Animals use electricity to move, and so electricity can be used to make them move, as the scientists at Backyard Brains show in a neat DIY experiment that can be done with a cockroach's leg. For a larger scale version, they connected the device to a squid, which produce pigmented cells called chromatophores to reflect light. By using an iPod blasting Cypress Hill's "Insane in the Membrane" as the stimulant, they discovered a lovely, abstract look at the process.
For all our attempts to find it on other worlds, water may not be the most essential molecule for life, a new study suggests. A protein that brings oxygen to muscle can function without it, using a synthetic polymer in its place.
If you combined all of the water in the planet’s ice caps, glaciers, rivers, lakes, aquifers and oceans, it would fill a sphere 860 miles in diameter. That volume, some 366 million trillion gallons, hasn’t changed in millennia, nor will it change in the foreseeable future. What will change, as the planet becomes hotter and more crowded, is where this water appears and in what stage of the hydrologic cycle. And those changes will present us with many oddly conflicting challenges.
Handed an assignment to design a water bottle for the human race if it were on the brink of extinction, Japanese design studio Takram instead did something else: planned a set of robotic "organs" that could keep people alive on 32 milliliters of water a day.
Researchers have discovered evidence that there's a lot more water on Mars--at least on parts of Mars--than anyone previously thought. Using new technology, scientists examined the water content in meteorites from the planet, and it points to a lot of it in the Martian mantle.
When we think of rising sea levels, we think of global climate change and melting ice caps. Yet there’s a disparity in the raw data. During the second half of the last century, global sea levels rose 1.8 millimeters per year, according to tide gauges. But it’s been determined that melting ice caps and glaciers have only contributed to 1.1 millimeters per year of that. So where did the other 0.7 millimeters come from? A new study has a remarkably simple answer: from you.
If you only watch one optical illusion today in which a stream of water appears to have droplets freeze in mid-air or inch their way backwards back into the tube from whence they came, make it this one.
One possibility for future energy production involves harvesting the warmth of Earth’s tropical oceans, using the natural heat differentials in the water to drive turbines. It would be relatively simple if you didn’t need a ludicrously large piece of pipe, 33 feet in diameter and stretching a kilometer beneath the water. To put that in context, that’s a New York subway tunnel wide and two and a half Empire State Buildings high.
A water war has broken out in Florida, and New York is being dragged into the fray. A Palm Beach County bagel purveyor called The Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Co. claims it has devised a novel water treatment system that reproduces an exact chemical replica of New York City’s famously pure tap water, allowing it to reproduce bagels with that unique NYC flavor. A Boca Raton franchisee claims the treatment process is a fraud.
By Andrew Rosenblum
Posted 12.16.2011 at 4:30 pm 24 Comments
The prospect of great wealth will be one of the main draws of space exploration in the coming decades. A 650-foot-diameter asteroid (about average) can contain $1 billion or more worth of platinum-group metals and untold amounts of ice or water—which are perhaps even more valuable in space because they can be converted to fuel in situ. But extracting those resources will present some unique challenges. For example, the combination of asteroids’ near-zero gravity (because of their small mass) and quick spin (up to one rotation every couple of minutes) means that asteroid-nauts must attach everything, including themselves, to the rock, or risk floating off into space.
Apparently, Russian hackers are targeting Springfield, Illinois's water. According to Wired's"Threat Level," last week a group of hackers breached the Springfield, Illinois water utility system and remotely destroyed a water pump.
Running down the far-left column of the periodic table, the readily available alkali metals: lithium, sodium, potassium, rubidium and cesium—all generate potentially explosive hydrogen gas when they touch water. The strength with which they react with H2O goes up steadily in the order listed. Lithium just sizzles, whereas cesium explodes powerfully and instantly. You’d expect that to mean that cesium makes the biggest explosion, but it’s not the case.
Deep in the depths of the Dead Sea, new life has been discovered. Thanks to newly found freshwater springs, certain forms of bacteria thrive, bacteria that, unlike other known freshwater and saltwater bacteria, can cope with rapidly changing salinity. It's the intriguing results of the first study of the Dead Sea in years, a rare undertaking partly because "accidentally swallowing Dead Sea salt water would cause the larynx to inflate, resulting in immediate choking and suffocation."
According to some tricky calculations from Guillaume Robuchon and Francis Nimmo at the University of California, Santa Cruz, Pluto may actually have a liquid ocean underneath its frigid, -230 °C exterior. It's mostly speculation, but the reasoning is pretty sound: if Pluto's rocky core has a certain level of potassium, "its decay could produce enough heat to melt some of the overlaying ice," says New Scientist. The assumption is that Pluto does, since the Earth has 10 times that amount despite being closer to the sun and therefore likely having much less potassium in its core than Pluto. We just hope having an ocean makes Pluto feel better about not being a planet anymore. [New Scientist]
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.