August 17, 2018

Week In STEM-3rd Oct

Plastic-Eating Mealworms Could Help Reduce Landfill Waste

Mealworms could be the natural trash-disposers we need to battle the scourge of plastic polluting our planet. The study, published in Environmental Science and Technology, is the first to provide in-depth evidence for how these pudgy little bugs can survive munching on a diet of Styrofoam and other types of polystyrene plastic, which aggregate in landfills and were previously considered non-biodegradable.

”There’s a possibility of really important research coming out of bizarre places,” said Craig Criddle, a Stanford professor who supervises plastics research, in a statement. “Sometimes, science surprises us. This is a shock.”

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Scientists to bypass brain damage by re-encoding memories

Researchers at USC and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center have developed a brain prosthesis that is designed to help individuals suffering from memory loss.

The prosthesis, which includes a small array of electrodes implanted into the brain, has performed well in laboratory testing in animals and is currently being evaluated in human patients.

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Watch Uranium Emit Radiation

You’ve heard of the catastrophic effects of radiation on environments, animals and humans. A seemingly silent and invisible destroyer, radiation can make whole cities inhabitable for hundreds of years.

But have you ever wondered what radiation actually looks like?

Watch Video


Negawatt challenge comes to an end

The Negawatt Challenge kicked off at iSpace in March, with an ideation weekend, where 14 eager teams pitched their ideas to an audience of 70, and 5 distinguished judges. Four teams were selected to continue on in the process, and entered into a 3-month, tailor made bootcamp to help refine and develop their ideas into viable products. On Tuesday, Sept 22nd Team Sun Shade Energy was adjudeged the winner of the Negawatt challenge and will represent Accra in Barcelona at the Smart City Expo.

What was their design?

Mobile phone data helps predict dengue advance

Using mobile phone data to track people’s movements can help predict how dengue fever spreads, epidemiologists have shown in Pakistan.

The disease only appeared in northeast Pakistan in recent years, after being “largely confined” to the southern city of Karachi, the study says. As the transmission of the virus that causes dengue fever is partly driven by human travel, analysing how people move across the country allows researchers to predict when and where epidemics may break out.

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Printable solar cell production: A new solar revolution

Thin flexible solar cells that can be printed may be able to offer the world a further reduction in solar energy costs and have a range of other benefits, such as being much easier to transport than conventional solar panels, particularly with regard to solar energy projects in remote locations. The efficiency of these more flexible materials is improving as well, increasing from around 3 percent efficiency to 20 percent efficiency over just a few years.

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Particular brain connections linked to positive human traits

There is a strong correspondence between a particular set of connections in the brain and positive lifestyle and behavior traits, according to a new study. The researchers point out that their results resemble what psychologists refer to as the ‘general intelligence g-factor’: a variable first proposed in 1904 that’s sometimes used to summarize a person’s abilities at different cognitive tasks. While the new results include many real-life measures not included in the g-factor — such as income and life satisfaction, for instance — those such as memory, pattern recognition and reading ability are strongly mirrored.

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Initiatives launched to drive R&D in Africa

A new scientific alliance and two other initiatives to provide long-term opportunities for developing research leadership andinnovation to help tackle Africa’s development challenges have been launched.

The Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA), unveiled in Kenya last week (10 September), will enable researchers andtechnology innovators tap into a single pool of resources to further their work and build collaborations within the continent and beyond.

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Early Exposure to tobacco can cause behavioral problems in children

A new study has found that exposure to tobacco smoke during early childhood is tied to a greater risk for the development of emotional and behavioral disorders during the school years. The link is strongest for children who were exposed while still in utero and during very early infancy.

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Converting light to DC current

Using nanometer-scale components, researchers have demonstrated the first optical rectenna, a device that combines the functions of an antenna and a rectifier diode to convert light directly into DC current.

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Nasa reveals that there is water on Mars

For the first time, NASA has confirmed the existence of liquid water on the surface of Mars, according to new research announced Monday. The finding stems from data and analysis by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has verified that the dark, seasonal streaks that have appeared on Mars’ surface come from briny water flows.

View the images

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