Since it was first detected on October 23, 2015, the natural-gas leak at Aliso Canyon, a Southern California Gas Co. storage facility in the bucolic Porter Ranch community, has spewed more than 86,000 metric tons of methane into the atmosphere. On Monday So Cal Gas said it has abandoned a plan to capture and burn off the gas, which is a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. That means a solution to the disaster is still weeks, if not months, off. (This long feature on Newsweek.com explores in detail the background of the leak.)
The Porter Ranch accident highlights a growing problem in the U.S.: as natural gas replaces coal as a key energy source, the dangers of leaks and explosions from aging pipelines and storage facilities is rising. Last year Pacific Gas & Electric was hit with a record $1.6 billion fine for a gas explosion in San Bruno, California, that killed nine people in 2010. Decaying pipelines under the streets of New York City represent a “ticking time bomb,” according to a report from TV station CBS2. Local gas distribution companies are expected to spend billions to upgrade aging infrastructure in the coming years, according to Fitch Ratings. And the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is finalizing new regulations to limit methane emissions at each stage of the oil and gas production and transportation system—but those rules will cover only new installations, not existing facilities.
The gene-edited pig heart given to a dying patient was infected with a pig virus
The first transplant of a genetically-modified pig heart into a human may have ended prematurely because of a well-known—and avoidable—risk.
Meta has built a massive new language AI—and it’s giving it away for free
Facebook’s parent company is inviting researchers to pore over and pick apart the flaws in its version of GPT-3
Saudi Arabia plans to spend $1 billion a year discovering treatments to slow aging
The oil kingdom fears that its population is aging at an accelerated rate and hopes to test drugs to reverse the problem. First up might be the diabetes drug metformin.
The dark secret behind those cute AI-generated animal images
Google Brain has revealed its own image-making AI, called Imagen. But don't expect to see anything that isn't wholesome.
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