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Fast Company

MIT researchers have developed a new approach to removing methane emissions from the air using zeolite, an inexpensive material used in cat litter, reports Adele Peters for Fast Company. Prof. Desiree Plata explains that compared to carbon dioxide, “methane is actually much worse, from a global warming perspective. What this allows us to do is bring immediate climate benefit into the Earth system and actually change global warming rates in our lifetime.”

Bloomberg

Prof. Carlo Ratti has proposed a 51-story skyscraper for China’s technology hub of Shenzhen that would produce crops to feed populations of up to 40,000 per year, reports Bloomberg News. “Ratti envisions his farmscraper as a self-contained food supply chain, where the crops can be cultivated, sold and eaten all within the same building.”

BBC News

Graduate student Ashley Beckwith speaks with BBC Radio 5 about her work developing a new concept for growing wood in the lab, as part of an effort to supplement traditional forestry methods. "We dedicate a lot of resources to growing whole plants, when all we use really is a very small portion of the plant,” says Beckwith. “So somehow we needed to figure out a more strategic way to reproduce materials that isn't so reliant on the land."

Wired

Writing for Wired, Keith Gillogly spotlights how MIT researchers have devised a new technique that could lead to the development of lab-grown wood and other biomaterials. “The hope is that, if this becomes a developed process for producing plant materials, you could alleviate some of [the] pressures on our agricultural lands. And with those reduced pressures, hopefully we can allow more spaces to remain wild and more forests to remain in place,” says graduate student Ashley Beckwith,

The Washington Post

In an article for The Washington Post, graduate student Aidan Milliff and Saksham Khosla of Dalberg Advisors explore why farmers are protesting in India. Milliff and Khosla write that farmers are concerned that new laws aimed at deregulating agricultural markets in India could create a situation where “farmers would see less long-term stability, and could be at the mercy of big business.”

Fast Company

Fast Company reporter Kristin Toussaint writes about how MIT researchers have developed a new technique for growing wood-like plant tissues in the lab. The work, they say, is still in its very early stages, but provides a starting point to a new way of producing biomaterials. “It’s a process that eventually could help accelerate our shift away from plastics and other materials that end up in landfill toward materials that can biodegrade,” writes Toussaint.

TechCrunch

TechCrunch reporter Darrell Etherington writes that MIT researchers have developed a new method for growing plant tissues in a lab. “Potential applications of lab-grown plant material are significant,” writes Etherington, “and include possibilities in both agriculture and in construction materials.”

BBC

The BBC series “Follow the Food” spotlights how MIT researchers are tackling the issue of runoff pesticide pollution by developing a technology that helps pesticide better adhere to plant leaves. “What we are trying to do is come up with a technology that can help farmers and significantly reduce the amount [of pesticide] sprayed,” explains Prof. Kripa Varanasi.

NBC Mach

Reporting for NBC Mach, Jaclyn Jeffrey-Wilensky writes that MIT researchers are developing augmented plants that can serve as sensors. Jeffrey-Wilensky explains that the researchers believe the plants could one day be used to “guard our homes, connect us to distant friends and send us gentle push notifications without the sensory overload of a computer screen.”

Popular Mechanics

Popular Mechanics reporter Dave Grossman writes that MIT researchers are “utilizing plants' natural abilities of sensory detection and attempting to co-join them with modern tech.”

The Verge

Verge reporter Angela Chen spotlights Prof. Michael Strano’s work using nanobionics to engineer plants. “It’s long overdue that we start to look at plants as the starting point of technology,” explains Strano. “As an engineering platform, they have a number of untapped advantages.”

Boston Globe

Boston Globe reporter Hiawatha Bray spotlights how MIT alumnus Josh Lessing has co-founded a company that is “developing technology to solve some of the most enduring challenges in agriculture — a sector that has long struggled with labor shortages, seasonal schedules, and compressed harvesting periods.”

Atlas Obscura

A study by MIT researcher provides evidence that large-scale corn production in the U.S. impacts weather patterns, reports Eric J. Wallace for Atlas Obscura. “By increasing yields,” writes Wallace, “farmers have unintentionally created weather patterns that seem to be protecting their crops and helping them grow more corn.”

NBC News

In an article for NBC News about how climate change could make life unsustainable in the countries along the Persian Gulf and North Africa, Charlene Gubash highlights an MIT study showing that temperatures there and in southwest Asia, “will exceed the threshold for human survival if nations fail to reign in emissions.”

Newsweek

An MIT study finds that rising temperatures due to climate change will make the North China Plain uninhabitable by the end of the century, reports Newsweek’s Brendan Cole. The area could experience heat and humidity that is “so strong that it is impossible for the human body to cool itself,” Cole explains.