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Science

Land-scarce Singapore has its first vertical farm on a plot of land in Lim Chu Kang the size of about five football fields.

Vegetables – Chinese cabbage, nai bai and xiao bai cai – grow on 120 towers and the harvest is sol

d at five NTUC FairPrice Finest outlets.

The innovation is also a boost for the country’s efforts to widen food-supply sources.

Each 9m-tall tower, made of tiers of planting troughs rotating around an aluminium frame, produces five to 10 times more vegetables than conventional methods in the same land area.

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There are no palm trees to be found on this sunny island, which could generate enough electricity for 30,000 people.

Global consultancy and certification firm DNV has unveiled designs for floating solar arrays that could rival offshore wind farms.

The plans envisage a group of hexagonal artificial islands linked together and supporting 4,200 solar photovoltaic panels across an area the size of a football stadium. Multiple islands connected together could then make up a solar field of 50MW or more, producing enough electricity for 30,000 people.

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The ozone hole above the Antarctic has hit its maximum extent for the year. Due to warm temperatures, the opening in the protective atmospheric layer was the second smallest it has been for 20 years, scientists said Wednesday (Oct. 24).

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etching to 8.2 million square miles (21.2 million square kilometers), an area roughly the size of all of North America, the ozone hole reached its peak on Sept. 22. The largest one recorded to date spanned 11.5 million square miles (29.9 million square km) in 2000.

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DELHI — For the next two years, India will steer efforts to save the earth’s biodiversity during a time when our “natural capital” is being lost at an unprecedented rate.

India is hosting the UN Conference on Biodiversity, which kicks off to

day in the southern city of Hyderabad. This gathering is the first in what has been declared as the “UN Decade of Biodiversity.” 192 countries and the European Union are participating.

The conference slogan in Sanskrit is “Prakruti Rakshathi Rakshitha” which translates into “Nature protects if she is protected.”

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Incineration is still widely used to dispose of discarded tires. A green materials company is providing an alternative that monetizes waste rubber, saving significant energy and lowering the cost of making new tires – and even some plastics.

Lehigh Technologies takes industrial rubber and processes it into micronized rubber powders (MRP) that can be blended in with virgin rubbers and plastics. Over 140 million tires have mixed in MPR to date, and the company received a US$19 million investment last month to scale up its capacity and locations.

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A museum dedicated to electricity pioneer Nikola Tesla is set to be built, after The Oatmeal website exceeded a target of raising $850,000.

Launched less than a week ago, the campaign was set up to buy Tesla’s old laboratory in Shoreham, New York.

About 21,000 people have donated more than $900,000 (£570,000), with 39 days of the crowd-funding campaign to go.

The Serbian-American inventor is best known for his work on alternating current, radio, and electromagnetism.

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“We need bees for the future of our cities and urban living,” Noah Wilson-Rich said at TEDxBoston.

Wilson-Rich completed his Ph.D. in honeybee health in 2005. In 2006, honeybees started disappearing.

“We don’t even find dead bodies, and it’s bizarre. Researchers still do not know what’s causing it,” says Wilson-Rich.

We’ve been hearing about the disappearance of bees for some time, but Wilson-Rich is bringing a new perspective to the table.

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We take it as a given that as we grow older, our cognitive abilities will decline.

But that mental deterioration might be a little slower or a little less than it would have been for one group of people: those who played music as children.

A new study published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience shows that adults aged 59 to 80 who played a musical instrument for at least 10 years of their childhood performed better than their peers on tests of memory and cognitive ability.

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A new hearing screening test developed by the University of Southampton could help the estimated 100 million people suffering from hearing loss in China.

The test was developed by the university’s Institute of Sound and Vibration Research (ISVR), which has already been taken by more than a million people across Europe.

The tests aim to address the fact that hundreds of millions of people worldwide have hearing loss but only a fraction obtain hearing aids that would help them to overcome hearing difficulties. The percentage of people with hearing loss using hearing aids has been estimated to be only 16 per cent in Europe, while the figure is as low as 1 per cent in China.

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Japan is set to announce incentives for renewable-energy generation on June 18 and will endorse the rates proposed by a government panel, an official said today.

Trade Minister Yukio Edano will confirm the subsidized tariff of 42 yen (53 US cents) a kilowatt-hour for 20 years for solar power, Masato Yasuda, an official in charge of the incentive program at the ministry, said by telephone today.

The decision is needed for Japan to start a so-called feed- in tariff program on July 1 to increase clean-energy use following the March 2011 nuclear accident.

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SAN ANTONIO — Drilling rigs in the midst of cow pastures are hardly a novelty for Texans. But on a warm May day at a site about 30 miles south of San Antonio, a rig was not trying to reach oil or fresh water, but rather something unconventional: a salty aquifer. After a plant is built and begins operating in 2016, the site will become one of the state’s largest water desalination facilities.
“This is another step in what we’re trying to do to diversify our water supply,” said Anne Hayden, a spokeswoman for the San Antonio Water System.

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Planet Venus is set to move across the face of the Sun as viewed from Earth.

The more than six-and-a-half-hour transit, which starts just after 22:00 GMT (23:00 BST) on Tuesday is a very rare astronomical phenomenon that will not be witnessed again until 2117.

Observers will position themselves in northwest America, the Pacific, and East Asia to catch the whole event.

But some part of the spectacle will be visible across a much broader swathe of Earth’s surface, weather permitting.

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