Environment

Radioactive Spike

Tiny amounts of radioactive iodine were detected in the air along Norway’s border with Russia following a deadly explosion that occurred during a secret rocket engine test in northern Russia’s Arkhangelsk region.

Russia’s meteorological agency said radiation levels in the city of Severodvinsk spiked by up to 16 times following the nearby blast.

U.S. experts believe Russia was testing a nuclear-powered cruise missile when the explosion occurred, killing five research staff and military personnel.

Four of the five stations in Russia that scan for radionuclide particles in the air for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organization went silent for days following the blast.

Rain Tree

A team of Chinese and international researchers say they have developed an inexpensive solar-powered “tree” that desalts enough water each day from the sea to provide clean drinking water for at least three people per “leaf.”

The scientists say roots made of cotton fibers soak up water and send it up a metal stem, where leaves made of black-carbon paper convert sunlight into heat.

After the water is heated by the leaves to nearly 122 degrees Fahrenheit, the resulting water vapor is cooled and condensed back as fresh water.

The technology could be deployed in small communities or on remote islands to help ease water shortages.

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