Science

Air Scrubber Ivy

Researchers at the University of Washington have genetically modified a pothos ivy houseplant to remove chloroform and benzene from the air around it. The modified plants express a 2E1 protein that transforms the cholorform an benzene into molecules that the plants can then use to support their own growth.

Softday Uisce Salach

Art-Science duo Softday have launched a new community art project called Uisce Salach (Dirty Water) based on water analyses from domestic water supplies from the River Liffey, its tributaries in Dublin City and from Dublin Port. The project will synergise science and arts practice using water sampling and creative technology, developing new thinking and new meaning around the sustainability of water resources.

Plant Power

Researchers at the Centre for Micro-Bio Robotics of IIT in Pontedera in Italy have discovered that certain plants generate electricity when touched that can power up to 100 LEDs (150V) per leaf. The leaves gather electric charges on their surface as a result of contact electrification and transmit the current directly to the stem of the plant, which can then be harvested. the researchers built a hybrid Nerum oleander tree with artificial leaves that touch the natural leaves and generate electricity.

CRISPR Babies

Chinese scientist He Jiankui claims to have made the first gene-edited babies using CRISPR. In a clinical trial, create embryos through in vitro fertilisation from couples where the father was HIV-positive. The team then edited the embryos using CRISPR to deactivate the CCR5 gene, which the HIV virus uses to gain entry into human cells. News of the trial has been condemned by scientists as irresponsible.

First Ionic Flight

Inspired by the shuttlecraft of Star Trek, researchers at MIT have successful performed the first ionic flight of a solid state fixed wing aircraft using electroaerodynamic thrust! layers of wires underneath the wings create a 20,000 Volt differential between the front and the rear wires, with cause charged electrons to travel through the air from the positive wires to the negative wires. The charged particles push air particles over the wing as they travel, creating a small amount of lift.

Dandelion Flight

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh have discovered a method of flight used by dandelion seeds that has never before been observed in nature. The seed's bristles form ring shaped air bubbles above the seed as air passes through and these bubbles, called "the separated vortex ring" create resistance and act as a parachute, allowing the dandelion seed to travel on the air up to a kilometer in distance.

IPCC Climate Change Report

We have 12 years to stop catastrophic climate change. The IPCC released their Global Warming of 1.5°C report which may well turn out to be one of the most important documents of modern times. The report describes the predicted effects of a 1.5°C increase in global temperature above the pre-industrial average versus a 2°C increase, written by 91 co-authors across 40 countries and backed by 6000 scientific references.

Apollo 11 MOCR

The Internet Archive have released a collection of communications recordings from the Apollo 11 mission. The recordings contain hours of everyday mundane (if you can call space travel mundane :-p) communications between the astronuats and ground control.

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