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Plastic eating worms could help reduce landfill

The humble worm could save us all again. Not content with being instrumental for agriculture, some scientists have worked out they can eat Styrofoam and other forms of plastic.

But what took the scientists most by surprise was the worms’ follow-up health report: The Styrofoam-fed mealworms appear to be just as healthy as those fed a normal diet. In fact, their excreted waste seems to be safe enough to be used as soil for crops, although more research is needed to confirm this.

The real breakthrough in this study is the discovery bug guts can break down what was believed to be a non-biodegradable product – especially one as ubiquitous and problematic for our environment as polystyrenes.

The awesomeness of worms was apparent to Aristotle and Charles Darwin, who wrote a book about them. In 2007 alone, Australia generated 23.1 million tonnes of landfill, while further testing is required, turning them loose might make a significant impact in waste management.

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Crowdsourcing state government budgets

The state government of Alabama is having trouble financially so a Senator has set up a GoFundMe campaign to address the budget shortfall.

The State of Alabama is experiencing tight financial times and needs your help. Legislators are debating possible financial solutions but are finding that Raising Taxes are not wanted by the citizens of Alabama. Rather than have the Government come after your hard earned money you can now send an amount that fits your budget, even request where your money be used.

You can determine what functions of Government are a priority to you.

An interesting idea or cheap trick? Leaving the idea of mandatory taxation aside (I’m looking at you Libertarians) what if citizens could direct their tax money toward the govt department of their choice?

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FDA Approves First 3-D Printed Drug

The US Food and Drug Administration has approved a drug that is produced by a 3-D printer, the pill produced by Aprecia Pharmaceuticals, treats seizures.

NPR reports:

“The drug is called Spritam and is designed to treat seizures in people suffering from epilepsy. It’s a new version of a seizure medication that’s been on the market for years.

“The new tablets are manufactured using 3-D printing, which creates objects by very precisely spewing out one layer of a substance on top of another. 3-D printing is being used to make all sorts of things these days.

“The FDA had previously approved medical devices made with 3-D printing. The company that makes Spritam says the 3-D-printed version of the drug allows it to dissolve more quickly, which makes it easier to swallow.”

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How to Damage a Chemical Plant over the Internet

A security researcher has worked out how to remotely wreck industrial facilities using attacks with great names like ‘unexpected physics’ and ‘bi-phase slug’.

Working on behalf of industrial clients, Larsen has spent the last few years hacking into plants to show what an attackers might be able to do. He’s worked in the lab to cause what he calls “unexpected physics” inside pumps, pipes, boilers, and other equipment. So far he’s got a list of just over a dozen attacks, with names like “water hammer” and “bi-phase slug with piston effect,” that could cause significant damage and even kill people if a hacker set them in motion.

A water hammer, for example, involves setting up a flow of liquid and then suddenly closing a valve. When all the moving liquid is suddenly forced to stop, the inertia can cause pipes to blow out (it’s also why turning off a faucet can sometimes trigger thuds from a house’s plumbing). Larsen’s other attacks include tricks like causing chemical reactions to take place in pipes rather than in the reaction vessels designed to hold them. He can also use temperature and pressure changes to fire plugs of liquid at high velocity or crumple vessels like the one he planned to squish in Vegas.

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Low rent 3d holograms even you can do

All you need are CD cases, a digital device and some basic construction skills.

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Is social media the future of hollywood…and music?

The first article is a piece about Viners, and follows a successful creator of Vine videos (6 second online clips), the second article is about a teenage duo who’s EP made it to the top album on itunes.

Both these articles show the influence on social media on the traditional production routes of these industries and the distortion it can bring. For better or worse..

Major labels have long had a death grip on who gets to be successful, and on which artists get that marketing push that allows them to find a mass audience. But the internet has scrambled that calculus. Artists now can reach an audience without any middlemen. Through DistroKid, musicians can take a chance on a song for very low risk, which means there’s lots more music that has a chance to go viral, or just to find an audience. “You can put out things you’re unsure about, and oftentimes there’s a viral hit,” Kaplan says. “We enable hits that might have never been released.” Royalty checks come to him, which he passes on to the artist; he says he pays out more than $200,000 in royalties every month. The music industry isn’t dying, Kaplan says; it’s been democratized, so that less famous musicians, who never would have made any money from their work in the past, now can make a small profit—or occasionally a large profit.

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Astronauts finally able to eat their greens

Astronauts will be eating fresh vegetables grown in space for the first time. NASA says:

The astronauts will clean the leafy greens with citric acid-based, food safe sanitizing wipes before consuming them. They will eat half of the space bounty, setting aside the other half to be packaged and frozen on the station until it can be returned to Earth for scientific analysis.

NASA’s plant experiment, called Veg-01, is being used to study the in-orbit function and performance of the plant growth facility and its rooting “pillows,” which contain the seeds.

NASA is maturing Veggie technology aboard the space station to provide future pioneers with a sustainable food supplement – a critical part of NASA’s Journey to Mars. As NASA moves toward long-duration exploration missions farther into the solar system, Veggie will be a resource for crew food growth and consumption. It also could be used by astronauts for recreational gardening activities during deep space missions.

// For those who are interested in a great book about a Mars expedition try The Martian, works great as an audiobook too.

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What we are interested in is the ‘thoughtful home’

Do you want Google “in charge” of your home? Do you trust Google with data about your living habits? The information that would become available as part of a network of connected devices has revolutionary possibilities, as long as there is analytical power capable of extracting value from all that bigdata.

Continual real-time calculation of energy demand and supply would a useful data vector to allow better future planning in homes, industries, cities or countries. As with any type of bigdata collection from consumers, privacy should be a concern.

All of this is part of the ongoing march of the Internet of Things into our lives. The IOT is based around the premise that more and more devices will become connected and interactive with each other – hence an internet made up of “things”, rather than just people and computers. By interacting in this way, they can get on with the advanced analytical tasks they are suited for at super-fast speeds, with minimal need for manual human involvement.

All of this ties in with what is undoubtedly Google’s plan to get better at providing the services we need, when we need them. It is clear that it expects its services to be the powerhouse behind the smart homes of the future, and that it sees Nest’s products as some of the first building blocks behind the “operating system” that we will use to interact with those homes.

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Legal marijuana could be 35 billion dollar industry

A report out from Greenwave Advisors, a “comprehensive research and financial analysis for the emerging legalized marijuana industry,” projects that legal cannabis could be an industry with revenues of $35 billion by 2020 if marijuana is legalized at the federal level. They note that this is a floor representing revenues in the first year of countrywide legalization.

To put that figure in perspective, $35 billion represents more annual revenue than the NFL (currently $10 billion), and is roughly on par with current revenues for the newspaper publishing industry ($38 billion) and the confectionary industry ($34 billion).

As The Dude says: Well that’s just like… your opinion….man.

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Australian scientists develop 3D printed organic solar cells capable of powering a skyscraper

This is a staple of many sci-fi space stories: small, light, flexible solar material that can be placed or printed directly onto any surface. When combined with recent advances in storage tech things are looking …bright.

Additionally, unlike traditional electricity-producing solar panels, the printed cells offer the potential to allow printing onto actual housing materials including glass and roofing – a factor that could dramatically open up design opportunities.  In addition to the opportunities for printing the cells on to larger structures, the scientists also looked at ways of applying the technology onto smaller objects such as iPads.

Read the rest

 

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