Acid Rain

To save a cathedral, marinate in olive oil

One of the most beautiful and revered cathedrals in Christendom, York Minster in northern England has survived war, looting, fire, pillaging and other threats over the centuries. But the Gothic masterpiece is crumbling due to a relatively recent enemy: acid rain. Preservationists, however, may have found a way to protect it using a common kitchen item. The limestone rock used ...

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Do diamonds really come from coal?

Superman lied to us. Over the years countless Superman comic books, TV shows and movies have shown the fabled Kryptonian crushing clumps of coal between the palms of his hand to turn them into shiny, sparkling diamonds. It makes for a great plot point, but here’s the truth: it would never work. It’s easy to see where the idea came ...

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This is what it’s like to rappel into an active volcano

[embedded content] It’s scary enough to send your expensive drone and GoPro above an erupting volcano. But a group of daredevils from the U.S., Canada and New Zealand recently went a few steps further, sending themselves (and a GoPro) on a death-defying climb inside a very active volcano in Vanuatu. Located on the mostly jungle-covered island of Ambrym, Marum is ...

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What’s behind the EPA’s new clean air rule?

The Environmental Protection Agency made a splash this week when it announced new standards for power plants in 28 states. The new standards, known as the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, tightens rules on soot, smog and acid rain from power plants that affect breathing conditions in the eastern part of the United States. Here is what the rule is all ...

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Earth is having a bad acid trip, study finds

[skipwords]Earth may be overdosing on acid — not the “turn on, tune in, drop out” kind, but the “kill fish, kill coral, kill crops” kind. And it’s shaping up to be a very bad trip. The problem isn’t just acid rain or ocean acidification, either: pH levels are plummeting all over the planet, according to a new study by the ...

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Why cemeteries are a great place to track acid rain

To a geologist, a gravestone can offer information other rocks can’t. One project is using gravestones to better understand how the elements, particularly acid rain, are weathering rocks around the world, and how that’s changed over time.  “It is a great place for us to collect scientific data because gravestones have got dates on them, it is not that we ...

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Air pollution now a top 10 disease health risk

I’m reading Katherine Boo’s masterful “All the Beautiful Forevers,” which is about hard living in a Mumbai shanty town, hemmed in between a sewage lake, a plastics factory and the city’s booming international airport. As it happens, I lived in Mumbai back in the 1960s, and then revisited in 1999, and the difference was marked. Overwhelmed by its constantly swelling ...

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Green States: A geek bearing gifts

On a family vacation when I was about eight years old, I met a curiously unforgettable old guy. He was a charming, absolutely dead-on caricature of what an old-line nature lover should look like: Khaki shorts, field glasses, hiking boots and walking stick. His name was Daniel Smiley. The Smiley family, from 1869 to the present, has run the Mohonk ...

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Acid rain solutions

[ header = Understand acid deposition’s causes and effects ] Understand acid deposition’s causes and effects To understand acid deposition’s causes and effects, and to track changes in the environment, scientists from EPA, state governments, and academia study acidification processes. They collect air and water samples and measure them for various characteristics such as pH and chemical composition, and research ...

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