Dams tame wild rivers, they prevent floods, irrigate crops and generate billions of watts of renewable hydroelectric power. But some 25 miles from Raqaa, Syria the Daesh (aka ISIS) don’t see the Tabqa dam as a source of green energy. They see it as a military base, a prison and weapon of war.
“Roads? Where we’re going we don’t need roads!” Fans of the 1985 film “Back to the Future” watched the year 2015 slip from a promising future into a disappointing past with no sign of time travel, Mr. Fusion or flying cars. And while hoverboards came surprisingly close to reality, even these require roads (of solid[.....]
Each day, something terrible happens somewhere in this world. Families and communities are torn apart and thrown together in unfamiliar ways. Strangers who had found one another just barely tolerable become fellow humans, grieving needing and helping one another to survive. “My name is Sidra. I am 12 years old… I have lived here in[.....]
Imagine that you are a castaway on a dead planet. You only have provisions for a few days and you are absolutely alone. How would you survive? Andy Weir turned this question into his best-selling novel, The Martian. It is a tale of man versus Mars.
Some of the mysteries surrounding Egypt’s great pyramids will be explored using space-age technology according to a statement released by the country’s Minister of Antiquities. The “Scan Pyramids” project will use cosmic rays to solve the enigma of the ancient pyramids at Dahshur and Giza, aiming to provide better understanding of their architecture and interior design.
Ridley Scott’s, The Martian is based on Andy Weir’s best-selling novel. It was filmed in Jordan’s beautiful Wadi-Rum desert. Hollywood loves adventure stories, especially tales of humans struggling to survive in the wilderness. The Martian has something in common with The Life of Pi, 127 Hours, Castaway, Into the Wild and All is Lost. But a[.....]
The Svalbard Global seed bank was established in February 2008. It was designed to store seeds for hundreds or even thousands of years in the event of a global disaster. But now, only seven years later, the Syrian civil war made it necessary to withdraw seeds from this doomsday vault.
The 2016 United Arab Emirates Drones for Good Competition is now open. The UAE Drones for Good Award is “dedicated to transforming the innovative technologies behind civilian drones into practical, realizable solutions for improving people’s lives today.”
As spring turns into summer, the Khalifa fund’s investment in Abu Dhabi hydroponic agriculture is beginning to pay off. The Khalifa fund for enterprise development was Launched in 2007 to help local enterprise in Abu Dhabi. At the beginning of 2015, Ahmad Kalfan Al Romaithi revealed that Dh 130 million (approximately 35 million US dollars)[.....]
A celestial tryst between the CEO of Roman gods and the Roman goddess of love and beauty? This seems hardly a match made in heaven. You might even say this relationship is star-crossed. But watch the western sky just after sunset on Tuesday, June 30th and you’ll see a rare conjunction between a beautiful bright[.....]
What does Walt Disney World have in common with the ancient Middle Eastern cities of Jerash and Jerusalem? In each of these places we’ve found glaring examples of wasted energy in the form of high wattage outdoor lights switched on during the brightest hours of sunny days. The radio program “This American Life” once aired[.....]
“My God, it’s full of stars!” Fans of Arthur C. Clarke’s classic science fiction novel 2001 A Space Odyssey might recognize these as the words of astronaut David Bowman, awestruck by revelations of the deep mysteries of space. A team of astronomers from Tel Aviv University and UCLA discovered more than a million newborn stars[.....]
Researchers at the Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute worked alongside colleagues at Trinity College Dublin to solve solar energy mysteries related to the physical properties of photovoltaic perovskite materials. Their discovery may lead to more efficient solar energy harvesting.
Oil prices have fallen considerably over the past two years. But this isn’t the first time the price of a core society resource has dropped so drastically. The economic history of salt is an interesting lesson for our time. Middle Eastern countries spend millions of dollars and consume more than one hundred million kilowatt-hours of[.....]
NASA scientists are using the Suomi NPP satellite to photograph the earth at night. They are studying natural phenomenon as well as light pollution. They found that manmade lights shine noticeably brighter during the holidays of Ramadan, Christmas and New Year. Some Middle Eastern cities shone more than 50% brighter during Ramadan. Find out how[.....]
