Living in a World of Extreme Droughts, Floods, and Storms

by Tianjia Liu cover image by Elayne Fivenson A new normal in an intensifying global water cycle While humans have long adapted to regimes of water scarcity or excess, we are underprepared for extreme events — the “mega” droughts, storms, and floods that used to occur once in a hundred or thousand years. But in this decade alone, we witnessed hot, cracked earth in California … Continue reading Living in a World of Extreme Droughts, Floods, and Storms

Nature-Inspired Technology Can Help Combat Looming Water Shortages

by Aparna Nathan In January 2018, Cape Town, South Africa started counting down toward “Day Zero.” It wasn’t the end of the world, but it was similarly apocalyptic: the day that the city would run out of water completely. Through discipline and technological advances, the city was able to avoid catastrophe. But that’s not the last we’ll see of water crises, and like Cape Town, … Continue reading Nature-Inspired Technology Can Help Combat Looming Water Shortages

Water Beyond Earth: The search for the life-sustaining liquid

by Andrew Greenspon figures by Hannah Zucker Picture yourself as the Curiosity Rover, which landed on Mars in 2012. You’ve just arrived on Mars after an eight-month journey from Earth. You begin traveling across the Gale crater toward Mount Sharp, 18,000 feet higher than the floor of the crater. On the way, you take images with a high-resolution camera. There, you find a slab of … Continue reading Water Beyond Earth: The search for the life-sustaining liquid

Hydroponics: The power of water to grow food

by Valentina Lagomarsino figures by Rebecca Senft In the year 600 B.C.E., the climate was arid and dry along the Euphrates River in Western Asia, but there were lush gardens climbing up the walls of the metropolis, Babylon. It is believed that the Hanging Gardens of Babylon were surviving through a pulley-system of water from the river, a technique of agricultural that today is known … Continue reading Hydroponics: The power of water to grow food

Biological Roles of Water: Why is water necessary for life?

by Molly Sargen figures by Daniel Utter Water makes up 60-75% of human body weight. A loss of just 4% of total body water leads to dehydration, and a loss of 15% can be fatal. Likewise, a person could survive a month without food but wouldn’t survive 3 days without water. This crucial dependence on water broadly governs all life forms.  Clearly water is vital … Continue reading Biological Roles of Water: Why is water necessary for life?

Waste Not, Want Not: Harnessing the power of microbes for wastewater recycling

by Elaine Cheung “Use poison to cure poison.” This isn’t just a Chinese old wives’ tale, but an emerging approach being used to tackle one of the modern world’s greatest issues: availability of clean water. The largest portion of water consumed in American households comes from toilet and shower usage. This poses a problem for maintaining renewable water sources, as wastewater is particularly difficult to … Continue reading Waste Not, Want Not: Harnessing the power of microbes for wastewater recycling

Blue-Green Planet: It’s a cyanobacterial world, and we just live on it.

by Olivia Foster Rhoades Green globs coat the shore and placards caution visitors from touching the water. First it was New Jersey’s Lake Hopatcong, then the Pacific Northwest, and most recently in Central Park. The culprit? An ancient and prolific family of microbes that have been shaping our world for millennia—cyanobacteria.” Cyanobacteria are bacteria that thrive in the same conditions that make algae flourish and … Continue reading Blue-Green Planet: It’s a cyanobacterial world, and we just live on it.

America’s Turn to Protect 9/11 Responders this Mesothelioma Awareness Day

by Rosie Rosati On September, 11th 2001, hundreds of thousands of firefighters, responders, and volunteers rushed to Lower Manhattan to aid those lost in the destruction of the World Trade Center. U.S. citizens will never forget the devastation that swept the nation that day, however, those who so graciously lent a helping hand are still suffering the consequences of toxic airborne emissions. Upon the attacks, … Continue reading America’s Turn to Protect 9/11 Responders this Mesothelioma Awareness Day

Breaking Down Brexit: Potential impacts on science in the UK

by Michael Foley figures by Abagail Burrus When asked to describe the roles of a scientist, most people probably wouldn’t list ‘applying for grants’ or ‘travel’ very highly. However, modern science relies on significant efforts from researchers to obtain much of their own funding and build their own international networks. In the UK, equipment, travel, funds for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, and other costs associated with … Continue reading Breaking Down Brexit: Potential impacts on science in the UK