Monthly Archives: September 2011

A Big First Step for Geo-Engineering

This doesn’t exactly sound like a good idea, but given the world’s utter lack of progress in actually reducing emissions… and this idea’s potential to drop global temperature by 2 degrees celsius…. it will at least be interesting to see if it works.

The Daily Mail is reporting that scientists at Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol and Edinburgh have built a prototype helium balloon, affixed to a very long hose, that will be hoisted into the air next month to test whether it will cool the air. Millions of tiny particles (water particles, for now) will be spewed into the air and act as a mirror to reflect the Sun’s rays. These scientists estimate that just ten balloons – pouring ten million tons of material into the stratosphere every year – could achieve a 2 degree (Celsius) drop in global temperature in two years.

Sadly, this balloon will not be sucking any CO2 out of the atmosphere while it’s up there, and I shudder at the thought of what chemical particles they will spray into the atmosphere if they’re allowed to go full-scale, but if it works, the drop in temperature could at least give us a little more time to adapt and finally put in place a global emissions reduction plan before we lose the climate and geography that we know and love.

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A Water-Collecting Jacket

This is probably as close as we’re getting to a Fremen stillsuit for now: students Joshua Noble and Hyeona Yang at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design have created a jacket that allows the wearer to store and filter rainwater for drinking. Watch the video here!

No word yet on whether the jacket can be made of bioplastics or whether they will increase the surface area for better collection.