Engineers at Lockheed-Martin recently developed and patented a molecular filtration membrane called Perforene which can desalinate seawater using only 1/100th the energy of the best existing desalination systems. Perforene is made from graphene, the exciting new nanomaterial which comes in the form of one-atom thick sheets of carbon atoms. Like an overzealous nanotechnology, graphene seems[.....]
British economist Milton Friedman once warned that if you put the government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five years you’d have a shortage of sand. Whether governments or free markets are to blame, it is possible to deplete abundant resources such as Irish rain. Now thanks to global obsessions with concrete icons, fracking[.....]
NASA’s newly released video of the earth has a strange hypnotic beauty that resembles the shifting sands of the desert or the psychedelic swirling colors of soap bubbles. But this video reveals an otherwise invisible threat caused by the short-term release of millions of years of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere.
Once again there are calls for Halloween to be banned in Jordan and other parts of the Muslim and Christian world where this ancient solstice tradition is misunderstood. Halloween of today is a mutt of a holiday. It combines ingredients from stone-age Celts Irish and Scottish Catholics, native American harvest festivals and marketing from candy and[.....]
Nanoflow technology’s Quant e-Sportlimousine is fast. Its 920 horsepower engine can accelerate this sleekly luxurious car from 0 to 100mph in 2.8 seconds. Its maximum speed is 217.5 mph. Nanoflow claims this electric car has a range of 373 miles with a full tank. And when it does run low on fuel, you’ll need to[.....]
Almost exactly one year ago Green Prophet revealed that King Tut’s jewelry contains ancient comet dust. Now the ancient Egyptians will leave their mark on a passing comet as a spacecraft named after an Egyptian obelisk takes a selfie before attempting a soft landing on a comet.
Are grandma’s heirloom tomatoes Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO)? What about Lebanese cucumbers or the maize that Native Americans transformed from a meager ankle-high grass into long-eared mazes of golden corn? What is so scary about GMO?
One hundred years ago on the first of September 1914, a bird named Martha died at the Cincinnati Zoo. She was the last of what had once been the most numerous bird in the world – the passenger pigeon. How did this happen? Read more as we attempt to solve this extinction mystery.
Here is a cautionary tale of two very different countries which once shared a similar water use philosophy and usage patterns. The right photo is in Jordan’s Wadi-Rum desert. The forest on the left is in Ireland.
As we witness another super-moon and other celestial wonders, we might be reminded of folk tales of werewolves and beliefs that moon phases and astrological birth signs have influence over our lives.
“Drones are the future of conservation,” said Dr. Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri when commenting on his team’s plan to use drones to monitor flocks of flamingos at the Al Wathba Wetland Reserve in United Arab Emirates.
May Camelopardalis is the name given for a newly discovered meteor shower which may or may not dazzle viewers under clear-dark skies.
Green Prophet’s Brian travels to Jordan and finds way too much trash out at sea. He asks: What would Iron Eyes Cody do?
A charitable man who wishes to remain anonymous recently installed a refrigerator outside of his home in Hail, Saudi Arabia. His neighbors can leave their excess food inside the refrigerator where it is kept fresh and clean. Needy people can then anonymously use this excess food without the shame of begging.
Syria’s war has killed 150,000 people and forced more than three million from their homes. About a million of these refugees live in Jordan and as many as 200,000 have lived in the Zaatari refugee camp near Jordan’s Syrian border. This Green Prophet visited nearby Zaatari village where another 500 refugees live.
What if we could apply the charisma, imagination and marketing genius of Steve Jobs to help promote green technology? Israeli entrepreneur Shai Agassi had many of the characteristics of Apple’s much-worshiped CEO but instead of personal entertainment devices, Shai focused his energies on electric cars.
A panel of judges at the NanoIsrael 2014 conference voted Volta’s carbon nanotube (CNT) battery as Nano product of the year. Read more for an explanation of what this means and why nanotechnology may soon be a household word.
While we contemplate whether GMO engineers can free our world from its glaring lack of light emitting houseplants and radiant pigs, we overlook far more amazing secrets of nature which make our best bio-science minds look like rank amateurs. The humble rhubarb plant is one such example.
