Score
Title
75
AskScience Panel of Scientists XVIII
247
AskScience AMA Series: "I am Rhett Allain, physicist and technical consultant on Mythbusters and MacGyver. Ask me about the physics of pretty much anything!
4194
Is body chemistry affected by sound, in the same way that melatonin production is affected by light?
4081
Is there any organism that has more than one brain?
35
How do astronomers know the "red shift" is coming from the Doppler effect and not from static stars producing light at a red wavelength?
14
How does a flu vaccine lessen symptoms when you catch a flu variant that isn’t one of the variants in that seasons vaccination?
34
Do NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen, reduce specific areas of inflammation or do they reduce inflammation overall?
3414
How much radiation does a luggage scanner deliver vs say medical x-ray?
40
How do we know the temperature of the centre of the sun?
25
Would Koko, the sign-language speaking gorilla, have been able to translate what a different, non-signing gorilla was saying?
9
[chemistry][nuclear physics] if the island of stability does exist, do we have any way of estimating what the behavior/properties of those elements will be like?
33
How do they reproduce seedless fruits/vegetables ?
14
Is it possible for an object to be travelling so fast it would bounce off the atmosphere?
14
Most antibacterial sprays kill 99.9% of germs. What's the 0.1% of bacteria consist of?
12
Is Crystallized Bismuth the Only Instance of Naturally Occurring Right Angles?
617
Can someone explain the environmental impact of electric car batteries?
9
How is the CMB used to calculate the Hubble constant?
9
Would it be possible for a planet's day to be longer than its year?
28155
Do heavily forested regions of the world like the eastern United States experience a noticeable difference in oxygen levels/air quality during the winter months when the trees lose all of their leaves?
4
If we reversed all charges would the world be the same?
4
When a banana ripens, does it gain calories?
2
How does the sky look like on Mars? How bright is the Sun comparing it to the view from Earth?
0
How do compilers adapt to different hardware?
7
How would quantum computing break modern cryptography?
16
Does breast size affect risk of breast cancer?
3
Do snakes have saliva glands?
39
Can a virus go extinct?
13
How is Titan able to have an atmosphere pressure similar to Earth when it's gravity is so much lower than Earth's?
53
How have cancer treatments actually improved?
22
Does knowing multiple languages actually alter your brain structure? If so, how?
39
Would it be theoretically possible to trap light with a strong enough set of magnets/electromagnets?
22
Why do we use four or more rotors on drones, but only maximum two on regular helicopters? Why are we not making full size quadrocopters?
4
Is the color of an animal's covering (skin, furr, feathers, etc) determined by the amount of colors they can see?
22
Why don't they use jet engines for the first stage of rockets?
1
Chemically speaking, what makes something sweet? What makes some sweeteners spike one's blood sugar, while others don't?
12
Is it possible to make concrete a liquid again from a solid?
380
If I were to release oxygen into the vacuum of space where would it go?
8
Are organisms trapped in amber mineralized fossils, the original tissue or a combination of both?
5
Is it possible to have similar mass planets in a stable mutual orbit?
8
What physical part of a tree absorbs Co2?
8
Does soapy water flow through pipes more quickly than plain water?
8
Why are there so many types of cables?
1382 levader Landfill mining is worth a look, essentially digging through existing landfills and sorting things of economic value, recyclables, biodegradables, fuel sources, etc. while creating more space in the process. It is of course a costly undertaking, but there are MSW sites in the US that have profitably implemented landfill reclamation. Here's the EPA spiel on it with sources: https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-03/documents/land-rcl.pdf
1164 morninAfterPhil I work at a waste to energy facility, and would say the landfill model is sustainable. My plant reduces every 7 tons of incoming waste to 1 ton of ash that goes to the landfill as cover. Plus we have a system to recover metal out of the bottom ash and we sell that to scrappers for recycling. Then add in that our ash can be sold for use in concrete, and the "new" industry of landfill mining for precious metals reduces it even further. Just in my county/city our records show that incoming waste has been leveling off and as our ability to recycle increases, I don't see any reason to say that the landfill model couldn't be sustainable.
