Category Archives: Uncategorized

New Battery Produces Energy in Plain Old Seawater

I found an article called New Battery Produces Energy Using the Ions in Plain Old Seawater. Like my article on banana peels removing toxic metals from water, it seems as though I am interested in things that use natural things to do things that we need.

This news article explores the science behind rechargeable battery, which uses a a combination of seawater and freshwater to generate usable electricity. This concept, like our HIV paper that we researched, is not feasible in real life – such as if we install a rechargeable battery into every ocean-discharging river in the world, simply does not make sense. If, however, we allowed our imagination to run wild, we would be able to produce 2 terawatts of electricity, which is 13% of worldwide electricity use. Researchers claim that this sort of technology is “ simple to fabricate and could contribute significantly to renewable energy in the future.”

So how does it work exactly?

There is a gadget that generates current by bridging the difference between the salinity in the seawater and freshwater. In the beginning, the fresh water is funneled into the batter, which has positive and negative electrodes. Once it is charged by an external energy sources, there is an exchange between the freshwater and seawater, which adds ions to increase the electrical potential, or voltage, between the two electrodes. According to Stanford News, it makes it possible to extract more electrical energy than the energy it takes to charge the battery itself.

Scientist, Larry Kostiuk from the University of Alberta claims that the first way to generate sustainable electricity was a 160 years, when scientists created electrical currents by pumping water through glass micro channels. This new discovery seems to me to be a vast improvement.

I believe that we need to do more research into green technology, I feel as though humans have evolved to a point where it’s unacceptable to not include the whole picture (as in keeping it green) when inventing something new. I would, however, enjoy reading articles as such and hearing that they actually implemented it rather than simply discovering it and stating that it doesn’t work in reality.

Stop rushing !!

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joshua bell, a very famous violin player performs in Washington’s subway. only few people stop and pay attention, at the end, what he got was couple of dollars. His violin worth 3.5 million and people pay 100$ for the ticket to go to his concert.

It should ring the bell for many of us. The implication is that either people enjoy music in a certain place and certain time or they are so obssessed with their daily life that don’t enen have time to enjoy the beauty around them.

Humans and Monkeys: Are we even more alike than we think?

They are our closest relatives. We share over 93% of our genetic makeup and likely a common ancestor, yet it’s often thought that humans are the only animals capable of reason and original thought. Sure some monkeys such as chimpanzees and the like can use sign language and operate computers but those are all skills they’ve been taught by human researchers right?  They wouldn’t have been able to teach themselves right?

Whilst it has been known for quite some time that humans are not the only primates capable of using tools, it was only in 2004 that researchers from Cambridge University uncovered definitive evidence that wild monkeys make use of tools to aid in their food gathering efforts.  The techniques observed by the capuchin monkeys were relatively basic however it was the first solid evidence of non-human primates using tools without any instruction.

More recent research reported in the latest Royal Society Biology Letters, has ratcheted up our level of understanding of just how ingenious our fellow primates can be. Scientists from the Universidade Federal de Pernambuco in Brazil have discovered a new technique used by the blond capuchin monkey (Cebus flavius) to fish for termites out of trees that has never been observed in any other species before nor even thought of by humans!

The technique involves the capuchin tapping the side of a termite branch, before breaking off a branch and using a rotating motion to insert the stick into the nest to retrieve the insects. The tapping appears to set the members of the insect colony ‘on-alert’ enhancing the response towards the ensuing breakage. As soon as the break does occur the “soliders” of the termite colony swarm the damaged point and are easily retrieved by the monkey.

After observing this technique the researchers tried it out for themselves and found that it was indeed an extremely effective method of retrieving insects. Two aspects in particular increase its efficiency. As mentioned earlier the monkey taps the outer surface of the nest before burrowing in. This appears to place the hive on ‘alert’ and improves their response time to the eventual penetration by the branchlet. Additionally, while the rotating motion they used to burrow their way into the nest did not appear to increase the speed at which the insects were caught or the overall catch, it did markedly reduce the likelihood of breaking the stick allowing the monkey to re-use it over and over again.