Considering all of the technological advances made in bicycles, cars and trains; the humble wheelchair hasn’t advanced very much since the first one was invented for King Philip II of Spain in 1595. An Israeli startup SoftWheel is about to change that with a bike and wheelchair wheel that is more comfortable and more efficient.
I introduced Green Prophet readers to environmental e-learning and Laurie updated us with details on Mitx, Coursera and Udacity environmentalism courses in Februrary 2013. A new term has just begun with a wide selection courses related to environmentalism. So this is a good time for a refresher on how Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) work.
The good news is that 800 tons of Syria’s chemical weapons are scheduled to be destroyed before the end of December. The bad news is, the byproducts of this chemical weapon destruction will be dumped into the Mediterranean Sea where they could damage fragile ecosystems.
Elon Musk is known as the founder of SpaceX, a pioneer in the commercialization of space travel and Tesla, a company named after a brilliantly mad high-voltage inventor of the nineteenth century and known for its electric cars. So what happens when this visionary sets his eyes on America’s decaying public transportation infrastructure?
In Ireland we know about cold bones. This is a story about how we started collecting hats in Ireland for cold kids in a Syrian refugee camp.
With space labs, astronaut gloves and even a toothbrush floating in space, is there no limits to where we’ve flung our junk?
King Tutankhamen’s tomb continues to give up its secrets. This time it reveals something about a past far more ancient than the life and death of this boy-king some 3300 years ago.
The 2013 America’s cup will be long remembered as one of the closest matches in sailing history and one of the most unlikely comebacks in sporting history when Emirates Team New Zealand came within seconds of securing the America’s cup; but eventually lost when Oracle’s team USA followed a two race penalty and six race[.....]
The sun’s magnetic north and south magnetic poles are expected to reverse over the next few months. We’ve witnessed only a few such reversals and are not entirely sure what effects they may cause. Read more for an explanation of what we do know about solar and terrestrial magnetic field reversals.
Here is a summer solstice challenge for northern hemisphere Green Prophet readers. How many outdoor electric lights are shining at the sunny sky during the longest days of your summer?
America’s bumbling fictional super spy Maxwell Smart had a good point when he would say of the villain, “If only he had used his evil genius for niceness.” We’ve heard far too many tragic stories of drones being used as weapons of war. Wouldn’t it be nice if someone figured out how to beat this[.....]
A young tourist from Nanjing, China scrawled his name Ding Jinhao onto a 3500 year-old relief in a Luxor, Egypt temple. Big mistake.
When the call went out Mars One might have expected a few dozen people would be willing to accept a suicide mission to a dead planet. Instead, they were overwhelmed with more than 80,000 applicants including at least a dozen from the Middle East.
It is a sad day. Better Place’s battery swap technology is an obvious and practical technological solution to a basic problem of physics and electrochemistry, it is both dangerous and difficult to rapidly charge a chemical battery.
Energy storage company Enstorage Inc. connected a 50 kW Hydrogen Bromine flow battery to the grid at their test site in southern Israel. This began the world’s first large-scale deployment of this promising new energy grid technology.
Lotus flowers were once considered sacred in Egypt and parts of Asia. They hold a secret to a clean nanotechnology. Like the ancient blue pigment found in ancient Egypt, old spiritual materials like the lotus flower inspire new environmental science: As assistant professor of Environmental Sciences and Engineering at King Abdulla University of Science and[.....]
For ancient Egyptians blue was the color of rebirth. Today their chemical invention of artificial lapiz lazuli means new advances for lights, lasers and more. According to a new paper published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society the ancient pigment known as Egyptian blue may have important new applications in nanotechnology. Researchers at[.....]
Indonesia has 40 percent of the world’s exploitable geothermal energy potential. A big congratulations to Ormat technologies of Yavne, Israel for signing a $254 million deal for providing geothermal energy in Indonesia! The first phase of the 330-megawatt Sarulla geothermal power station in Sumatra is due to begin operating in 2016. Sumatra lies in one[.....]
March 23 at 8:30 PM marks Earth Hour. Will you switch off? Writing for Slate magazine, Bjorn Lomborg argues against what he believes to be the futility of Earth Hour. But Mr. Lomborg’s inability to see the value in such collective environmental efforts makes a compelling case for why we need them. As I pointed out[.....]