141 wraab Heyoo, used to work I waste disposal politics. Here are the big 3: Waste transfer (i.e. "the dump") - with new methods for sorting recyclables and biodegrables most states don't have a "room" problem when it comes to big ole trash pits. The problems are usually industrial scale and competition across state lines. For example, in Virginia and Maryland it's cheaper in some counties to ship their waste out of state. Other states have larger industrial areas, so if their waste transfer stations are near rail or harbor stations they are quite economical. Waste to energy/incineration - basically, burn trash to generate power. They are somewhat controversial in the states due to byproducts like fly-ash and dioxins. Basically, not everything burns and what is left over can be quite toxic. The power output per cubic ton of trash is usually quite good. Aerobic digestion - basically, using acids and bacteria to turn trash into goo, most also have a methane/gas capture component to produce energy, but not at the same output as conventional incineration. Quite popular in countries with large agriculture productions the technology is still generally considered emerging. There's also some controversy about the "slurry" byproduct, similar to the waste incineration (dioxins and other VOCs). Waste disposal is a multi billion dollar industry and growing, so opinions of all 3 have strong supporters and opponents. The science is critical when comparing them as different regions of the country produce different varieties of trash when viewed at the macro level.
65 koblerone Can't speak for your hosers down in the US of A, but up here in Canada the latest and greatest is likely the Edmonton Waste Management Centre. The biggest innovation is all non-recyclable materials such as organics, soiled paper and non-recyclable plastics are fed into a [big-ass gasifier](https://www.edmonton.ca/programs_services/documents/PDF/Enerkem_Alberta_Biofuels_430px.jpg). The gasifier breaks down these materials and turns them into methanol. Eventually the methanol will be converted into ethanol (booze), which will then be blended with gasoline at a nearby refinery. Down in the States a lot of the ethanol is coming from corn, but we're making it from garbage. The banana peel or yoghurt container you threw away will be eventually burned in somebody's car. It's pretty much the Mr. Fusion-equipped DeLorean. Other cool stuff is the facility has a composting program for organics, yard waste & sewage, and in addition to a separate recycling program, sorts all garbage to remove recyclable materials. In order to extract non-ferrous metals such as aluminum which aren't magnetic, the waste goes through a large electromagnetic field which induces a current in the metal, generating a tiny magnetic field allowing for extraction. This means if you throw a soda can into your garbage it will still be pulled out and recycled. The facility is so successful the landfill has been closed and the old landfill has pipes drilled into it to extract methane which is being burned to generate electricity (currently enough to power nearly 5,000 homes). In 2018 they are adding an anaerobic digester which will take a bunch of the organics currently being composted and turn them directly into methane to further provide more fuel for these generators. Essentially the facility is awesome for the environment and actually makes money by selling the compost, electricity and methanol/ethanol. TLDR: Some areas in Canada don't have landfills anymore because everything is recycled or turned into biofuels, and they make money doing it.
564 [deleted] [removed]
340 [deleted] [removed]
23 mitchanium It generally depends on the type of fill in the landfill and the configuration of said landfill. I will clarify: If it has historically been a free for all dumping ground then it's gonna contain all types of things include heavy metals and methane generating bits and bobs. If so then the methane can be 'tapped' for power generation and the metals collected in leachate form (via leachate lagoon). BUT if the landfill has not been adequately lined or tanked beforehand then it becomes an environmental legacy and a big headache. It takes a lot of work beforehand to get the most benefit from the dumped material. Now fast forward 100yrs and assuming we follow the same principle that 'where there's muck there's brass' (because landfills are concentrated deposits of man made materials ) then there's every chance that some landfills will be 'recycled' to remove metals and other materials before being stabilised again for future re-use. Google coal wash refinery for a similar analogy. Source : i used to work on a landfill site.
