March 17, 2018

Week In STEM – 27th June

From Liquid Waste To Organic Charcoal


A company which processes human liquid waste into compost for farming is also manufacturing organic charcoal as a by-product. They experimented with organic fuel production by heating some of the waste at 400 degrees Celsius to kill all bacteria and pathogens and it worked. “The final product is an organic charcoal that looks, burns, and cooks just like regular charcoal,”

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Ever Dream Of A Hoverboard?

Another major player has joined the race to build a working hover board. The video from Lexus is short, and doesn’t show the user actually riding it, but we do see the hoverboard, called SLIDE, hovering above the ground just before a skateboarder ditches his traditional board and hops on.

Mediation And The Effect On Brain Activity

Mediattion has been  shown to reduce stress, boost our memory, heighten mood and increase self-awareness. It’s becoming increasingly evident that these beneficial effects are not short-lived. Studies have shown that just eight weeks of meditation can result in significant changes in brain regions associated with attention and emotional integration. But interestingly, it seems that the practice affects the brains of men and women differently.

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Condoms That Detect Sexually Transmitted Infections

High school students in the UK have created a condom that changes colour and glows when it comes into contact with the pathogens that cause sexually transmitted infections (STIs), such as chlamdyida or herpes.

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Indoor Air Pollution May Kill Millions

Household air pollution may have caused around 4.3 million premature deaths from respiratory diseases in 2012, mainly in developing countries, according to a medical paper. Analysis of medical studies about the respiratory effects on people exposed to household air pollution concluded that Such pollution dramatically increases the risk of both children and adults contracting chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

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You Must Break Your DNA To Make Memories

Given the fundamental importance of our DNA, it is logical to assume that damage to it is undesirable and spells bad news; after all, we know that cancer can be caused by mutations that arise from such injury. But a surprising new study is turning that idea on its head, with the discovery that brain cells actually break their own DNA to enable us to learn and form memories.

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University Of Ghana In Landmark Deal

The University of Ghana has entered into a landmark agreement of US$64MM project with Africa Integras.  The project which is structured as a 25-year Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT), is the first of its kind with a public university in Africa. The project covers a number of expansion projects which includes a new dedicated facility for the College of Basic and Applied Sciences and the Institute of Technology and Applied Science, as well as a new facility for the College of Health Sciences to be located near the new teaching hospital on campus.

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Roads Built With Self Healing Concrete?

Researchers at three British universities are developing a special concrete that uses bacteria to plug cracks and crevices. As soon as water seeps into a crack, the bacteria quickly burst out their cases and produce limestone, sealing the gap up before it can widen and become a pothole.

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Empathic People Have Different Brains

New research has found that types of empathy can be predicted by looking at physical differences in the brain. This raises the fascinating possibility that some kinds of empathy might be able to be increased by training or that it might be possible for people to lose their empathy over time. A team of scientists, from Monash University, found that people who have what’s termed “affective” empathy, where they have a strong emotional response to what someone might be feeling or thinking, have denser grey matter in a certain region of the brain compared with those who have “cognitive” empathy, or people who have a more logical response to another’s emotional state.

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