Landscape Architect & Specifier News

JUL 2018

LASN is a photographically oriented, professional journal featuring topics of concern and state-of-the-art projects designed or influenced by registered Landscape Architects.

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88 Landscape Architect and Specifier News I n f o r m a t i o n R e q u e s t # 5 8 6 I n f o r m a t i o n R e q u e s t # 5 3 6 National Drought Update According to the latest drought report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), about 33 percent of the U.S. ranged from moderate to extreme drought conditions. Since the beginning of the year, cases of severe, extreme and exceptional drought have increased in the Western and Southern parts of the United States. Extreme conditions have emerged in southern Arizona beginning in February, spreading along with exceptional drought conditions into parts of southern Utah, northern New Mexico, the southern tip of California and southwest Colorado. While drought conditions have become more mild in northern Texas since the early months of 2018, with ranges of abnormal dryness and moderate to severe drought, there is an increase in extreme and exceptional drought in the panhandle. These changes began to make appearances in early May into mid-June. The Drought Impact Reporter from the National Drought Mitigation Center through the University of Nebraska notes that the drought is affecting livestock and crops in this area. More Efficient, Economical Biogenic Solar Cell Researchers at the University of British Columbia recently announced the discovery of an inexpensive, sustainable way to build a solar cell using genetically engineered bacteria. Referred to as "biogenic" solar cells because they are made of living organisms, previous efforts to build them dealt with extracting the natural dye that bacteria use for photosynthesis - a costly and complex process prone to failure. In this study, the dye was left in the bacteria, which were modified to produce large amounts of lycopene: a dye in red tomatoes that is very effective at harvesting light for conversion to energy. The bacteria was coated with a mineral that could act as a semiconductor, and applied to a glass surface, which serves an anode at one end of the "cell." It recorded the highest current density for a biogenic solar cell. This process is estimated to reduce the cost of dye production to about one-tenth of the old process. And it offers hope towards wider adoption of solar power in places where overcast skies are common as it worked as efficiently in dim light as in bright light.

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