last part of the UK to adopt the 5p levy, after successful schemes in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Retailers with 250 or more full-time equivalent employees have to charge a minimum of 5p for the bags they provide for shopping in stores and for deliveries, but smaller shops and paper bags are not included. There are also exemptions for some goods, such as raw meat and fish, prescription medicines, seeds and flowers and live fish.

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