Chinese scientists to grow potatoes on the moon

Chinese space fries! 🙂

Chinese scientists will attempt to grow potatoes on the moon as part of a forthcoming lunar mission.

According to a report in the Chongqing Morning Post, the potatoes will be sealed inside a “mini ecosystem” as part the Chang’e-4 mission due to launch next year. They’ll be sharing a small cylinder on the surface of the Earth’s only natural satellite with silkworm larvae as part of a series of experiments, Professor Xie Gengxin of Chongqing University told the paper.

The goal is to see whether the insects and spuds will survive on the lunar surface, and the end result will yield important insights about the viability of a future human colony, China Radio International says.


Hey, remember when the West used to go to the moon?

Neither do I.

But I’m told it happened…

Physicists observe ‘negative mass’

Neat, and weird…

Physicists have created a fluid with “negative mass”, which accelerates towards you when pushed.

In the everyday world, when an object is pushed, it accelerates in the same direction as the force applied to it; this relationship is described by Isaac Newton’s Second Law of Motion.

But in theory, matter can have negative mass in the same sense that an electric charge can be positive or negative.

Oh; I was hoping ‘negative mass’ could be used for weight loss… 😉

Maple syrup boosts antibiotics

Great news for spring! 🙂

You’d think nothing goes together better than maple syrup and pancakes, but recent research shows there may be a new winning combo: maple syrup and antibiotics. Brand-new, exploratory research performed by—you’ll never guess—a professor in Canada has shown promise in how maple syrup extracts can boost the performance of antibiotics.

Graphene-based sieve turns seawater into drinking water

Great news!

A UK-based team of researchers has created a graphene-based sieve capable of removing salt from seawater.

The sought-after development could aid the millions of people without ready access to clean drinking water.

The promising graphene oxide sieve could be highly efficient at filtering salts, and will now be tested against existing desalination membranes.

It has previously been difficult to manufacture graphene-based barriers on an industrial scale.

Thanks, science: You may be able to get drunk on an alcohol substitute without a hangover next morning


Thanks to science, you may soon be able to get drunk without feeling the effects the next morning.

A British scientist and longtime drug researcher has developed an alcohol substitute that still gives imbibers that sought-after buzz without the unsavoury side effects of a hangover the next day.

I guess he didn’t know there already exists such a thing. 😉

Shorebird’s beak inspires researchers to design new water collection strategy


The shorebird's beak is more interesting than you might think The shorebird’s beak is more interesting than you might think

Dr. Fazale Rana of Reasons to Believe tweeted this cool example of biomimetics from Science Daily.


A UT Arlington engineering professor and his doctoral student have designed a device based on a shorebird’s beak that can accumulate water collected from fog and dew.

The device could provide water in drought-stricken areas of the world or deserts around the globe.

Xin Heng… a doctoral student in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and Cheng Luo, MAE professor, have made a device that can use fog and dew to collect water.

Cheng Luo, professor in the Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering Department, and Xin Heng, PhD candidate in the same College of Engineering department, published “Bioinspired Plate-Based Fog Collectors” in the Aug. 25 edition of ACS’ (American Chemical Society) Applied Materials & Interfaces journal.

The idea began when Heng saw an article that explained…

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Sticking strips of cured pork up the nose of a child who suffers from uncontrollable, life-threatening nosebleeds can stop the hemorrhaging

Will S.' Random Weirdness Blog

Good to know!

Dr. Sonal Saraiya and her colleagues in Michigan found that packing strips of cured pork in the nose of a child who suffers from uncontrollable, life-threatening nosebleeds can stop the hemorrhaging


Sticking pork products up the patient’s nose was a treatment of last resort when conventional treatments had failed, Saraiya said, and was only used for a very specific condition known as Glanzmann thrombasthenia, a rare condition in which blood does not properly clot.

“We had to do some out-of-the-box thinking,” she said. “So that’s where we put our heads together and thought to the olden days and what they used to do.”

The 4-year-old child’s nostrils were packed with cured pork twice, and according to their study, “the nasal vaults successfully stopped nasal hemorrhage promptly (and) effectively.”

The method worked because “there are some clotting factors in the pork … and the high level of…

View original post 58 more words

Korean researchers find a potential use for cigarette butts


Minzae Lee and Gil-Pyo Kim and others at Seoul National University, who have a new paper in Nanotechnology, believe they’ve discovered a way to reduce stray butts while helping green manufacturing. They gathered dirty filters from Marlboro Light Gold, The One Orange, and lime and rum-flavored Bohem Cigar Mojito cigarettes (Korea’s sure got variety), and exposed them to high heat in a nitrogen-rich environment. That transformed the thousands of cellulose-acetate fibers in the filters, seen at right, into the black “hybrid carbon material” at left:

(Lee, Kim, et al.)

This material is densely riddled with pores of various sizes, which turns out to be great for making efficient supercapacitors. When they ran a test of the stuff’s capabilities, they found it “stored a higher amount of electrical energy than commercially available carbon and also had a higher amount of storage compared to graphene and carbon nanotubes,” according to IOPscience.

Needless to say, the task of gathering up enough far-and-widespread butts to sustain manufacturing could be a challenge. If this research is to be of any use, science needs to also come up with a way to stop smokers from flicking their butts everywhere and start placing them into proper receptacles.

That’s easy enough; just pay them for them; have them return their butts to where they buy their cigarettes, and pick them up from there.

If it’s financially feasible for smokers to do so, they’ll do it – same as people return booze and pop bottles / cans for refunds…

Of course, this is assuming it would be cheaper to buy used cigarette filters and make this material from them, rather than manufacturing it from scratch… The marketplace will determine that…