Science

Immediate Fossil Fuel Phaseout Needed

A study from the University of Leeds says that there is a 66% chance of keeping temperature increase below a 1.5 degree increase if a fossil fuel phaseout begins immediately. The research assumes a lifespan for powerplants of 40 years, cars 15 years and planes 26 years. It also assumes a rapid end to beef and dairy consumption. If the phaseout doesn't being until 2030, the chances reduce to 33%.

Insect Cam

Researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology have developed a 1.4mm thick camera prototype. The novel ultra-slim camera design is based on the eye structure of the xenos peckii parastic insect, which consists of a series of micro-prisms that sit above a set of microlenses.

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.

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