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Mar 15, 2016

Researchers turn carbon dioxide into sustainable concrete

Posted by in categories: materials, sustainability

Imagine a world with little or no concrete. Would that even be possible? After all, concrete is everywhere—on our roads, our driveways, in our homes, bridges and buildings. For the past 200 years, it’s been the very foundation of much of our planet.

But the production of cement, which when mixed with water forms the binding agent in concrete, is also one of the biggest contributors to . In fact, about 5 percent of the planet’s greenhouse gas emissions comes from concrete.

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Mar 15, 2016

Physicist Page Photo

Posted by in categories: energy, information science, quantum physics, space

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Mar 15, 2016

If The World Were 100 People

Posted by in category: futurism

When you shrink the world’s population down to 100 people, this is what you get:

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Mar 15, 2016

Plants, Electrified: Scientists Just Grew Conductive Wires Inside Real Roses

Posted by in category: electronics

The wired rose leaf can be darkened or lightened with a zap of electricity.

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Mar 15, 2016

The Blockchain Artilect & The Ultimate Question

Posted by in category: bitcoin

A story told with Slate.

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Mar 15, 2016

Doggie DNA startup wants to learn about human diseases from dog drool

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

Finally there’s a use for dog drool: this spring, a new startup called Embark plans to launch a DNA testing kit for dogs that will tell owners about their canine’s ancestry, and disease risk. That’s not all the founders have in mind though; they may be aiming at human diseases by enlisting our longtime best friends.

Soon, interested pooch lovers will be able to swab their dogs’ slimy cheeks and mail in the sample. By extracting DNA from the swab, Embark’s founder says they’ll be able to trace a dog’s ancestry on a global level. The “Embark Dog DNA Test Kit” will also look for genetic variants that are associated with more than 100 diseases, and inform owners if their dog has a higher than average chance of developing one of them. The kit will also tell owners if their dog is likely to pass disease-associated mutations to a pup — which will likely be valuable information for breeders. Because of this, Embark’s founders say their product will be the most complete kit of its kind. At least, that’s the idea that Embark’s founders will be pitching today at SXSW.

For the company’s founders, the real objective will be the research they’ll be able to conduct with the DNA samples; that became clear when I spoke to two of Embark’s founders on the phone last week. They spent the first 10 minutes of the call talking about the potential of dog genetics to deliver advancements in human health. In fact, they were so enthusiastic about their future research that I had to interrupt them to steer the conversation back to the product we were supposed to discuss.

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Mar 15, 2016

Meet the electric life forms that live on pure energy

Posted by in categories: energy, food

Unlike any other life on Earth, these extraordinary bacteria use energy in its purest form – they eat and breathe electrons – and they are everywhere.

Geobacter – a current favourite

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Mar 14, 2016

Meta-Materials Bring Us Another Step Closer to an Invisibility Cloak

Posted by in categories: computing, materials, quantum physics, security, transportation

Next to Quantum and Biocomputing, this is one of my favorites. Cloak material to avoid radar. Unfortunatley, we cannot have access to the material for our autos; but it would be nice to have on my car sometimes when I am running late and having to drive quickly somewhere.

Two separate teams of engineers, both conducting research into meta-materials (composites not found in nature) with the intent of developing a flexible, stretchable and tunable meta-skin, are sharing their discoveries with the world. Although the two developments revolve around the same premise—manipulating electromagnetic waves so that the surface that banquets an object becomes invisible—a few exciting differences between the teams’ approaches sets their research apart.


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Mar 14, 2016

Why Scientists Want to Study Robot Roaches

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

Roaches are speedy, agile, and nearly indestructible—which is why engineers are so interested in them.

Robots can look like just about anything: people, dinosaurs, quadcopters—you name it. So why would anyone design a robot that looks like one of the grossest and most detested species on the planet?

Well, like cephalopods, roaches’ bodies gives them distinct, if squirm-worthy, advantages—namely, the ability to become nearly two-dimensional to squeeze through cracks and under doors. Cockroaches can flatten themselves to a one-tenth of an inch and can bear loads 900 times heavier than they are (which is why we have to stomp on them extra hard). Perhaps most impressive is their ability to scurry along at top speed when compressed to half their normal height. These attributes make roaches nimble, persistent, and hardy—three supremely useful qualities for a robot, and three reasons scientists have pursued the development of robo-roaches.

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Mar 14, 2016

Solar micro-grids launched in three remote villages

Posted by in categories: business, solar power, sustainability

The three solar micro-grids, with combined capacity of 35 kilowatts, were installed in the communities of Harkapur in Okhaldhunga district, and Kaduwa and Chyasmitar in Khotang District, as per a statement issued today. They will provide a 24-hour reliable electricity supply to around 540 people in 83 households and 25 local businesses.

“Nearly a quarter of Nepal’s population has no access to electricity and rely heavily instead on kerosene in particular. Since most of them live in remote areas, there is little possibility of connecting to the national power grid in the near future,” said Jiwan Acharya, senior energy specialist at the Asian Development Bank (ADB). “The solar micro-grids that we are piloting here provide a clean, cost-effective, local solution involving private sector that will change the lives of these communities and serve as a model for other far-flung villages.”

Electricity costs for households are forecast at $4 to $6 per month. Currently households relying on kerosene for lighting alone, can pay up to $10 a month. And by using solar power rather than fossil fuels, the project will avoid 41 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions every year.

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