(Dr. June Medford, with some of her pollutant- and explosive-sniffing plants)
(Gizmag) There may come a day when certain plants in your workplace suddenly turn white, at which point everyone will run screaming from the building – those co-workers will have been right to do so, as the white plants indicated that a toxic gas was present. Before that scenario can take place, a little more work still needs to be done, and Colorado State University (CSU) biologist Dr. June Medford is doing it. Using a computer-designed detection trait, she is creating plants that stop producing chlorophyll when they detect pollutants or explosives in the air.
According to Medford, plants such as tobacco are as good as or better than a dog’s nose for detecting airborne substances. Unlike dogs, however, plants don’t need to be trained, housed or fed. They also don’t need to be powered or protected from the elements, unlike electronics.
With help from colleagues at Duke University and the University of Washington, Medford redesigned naturally-occurring receptor proteins using a computer program. She then modified the receptors to function in plants, and targeted them to the test plants’ cell walls.
Farmers from Australia are the latest donors to a polar bear-patrolled Arctic doomsday vault that stores seeds as insurance against an international food emergency.
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a converted mine, is located about 800 miles from the North Pole in Arctic Norway.
An Australian delegation of farmers and scientists next week will deposit 301 samples of peas and 42 rare chickpeas in the vault, intending to protect the plant species from extinction by climatic or man-made events.
John McConnico, AP Australian farmers and scientists next week will deposit 301 samples of peas and 42 rare chickpeas in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, shown here in 2008. "It's a very robust structure, concrete, made into the side of a mountain at Svalbard in the Spitsbergen Highlands in the Arctic," said Dr. Tony Gregson, a farmer and scientist with Plant Health Australia, an agriculture industry body.
According to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault website, the facility's main purpose is "to store duplicates ('back ups') of all seed samples from the world's crop collections. Permafrost and thick rock ensure that, even in the case of a power outage, the seed samples will remain frozen."
WASHINGTON (AFP) – A powerful solar eruption that has already disturbed radio communications in China could disrupt electrical power grids and satellites used on Earth in the next days, NASA said.
The massive sunspot, which astronomers say is the size of Jupiter, is the strongest solar flare in four years, NASA said Wednesday.
The Class X flash -- the largest such category -- erupted at 0156 GMT Tuesday, according to the US space agency.
"X-class flares are the most powerful of all solar events that can trigger radio blackouts and long-lasting radiation storms," disturbing telecommunications and electric grids, NASA said.
NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory saw a large coronal mass ejection (CME) associated with the flash that is blasting toward Earth at about 560 miles per second (900 kilometers per second), it said.
The charged plasma particles were expected to reach the planet's orbit at 0300 GMT Thursday.
(PhysOrg.com) -- C60, the spherical carbon molecule also known as a buckminsterfullerene, has intrigued scientists for its unique properties and potential applications in nanotechnology and electronics. Now scientists have found that C60 may have another unusual property: it may take the form of a one-component gel under certain conditions. To date, all known gels consist of two components: an evenly distributed substance (a colloid) and a substance that dissolves the colloid (a solvent).
Scientists have previously discovered that C60 can take the form of different phases of matter, including solids and liquids. Here, chemists Patrick Royall from the University of Bristol and Stephen Williams from the Australian National University found that C60 can theoretically exist in a dense liquid phase containing clusters, which bind together to form a gel structure, specifically a "spinodal" gel. The gel is made entirely of carbon.
In their study, the scientists performed computer simulations showing that C60 can form a gel at moderately high temperatures and very high quench rates. The simulations showed that C60 gels form in about 10 nanoseconds and are stable at room temperature for at least 100 nanoseconds, which is the maximum time that the simulations were run.
Two new revolutionary technologies are being developed that could change our planet. Are they related to each other fundamentally or do they utilize different phenomena?
Today we are facing an energy crisis that threatens the future of our species. Cheap energy from fossil fuels has allowed civilization to grow and expand. In the past hundred years the human population has went from millions to billions. As access to cheap fossil fuels becomes more difficult, all of this progress is threatened. Currently, there are at least two companies that claim to have technologies that could provide a solution to the energy crisis. One of these companies is Randall Mills' BlackLight Power (BLP) and the other is Andrea Rossi's Leonardo Corp.
BLP and Cold Fusion in a Nutshell
BlackLight Power claims to have a technology based on producing shrunken hydrogen atoms called "hydrinos." Basically, their claim is that when atomic hydrogen comes into contact with one of several catalysts (there are at least a dozen) the orbit of the electron around the hydrogen nucleus is reduced below the "ground state" and energy is released.
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