Imagine buying sneakers and cell phones waterproofed with the same stuff.
You may be able to do that soon with the development of something called Ion Mask, a cold plasma surface enhancement technology developed by the U.K.'s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory and the University of Durham now being marketed by spin-off Porton Plasma Innovations (P2i.)
When applied, the technology invisibly modifies the surface of products making them super oil and water repellant. How repellant? It's three times more effective than Teflon, according to P2i.
The treatment works by decreasing the surface energy of virtually any object … Read more
Once a surfer-slacker, now a genetics pioneer, with a stop at suicidal Viet Nam vet along the way, some would say that J. Craig Ventner's done more to promote knowledge about the human genome than anyone else out there.
We mentioned his work here before, and are interested to see where he goes with his controversial efforts to patent genetic sequences and research practices.
For a conversation with Ventner on his (again controversial) "triumph over nature" and Darwinian sailing adventures, click here for the full interview on MSNBC: "Decoding the DNA decoder"
Geoengineering as a science is raising eyebrows these days. In the face of continued global warming, scientists are looking into ways to adjust Earth's climate. Extreme measures like sequestering carbon dioxide in underground chambers and seeding clouds with seawater to filter out more sunlight might sound like the makings of sci-fi and Saturday morning cartoons, but they're getting new attention in the labs and legislatures.
To slow down climate change, many of these folks advocate cutting emissions in the first place, so that geoengineering's more extreme measures are unnecessary. But in the event that they are, some … Read more
J. Craig Venter, the rock-star bad boy of genetics research, is patenting new life forms. Rather, he's patenting certain manufactured genetic sequences, which is a fuzzy legal area to begin with. But he and his team are also defining their patents on genetic-engineering processes so broadly that he's being compared to Bill Gates.
It seems they're attempting to claim intellectual property rights for an entire industry's worth of methodology. This would be akin to Yours Truly trying to patent the use of the English language. So the genetics research world is fighting back, claiming Ventner and … Read more
Peter Terren's got a Tesla coil, and he's not afraid to use it... a lot. A physician by trade, the Australian's driving forward the emerging expressive medium of large-scale interactive electric-spark art.
Yep, he makes huge synthetic lightning sculpture, some of which you can stand in without dying. Watch as he hops into a pool full of electricity. Marvel at his recreation of the video game Command and Conquer. We're not sure we'd risk a crispy high-voltage death for the sake of art, but are delighted that he's convinced it's safe.
Learn more … Read more
According to an AFP report, scientists are trying to find a way to install kangaroo parts in Australian and New Zealand cattle and sheep. Methane from livestock's gaseous emissions accounts for 14 percent of greenhouse gases in Australia and up to 50 percent in New Zealand. Since kangaroos' flatulence contains no methane, the scientists reckon that genetically engineering herds with special bacteria and extra stomachs found in 'roos could help decelerate global warming.
Read the full story on Yahoo news: "Eco-friendly kangaroo farts could help global warming"
You know that extra refrigerator you keep in the garage, the one that's full of soft drinks, extra holiday turkeys, five cartons of your favorite ice cream, and, yes, surplus cases of beer for poker night? Every third Canadian household has one, and it's costing the already-chilled nation in extra power.
The "beer fridge" is usually an older machine that's been replaced in the kitchen by a newer model, and their owners don't really consider that the dinosaur iceboxes emit a lot of greenhouse gases and eat tons of electricity.
Popular Mechanics makes a … Read more
Young women won the top two prizes in Siemen's national math and science competition for the first time in its 9-year history. Besides winning substantial scholarships and the glory of primacy, at least one winner has had her research published in a professional journal and was deemed to be working "at a graduate student level." Young women accounted for 48 percent of entrants in the contest.
So much for speculation that girls just aren't into science.
Read the full story at Business Week.