Our oceans, it is thought, came from space, as ice-rich comets rocked the early Earth. But some of that water, which set the conditions for life to arise, may have been born from the Sun.
On top of providing us with heat and light, and forming the gravitational basis of our solar system, the Sun is constantly pumping out a flow of ions known as the solar wind. Made up of charged particles, mostly the bare nuclei of hydrogen atoms, the solar wind streams out across the solar system, driving the aurorae, affecting the chemistry of our atmosphere and, according to a new study, sprinkling space with water. Read more
A few weeks too late to be considered for our 2015 best caravans or water toys lists but an early candidate for next year, the Transformis Inspire is an interesting twist on the trailerable houseboat. It borrows from several other innovative products, including expandable boats and slide-out camper modules, to provide a comfortable land/water living space for touring the world by highway and waterway.
A German-born Australian transplant, Claudia Moffat is well aware of the wanderlust that comes with living in a new, exotic piece of the world. She helped satisfy her own wanderlust back in 2007, when she took a nine-month motorhome tour around Australia with her four-year-old son.
“On the road, we saw many rigs and realized that everyone wants to have a car, a house and a boat,” Moffat recalls. “I did see trailerable houseboats, but the biggest issue was weight and, with that, a limited amount of towing vehicles available. Also, they seem very small inside.” Read more
For people who want to control their weight or reduce their intakes of sugar, sodium and saturated fat, tap water may be what the doctor ordered.
A new study that examined the dietary habits of more than 18,300 U.S. adults found the majority of people who increased their consumption of plain water — tap water or from a cooler, drinking fountain or bottle — by 1 percent reduced their total daily calorie intake as well as their consumption of saturated fat, sugar, sodium and cholesterol.
People who increased their consumption of water by one, two or three cups daily decreased their total energy intake by 68 to 205 calories daily and their sodium intake by 78 to 235 milligrams, according to a paper by University of Illinois kinesiology and community health professor Ruopeng An. They also consumed 5 grams to nearly 18 grams less sugar and decreased their cholesterol consumption by 7 to 21 milligrams daily. Read more
A chemical spill that left 300,000 residents of Charleston, West Virginia, without tap water last month is raising new concerns about the ability of the United States to maintain its high quality of drinking water.
While the U.S. has one of the safest water supplies in the world, experts say the Charleston contamination with a coal-washing chemical shows how quickly the trust that most Americans place in their drinking water can be shattered.
“We often don’t think about where our water comes from,” said Steve Fleischli, director and senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Water Program in Los Angeles. “Does it come from a nearby river or a lake, intermittent streams, isolated wetlands, or an aquifer? Yes, you may have a water treatment plant, but if your water source is not protected, people face a real risk.” Read more
One way of removing harmful nitrate from drinking water is to catalyse its conversion to nitrogen. This process suffers from the drawback that it often produces ammonia. By using palladium nanoparticles as a catalyst, and by carefully controlling their size, this drawback can be partially eliminated. It was research conducted by Yingnan Zhao of the University of Twente’s MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology that led to this discovery.
Due to the excessive use of fertilizers, our groundwater is contaminated with nitrates, which pose a problem if they enter the mains water supply. Levels have fallen significantly in recent years, as a result of various European directives. In addition, the Integrated Approach to Nitrogen programme was launched in various Dutch nature reserves at the start of January. Tackling the problem at source is one thing, but it will still be necessary to treat the mains water supply. Read more