Dirt is boring. Soil isn’t fun. Who cares what’s happening down there. So I thought. Josh Williams changed my mind with his SoilCam, a waterproof scanner that’s controlled by a Raspberry Pi. He places it in the dirt so we can see everything that’s happening underground. It’s so alive.
Getting rid of chemical weapons is one of the military’s most unpleasant duties. But in the future, it may be no more difficult than incinerating garbage, thanks to a team of DARPA-funded scientists who think they can turn some of the world’s deadliest poisons into harmless dirt.
As far as building materials go, they don’t come much cheaper than dirt, which is literally everywhere and mostly free. But, as anyone who has ever made a sand castle knows, soil isn’t terribly strong and has a habit of forming a shallow pile rather than more structurally-beneficial shapes. We’re going to let you in…
Trees, is there anything they can’t do? Doubtful. Let’s see: producing half the world’s oxygen, providing habitat for millions of species, creating the soil and timber resources we depend on. Not bad. But all that’s just scratching the surface. As new research shows, there’s a lot more going on beneath the forest…
As the Paris climate summit draws to a close and world leaders scramble to find more ways to make a dent in humanity’s carbon problem, a commonsense but oft-ignored strategy has made its way onto the table: sticking carbon back in the soil.
French wine lovers have always taken their soil very seriously. But now the country’s government has introduced fresh reasons for the rest of the world to pay attention to their terroir.
Wildfires are tearing across Alaska and western Canada at a record-breaking rate this summer. But stands of blackened trees and cross-continental plumes of smoke are only the most visible signs of damage from the 300 or more fires currently raging. The biggest concern may be what’s happening below ground.
Stuck to the bottom of your shoe is humble dirt that gives away where you’ve been and what you’ve been up to. It’s up to science to figure out it out. Nature has a fascinating profile of forensic geologist Lorna Dawson, who has used soil to solve decades-old cold cases.
Nearly a century after scientists dug up penicillin, researchers are turning once more to the soil for new pharmaceuticals. But this time, they have tiny, powerful technologies on their side. Here’s how scientists are unlocking the secrets of soil microbes and discovering the next generation of medicine.
When the ground beneath you stops being solid, what do you do? Jump on it like a trampoline! Seriously, it may be a little dangerous but it looks like oodles of fun. Like you're walking on water only it's really still the ground.
Researchers at Scotland's Abertay University are getting a brand new look at the seemingly nondescript world hidden in plain sight—the soil beneath our feet.
As the immediate aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster has passed, Japan is faced with another conundrum: Where to store thousands of tons of radioactive soil that have been harvested from around the region. This week, officials unveiled a $970 million plan to build a massive storage facility to house the stuff.
The 1982 Kids' Whole Future Catalog is just bursting at the seams with amazing advancements from the world of yestermorrow. From space hotels and universal language translators to factories in space and schools in the sky, this catalog fed the imaginations of countless rugrats in the 1980s. Today we have an excerpt…
In tightly-packed cities with a distinct lack of trees such as Tokyo, planting trees on the roofs of buildings is a common practice. In fact, every new medium-sized building in Tokyo is required to plant gardens on the roof. The problem? Soil is heavy and dense. The solution? Have a brewery invent a new fake soil, of…