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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. 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? That was Daniel's question, and he put to the test with a very simple and clever process of immersing ground plastic in a yeast solution that encourages microbial growth, and then isolating the most productive organisms.

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. In 2002, scientists carried out an amazing experiment, which showed that particles of light "photons" knew -- in advance −- what their distant twins would do in the future. More recently (Science 315, 966, 2007), scientists in France shot photons into an apparatus, and showed that what they did could retroactively change something that had already happened. Of course, we live in the same world. But what about dinosaur fossils? History is a biological phenomenon − it's the logic of what you, the animal observer experiences.

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. Examining items such as a fishing line and plastic bag, Mincer discovered the living cells entrenched in the plastic, seemingly gorging on it, he told Nature News.

Einstein was right - honey bee collapse threatens global food security The agri-business lender Rabobank said the numbers of US bee colonies failing to survive each winter has risen to 30pc to 35pc from an historical norm of 10pc. The rate is 20pc or higher in much of Europe, and the same pattern is emerging in Latin America and Asia. Albert Einstein, who liked to make bold claims (often wrong), famously said that "if the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, man would have only four years to live". Such "apocalyptic scenarios" are overblown, said Rabobank. The staples of corn, wheat, and rice are all pollinated by wind. However, animal pollination is essential for nuts, melons and berries, and plays varying roles in citrus fruits, apples, onions, broccoli, cabbage, sprouts, courgettes, peppers, aubergines, avocados, cucumbers, coconuts, tomatoes and broad beans, as well as coffee and cocoa. This is the fastest growing and most valuable part of the global farm economy. China has its own problems. Einstein was not always wrong.

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 The cosmos was born in a churning fluid 300 million times hotter than the sun. In QCD, it is the vacuum that imprisons the quarks. A pair of virtual particles from the vacuum are given enough energy that they become real, and fly apart in opposite directions. "There's no doubt. This makes the plasma more similar to a liquid than a gas. This is part of a Feature article that appears in New Scientist issue: 16 October 2004. [ Print | E-mail AAAS and EurekAlert!

Teen Decomposes Plastic Bag in Three Months | Wired Science Plastic takes thousands of years to decompose — but 16-year-old science fair contestant Daniel Burd made it happen in just three months. The Waterloo, Ontario high school junior figured that something must make plastic degrade, even if it does take millennia, and that something was probably bacteria. (Hey, at between one-half and 90 percent of Earth’s biomass, bacteria’s a pretty safe bet for any biological mystery.) The Record reports that Burd mixed landfill dirt with yeast and tap water, then added ground plastic and let it stew. The plastic indeed decomposed more quickly than it would in nature; after experimenting with different temperatures and configurations, Burd isolated the microbial munchers. Burd says this should be easy on an industrial scale: all that’s needed is a fermenter, a growth medium and plastic, and the bacteria themselves provide most of the energy by producing heat as they eat. Amazing stuff. Image: Andrew Green See Also:

Bees Solve Hard Computing Problems Faster Than Supercomputers We already know bees are pretty good at facial recognition, and researchers have shown they can also be effective air-quality monitors. Here's one more reason to keep them around: They're smarter than computers. Bumblebees can solve the classic "traveling salesman" problem, which keeps supercomputers busy for days. They learn to fly the shortest possible route between flowers even if they find the flowers in a different order, according to a new British study. The traveling salesman problem is an (read: very hard) problem in computer science; it involves finding the shortest possible route between cities, visiting each city only once. Bees need lots of energy to fly, so they seek the most efficient route among networks of hundreds of flowers. To test bee problem-solving, researchers Lars Chittka and Mathieu Lihoreau tested bees' response to computer-controlled artificial flowers.

LHC Detects Evidence of New Physics | Wired Science After nearly 6 months of smashing particles, the Large Hadron Collider has seen signs of something entirely new. Pairs of charged particles produced when two beams of protons collide seem to be associated with each other even after they fly apart. “It is a small effect, but it is very interesting in itself,” said physicist Guido Tonelli, spokesperson for the LHC’s CMS experiment. The LHC finally got up and running in March after more than a year of false starts. When two protons collide, they produce a flurry of smaller, short-lived charged particles that fly away from each other at certain angles and speeds. In the new experiment, the CMS team took data on the charged particles produced in hundreds of thousands of collisions. In the most basic case (below, left), the data looked exactly like the physicists expected it to. It’s as if two particles somehow talked to each other when they were produced, the physicists said. But where it comes from, nobody knows. See Also:

Great Pacific Garbage Patch The area of increased plastic particles is located within the North Pacific Gyre, one of the five major oceanic gyres. The Great Pacific garbage patch, also described as the Pacific trash vortex, is a gyre of marine debris particles in the central North Pacific Ocean located roughly between 135°W to 155°W and 35°N and 42°N.[1] The patch extends over an indeterminate area, with estimates ranging very widely depending on the degree of plastic concentration used to define the affected area. The patch is characterized by exceptionally high concentrations of pelagic plastics, chemical sludge and other debris that have been trapped by the currents of the North Pacific Gyre.[2] Despite its size and density, the patch is not visible from satellite photography, nor even necessarily to a casual boater or diver in the area, since it consists primarily of a small increase in suspended, often-microscopic particles in the upper water column. Discovery[edit] Charles J. Formation[edit] In 2012, Miriam C.