Welcome To The 2017 Industrial Evolution

It’s time for tech to disrupt global warming

After years of negotiation, 195 countries finally adopted the Paris Agreement last December, legally obligating each nation to dedicate themselves to climate change mitigation. It was generally seen as a great victory—though still symbolic—in the fight against global warming, as we’re years from seeing worldwide action, not to mention tangible results. While we wait for large-scale change, desire on an individual level to “do our part” continues to swell. We recycle, buy environmentally responsible goods, and bike to work a few times a week. But these one-off actions, though they may make us feel great, can only go so far in actively disrupting the trajectory of climate change.

Two-thirds of man-made global emissions come from the industrial sector. A 2013 study published in the journal Climate Change found 90 companies working in oil, gas, and concrete to be responsible for this lion’s share, meaning, if we want to stop climate change soon, we need these industries to overhaul their environmentally destructive production processes now. They’ll just need to get creative. Here are three promising technologies already in use that could forge the path of a smarter industrial future, which prove that progress isn’t as far-fetched as we think.

Carbon Recycling utilizes captured carbon emissions from factories and plants to create or replace elements of everyday materials like plastic and concrete. A 2011 Massachusetts Institute of Technology report from found that as much as 10 percent of global carbon dioxide (CO2 ) emissions come from the production of concrete—the second most utilized substance in the world after water.

Since 2013, Solidia Technologies, a sustainable technology company, has developed methods to “cure” concrete—a process that prevents loss of moisture and improves quality—by way of a CO2 injection. This ambitious and easily adaptable technology not only produces stronger concrete, but could also reduce the carbon footprint of concrete-based construction products by up to 70 percent. Solidia’s technology is currently being commercialized in various LafargeHolcim plants, one of the largest producers of concrete and cement in the world.

Carbon Capture is the process by which CO2 emissions are harvested from industrial factories and plants for repurposing by other companies.

Greenhouses are often aerated with CO2 via gas heaters or other methods, and according to studies, increased CO2 levels have led to elevated growth rates of 50 percent or more in produce. In August, CO2 Solutions, a Canadian carbon capture technology company, revealed plans to harvest and sell up to 30 tons of daily emissions from Resolute Forest Products, a Quebec-based pulp and paper plant, to Serres Toundra, a nearby greenhouse and one of Quebec’s largest cucumber producers. According to TriplePundit, a website reporting on the intersection of good business practices and the environment, the process “will allow this 114-acre greenhouse project to employ up to 400 local residents and reduce Quebec’s dependence on imported fresh food by the time it is fully operational in 2019.” What’s more, CO2 Solutions expects to net approximately $303,000 annually from the sale of captured carbon and associated carbon credits. That translates to over $3 million in revenue over the decade-long partnership, signifying tangible progress in the technology’s financial viability.

Latent Carbon Capture, or direct air carbon capture, is the process of taking carbon directly from ambient air and converting it to concentrated CO2, which can then be used for a variety of purposes, including aiding produce growth in greenhouses or carbonating beverages.

By the end of 2016, Climeworks, a Zurich-based company, is working to design and launch an industrial-scale CO2 capture plant with the capacity to capture 900 tons of CO2 annually from the surrounding atmosphere. The three-year pilot-and-demonstration project will provide emissions to Gebrüder Meier, a Swiss vegetable producer that boasts 200 acres of fields and 14 acres of greenhouses, while a local municipal waste-disposal company will provide the plant with low-grade heat to convert the ambient carbon into a concentrated form. According to Climeworks, this would enhance the growth of the produce in a nearby Gebrüder Meier greenhouse by up to 20 percent. While there are a few ways to recapture carbon already released into the atmosphere, this is the most nascent of the technologies, given that its large-scale commercial viability has yet to be proven.

A recent paper in the journal Nature found that to have more than a 50 percent chance of limiting global warming below 2 degrees Celsius (or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit)—the generally agreed-upon level at which climate change becomes disastrous—large-scale deployment of negative emissions technologies, like the three mentioned here, will be necessary.

via David Leavitt / Twitter

Anyone who has ever worked in retail knows that the worst thing about the job, right after the pay, are the unreasonable cheapskates who "want to talk to your manager" to get some money off an item.

They think that throwing a tantrum will save them a few bucks and don't care if they completely embarrass themselves in the process. Sometimes that involves belittling the poor employee who's just trying to get through their day with an ounce of dignity.

Twitter is rallying around a gal named Tori who works at a Target in Massachusetts after she was tweet-shamed by irate chapekate, journalist, and Twitter troll, David Leavitt.

Keep Reading

Childbirth is the number one reason American women visit the hospital, and it ain't cheap. In fact, it's getting more and more expensive. A new study published in Health Affairs found that the cost of having a baby with employer-sponsored health insurance increased by almost 50% in the past seven years.

The study evaluated "trends in cost-sharing for maternity care for women with employer-based health insurance plans, before and after the Affordable Care Act," which was signed into law in 2010. The study looked at over 657,061 women enrolled in large employer-sponsored health insurance plans who delivered babies between 2008 and 2015, as these plans tend to cover more than plans purchased by small businesses or individuals.

Keep Reading

A meteorite crashed into Earth nearly 800,000 years ago. The meteor was 1.2 miles wide, and the impact was so big, it covered 10% of the planet with debris. However, scientists haven't been able to find the impact site for over a century. That is, until now. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal believes the crash site has been located.

Tektites, which are essentially rocks that have been liquefied from the heat of the impact and then cooled to form glass, help scientists spot the original impact site of a meteor. Upon impact, melted material is thrown into the atmosphere, then falls back to the ground. Even if the original crater has disappeared due to erosion or is hidden by a shift in tectonic plates, tektites give the spot away. Tektites between 750,000 to 35.5 million years old have been found in every continent except Antarctica.

Keep Reading