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Finding Neemo: Nasa goes from the bottom of the ocean to outer space | Andrea Boyd

Nasa astronauts-aquanauts have made a temporary underwater home to prepare for future missions. An Aussie space engineer is part of the team

On Sunday a group of six astronauts, engineers and scientists submerged 19 metres to the bottom of an Atlantic Ocean reef to live underwater for Nasa’s extreme environment mission operations (Neemo) expedition.

Living underwater has very similar dangers and parallels to living in a spacecraft: closed-loop life support, pressurised habitat with incredibly efficient recycling systems, near weightless extra vehicular activities (EVAs, AKA spacewalks), a packed daily schedule, communications with mission control, the inability to return to Earth safely without a special vehicle and sufficient re-entry time to protect the crew and keep them alive. Each time they go outside, the habitat crew have to don full suits with personal oxygen tanks just like a spacewalk.

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Source: Guardian Climate Change

Spending watchdog condemns 'risky and expensive' Hinkley Point

Damning report says nuclear project is bad for UK consumers and governments failed to assess alternative finance models

Generations of British consumers have been locked into a “risky and expensive” project by the UK’s subsidy deal for a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset, according to a damning report by the spending watchdog.

The National Audit Office said the contract sealed by ministers last September with EDF to construct the country’s first new atomic reactors in two decades would provide “uncertain strategic and economic benefits”.

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Source: Guardian Climate Change

Official view on Hinkley Point C? Nuclear power scheme is risky and expensive

Audit office’s 80-page report concludes that Britons have been sold a white elephant – and a badly costed one at that

The National Audit Office does not use excitable phrases like “utter shambles.” But the spending watchdog’s verdict on Hinkley Point C, the nuclear power plant in Somerset that is supposedly inevitable, amounts to the same thing. The government “has locked consumers into a risky and expensive project with uncertain strategic and economic benefits”.

The 80-page report confirms one’s worst fears about how ministers fell in love with Hinkley. First, they wedded themselves to an inflexible financial model. Then they agreed commercial terms with developer EDF in 2013, when energy prices were sky-high, and ploughed on regardless when the economic case for Hinkley started to crumble.

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Source: Guardian Climate Change

First flush of summer as swallows close loos | Letters

DUP and Brexit talks | Brian Cant | Blackpool body shapes | Butterflies | Swallows

In light of the negotiating skills shown by the DUP in securing a very favourable outcome for Northern Ireland in the ongoing “confidence and supply” talks (Report, 22 May), should the Tories not send the DUP to Europe for the Brexit talks instead of their current team. They might fare a lot better.
Fiona Doherty
Bray, Co Wicklow, Ireland

• Thanks to Lucy Mangan for revealing that not only did Brian Cant appear to be a good guy, he really was one (Mr Play School, G2, 21 June). A terrifying memory from my daughter’s childhood was when she disappeared among the sand dunes. I commandeered a search party from local students and one shouted at me: “I’m not sure if it’s her, but it could be. She says her name’s Cuthbert.” Thanks to Brian Cant we all burst out laughing and nobody got a severe talking-to.
Margaret Squires
St Andrew, Fife

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Source: Guardian Climate Change

Norway issues $1bn threat to Brazil over rising Amazon destruction

Deforestation in the Amazon is increasing amid cuts to protection, putting Norway’s financial aid in jeopardy, says minister

Norway has issued a blunt threat to Brazil that if rising deforestation in the Amazon rainforest is not reversed, its billion-dollar financial assistance will fall to zero. The leaders of the two nations meet in Oslo on Friday.

The oil-rich Scandinavian nation has provided $1.1bn to Brazil’s Amazon fund since 2008, tied to reductions in the rate of deforestation in the world’s greatest rainforest. The destruction of forests by timber and farming industries is a major contributor to the carbon emissions that drive climate change and Norway views protecting the Amazon as vital for the whole world.

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Source: Guardian Climate Change

Tories aim to block full EU ban on bee-harming pesticides

Move to block EU ban comes despite environment secretary Michael Gove saying, ‘I don’t want to water down’ EU protections

Conservative politicians are trying to stop a complete EU ban on bee-harming pesticides, despite the new environment secretary Michael Gove’s statement earlier this week, in which he said “I absolutely don’t want to water down” EU environmental protections.

Neonicotinoids are the world’s most widely used insecticides but have been banned on flowering crops in the EU since 2013. However, the European Food Safety Authority (Efsa) found in 2016 that use of the pesticides on all crops poses a high risk to bees. As a result, the European commission has proposed a ban on all uses outside greenhouses, first revealed by the Guardian in March.

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Source: Guardian Climate Change

David Hoyle obituary

My friend David Hoyle, who has died in a car accident aged 48, was a social scientist who devoted his life to protecting African forests and natural ecosystems for the biodiversity they harbour, for the local people who depend on them, and to secure their vital role in mitigating dangerous climate change. He worked for numerous NGOs, including VSO, WWF, and WCS, which took him to many African countries as a teacher, field project manager and national director.

The second of three children born to Mike Hoyle, a management consultant, and Marion (nee Knight), a housewife, David grew up in Farnham, Surrey, completed school at Lancing college in West Sussex and read geography at Reading University before doing a master’s in natural resource management at Edinburgh.

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Source: Guardian Climate Change

Millions of mysterious 'sea pickles' swamp US west coast

Huge and unexplained bloom has fishers racing to save their nets, and scientists hurrying to study the rare animal

A rare, tiny marine creature known as the “unicorn of the sea” has swarmed in its millions on the west coast of America, ruining fishermen’s nets and baffling scientists who are scrambling to find out more about them.

Fishers along the west coast have told researchers that in some places they are unable to catch anything because the pyrosome clusters are so dense and tightly packed. Their hooks, when pulled from the ocean, wriggle with the odd-looking creatures, which are sometimes referred to as “sea pickles” or “fire bodies”.

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Source: Guardian Climate Change

Turnbull just needs to look back into his own past to address high power prices | Tristan Edis

A new coal power station is useless for solving current problems. Instead we should focus on cutting out energy waste

Australia’s electricity and gas prices have reached historic heights that are squeezing household budgets while threatening the very survival of some Australian manufacturers.

This is not a problem facing us some time in the future, is it problem right now that requires urgent action.

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Source: Guardian Climate Change