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Dutch engineers build world's biggest sun-seeking solar farm
21 April 2019 - Dutch engineers are building what will be the world's largest archipelago of islands made up of sun-tracking solar panels. Growing resistance to the construction of wind turbines or fields of solar panels on land has led the renewable energy industry to look for alternative options. The 15 floating solar islands will possess sunflower-like ability to turn to face the sun. (more)

For the first time ever, electric cars outsold gas and diesel vehicles in Norway
20 April 2019 - Electric vehicles outsold gas and diesel models in Norway for the first time ever last month, accounting for 58.4 percent of all vehicle sales. Norway is a leader in the adoption of zero-emission vehicles ... In March, 18,375 new cars were registered in the country and 10,732 of those were zero-emission vehicles, according to Norway's Road Traffic Information Council, or OFV. That's more double the number of zero-emission vehicles sold in March 2018. (more)

Reckless farming is destroying the planet. This could save it
20 April 2019 - It turns out that the traditional and responsible farming practices humans used for centuries before the rise of chemical agriculture are some of the best methods we can use to protect ourselves and the planet. It's what we now call regenerative organic farming and it's back-to-basics: Instead of using excessive amounts of fertilizers in vast single-crop fields, farmers can diversify and rotate crops, compost, plant cover crops, and reduce tillage. (more)

Dutch tulip forecast: brilliant, with a chance of tourists
19 April 2019 - As spring flower fields around the Netherlands burst into bloom ... a modern day tulip bubble may be forming: tourists. More than a million foreign sightseers are expected to visit this country of 17 million people on Easter weekend, a record, the Dutch Tourism Bureau said on Thursday [18 April]. Director Jos Vranken said he expects them to spend 300 million euros -- a boon for the national economy. [In] April, the flower fields and Keukenhof flower show ... top many 'must see' lists. (more)

Electric vehicles are center stage at the 2019 Shanghai auto show
19 April 2019 - The 2019 Shanghai auto show is now underway, and electric cars are thick on the ground. If there was any doubt about how important the Chinese market is to the world's car makers, this year's show should put it to rest, with forward-looking vehicles on show from established OEMs and startups. (more)

New registrations for electric vehicles doubled in US since last year
19 April 2019 - Electric vehicles, still a small percentage of the total automotive market in the U.S., are beginning to gain ground, according to analysis by IHS Markit. There were 208,000 new registrations for electric vehicles in the U.S. last year, more than double the number filed in 2017, IHS said Monday [15 April]. (more)

Botswana unveils blue diamond to rival the Hope Diamond
18 April 2019 - Botswana has unveiled a blue diamond whose value could outstrip that of the storied Hope Diamond: the 20.46-carat, close-to-flawless Okavango Blue. The diamond was presented in Gaborone, Botswana by the state-owned Okavango Diamond Company. Found as a 41.11-carat rough stone ... is the largest blue diamond ever found in Botswana. While the Hope Diamond is larger at 45.52 carats, the Okavango Blue's immense value lies in its clarity. (more)

Butterflies swarm Lebanon's meadows in numbers unseen for 100 years
17 April 2019 - A vast number of migrating butterflies have swarmed across Lebanon this year after heavy winter rain in the Middle East led to an exceptional spring for wild flowers. The sheer number of Vanessa Cardui butterflies traveling from Africa to northern Europe caused admiring bewilderment, as millions crossed mountains, fields, villages, and cities. (more)

US: Homes with solar panels sell for 4.1 percent more
16 April 2019 - Not only can adding solar panels to a home save energy costs and help the environment, it also can potentially increase a home's value. During the past year, homes with solar-energy systems sold for 4.1% more on average than comparable homes without solar power. For the median-valued home, that translates to an additional $9,274. (more)

Living in a country that thinks green
15 April 2019 - European countries dominate the top 10 on the Planet and Climate portion of the Good Countries Index, but nations around the world are making strides to reduce their negative impact on the environment. We [BBC] spoke to residents in five high-performing countries and asked what it's like to live in a place that's doing more to save the planet. (more)

India's ReNew Power commissions 300 megawatt solar project
15 April 2019 - One of India's largest independent renewable energy generation companies has announced that it commissioned its largest solar power project to date. ReNew Power Limited announced that it commissioned 300 megawatts of solar power capacity in the southern state of Karnataka. The project is part of the Pavagada solar power park, one of the largest solar power parks in the country. (more)

US: Public Service Commission approves 5-fold solar expansion in Wisconsin
15 April 2019 - Last week at its Open Meeting, the Wisconsin Public Service Commission approved five interrelated cases that will lead to a five-fold expansion of solar energy in Wisconsin. By RENEW Wisconsin's estimates, the state of Wisconsin closed 2018 with about 103 megawatts of solar power, about 80 percent of that residing on homes and buildings, directly serving the customers who bought the solar arrays. (more)

