Writing

Solar Cells — Now In A Rainbow Of Colors

Science – Researchers have made solar cells in several colors that still perform efficiently.

New Fabric Turns Your Body Into A Furnace

Science – Researchers have created a new cloth that warms up with just a bit of electricity and traps body heat more efficiently than standard cotton fabric.

Hey, Want To Hang Out? Pheromone Cocktail Traps Bedbugs

Science – Scientists are reporting a combination of six chemicals that lure and trap bedbugs by mimicking a pheromone.

New Screen Design Could Extend Smart Phone Battery Life

Science – A newly designed polarizer with much higher energy efficiency could help to extend devices’ battery lives.

A Plastic That Recycles Itself

Science – Researchers report that they have designed new plastics that break down upon exposure to light.

Embodying Emotion, Performing Gender

Boston University News Service – “Take your pen, do this.” Nicole Noll said as she reached into her backpack for a pen, and placed it horizontally between her teeth. “Don’t let your lips touch it.”

I did as she demonstrated. Noll and I were in the Harvard Science Center, sitting in the first-floor hallway. As we held our pens in our teeth, two men passed by and gave us puzzled looks.

Time To Face The Thorium

Boston University News Service – Love your smartphone that delivers clear sound and bright colors but still fits in your pocket? Give thanks to neodymium, a rare earth element that makes the magnets in your phone so powerful that it can be as small as it is. Wind turbines and electric cars need the unique magnetic properties of dysprosium, another rare earth element. Virtually every form of clean energy technology today needs rare earth elements to function. But the rare earth elements come with an unavoidable by-product: thorium.

A Farmer’s Best Defense Against Drought

Boston University News Service – In the summer of 2012, during the worst drought in twenty years, Danforth, Illinois, went for six weeks without rain but the corn in Hoekstra Farm grew tall and green. The corn in the neighboring fields was almost a foot shorter. While farmers across the Corn Belt watched their crops shrivel and die, Harold Wilken of Hoekstra Farm made enough money from his crops that summer to pay a bonus rent to his landowner.

Scientists Report First Step Away From Fertilizers

Boston University News Service – Before synthetic nitrogen fertilizers existed, plants and bacteria worked together to return nutrients to the soil. A type of bacteria living in plant roots, called nitrogen-fixing bacteria or Rhizobia, enriches the soil with nitrogen from the atmosphere, making it available to the host plants. But not all plants can host Rhizobia, because the plants’ immune systems repel the bacteria. Scientists have long believed that only legumes, or plants like soybean, pea, and alfalfa, could chemically communicate, and therefore accept, the nitrogen-fixing bacteria.

    “The planet is, was, and always will be stronger than us. We can't destroy it; if we overstep the mark, the planet will simply erase us from its surface and carry on existing. Why don't they start talking about not letting the planet destroy us?” - Paulo Coelho, The Winner Stands Alone