State of another planet. We take a break from discussing the state of our planet to share some pretty cool news from Mars – the Phoenix Lander has “tasted” water! This is the first time we’ve confirmed the presence of water on other planets, so it’s pretty cool. — New Scientist
Breathing in Beijing. After over a week of mixed pollution, Beijing today outlined emergency measures for fighting smog during the Olympics, potentially expanding what is already the world’s grandest pollution experiment. — Treehugger
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Next gen, superpowered solar cells. Spanish researchers say they have developed a new solar-cell material which uses a blend of titanium and vanadium to absorb significantly more of the sun’s energy and would dramatically increase efficiency. Traditional silicon-based solar cells absorb about 30% of solar energy in practise – the new material is said to yield a theoretical maximum efficiency of 63%. — Yale Environment 360
Humble fungus a biofuel breakthrough. Researchers at Iowa State University have found a way to reduce the amount of energy and water used to create ethanol from corn – and say it could save the ethanol industry up to $800 million a year. By adding the fungus Rhizopus microsporus during part of the process, the leftover liquid from the distillation process, a lot of the organic waste is used, leaving reusable water. And the fungus makes food for livestock! Neat. — Ecogeek