Katie Bouman: The woman behind the first black hole image
11 April 2019 - A 29-year-old computer scientist has earned plaudits worldwide for helping develop the algorithm that created the first-ever image of a black hole. Katie Bouman led development of a computer program that made the breakthrough image possible. The remarkable photo, showing a halo of dust and gas 500 million trillion km from Earth, was released on Wednesday (10 April). (more)

Meet Katie Bouman, the young scientist who worked on the algorithm that helped create the image of the black hole
11 April 2019 - While the entire world was celebrating the first ever image released of the Supermassive Black Hole on Wednesday, a woman, MIT graduate Katie Bouman, among others in her team, was feted extensively on the internet for being the leading 'star' behind the image. Thursday's achievement is big not only for Bouman but also for women scientists all over the world. (more)

US: Mayor bans New York City agencies from buying single-use plastics
11 April 2019 - New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed an executive order Thursday to exchange single-use plastics for compostable or recyclable alternatives the city. De Blasio said this executive order will reduce the city's carbon emissions by about 500 tons per year, decrease plastic pollution, and reduce risks to wildlife. (more)

This is the first photo of a black hole
10 April 2019 - In April 2017, scientists used a global network of telescopes to see and capture the first-ever picture of a black hole, according to an announcement by researchers at the National Science Foundation Wednesday morning (10 April). They captured an image of the supermassive black hole and its shadow at the center of a galaxy known as M87. This is the first direct visual evidence that black holes exist, the researchers said. (more)

Algorithms gave us the black hole picture. She's the 29-year-old scientist who helped create them.
10 April 2019 - Katherine Bouman had a secret: An algorithm she'd developed had stitched together a picture of a black hole. She told nobody except her colleagues. Until today. That's when Event Horizon Telescope team, of which Bouman is a member, unveiled the first image of a black hole. Bouman, 29, a postdoctoral researcher at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, had been working on such an algorithm for almost six years, since she was a graduate student at MIT. (more)

Indonesia creates three marine protected areas within Coral Triangle
10 April 2019 - The Indonesian government has established three new marine protected areas within the Coral Triangle, home to the highest diversity of corals and reef fishes anywhere on the planet. They're centered, respectively around the islands of Sula, Rao and Makian, which are all part of the Morotai archipelago in the eastern province of North Maluku. Indonesia has committed to setting aside 200,000 square kilometers (77,200 square miles) of its territorial waters for conservation by 2020, and has to date achieved 191,400 square kilometers (73,900 square miles), or about 96 percent of its target. (more)

Thank this student for first black hole image
10 April 2019 - An international team of more than 200 researchers unveiled the first-ever image of a black hole on Wednesday (10 April). The effort wouldn't have been possible without Katie Bouman, who developed a crucial algorithm that helped devise imaging methods. Three years ago, Bouman led the creation of an algorithm that eventually helped capture this first-of-its-kind image: a supermassive black hole and its shadow at the center of a galaxy known as M87. She was then a graduate student in computer science and artificial intelligence at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. (more)

US survey: Indiana, Minnesota lead clean energy job growth
10 April 2019 - A new survey says Indiana and Minnesota had the Midwest's biggest growth in clean energy jobs last year. The fourth annual Clean Jobs Midwest survey found that Indiana's clean energy jobs grew by 4.7 percent last year, tying it with Minnesota. (more)

Are we on the brink of a recycling revolution?
9 April 2019 - New innovations in recycling technology are making a more circular economy more likely: When an old plastic container can be used to make a new container or other product in a closed loop, and old plastic suddenly has more value. At least 60 companies are now trying to reinvent plastic recycling, and more than 40 of those already have commercial plants. (more)

Over 1 million gardeners have united to create Global Network of Greenery that nourishes bees and butterflies
8 April 2019 - Over 1 million homeowners and gardeners from around the world have joined the fight to save dwindling pollinator populations. Though most of the registered pollinator gardens are concentrated in the United States, the ambitious project has also recruited members in Canada, Mexico, and Europe. The registered spaces, most of which are comprised of private yards and public gardens, all add up to a network of approximately 5 million acres of enhanced or new pollinator habitat. (more)

US: Goats are the latest weapons in the war against wildfires
8 April 2019 - Reinette Senum is the vice mayor of Nevada City. Nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, 147 miles northeast of San Francisco, the town's streets are lined with characterful wooden houses that date back to the late 19th century. Senum had been investigating ways to reduce the town's fire risk for years ... Obtaining government grants is a slow process, so last December Senum launched a crowdfunding campaign -- Goat Fund Me. (more)

US: New York State Assembly Majority bans plastic bags
8 April 2019 - At the end of March, the New York State Assembly Majority passed legislation that would cause plastic bags to become illegal in the state of New York. According to an official press release, the purpose of banning plastic bags is to 'protect New York's waterways and the environment by banning plastic carryout bags.' (more)

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