Fast Storage of CO2 in Volcanic Rock
Carbon Capture; Noisy ICUs; Digital discrimination; Algal Blooms In Chile; Coral Bleaching; Hobbit ancestors; East Asian Flyway; Depressed Cake Shop
Last year in Paris the world made commitments to rein in CO2 emissions, but there’s precious little evidence from the past that we’re very good at that. CO2 levels are increasing all the time, and may now have permanently passed the iconic 400 parts per million in the atmosphere. If we don’t reduce the amount of CO2 we create, one option, for the short-term at least – is to dispose of the combustion waste more carefully, like we have to with other waste products. It’s called carbon capture and storage, or CCS. Catch the CO2 before it reaches the atmosphere and store it somewhere safe, in the rocks under our feet for example. This week saw the first results from an experiment called CarbFix, which started 5 years ago in Iceland and effectively turns the CO2 into chalk, far underground.
The noise of alarms on some hospital wards can reach 60 decibels – the equivalent to a busy restaurant – not the ideal environment for sick patients. In the UK, researchers at Oxford University have analysed interviews with patients for the Health Talk website and found that alarms came up again and again as a problem for patients. Julie Darbyshire who researches noise in hospitals and Lisa Hinton from the Health Experiences Research Group are both acutely aware of the stress which a noisy environment causes for patients.
Are we seeing digital discrimination in the sharing economy? A study from Harvard Business School in the US has found that the colour of your skin might affect the rents you can receive when you share your property online, or even your chances of renting an apartment at all. Benjamin Edelman, Associate Professor at Harvard Business School explains his findings.
Algal Blooms In Chile
On the Chilean coast, fisheries have been knocked sideways by an outbreak of red tide – a toxic algal bloom that’s wiping out fish stocks along 2000 km of the shore line. Millions of salmon and other fish, clams and other shellfish species have died, and Chilean livelihoods are endangered. But the widespread poisoning has been followed by a blame game – with the recent El Nino, pollution and fish farming all called into question. Jane Chambers reports.
Coral Bleaching in Chagos
The UK's largest tropical reef has been devastated in the global bleaching event now under way. Up to 85% of the corals in the Chagos Marine Reserve of the British Indian Ocean Territory are estimated to have been damaged or killed in the event. Scientists say the conditions there are worse than in 1998 - the last major bleaching occurrence.
Scientists have discovered the 700,000-year-old ancestor of the tiny primitive human known as "the Hobbit". Its fossils indicate that the normal-sized primitive humans who first set foot on the Indonesian island of Flores shrank "rapidly" to become Hobbit-sized. The remains are of at least one adult and two children, who are all just as small as their descendants. A paper in the journal Nature details the latest findings.
East Asian Flyway
Millions of shorebirds fly from Australia and Southeast Asia to the Arctic every year. They follow the planet’s most gruelling migratory route – the East Asian Australasian Flyway. It covers 22 countries. Ann Jones has been following the birds on their extraordinary migration and she’s been hearing that the birds’ lives are full of danger, the most serious threats coming from humans. The flyway is now in peril and many species are plummeting towards extinction.
Depressed Cake Shop
Depression is one of those topics that many people still find very difficult to discuss openly. But around the world all sorts of groups of people have come up with unusual ways of opening up a discussion about it, including at the Depressed Cake Shop where the cakes may be grey in colour, but get all sorts of colourful conversations going. There is online support too. Claudia Hammond went to Glasgow in Scotland to meet Jules who’s experienced first-hand what a difference the Depressed Cake shop can make.
The Science Hour was presented by Tracey Logan with comments from BBC Science Correspondent Jonathan Amos, and produced by Alex Mansfield.
(Image: CarbFix pilot CO2 injection site during CO2 injection in March 2011. Credit: Martin Stute)