Amazon Boosts Whole Foods. Could Another Acquisition Be Next?

Amazon’s world-domination tour continues apace. The e-commerce giant gobbled up Whole Foods last month for $13.7 billion, boosting customer traffic by 25 percent after dangling the carrot of lower prices, according to data from Foursquare Labs. And the company’s invasion into the brick-and-mortar landscape may not be over yet. Roughly a dozen Amazon bookstores have…

This Robotic ‘Eel’ Hunts Down the Source of Water Pollution

Lake Geneva’s latest resident—all four feet of it—is neither man nor beast. Dubbed the Envirobot, the critter is a biomimetic robot designed by Swiss researchers to pinpoint the source of pollution in tainted waters. Bereft of fins or propellers, Envirobot slithers through water like an eel, leaving mud and aquatic life undisturbed. Just as stealthily,…

11 Animals Named After U.S. Presidents

The study of taxonomy is often a slog. There are measurements to take, technical descriptions to write, and databases to parse—all tasks that require nothing short of meticulous, tireless precision. The naming of a new species, on the other hand, can be an exhilarating, even celebratory experience. Scientists have been known to christen their discoveries…

Air Pollution May Make Solar Panels Less Efficient

From inefficient grids, shortfalls in policy, and even the occasional eclipse, solar-energy collection faces no shortage of hurdles. Scientists have discovered another stumbling block: air pollution. In certain parts of the globe, the accumulation of particulate matter on solar panels can curtail energy output by more than 25 percent, according to a new study. Published…

Apparel’s Response to the U.S. Paris Agreement Exit

When President Donald Trump announced earlier this month that the United States would withdraw from the 2015 Paris accord, effectively ending the country’s leadership on combating climate change, the backlash from the rest of the world was both immediate and vociferous. The United States is the planet’s biggest economy, as well as its second-largest producer…

This T-Shirt Changes Colors in Response to Water Pollution

Ocean acidification isn’t something that most folks lose sleep over. As a side effect of climate change, it doesn’t present a striking image the way a crack in the Antarctic ice shelf or a hurricane-battered coast might. But some problems need to be seen to be believed, so David de Rothschild, founder of the lifestyle…

Heady Days for Neil deGrasse Tyson: Astrophysicist Gets His Own Beer!

Neil deGrasse Tyson has plenty to raise a glass to this month. Not only did the famed astrophysicist become the first American to receive the Stephen Hawking Medal for Science Communication on Tuesday, but he’s also getting his very own beer, courtesy of the Asheville Brewing Co. in North Carolina. An American version of the…

Why Transparency in the Fashion Industry Matters

For decades, brands have thrived on obfuscation and diversion. Pay no attention to the supply chain behind the curtain! Ignore the human-rights abuses that are responsible for this incredible bargain! Turn a blind eye to the environmental degradation that’s paying for this mind-blowingly cheap deal! But as the collapse of Rana Plaza in Bangladesh proved,…

Vivobarefoot is Launching a Sneaker Made From Algae

Vivobarefoot, a London-based purveyor of so-called “barefoot” footwear, is going green in an altogether unexpected way. Together with Bloom, a materials innovation firm from San Diego, the company is poised to debut the world’s first molded shoe derived from algae. No, swamp couture hasn’t suddenly become en vogue. Rather, Bloom harvests biomass from ponds and…