The vast dump of plastic waste swirling in the Pacific ocean is now bigger than France, Germany and Spain combined -- far larger than previously feared -- and is growing rapidly, a study published Thursday warned. Researchers based in the Netherlands used a fleet of boats and aircraft to scan the immense accumulation of bottles, containers, fishing nets and microparticles known as the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch" (GPGP) and found an astonishing build-up of plastic waste. "We found about 80,000 tonnes of buoyant plastic currently in the GPGP," Laurent Lebreton, lead author of the study published in the journal Scientific Reports, told AFP.
Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and discrete element modeling (DEM) approach for predictions of dry powder inhaler (DPI) drug delivery
Coral reefs are in big trouble. A combination of climate change and humanity's inability to clean up after itself has devastated a huge amount of reef coverage, which also happens to be the habitat of many fish and other aquatic animals. If we lose the reefs we destabilize the entire ocean ecosystem, and the effects won't just be felt by sea creatures. In these dire times it's important for scientists to be able to monitor the condition of reefs and the animal populations that rely on them, but doing so can be incredibly challenging with current technology. Thankfully, MIT came up with an answer.
Researchers at the institute have developed a soft-bodied robotic fish that can give scientists an up-close-and-personal glimpse at marine life without many of the risks that are typically associated with ocean observation. The mechanical mariner, called "SoFi," is so similar to a real fish that sea life doesn't even seem to notice it, and that's a big win for science.
SoFi looks pretty simple from the exterior, with a fish-like body, several fins, and a flexible tail. A fisheye camera is positioned up front and relays video back to its handlers, and the robot can operate for up to 40 minutes at a time before needing to return for a recharge. Inside, however, some seriously high-tech mechanical bits work tirelessly to replicate the movement of real sea life.
As MIT News describes, the robot uses a pair of inflatable chambers in its tail that are inflated at offsetting intervals to mimic the tail-swiping movement of a real fish. This flexible system can be tweaked on the fly to change the speed of the robot and aid in maneuvering.
“To our knowledge, this is the first robotic fish that can swim untethered in three dimensions for extended periods of time,” MIT CSAIL PhD candidate Robert Katzschmann, lead author of a new paper published in Science Robotics, explains. “We are excited about the possibility of being able to use a system like this to get closer to marine life than humans can get on their own.”
In their testing, the researchers say that other aquatic life doesn't seem bothered by the robot, which is a sharp contrast to many bulky underwater camera system that scientists use for observation. Decreasing the stress on the animals while being able to study them is of utmost importance, and MIT seems to have nailed that in a big way.
Cheap, available technologies could make monitoring bridges easier and prevent tragedies like the one in Florida
Despite 3-D printers only now beginning to see real world use, scientists believe a new "4-D printer" holds the key to future structures. Yesterday (March 21), a team of researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology revealed their work on 4-D printing at the 255th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society. The team was led by H. Jerry Qi, according to Science Daily.
Harmful carbon emissions from energy rose in 2017 for the first time in three years, the International Energy Agency said Thursday, proof that the world's efforts to fight climate change are falling short. Strong economic growth pushed global energy demand up by 2.1 percent last year, the Paris-based IEA said in a report. Some 70 percent of those additional needs were met by fossil fuels oil, gas and coal, pushing global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions up by 1.4 percent, after three years of remaining flat.
Indonesian villager Mama Hasria swims upstream with about 200 empty jerry cans tied to her back, a daily trip she and other local women make to get clean water for their community on Sulawesi island. As a scorching sun beats down, Hasria makes the four kilometre (2.5 mile), hour-long trip along the murky Mandar river to clean water wells built along the riverbank. There, the 46-year-old fills up her cans with clean water made drinkable by the surrounding soil which acts as a natural filter and purifier.
Across Japan's capital, delicate pink and white cherry blossoms are emerging, but the famed blooms are facing a potentially mortal enemy, experts say: an invasive foreign beetle. The alien invader is aromia bungii, otherwise known as the red-necked longhorn beetle, which is native to China, Taiwan, the Korean peninsula and northern Vietnam. "If we don't take countermeasures, cherry trees could be damaged and we won't be able to enjoy hanami (cherry blossom viewing) in a few years times," Estuko Shoda-Kagaya, a researcher at the Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute, told AFP Thursday.
NIH Funding Opportunities
- Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and discrete element modeling (DEM) approach for predictions of dry powder inhaler (DPI) drug delivery
- Fogarty HIV Research Training Program for Low-and Middle-Income Country Institutions (D43 Clinical Trial Optional)
- International Bioethics Research Training Program (D43 Clinical Trial Optional)
- Three-Dimensional Approach for Modeling Nasal Mucociliary Clearance via Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)
- Formulation drug product quality attributes in dermal physiologically-based pharmacokinetic models for topical dermatological drug products and transdermal delivery systems