Imagine a place where the word “sky” doesn’t conjure the color blue but an ashy grey. No, such a place isn’t in another planet or the set of a dystopian sci-fi film. That place is present-day China, a country now living and breathing the harsh effects of dogged industrialization. In northern China, the heavy use of coal coupled with the ever-increasing population has led to an alarmingly extreme case of air pollution. It’s so extreme, in fact, that a person’s life expectancy in northern China is a full five years shorter than someone residing in southern China. As the size of the middle class continues to balloon, there is an insatiable need for cheap and easy energy. Quickly turning to oil and gasoline for fuel and coal for heat, the Chinese love affair with fossil fuels has plunged an astounding amount of people into an atmosphere ripe with danger.
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LCD Contact Lens
On a mission to one-up the oh-so successful Google Glasses, scientists at Belgium’s Ghent University have created the world’s first LCD Screen Contact Lens. While the design is still in its early stages, the user simply applies the device like he or she would a contact lens and watches as shapes and numbers form in front of their very eyes. For now, it’s fairly limited to the types of patterns you might find on a calculator but it’s a step closer to the future of tech.
World’s Smallest Computer
Perhaps animals are smarter and more sensitive than homo sapiens give them credit for. Take, for example, the theory that animals can predict earthquakes, a notion that dates all the way back to 373 B.C., when historians reported that creatures such as rats, snakes and weasels hightailed it out of the Greek city of Helice days before it was rocked by a major earthquake.
While much of the evidence is anecdotal and the scientific community has not reached a consensus about whether scurrying animals are a harbinger for environmental disaster, one might consider that if they can predict such seismological shifts, why couldn’t the animal kingdom also be sending signals that our planet is sick? Here are some warning signs that our furry, scaly and winged friends may be sharing with us to portend the danger of climate change and other environmental hazards: