When you need to remove a tree stump, you have several options. Sissies call a tree service. Tough guys loop a chain around the stump, hook it to the bumper of their truck, and find out which one is stronger. Others use gunpowder to blow them up, though this is not advisable in most jurisdictions (unless your cousin is the sheriff and you let him watch). But my favorite method is to convert the stump itself into gunpowder and then burn it up. That is the secret behind how chemical stump remover works.
The World Wildlife Federation announced the creation of its first file format, WWF, designed as a replacement for PDF. It's essentially identical to PDF, except for one key difference: It can't be printed. The WWF hopes this will reduce unnecessary paper use, or at least bring some attention to the fact that lots of paper use is unnecessary.
Studies on the impact of wireless radiation on humans are endlesslyinconclusive, but a recent study on the effects of Wi-Fi radiation on trees--yes, trees--indicates that our woody friends may be much more vulnerable than we are.
Taiwanese researchers have come up with the elegant idea of replacing streetlights with trees, by implanting their leaves with gold nanoparticles. This causes the leaves to give off a red glow, lighting the road for passersby without the need for electric power. This ingenious triple threat of an idea could simultaneously reduce carbon emissions, cut electricity costs and reduce light pollution, without sacrificing the safety that streetlights bring.
For the first time, a human-designed chemical enzyme -- a chemzyme -- has been used to break down a toxin found inside fruits and vegetables.
Chemzymes are designed to emulate the body's naturally occuring enzymes, but are much simpler and tougher. A chemzyme designed by a Danish scientist successfully neutralized glycoside esculin, a toxic compound found in horse chestnuts. The toxin can cause nasty problems like muscle twitching, lack of coordination, vomiting, diarrhea, depression and paralysis.
In the future, we won't need rare-earth elements to make powerful computers. We can use poplar trees. Engineers in Israel have figured out how to use protein molecules from poplars to improve computer memory. The technique uses silica nanoparticles combined with poplar proteins, according to researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
While an all-biofuel economy is a nice notion, we often overlook the fact that biofuel sources, while renewable, are limited in their supplies just like fossil fuels. When you get down to the economics of it, there are still limited biofuel stocks to go around at any given time, and that can create economic pressures that are decidedly undesirable. So a group of Manchester, UK, researchers have identified the specific genes that make plants grow thicker in hopes of juicing trees and other plants species to produce more biomass.
'Tis the season for hokey, holiday-related science! This year's Christmas/science tie-in comes via NASA, who provided us all with the holiday present of a Christmas-tree-shaped nebula. Located 170,000 light years away, this nebula spawned the super-massive white stars to the right of the tree.
Trees are great absorbers of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and inhibitors of climate change -- that's why treehuggers hug them so much. But leave it to humanity to engineer a better tree. A synthetic tree, currently being tested as a prototype, ensnares carbon about 1,000 times faster than a real tree.