Researchers use membranes that remove salt from water to help ‘split’ sea water into fuel — ScienceDaily

The power of the sun, wind and sea may soon combine to produce clean-burning hydrogen fuel, according to a team of Penn State researchers. The team integrated water purification technology into a new proof-of-concept design for a sea water electrolyzer, which uses an electric current to split apart the hydrogen and oxygen in water molecules.

This new method for “sea water splitting” could make it easier to turn wind and solar energy into a storable and portable fuel, according to Bruce Logan, Kappe Professor of Environmental Engineering and Evan Pugh University Professor.

“Hydrogen is a great fuel, but you have to make it,” Logan said. “The only sustainable way to do that is to use renewable energy and produce it from water. You also need to use water that people do not want to use for other things, and that would be sea water. So, the holy grail of producing

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Researchers’ device tracks biomarkers in sweat, may indicate flare-ups — ScienceDaily

University of Texas at Dallas researchers have designed a wearable device that monitors sweat for biomarkers that could signal flare-ups of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

A team of bioengineers demonstrated the wristwatch-like device in a proof-of-concept study funded by the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation and published online July 28 and in the October print edition of the foundation’s journal, Inflammatory Bowel Diseases.

A sensor in the device detects and quantifies the presence of two key biomarkers associated with inflammatory bowel disease: interleukin-1β and C-reactive protein (CRP). The study is the first to establish that CRP is present in human sweat and the first to show that the two biomarkers can be detected in sweat.

Dr. Shalini Prasad, department head and professor of bioengineering in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science and the study’s principal investigator, said the technology could provide a warning but not a diagnosis

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MIT researchers and collaborators work to prepare manufacturers for future crises | MIT News

At the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis, the state of Massachusetts assembled a manufacturing emergency response team as part of its efforts to respond to the desperate need for personal protective equipment (PPE), particularly masks and gowns. The Massachusetts Emergency Response Team (M-ERT) — aided by MIT faculty, students, staff, and alumni — helped local manufacturers produce more than 9 million pieces of PPE as well as large volumes of hand sanitizer, disinfectants, and test swabs.

Building on the experiences and knowledge gained through the work of M-ERT, a new project, which was recently awarded funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF), is developing a network collaboration model designed to help ecosystems organize and enable manufacturers to rapidly “pivot,” in an emergency, from producing their standard products to producing PPE or other urgently needed goods. Elisabeth Reynolds, executive director of the MIT Task Force on the Work of the Future

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In a field where smaller is better, researchers discover the world’s tiniest antibodies — ScienceDaily

Researchers at the University of Bath in the UK and biopharma company UCB have found a way to produce miniaturised antibodies, opening the way for a potential new class of treatments for diseases.

Until now, the smallest humanmade antibodies (known as monoclonal antibodies, or mAbs) were derived from llamas, alpacas and sharks, but the breakthrough molecules isolated from the immune cells of cows are up to five times smaller. This is thanks to an unusual feature of a bovine antibody known as a knob domain.

The potential medical implications of the new antibodies’ diminutive size are huge. For instance, they may bind to sites on pathogens that regular antibody molecules are too large to latch on to, triggering the destruction of invasive microbes. They may also be able to gain access to sites of the body which larger antibodies can’t.

Antibodies consist of chains of amino acids (the building blocks

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Researchers will develop green technology to recycle refrigerants that drive climate change

LAWRENCE — Refrigerants inside the air conditioner that cools your house or apartment are extremely powerful greenhouse gases. Used widely in domestic and commercial cooling systems, commonplace refrigerants called hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) such as R-410A have a global-warming potential roughly 2,000 times greater than the carbon dioxide emitted from vehicle tailpipes.

Recent legislation restricts using some HFC refrigerants in particular applications and mandates their eventual phaseout, but with millions of tons of HFCs used today around the world, how can they be disposed of without harming the environment? Venting or incinerating them would be wasteful and could accelerate climate change.

Now, Project EARTH (Environmentally Applied Research Toward Hydrofluorocarbons), a new research project based at the University of Kansas School of Engineering, will develop technology to separate and recycle HFC refrigerant mixtures. Supported by a four-year, $2 million grant from the National Science Foundation, the Project EARTH collaboration comprises four universities —

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There’s a giant ‘Green Banana’ off Florida’s coast, and researchers have finally gotten to the bottom of it

ocean
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

If you haven’t heard of the “Green Banana blue hole” you might imagine a tropical cocktail you can order in Key West, or a dessert you ordered after a night on Bourbon Street.


