Science:

Scientists produced a human heart using a 3D printer and a patient’s own cells

While the number of people in need of a heart transplant is high, the number of available hearts for transplants are low. That’s a problem, one that researchers at Tel Aviv University believe they can fix via 3D printing. Recently, the researchers managed to successfully print an entire heart, complete with cells, blood vessels, ventricles, and chambers—a marked improvement over previous attempts that only printed simple tissues without vessels. The process of creating the heart started with a biopsy of fatty tissue taken from patients. The cellular material from the tissues was used as the "ink" for the print job.…

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  • Engadget
  • Date:04/17/2019

Scientists are feeding excess clean energy to microbes to produce bioplastics

We all know that petroleum-based plastics are destroying our planet, but what we don’t always realize is that not all plastics that are called biodegradable are benefiting the planet. For instance, it can cost a whole lot of money and energy to produce plastics that are called “biodegradable”. In search of a way to produce truly green, biodegradable bioplastics, scientists are turning to the excess renewable electricity that can’t always be stored. Basically, the scientists are taking that excess electricity and feeding it to microbes that consume the energy and turn it into a polymer that can be used to…

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  • Futurity
  • Date:04/16/2019

Scientists are looking to the “immortal” jellyfish for cure to brain disease

Off the coast of Japan, Panama, Italy, Spain, and Florida, it is possible to find a special species of jellyfish the size of your pinky nail… if you look closely. The species is known as Turritopsis dohrnii, and scientists who have studied it closely believe it can live forever. How? In a process called transdifferentiation, these jellyfish can transform dying adult cells into new healthy cells, effectively regenerating their entire body and then continuing their lifecycle. Only a handful of scientists study how the jellyfish does this since the species is difficult to capture and keep in a lab. Those…

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  • Quartz
  • Date:04/15/2019

Scientists have captured the first-ever image of a black hole in space

Oh my, oh my, how far science has come. This week, scientists managed to capture the first-ever images of a black hole that is 55 million light-years from Earth. To get a sense of how difficult it is to take a detailed photo of a black hole, imagine trying to figure out a way to get a close-up shot of a bagel on the surface of the moon. The black hole, which was captured by a network of eight linked telescopes, measures 40 billion kilometers across, meaning it’s three million times the size of the Earth. The epic achievement of…

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  • BBC
  • Date:04/12/2019

Anti-freeze salts cause roads to crack. Mixing concrete with bacteria might help

Spreading salt onto sidewalks or roads when the temperature goes below zero is an effective way to stop roads from getting too icy, but the problem is salty “de-icers” cause roadways to crack. Adding bacteria, however, may keep that from happening. In search of concrete that doesn’t crack, scientists at Philadelphia’s Drexel University started mixing a certain strain of bacteria into a commonly-used cement for roads, along with the nutrients required by the bacteria. The result was a series of concrete samples, which were exposed to a road salt solution for a period of 28 days. Apparently, the bacteria-infused concrete…

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  • New Atlas
  • Date:04/11/2019

Scientists are gene-hacking bacteria to produce bullet-proof spider silk

Pound for pound, spider silk is much stronger than steel, and can be used in a variety of applications from bullet-proof clothing and biodegradable bottles to surgical thread and artificial tendons. The only problem is when you put enough spiders together to farm silk, they tend to eat each other. In other words, farming spider silk is incredibly inefficient. That, however, could soon change after scientists figured out how to genetically alter bacteria to churn out super-strong spider silk. The process works by chopping up spider silk genes into smaller pieces that are re-assembled once they have been integrated into…

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  • Futurism
  • Date:04/05/2019

Scientists developed a solvent that extracts precious metals from old batteries

Considering the tendency of people to buy a new phone every couple of years, it’s no wonder there are so many leftover batteries from old cellphones. These batteries are toxic when they end up in landfills, and typically require harsh processes to recycle. Scientists at Rice University have been searching for new ways to deal with the glut of used lithium-ion batteries from old electronics for the past few years, and now it seems they’ve finally found a good solution. Basically, the researchers have come up with a solvent that can extract more than 90 percent of cobalt from powdered…

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  • Futurity
  • Date:04/05/2019

These scientists are using seaweed extract to make human-like tissue

Throughout history, cultures around the globe have enjoyed the nutritional and medical merits of seaweed. In more modern times, these macroalgal plants’ diverse ecological properties have captured scientists’ attention. What makes seaweed so special is that it has special fibers made of complex glycan sugars that can be used to create anything from biodegradable plastic to sustainable cotton replacements. And being one of nature’s most abundant sources of these complex sugars, there is more than enough reason to explore the boundaries of what seaweed can be used to make. In Australia, two scientists have discovered that the compounds of purified seaweed extract is…

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  • Forbes
  • Date:04/02/2019

Texas-based startup embarks on a mission to decarbonize the chemical industry

Chemical manufacturing is responsible for 10% of global energy consumption and 30% of industrial energy demand. This results in 20% of all industrial greenhouse gas emissions, making it one of the world’s most polluting economic sectors. To counter that, a Texas-based Startup called Solugen developed a method that could decarbonize a massive chunk of the petrochemical industry. Using gene editing technology, the company managed to develop a process that can make thousands of tons of chemicals without relying on petroleum. The chemical industry helped to subsidize its development and will likely support Solugen as it embarks on a mission to…

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  • TechCrunch
  • Date:03/29/2019

Researchers develop nifty device that can use waste CO2 to purify wastewater

Access to clean water is something that many of us take for granted, but it's a serious problem across much of the world. Now researchers at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Canberra have tested a new method for sterilizing water using hot bubbles of carbon dioxide, which they've found to be both effective and efficient. In the new method, CO2 gas is first heated to a set temperature, then piped into a tank of wastewater. As these hot bubbles rise up through the water, they transfer heat to the water around them, and the hot surface layer of…

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  • New Atlas
  • Date:03/26/2019
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