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Plants absorbing more CO2 than we thought
Nature World News
Global warming may be slightly less devastating to the Earth than feared, as new research has found that plants can absorb more carbon dioxide than we previously thought. Climate models have grossly underestimated the power of our plants because they failed to take into account that when carbon dioxide (CO2) builds up in the atmosphere, plants actually thrive, become larger, and are able to soak up more CO2. As part of photosynthesis — a natural cycle that helps plants convert sunlight into energy — plants capture CO2 to help them grow and then release oxygen as a waste product.
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Cycling around Stanley Park in Vancouver, BC
Seattle Refined
"I was somewhat skeptical when my Canadian friend suggested that we cycle around Vancouver's Stanley Park on a gloriously sunny Sunday afternoon in early September. Wasn't that just for kids and tourists? (I don’t like feeling like a tourist when I visit a place). But she prevailed, and it turned out to be a fabulous way to immerse ourselves in the splendors of the city and its waterfront, and understand why our northern neighbor is considered to be one of the most civilized places to live on the planet," writes Paola Thomas, a food and travel photographer and writer.
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Arctic seabirds expose mercury's hiding places
Scientific American
Watch the skies and learn where the mercury lies. Arctic seabirds called little auks (Alle alle) pick up mercury while on holiday in southern climes, a new study reveals, and then subsequently transport the toxin back into their main habitat. By tracking the pilgrims, scientists can pinpoint oceanic pools of the pollutant and possible sites of food chain contamination. Pumped into the air by coal-burning factories, mercury has dusted the Arctic (and the rest of the planet) since the industrial revolution.
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Marine litter: Plunging deep, spreading wide
Imagine a black-footed albatross feeding its chick plastic pellets, a baby seal in the North Pole helplessly struggling with an open-ended plastic bag wrapped tight around its neck, or a fishing vessel stranded mid-sea, a length of discarded nylon net entangled in its propeller. Multiply these scenarios a thousand-fold, and you get a glimpse of the state of the world's oceans. With an average of 13,000 pieces of plastic litter estimated to be afloat every single square kilometer of ocean globally, and 6.4 million tons of marine litter reaching the oceans every year according to the United Nations Environment Programme, researchers and scientists predict a bleak future for the great bodies of water that are vital to our planet's existence.
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Scientists look to mine metals from plants
Fox News
Inside a lab at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, soil samples sit under a row of a glowing light bulbs hanging from a track only a short distance above them. In another room, a centrifuge hums as beakers of Nyquil-colored liquids sit on a nearby shelf. Standard white lab coats hang on hooks outside. This generic-looking lab feels worlds away from the gritty, dusty mines of Australia — but this is where scientists hope to chart a new path for the industry here, and across the world.
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Looking for similar articles? Search here, keyword METALS.

Fracking triggers more Ohio earthquakes
A new study connects some 400 micro-earthquakes near the town of Canton, Ohio, to hydraulic fracturing wells. The three wells operated from September through October 2013 in the Utica Shale. Ten of the quakes registered between magnitude 1.7 and magnitude 2.2, but the tremors were too deep to cause damage or to be easily felt by people, according to the study, published in the journal Seismological Research Letters.
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Endangered orangutans gain from eco-friendly shifts in palm oil market
National Geographic
Orangutans are endangered. Now, they're also at the epicenter of a quiet revolution, a transformation taking place on our grocery store shelves, as one company after another promises to switch to palm oil from "deforestation-free" sources.
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Hawaii's coral reefs dying amid high water temperatures
The Seattle Times
While people in Hawaii have been sweating out a lack of trade winds in recent days, the corals underwater are also suffering. Scientists standing in the muggy heat at a harbor at Kaneohe on the island of Oahu said that they're seeing more evidence that higher-than-normal ocean temperatures are causing near-shore bleaching across the islands. The warm water prompts algae inside the coral to leave, which starves coral and turns it white.
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