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Feb 24, 2024

Recycling fertilizers from human excreta exhibit high nitrogen fertilizer value and result in low uptake of pharmaceutical compounds

Posted by in categories: climatology, economics, sustainability

Year 2023 face_with_colon_three


Recycling nutrients is essential for closing nutrient loops within a circular economy. Using locally available resources such as human excreta to produce bio-based recycling fertilizers can substitute mineral fertilizers and thereby promote environmentally friendly food production. To better understand the fertilizer potential and nitrogen value of human excreta, three novel and safe recycling products were evaluated in a field experiment. Two nitrified urine fertilizers (NUFs) and one fecal compost were applied alone or in combination, and compared against the commercial organic fertilizer vinasse. In addition, the uptake of pharmaceuticals was assessed for treatments with compost application. White cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata f. alba) was cultivated in plots in three different soil types (sand, loam or silt) treated with the fertilizers according to plant needs and mineral soil nitrogen content. The two NUFs resulted in marketable yields similar to those of vinasse in all soil types. Combining fecal compost with a NUF led to increased marketable yield compared to compost alone. The highest yield was recorded from the sandy soil, where vinasse and NUF treatments led to comparable yields, as expected in organic productions systems (up to 72 t ha−1). The cabbage yield and total aboveground fresh biomass followed the following trend in all soils: NUFs ∼ vinasse ≥ compost + NUF ≥ compost. Nitrogen uptake in the cabbage heads and total biomass was significantly higher in sand (69.5–144 kg ha−1) than loam (71.4–95.8 kg ha−1). All compost treatments alleviated the effect of soil type and resulted in comparable nitrogen uptake and yield in all soil types. Plant uptake of pharmaceuticals (Carbamazepin) was higher in sand than in loam, and concentration in the edible part was lower than in the outer leaves. In conclusion, NUF alone appears to be a promising successful fertilizer substitute in horticultural food production. The combined application of NUF and compost led to slightly lower crop yields, but may increase soil carbon content in the long term, promoting climate-friendly food production.

In view of a growing world population and the human alteration of nutrient cycles, including nitrogen (N) and phosphorus ℗ (Rockström et al., 2009), transforming food production is a major challenge of this century (Springmann et al., 2018). Both N and P are essential nutrients for healthy plant growth in crop production; however, their addition to synthetic fertilizers is currently organized in a linear economy. The Haber-Bosch process, used to generate plant-available N from its airborne unreactive form, is energy intensive, depending on fossil fuels such as natural gas, and associated with high greenhouse gas emissions (Wang et al., 2021). P is obtained from finite, depleting phosphate rock resources and its mining is increasingly more expensive and polluting (Desmidt et al., 2015). This background emphasize the need for significant improvements of nutrient management in agriculture and for alternative, circular N and P sources to achieve global food security (Gerten et al.

Feb 24, 2024

NASA Rover Spots Dead Mars Helicopter in Its “Final Resting Place”

Posted by in category: space

NASA’s Mars helicopter, Ingenuity, has seen its last days of flight — but its friend, the Perseverance rover, hasn’t said goodbye just yet.

Originally published earlier this month by NASA, the grainy raw images of Ingenuity sitting sadly in the sand ripples of Mars’ Neretva Vallis river valley, cleaned up images of the little chopper that could were posted by German design student Simeon Schmauss on on X-formerly-Twitter and Flickr.

The enhanced displays, as Schmauss explained, were created when he pasted together six of the raw images, zoomed in on Ingenuity, and altered the image’s colors “to approximately match what the human eye would see.”

Feb 24, 2024

Nonequilibrium solvent response force: What happens if you push a Brownian particle

Posted by in categories: information science, particle physics

Forces cannot simply be added to the Langevin equation. Momentum transfer from the Brownian particle on the solvent always produces an additional nonequilibrium solvent response force that has highly nontrivial statistical properties.

Feb 24, 2024

Pharmacies nationwide face delays as health-care tech company reports cyberattack

Posted by in categories: cybercrime/malcode, health

A leading health-care technology company is experiencing a network outage due to a “cyber security issue,” pausing prescription services at pharmacies nationwide.

Feb 24, 2024

A new phase of matter: Physicists achieve first demonstration of non-Abelian anyons in a quantum processor

Posted by in categories: particle physics, quantum physics

Our physical, 3D world consists of just two types of particles: bosons, which include light and the famous Higgs boson; and fermions—the protons, neutrons, and electrons that comprise all the “stuff,” present company included.

Theoretical physicists like Ashvin Vishwanath, Harvard’s George Vasmer Leverett Professor of Physics, don’t like to limit themselves to just our world, though. In a 2D setting, for instance, all kinds of new particles and states of matter would become possible.

Vishwanath’s team used a powerful machine called a to make, for the first time, a brand-new phase of matter called non-Abelian topological order. Previously recognized in theory only, the team demonstrated synthesis and control of exotic particles called non-Abelian anyons, which are neither bosons nor fermions, but something in between.

Feb 24, 2024

Science fiction books that predicted the future with terrifying accuracy

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, innovation

Science fiction writers have anticipated a variety of modern inventions, from cars to organ transplants. Some books barely seem like fiction.

