Science and Stories.



via ScienceAlert

Titanium dioxide breaks down smog particles in the air, and students in the US have shown that in one year, one roof coated in it can break down the smog from a car that’s driven 17,000 km(10,500 miles). And every day, 21 tonnes of smog could be eliminated by one million treated roofs.

Kawai Tam, Chun-Yu “Jimmy” Liang, Jessica Moncayo, Edwin Rodriguez, Carlos Espinoza, Kelly McCoy, David Cocker and Louis Lancaster. From UC Riverside. Not just “Engineering students”.


The single-celled organisms found 800 metres below the surface of the ice live without sunlight in sub-zero temperatures:


One penguin falls down, watch how the rest react.

Laser Devices to Replace Pin Pricks For Diabetics?

Princeton University has developed a laser device to be used to measure blood sugar levels. 

Currently, engineers are working to shrink the machine down to a more portable size; hopefully allowing it to become an easily attainable device for people suffering diabetes. For many, this option is much preferred to actually drawing blood. 

How this device works is that this specialized laser is directed onto a person’s palm, passes through skin cells, and apparently, partially absorbed into sugar molecules; allowing researchers to calculate blood sugar levels. 

But this may not be the end-! Claire Gmachl, the Eugene Higgins Professor of Electrical Engineering and the project’s senior researcher, states that this technology may go much further than just blood sugar.

"Because the quantum cascade laser can be designed to emit light across a very wide wavelength range, its usability is not just for glucose detection, but could conceivably be used for other medical sensing and monitoring applications," 


Living Sea Plankton Found Outside ISS

Yes, you read correctly. Outside the ISS. In space. On a window, specifically. 

Russian cosmonauts had been taking samples from said windows, apparently looking for “residues that can build up on the visually sensitive elements”. A clean-up job, basically. Except when they brought in the samples, they found life. 


Many scientists say that the plankton are a contaminant that hitched a ride with the ISS into the final frontier. 

Other extremophilic microorganisms have been proved to be able to survive in the vacuum of space; tardigrades (also called water bears or moss piglets), were released into space as part of a controlled experiment for about 10 days. Now, when they’re exposed to this environment, tardigrades have the ability to completely dehydrate and go into hibernation until their environment becomes more favorable. When these tardigrades were retrieved, they just perked right up and returned to normal. They even had healthy, happy lil tardigrade babies up there in space! 

Although NASA has not confirmed the reports of the sea plankton, the Russians are insisting that they have indeed found life on their windows. This is the first time that life has been (almost) sustained in space non-intentionally. 

here is a great article on this event

and here is a video on tardigrades because they’re pretty great


Elephant Among the Stars

"Nebula "Elephant Trunk" is a concentration of interstellar gas and dust near the star cluster cataloged as IC1396, which ionize the H II gas located in the constellation Cepheus, 2,400 light years away from our planet." - César Cantú

Bacterial Infections Are Fighting Cancer

Seems a bit like a double negative, fighting one sickness with another. But researchers at Johns Hopkins have been testing just that for over a decade, recently with promising results. Specifically, anti-tumor results. 

These tests are largely used with a soil bacterium called Clostridium novyi.


These little cuties are anaerobic, which means they are happiest in oxygen-deprived environments. This is perfect, because the cancerous tumor cells are usually just that. However, this bacterium has a bit of an extra bite, so the researchers had to modify it by removing its toxin-producing gene. 

These tests have been run through multiple rodent trials, then multiple canine trials, and they all wielded very hopeful results. These methods are now even moving into stage 1 clinical trials!~ The first one I’ll let you read more about here