After nearly 50 years of service, Australia's first reactor, called HIFAR (the High Flux Australian Reactor) was turned off in 2006. Now, we have a newer and more technically sophisticated reactor called OPAL - the Open Pool Australian Lightwater reactor.Google it and you'll find a series of newspaper articles carrying on about water leaks and organisational politics, and not so much about what the reactor actually does.
To find a way of fending off global warming, scientists sometimes look to nature. Plants, after all, use photosynthesis to snap up carbon dioxide, the biggest source of our climate change woes. So we get inventions like artificial leaves and ambitious projects like a plan to give fish photosynthesizing powers. One of the more interesting plans: genetically alter microorganisms so they can chow down on some CO2, too.
Japanese officials report they've produced natural gas from underwater methane hydrate, a frozen mix of water and methane known as "burning ice." Previous experiments have successfully extracted gas from on-shore deposits, but this is the first time we've been able to do it with deep sea reserves.
When it comes time for an aging skyscraper to be put out to pasture, it's best to do so slowly. For buildings higher than 100 meters tall, there's no easy path to demolition. Sure, you could blow it up, but the cleanup would be brutal. You could slam it with a wrecking ball, but that's a little heavy-handed, don't you think?
Rain or shine, the battle of the Mississippi rages on. The vital shipping lane that supports middle-American economies from the Upper-Midwest to New Orleans is once again in dire straits as the Army Corps of Engineers struggles to control Big Muddy - this time by making it deeper. Wracked by the worst (and longest) droughts in memory, the Midwest and the river are critically short on water, so short that the shallowest stretch of the river between Cairo, Ill. and St. Louis could become unnavigable in the next month, and the Corps of Engineers is just about out of geoengineering options to mitigate the problem, NPR reports.