It is not yet known, exactly how the monkeys discovered the technique, but the observation of such a novel method for food gathering is nonetheless an exciting discovery and provides a further demonstration of just how similar we truly are to our primate cousins.

Viegas, Jennifer (2011, Mar 5th). Monkey Invent New Fishing Technique Retrieved from:

BBC NEWS (2004, December 9th) Tool use confirmed in monkeys Retrieved from:

Diamonds are the cure to cancer???

Source:Chemical and Engineering News

Cancer treatment research is ever evolving and according to an article in Voice of America it seems like nanodiamonds maybe the result of all this new research. Nanodiamonds are tiny particles of carbon that are just a couple of nanometers in size and there are hopes that they will make cancer drugs more effective and decrease the use of chemotherapy.

According to Dean Ho at the Northwestern University, nanodiamonds attract water which allows it to bind to anti-cancer drugs. This is a very important property because generally tumors reject the drugs, but when they are attached to nanodiamonds they do not. In fact, they were better able to retain the drug for a longer period of time. Based on the studies conducted on mice, the use of nanodiamonds has shown to be more effective with fewer side effects. They were also able to administer the drugs at an elevated level without causing any harm to the mice while successfully reducing the tumors to their smallest size.

However, nanodiamonds are not just restricted to the use of cancer treatment. It can be used in other areas of medicine. For example, Dean Ho and his team found it very useful when used in conjunction with therapeutic drugs such as insulin which is used in wound-healing applications.

A lot more studies need to be done before this test can be tested on humans, but the fact that these nanodiamonds are made from the “byproducts of industrial explosions such as mining” means this technology will not cost much more than regular cancer treatment, which will come as good news for future society.

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Banana Peel Can Remove Toxic Metals From Water!

Scientists from Brazil have discovered that minced banana peels are very efficient in removing toxic metals from wastewater. This was found to be 20 times more effective than conventional water treatment methods. The same bunch of peels could be used up to 11 times, as they are efficient metal collectors in their natural state.

The research was done in San Paolo Research Foundation, where they found that banana peels could remove copper and lead from water better than conventional methods such as Na-bentonite, AMP- modified silica gel, expanded perlite and modified peanut husk. The research was conducted in part of green chemistry movement, which aims to development more sustainable water treatment equipment like the new age nano-engineered ceramic water filters.

Bananas are affordable and readily available, this makes a very cheap alternative for large purification plants. You would probably need a lot of it in order to run a plant, but when the finance for treatment plans are slow, they could run on much smaller scales. Although, silica is one material that is really efficient in purifying water, before using it, it needs to be treated with costly toxic materials, and thus makes it seem like a loser when compared to banana peels.

I recently attended a seminar about the banana farm industry in Ecuador, and apparently, all of our bananas come from there! It is also guaranteed that anyone in the world has eaten Ecuadorian bananas at least once in their lifetime. The problem we were discussing in the seminar was not how great Ecuadorian banana’s are, but rather how the pesticides in the banana farms have detrimental effects on the health of the farmers. Banana farms have loads of bugs, worms, flies, anything you name it they got it! So, to get rid of them they spray pesticides in the air (to kill flies), on the bananas (to kill bugs eating the bananas) and deep into the ground (to kill the worms). The toxicity of these pesticide’s are extremely high, and they have severely affected the health of the farmers who work in close proximity with the pesticides over long periods of time. The reason these chemicals do not harm us is because bananas are washed thoroughly before they are exported. However, with the sheer volume of pesticides going on top of the banana peels, I wonder how much of it can actually be washed away?

Video on Banana Pesticides

My thoughts on this issue are, if the discovery of banana peels being efficient purifying agents has anything to do with pesticides that are sprayed onto the bananas. The article does not go in-depth about the chemical reactions that occur on the surface of the banana peel with water, which might suggest that there is something else going on. More research should be done to confirm the science behind the claim. My prediction is that banana peels are good purifying agents because of the combination of low-dose-pesticide-contaminated banana peels with wastewater.