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Boy discovers microbe that eats plastic

It's not your average science fair when the 16-year-old winner manages to solve a global waste crisis. But such was the case at last May's Canada-Wide Science Fair in Ottawa, Ontario, where Daniel Burd, a high school student at Waterloo Collegiate Institute, presented his research on microorganisms that can rapidly biodegrade plastic. Daniel had a thought it seems even the most esteemed PhDs hadn't considered. Plastic, one of the most indestructible of manufactured materials, does in fact eventually decompose. It takes 1,000 years but decompose it does, which means there must be microorganisms out there to do the decomposing. Editor's note: There are two high school students who have discovered plastic-consuming microorganisms. Could those microorganisms be bred to do the job faster? The preliminary results were encouraging, so he kept at it, selecting out the most effective strains and interbreeding them.

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Seawater Greenhouses Produce Tomatoes in the Desert According to the World Health Organization, about 20 percent of the world’s people live in regions that don’t have enough water for their needs. With the global population increasing by 80 million each year, a third of the planet will likely face water shortages by 2025. This looming water crisis is inextricably linked to food production because agriculture accounts for 70 percent of all fresh water used, and obtaining irrigation water in arid regions has serious environmental impacts. Robert Lanza, M.D.: Does the Past Exist Yet? Evidence Suggests Your Past Isn't Set in Stone Recent discoveries require us to rethink our understanding of history. "The histories of the universe," said renowned physicist Stephen Hawking "depend on what is being measured, contrary to the usual idea that the universe has an objective observer-independent history." Is it possible we live and die in a world of illusions? Physics tells us that objects exist in a suspended state until observed, when they collapse in to just one outcome.

Tesla - Master of Lightning: A Weapon to End War Tesla inherited from his father a deep hatred of war. Throughout his life, he sought a technological way to end warfare. He thought that war could be converted into, "a mere spectacle of machines." In 1931 Tesla announced to reporters at a press conference that he was on the verge of discovering an entirely new source of energy. Asked to explain the nature of the power, he replied, "The idea first came upon me as a tremendous shock... Plastic-eating bacteria found in 'ocean desert,' scientist says Scientists have found an organism that may be eating plastic in the ocean, according to a report in Nature News. But whether the bug is green or mean remains to be seen, a scientist told CNN on Wednesday. It has been proven that microbes can degrade plastic, said marine microbiologist Tracy Mincer of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts. What's significant is that the plastic is being degraded in a nutrient-poor area of the sea, an "ocean desert," Mincer said. The bacteria, found in a region of the North Atlantic Ocean called the Sargasso Sea, is clearly breaking down the plastic, but scientists don’t know if the byproduct is environment-friendly waste or a toxin. If the bacteria – or its waste – is consumed by larger organisms, the effects could be detrimental to aquatic life.

Lab-Grown Lungs - The 50 Best Inventions of 2010 Growing new body parts has always been more science fiction than science reality, but that balance may quickly be shifting, at least in the lab. Relying on more sophisticated biosimulators that can better mimic body conditions, researchers have re-created the delicate architecture of a rat lung accurately enough for it to assume 95% of a normal lung's inhaling and exhaling functions. The key to their respiratory success was starting with a skeletal rat-lung template, including a matrix of blood vessels and collagen and other connective tissue, then seeding it with stem cells and nutrients to generate lifelike tissue that exchanged oxygen and carbon dioxide just like normal lung tissue.

What our civilization needs is a billion-year plan Artist’s concept of a Kardashev Type 2 civilization (credit: Chris Cold) Lt Col Garretson — one of the USAF’s most farsighted and original thinkers — has been at the forefront of USAF strategy on the long-term future in projects such as Blue Horizons (on KurzweilAI — see video), Energy Horizons, Space Solar Power, the AF Futures Game, the USAF Strategic Environmental Assessment, and the USAF RPA Flight Plan. Now in this exclusive to KurzweilAI, he pushes the boundary of long-term thinking about humanity’s survival out to the edge … and beyond. — Ed. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Air Force or the U.S. government. It isn’t enough just to plan for two or 20, or even the fabled Chinese 100 year periods.

Liquid universe Public release date: 13-Oct-2004 [ Print | E-mail Share ] [ Close Window ] UK CONTACT - Claire Bowles 44-207-611-1210New Scientist Press Office, London US CONTACT – Toni Marshalltoni.marshall@newscientist.com617-558-4939New Scientist Boston office Boy invents Smart Bell doorbell that fools burglars Life isn’t all that simple these days, and even if you think you’re safe from burglars, you do hear of horror stories from neighbors and friends on getting their homes ransacked when they go off for a holiday. Well, necessity being the mother of all invention has caused Laurence Rook, a 13-year old boy to invent a doorbell which is smart enough to trick potential burglars into thinking that you are at home, never mind that you are halfway around the world. Calling it the ‘Smart Bell’, it will actually call your handset whenever someone rings on your doorbell, letting you hold a conversation with whoever is at the door. Neat! Just make sure that you have roaming turned on and are prepared to pay obscene roaming charges if you’re overseas, but otherwise, this is the perfect out-of-town solution if you do not want to be thought of as being away.

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