84 [deleted] [removed]
236 StardustSapien [Waste incineration](https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/does-burning-garbage-to-produce-energy-make-sense/) for power is more pervasive in Europe than it is in the US. It may not necessarily be the latest in trash tech, but one can argue it is a more modern method with less environmental impact. Avoiding the anaerobic decomposition of organics means less methane released into the environment. But by virtue of burning it, you are still releasing CO2, a green house gas nonetheless. All things being equal, our situation stands to improve significantly at the front end if we simply consume less such that we don't need to throw away as much. Per capita, Americans consume and generate far more waste than others, even by developed world standards. The stress of this consumption level is felt more by some of the denser metropolitan regions. [San Francisco](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Francisco_Mandatory_Recycling_and_Composting_Ordinance), for example, is making exceptional efforts to curb the residential solid waste stream.
17 Kunu2 Civil engineer here. As far as I've worked with, it's still traditional landfill capping. Nothing new. You can't do construction projects for buildings, but you can turn the area into a park, solar farm, concert venue, etc. Recreational areas that do not require excavating below the cap and liner. I've worked on a few capping projects recently. A good amount of monitoring is required afterwards. If the landfill just closed and stopped accepting trash, you're gonna need to wait a decade or two for settlement before anything major is put there.
32 mrepper I wish there was an efficient system for municipalities to divert paper products and kitchen scraps from the waste stream into compost. I recently started composting and vermicomposting again, and it's absurd how much it reduced what goes into the trash. (We don't have recycling here.) The trash that leaves our house is almost all metal, plastic, and other stuff that can't be composted. I can apply the end product to my plants and feed them without chemical fertilizers. Plus the web of microorganisms in the compost make plants more resistant to stress and disease. So many wins all around. Less do eet!
1381 0 levader Landfill mining is worth a look, essentially digging through existing landfills and sorting things of economic value, recyclables, biodegradables, fuel sources, etc. while creating more space in the process. It is of course a costly undertaking, but there are MSW sites in the US that have profitably implemented landfill reclamation. Here's the EPA spiel on it with sources: https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-03/documents/land-rcl.pdf
1168 0 morninAfterPhil I work at a waste to energy facility, and would say the landfill model is sustainable. My plant reduces every 7 tons of incoming waste to 1 ton of ash that goes to the landfill as cover. Plus we have a system to recover metal out of the bottom ash and we sell that to scrappers for recycling. Then add in that our ash can be sold for use in concrete, and the "new" industry of landfill mining for precious metals reduces it even further. Just in my county/city our records show that incoming waste has been leveling off and as our ability to recycle increases, I don't see any reason to say that the landfill model couldn't be sustainable.
141 0 wraab Heyoo, used to work I waste disposal politics. Here are the big 3: Waste transfer (i.e. "the dump") - with new methods for sorting recyclables and biodegrables most states don't have a "room" problem when it comes to big ole trash pits. The problems are usually industrial scale and competition across state lines. For example, in Virginia and Maryland it's cheaper in some counties to ship their waste out of state. Other states have larger industrial areas, so if their waste transfer stations are near rail or harbor stations they are quite economical. Waste to energy/incineration - basically, burn trash to generate power. They are somewhat controversial in the states due to byproducts like fly-ash and dioxins. Basically, not everything burns and what is left over can be quite toxic. The power output per cubic ton of trash is usually quite good. Aerobic digestion - basically, using acids and bacteria to turn trash into goo, most also have a methane/gas capture component to produce energy, but not at the same output as conventional incineration. Quite popular in countries with large agriculture productions the technology is still generally considered emerging. There's also some controversy about the "slurry" byproduct, similar to the waste incineration (dioxins and other VOCs). Waste disposal is a multi billion dollar industry and growing, so opinions of all 3 have strong supporters and opponents. The science is critical when comparing them as different regions of the country produce different varieties of trash when viewed at the macro level.
