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Australia to invest clean energy funds in Coal

The Turnbull government will enshrine its belief in coal as an ongoing source of power generation by introducing legislation to enable the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to invest in carbon capture and storage.

The CEFC is a $10 billion taxpayer-funded loan facility established by Labor to invest in the development of renewable and clean energy sources.

Months after first flagging the move, Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg has announced the government will legislate to expand the CEFC's mandate so it can invest in carbon capture and storage technology which, if ever successfully developed, will enable emissions from coal-fired power stations to be kept out of the atmosphere. The CEFC will not be investing in other so-called clean coal technology such as the construction of a High Efficiency Low Emissions (HELE) power station

Read more: http://www.afr.com/news/cefc-to-be-used-for-coal-josh-frydenberg-20170529-gwfy9q#ixzz4icahTTnL
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What has 4 letters, sometimes 9 letters, but never has 5 letters.

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First Americans may have been Neanderthals 130,000 years ago

By Colin Barras

An extraordinary chapter has just been added to the story of the First Americans. Finds at a site in California suggest that the New World might have first been reached at least 130,000 years ago – more than 100,000 years earlier than conventionally thought.

If the evidence stacks up, the earliest people to reach the Americas may have been Neanderthals or Denisovans rather than modern humans. Researchers may have to come to terms with the fact that they have barely scratched the surface of the North American archaeological record.

“We often hear statements in the media that a new study changes everything we knew,” says Chris Stringer at the Natural History Museum in London. “If this result stands up to scrutiny, it does indeed change everything we thought we knew about the earliest human occupation of the Americas


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taking offshore wind to the next level


The proposal is relatively straight-forward: build an artificial island in the middle of the North Sea to serve as a cost-saving base of operations for thousands of wind turbines, while at the same time doubling up as a hub that connects the electricity grids of countries bordering the North Sea, including the UK.

In time, more islands may be built too; daisy chained via underwater cables to create a super-sized array of wind farms tapping some of best wind resources in the world.

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Study investigates collapse of natural or social systems

A tipping point is a critical threshold at which a dynamical system undergoes an irreversible transformation, typically owing to a small change in inputs or parameters. This concept is very broad and can refer to the extinction of an animal or a plant species, the depletion of a water source, or the financial collapse of an institution, among many other natural and social phenomena.
"But what our study showed, and this is its main contribution, is that for certain cyclical phenomena, the dynamics of the system last for a certain time after the tipping point, and this persistence may mask the transition itself," Medeiros said. "Take an endangered species, for example. It may have passed the point of no return and become irreversibly doomed. Nevertheless, individual members of the species continue to exist and reproduce in the wild. This transient effect conceals the fact that in the long run, the species is already extinct. In our study, through numerical simulation, we succeeded in observing this transient effect following the singularity that configures a tipping point."
Thus, the fundamentals of a phenomenon change irreversibly at the tipping point, but owing to a kind of "residual effect" the process appears to retain its original characteristics for a time, masking the transformation that has occurred.

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-05-collapse-natural-social.html#jCp

Hundreds of dead sharks washing up on Bay Area shores

For seven weeks straight, hundreds of sharks have been washing up dead on the shores of the San Francisco Bay.
Sean Van Sommeran, executive director and founder of the Pelagic Shark Research Foundation, says he's been getting calls daily since March of reported sharks washed up along the waterways of San Mateo County, Alameda and even Lake Merritt.
"We cant actually keep up with the volume of calls we get on a day-to-day basis," Van Sommeran said.
Several types of marine life have been turning up dead, including rays and large fish like halibut. But primarily, Van Sommeran has been seeing hundreds of leopard sharks washing up. He estimates the number of dead and dying sharks in the bay could be in the thousands.
"This is just the tip of the iceberg," Van Sommeran told SFGATE. "We're only seeing a fraction of the actual losses."

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