Forget that. This Green Banana is actually a mysterious sink hole. More specifically, it’s a huge, underwater cavern off the coast of Florida that humans had never fully explored—until last month.

Scientists say the Green Banana could hold clues to the formation of toxic red tides, algae blooms that are devastating to Florida’s shoreline, and the extent of the aquifer that supplies the state with most of its drinking water.

Maybe even the origins of life.

Blue holes—sink holes that form under water—are not unusual in the Gulf of Mexico. In the mid-1970s, a boat captain sailing about 60 miles west of Sarasota spotted one about 160 feet under water, and an unripe

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Researchers engineer RNA-targeting compounds that disable the pandemic coronavirus’ replication engine — ScienceDaily

Scripps Research chemist Matthew Disney, PhD, and colleagues have created drug-like compounds that, in human cell studies, bind and destroy the pandemic coronavirus’ so-called “frameshifting element” to stop the virus from replicating. The frameshifter is a clutch-like device the virus needs to generate new copies of itself after infecting cells.

“Our concept was to develop lead medicines capable of breaking COVID-19’s clutch,” Disney says. “It doesn’t allow the shifting of gears.”

Viruses spread by entering cells and then using the cells’ protein-building machinery to churn out new infectious copies. Their genetic material must be compact and efficient to make it into the cells.

The pandemic coronavirus stays small by having one string of genetic material encode multiple proteins needed to assemble new virus. A clutch-like frameshifting element forces the cells’ protein-building engines, called ribosomes, to pause, slip to a different gear, or reading frame, and then restart protein assembly anew,

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UW researchers driving around Seattle using Street View-style camera to study response to pandemic

In images of of the streets of Seattle, University of Washington researchers are using algorithms to help identify things such as cars, people and whether they are physically distancing in each frame of (University of Washington Photo)

The COVID-19 pandemic has altered life as we know it in Seattle, and a team from the University of Washington is conducting research using images from around the city to better understand just how much.

Since May, researchers have been driving around Seattle, scanning the streets with a car-mounted camera similar to Google’s Street View technology. Images capture a particular point in time and illustrate whether people are outside, how many cars are on the road, which business are open and so forth. According to UW News, researchers hope the massive data set will help answer questions about what makes a city resilient and how to better prepare for potential future pandemics and

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Researchers gain new insights on river dynamics

Researchers gain new insights on river dynamics
A flood in the Mania River delta, in central Madagascar, carries very fine red sediment into the Mozambique Channel. Credit: Sentinel 2 Imagery Courtesy Of Esa/Copernicus

A river’s only consistent attribute is change. As the Greek philosopher Heraclitus remarked, “No man ever steps in the same river twice.” Although this dynamic nature is often out of sight and mind, forgetting about it has led to many a historical catastrophe.


Recently, UC Santa Barbara geomorphologist Vamsi Ganti and his collaborators published a study finding that sea level rise will cause rivers to jump course, or avulse, more often on deltas than in the past. Now his team has discovered that a perfect storm of factors—including larger floods and finer sediment size—will enable these destructive events to occur farther and farther inland. Their results, which appear in Geophysical Research Letters, warn of major disasters poised to hit many urban centers that

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Researchers say a Project Veritas video accusing Ilhan Omar of voter fraud was a ‘coordinated disinformation campaign.’

A deceptive video released on Sunday by the conservative activist James O’Keefe, which claimed through unidentified sources and with no verifiable evidence that Representative Ilhan Omar’s campaign had collected ballots illegally, was probably part of a coordinated disinformation effort, according to researchers at Stanford University.

Mr. O’Keefe and his group, Project Veritas, appear to have made an abrupt decision to release the video sooner than planned after The New York Times published a sweeping investigation of President Trump’s taxes, the researchers said. They also noted that the timing and metadata of a Twitter post in which one of Mr. Trump’s sons shared the video suggested that he might have known about it in advance.

Project Veritas had hyped the video on social media for several days before publishing it. In posts amplified by other prominent conservative accounts, Mr. O’Keefe teased what he said was evidence of voter fraud, and urged

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