How to Understand These Gorgeous Satellite Data Maps of the Earth

NASA's Earth Observatory has spent over fifteen years using satellites to collect hordes of real-time data across our planet's surface. They reveal everything from temperature and energy use, to how much radiation we beam into space. Here's how to understand satellite data maps to understand our planet's vital signs. » 2/26/15 11:39am Thursday 11:39am

A Guide to the Most Destructive Events in the History of Earth

If you want some epic disaster tales this evening, you can watch this How Stuff Works podcast about possible causes of the five mass extinctions that nearly extinguished all life on Earth. After that cheerful topic, I also talk about why scientists believe we're heading into a sixth mass extinction. » 2/19/15 6:34pm 2/19/15 6:34pm

How to Turn Carbon Dioxide into Rock and Bury It Forever (Hopefully) 

What do we do with a problem like carbon dioxide? We want to remove the excess from our atmosphere, but how? In Iceland, geologists are burying the greenhouse gas with water, so that basic chemistry can turn it into solid rock inside what the New York Times calls "a geological soda machine." » 2/10/15 8:00pm 2/10/15 8:00pm

Wearable Air Quality Sensors Could Help Us All Breathe Easier

Imagine if you could locate the healthiest route for your afternoon jog, the fresh airiest one that would keep you from breathing the pollutants that cars barf out into the atmosphere. It might change every day as these pollutants move around. But you'd be ready, because you'd be wearing an air quality sensor. » 12/12/14 4:35pm 12/12/14 4:35pm

How Greenpeace Wrecked One of the Most Sacred Places in the Americas

Greenpeace can get a little aggressive with its tactics. That doesn't mean that it's not fighting for a good cause! But after the organization marched through the sacred Nazca Lines etched into the Peruvian desert for a climate protest, capturing it all on camera with a drone, you have to wonder what the hell they… » 12/11/14 3:30pm 12/11/14 3:30pm

Cruise ships dump a billion gallons of sewage in the ocean every year

Cruise ships are not the most environmentally friendly vacation destinations on the planet. In fact, according to the latest Cruise Ship Report Card by Friends of the Earth, they might be about the worst. These floating resorts dump over a billion gallons of sewage into the open ocean every year. In a sense, every… » 12/09/14 12:04pm 12/09/14 12:04pm

Bureaucracy and Bad Design Killed the World Trade Center's Green Dream

Once upon a time, One World Trade was a trumpeted as the future greenest skyscraper in the world. It turned out to be anything but, and today, Mother Jones has obtained documents explaining what the hell happened. The short answer is money, bureaucracy, bad design. Oh, and Hurricane Sandy. » 12/08/14 3:50pm 12/08/14 3:50pm

Your Cable Box Is an Energy-Sucking Monster (But It Doesn't Have to Be)

An innocent little cable box can suck up more electricity than your actual TV. The most galling part though? Up to two-thirds of its power-hogging actually happens in "idle" mode, when you're not even using it. The good news is, device makers have the technical ability to make cable boxes that don't waste so much… » 12/03/14 12:00pm 12/03/14 12:00pm

Some of Canada's Lakes Are Turning Into Jelly Thanks to Acid Rain

It's a real bummer to hear that 150 years of industrialization wrecked the Earth so bad that it'll take thousands to recover. It's a much bigger bummer to see the situation in real life. That's exactly what's happening in a large number of Canada's lakes, which are turning into jelly thanks to acid rain. » 11/19/14 11:53am 11/19/14 11:53am

The Plan to Turn Our Aging Oil Rigs Into Skyscraper-Sized Reefs

Off the coast of Southern California, there's an underwater city. A thicket of almost 30 enormous steel oil rigs, each as large as a skyscraper, bolted to the floor of the ocean. Most of them are elderly, aging giants—and soon, the state will need to make a decision about whether to rip them up or let them stand.… » 9/12/14 10:58am 9/12/14 10:58am