Feb 24, 2024

Next Generation Neural Interfaces: Research on Emerging Technologies at Imperial College London

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, health, neuroscience

The era of bioelectronic healthcare is dawning upon us. As electronic systems shrink in size and improve in functionality, we see more and more emerging devices that can track vital signs, such as heart rate and blood pressure, realising the grand vision of highly connected sensor nodes monitoring patients’ health beyond the hospital doors. The real revolution in digital healthcare, however, lies in bringing not only the diagnostics but also the therapy to the patient which requires interfacing the world of electronics with biology.

Interfacing the nervous system provides an immense opportunity to observe (through recording) and modify (through stimulation) the functional state of the biological system to fundamentally understand various diseases and health conditions, and to ultimately develop suitable therapies through closed-loop systems [1]. Consequently, a host of neural interface modalities, with varying levels of invasiveness, have been developed over the past decades. Among all, interfacing at the individual neuron level allows the highest level of information transfer from the brain.

Despite the success of devices such as Cochlear Implants, interfacing at the individual neuron level is still severely limited due to challenges such as selectivity (for stimulation) and thermal-limitations imposed on data transmission to prevent neural tissue damage. The latter is a major bottleneck in improving information transfer rate of neural recording systems as they scale up. Hence, there is currently a tremendous drive to develop new enabling technologies for neuroscience to provide insightful views on how motor or sensory information is represented and transformed by the brain, as well as revealing how this complex system is affected by neurological injuries and disease.

Feb 24, 2024

(PDF) Universe as a partially computable information-processing system

Posted by in category: futurism

PDF | Universe as a partially computable information-processing system | Find, read and cite all the research you need on ResearchGate.

Feb 24, 2024

FRAUDULENT Scientific Study EPIDEMIC Destroying Credibility of Medical Research: Report

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, electronics

Briahna Joy Gray and Robby Soave discuss a new report on credibility in academic papers. #science #research.

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Feb 24, 2024

Genetically engineered T cells for cancer immunotherapy

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, computing, genetics, nanotechnology

Relying on sub-wavelength nanostructures, metasurfaces have been shown as promising candidates for replacing conventional free-space optical components by arbitrarily manipulating the amplitude, phase, and polarization of optical wavefronts in certain applications1,2,3. In recent years, the scope of their applications has been expanded towards complete spatio-temporal control through the introduction of active metasurfaces. These developments open up exciting new possibilities for dynamic holography4, faster spatial light modulators5, and fast optical beam steering for LiDAR6. Large efforts have been channeled into various modulation mechanisms7. Microelectromechanical and nanoelectromechanical systems (MEMS and NEMS)8,9,10,11 have the advantages of low-cost and CMOS-compatibility, but the speed is limited up to MHz. Phase-change materials12,13,14 have fast, drastic, and non-volatile refractive index change, but lack continuous refractive index tuning and have a limited number of cycles constraining applicability to reconfigurable devices. Through molecule reorientation, liquid crystal can have index modulation over 10%, while under relatively low applied voltages Tunable liquid crystal metasurfaces, U.S. patent number 10,665,953 [Application Number 16/505,687]15. Techniques of liquid crystal integration have also advanced after decades of development. However, the tuning speeds are limited to kHz range16. Thermal-optic effects can induce relatively large refractive index changes17,18, but the speed is inherently limited and the on-chip thermal management can be challenging. The co-integration of transparent conductive oxide and metallic plasmonic structures5,6 has been demonstrated in epsilon-near-zero (ENZ) regime to control the wavefront of reflected light, but the low reflection amplitude induced by the optical loss of the materials and the ENZ regime is unavoidable.

In modern photonics, a multitude of technologies for tunable optics and frequency conversion19,20 are realized with nonlinear materials that have low loss and a strong χ effect, such as lithium niobate21,22, aluminum nitride23, and organic electro-optic (OEO) materials24. Their ultrafast responses make it possible to use RF or millimeter-wave control25. Developments in computational chemistry have also led to artificially engineered organic molecules that have record-high nonlinear coefficients with long-term and high-temperature stability26,27. However, their potential in modifying free-space light has been relatively unexplored until recently. Several OEO material-hybrid designs have demonstrated improved tunability of metasurfaces28,29,30. Utilizing dielectric resonant structures and RF-compatible coplanar waveguides, a free-space silicon-organic modulator has recently accomplished GHz modulation speed31. However, all demonstrations to date require high operating voltages ± 60V, due to low resonance tuning capability (frequency shift / voltage), which hinders their integration with electronic chips.

In this work, we propose combining high-Q metasurfaces based on slot-mode resonances with the unique nano-fabrication techniques enabled by OEO materials, which drastically reduces the operating voltage. The low voltage is mainly achieved from the ability to place the electrodes in close proximity to each other while hosting high-Q modes in between and the large overlap of the optical and RF fields in OEO materials. In the following sections, we first provide the design concepts and considerations for achieving a reduced operating voltage. Next, we numerically demonstrate the advantage of a particular selected mode compared to other supported modes in the structure. Finally, we experimentally realize our concepts and characterize the performance of the electro-optic metasurface.

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