66 0 koblerone Can't speak for your hosers down in the US of A, but up here in Canada the latest and greatest is likely the Edmonton Waste Management Centre. The biggest innovation is all non-recyclable materials such as organics, soiled paper and non-recyclable plastics are fed into a [big-ass gasifier](https://www.edmonton.ca/programs_services/documents/PDF/Enerkem_Alberta_Biofuels_430px.jpg). The gasifier breaks down these materials and turns them into methanol. Eventually the methanol will be converted into ethanol (booze), which will then be blended with gasoline at a nearby refinery. Down in the States a lot of the ethanol is coming from corn, but we're making it from garbage. The banana peel or yoghurt container you threw away will be eventually burned in somebody's car. It's pretty much the Mr. Fusion-equipped DeLorean. Other cool stuff is the facility has a composting program for organics, yard waste & sewage, and in addition to a separate recycling program, sorts all garbage to remove recyclable materials. In order to extract non-ferrous metals such as aluminum which aren't magnetic, the waste goes through a large electromagnetic field which induces a current in the metal, generating a tiny magnetic field allowing for extraction. This means if you throw a soda can into your garbage it will still be pulled out and recycled. The facility is so successful the landfill has been closed and the old landfill has pipes drilled into it to extract methane which is being burned to generate electricity (currently enough to power nearly 5,000 homes). In 2018 they are adding an anaerobic digester which will take a bunch of the organics currently being composted and turn them directly into methane to further provide more fuel for these generators. Essentially the facility is awesome for the environment and actually makes money by selling the compost, electricity and methanol/ethanol. TLDR: Some areas in Canada don't have landfills anymore because everything is recycled or turned into biofuels, and they make money doing it.
561 0 [deleted] [removed]
337 0 [deleted] [removed]
23 0 mitchanium It generally depends on the type of fill in the landfill and the configuration of said landfill. I will clarify: If it has historically been a free for all dumping ground then it's gonna contain all types of things include heavy metals and methane generating bits and bobs. If so then the methane can be 'tapped' for power generation and the metals collected in leachate form (via leachate lagoon). BUT if the landfill has not been adequately lined or tanked beforehand then it becomes an environmental legacy and a big headache. It takes a lot of work beforehand to get the most benefit from the dumped material. Now fast forward 100yrs and assuming we follow the same principle that 'where there's muck there's brass' (because landfills are concentrated deposits of man made materials ) then there's every chance that some landfills will be 'recycled' to remove metals and other materials before being stabilised again for future re-use. Google coal wash refinery for a similar analogy. Source : i used to work on a landfill site.
85 0 [deleted] [removed]
233 0 StardustSapien [Waste incineration](https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/does-burning-garbage-to-produce-energy-make-sense/) for power is more pervasive in Europe than it is in the US. It may not necessarily be the latest in trash tech, but one can argue it is a more modern method with less environmental impact. Avoiding the anaerobic decomposition of organics means less methane released into the environment. But by virtue of burning it, you are still releasing CO2, a green house gas nonetheless. All things being equal, our situation stands to improve significantly at the front end if we simply consume less such that we don't need to throw away as much. Per capita, Americans consume and generate far more waste than others, even by developed world standards. The stress of this consumption level is felt more by some of the denser metropolitan regions. [San Francisco](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Francisco_Mandatory_Recycling_and_Composting_Ordinance), for example, is making exceptional efforts to curb the residential solid waste stream.
17 0 Kunu2 Civil engineer here. As far as I've worked with, it's still traditional landfill capping. Nothing new. You can't do construction projects for buildings, but you can turn the area into a park, solar farm, concert venue, etc. Recreational areas that do not require excavating below the cap and liner. I've worked on a few capping projects recently. A good amount of monitoring is required afterwards. If the landfill just closed and stopped accepting trash, you're gonna need to wait a decade or two for settlement before anything major is put there.
32 0 mrepper I wish there was an efficient system for municipalities to divert paper products and kitchen scraps from the waste stream into compost. I recently started composting and vermicomposting again, and it's absurd how much it reduced what goes into the trash. (We don't have recycling here.) The trash that leaves our house is almost all metal, plastic, and other stuff that can't be composted. I can apply the end product to my plants and feed them without chemical fertilizers. Plus the web of microorganisms in the compost make plants more resistant to stress and disease. So many wins all around. Less do eet!