Archive for the ‘Science’ Category

DNA may make the ultimate time capsule

February 16, 2015

If you must preserve messages for people in the far future to read, Blu-ray discs and USB sticks are no good. For real long-term storage, you want a DNA time capsule.

DNA time capsule

Just 1 gram of DNA is theoretically capable of holding 455 exabytes – enough for all the data held by Google, Facebook and every other major tech company, with room to spare. It’s also incredibly durable: DNA has been extracted and sequenced from 700,000-year-old horse bones. But conditions have to be right for it to last.

Research suggests that data in DNA form could last 2000 years if kept at a temperature of around 10 °C. The Global Seed Vault in the Arctic could preserve it for over 2 million years at a chilly -18 °C, offering truly long-term storage. Learn more here.

The history of our world in 18 minutes

December 22, 2014

Backed by stunning illustrations, David Christian narrates a complete history of the universe, from the Big Bang to the Internet, in a riveting 18 minutes. This is “Big History”: an enlightening, wide-angle look at complexity, life and humanity, set against our slim share of the cosmic timeline.

The Most Radioactive Places on Earth

December 21, 2014

We hear plenty about the remaining radioactivity near the failed Chernobyl nuclear plant in Ukraine, but what about other places? Dereck Muller of Veritasium takes us on a tour of other historically radioactive sites such as Fukushima, Hiroshima, Marie Curie’s office, the Trinity test site, a uranium mine, and the basement of Pripyat’s hospital. The amount of radiation is presented in bananas as a visualization device to keep track of which place is more dangerous.

Cool chart here too.

Controversial Science

April 28, 2014

There have always been and there will always be controversial ideas in Science.

Watch this clip to explore some controversial science and gain an understanding of cognitive bias at the same time.

Hidden miracles of the natural world

April 13, 2014

We live in a world of unseeable beauty, so subtle and delicate that it is imperceptible to the human eye.

The Science of Garbage

January 11, 2014

Do you ever think about where your trash goes? How long it takes to decompose? And whether your garbage can become … dangerous? You should!

Does Being Cold Make You Sick?

January 8, 2014

Science Superlatives of 2013

December 31, 2013

Casting a Fire Ant Colony with Molten Aluminum

December 18, 2013

An amazing sculpture is made by pouring molten aluminum into a fire ant colony.

Incredible Bacteria-Killing Surface

December 3, 2013

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you never had to worry about germs crawling around on your kitchen countertop? Well, thanks to a new discovery by Aussie scientists, that could soon be a reality. And it doesn’t require a drop of disinfectant.

It’s called black silicon. While the material itself was discovered back in the 1990s by some Harvard guys, scientists only recently stumbled across its antibacterial properties after studying the wings of cicadas and dragonflies. They discovered that nanostructures shaped like little pillars on the wings effectively shreds and kills any bacteria that tried to settle there. With spikes that are just 500 nanometers high, black silicon (pictured below) has the same property. Bacteria literally can’t land on the surface without being destroyed by the spikes.

black silicon

Now for the potential downside. While useful for camera sensors and solar cells, black silicon hasn’t really been commercialised, so we don’t know how expensive it would be to produce it on a large enough scale to replace kitchen countertops across the nation. Learn more here.


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