Topic: Global

TED Talk: Making ears from apples

TED Talk. Andrew Pelling: Making ears from apples

7.11.2019

„My lab is not in the ear-making business. What I’m really curious about is if one day it will be possible to repair, rebuild and augment our own bodies with stuff we make in the kitchen,” says Andrew Pelling who leads a university-based biological research lab. Usually, he likes to rummage through garbage and often digs up discarded hardware he first dismantles and then reassembles into something completely new. Could that also work with a biological system? Creating human ears from apples may be far-fetched, but seems feasible: the lab removed apple cells and DNA and implanted human cells instead. The result was a cellulose scaffold with a structure that could be carved into a human ear!

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Reading time: about 1 minute
Climate Change + dramatic sky

Climate Change: Hell and High Water

16.09.2019

Can it be that it takes a Swedish youngster by the name of Greta Thunberg, together with her followers, to shake the (adult) world community out of its environmental deep sleep? Is it so that we have been unable to classify the impact of our own hedonistic demeanour towards nature up to the decisive moment Greta arose? It almost looks like it, as progress on the green front has proved frustratingly tedious over a long period of time. The more welcome is a strong juvenile conviction leading to fresh initiatives that may propel forward what has been snailing along seemingly forever. Question is: Does a massive professional PR engine supported by overly obedient media coverage make the cause of the heroine they are shaping more credible?

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Reading time: about 4 minutes
A Clown Fish receiving massage by a sea anemone. Photo: Nick Hobgood.

TED Talk. Paul Greenberg: The four fish we are overeating

15.09.2019

“Grinding Nemo”

Overfishing is only half of the story, says Paul Greenberg in his talk. The other half is about the boom in fish farming and aquaculture, which – over the past year or two – has started to exceed the amount of wild fish produced. In America and a great part of the Western World, shrimp is by far the most consumed seafood. 5, 10, 15 pounds of wild fish – deemed trash fish by the fishing industry – are killed to bring one pound of shrimp to the market. Filmmaker Mark Benjamin called the phenomenon “Grinding Nemo“: Shrimp dredgers vacuum up a huge amount of bycatch that is then minced and turned into shrimp feed. An „ecosystem literally eating itself and spitting out shrimp“. A recent study has found that dredging for shrimp represents one of the most carbon-intensive ways of fishing there is.

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Reading time: about 1 minute
Gadgets

Gadgets: Synthesising the sound of bananas

11.08.2019

Assumedly, the main purpose of a banana (cucumber, zucchini, etc) is to be relished at some stage. Yet, young American inventors Jay Silver and Eric Rosenbaum have contrived a new means of putting them to use: by eliciting from them authentic musical sounds, like for instance, those of a piano.

A dollop of wobbly jello does work as well and a great number of other materials also prove to be conductive: most fruits and vegetables, shrimp or pizza pie (although some may consider that a bit yucky). Plants will do fine and play-doh (given a certain degree of moisture) and metal objects such as foil, cutlery or pots. Even simple thick lines drawn on a smooth surface with a soft graphite pencil can do the trick – so can live people. What in God’s name are we talking about? A kit called MaKey MaKey.

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Reading time: about 2 minutes
Thank you, benefactors

Thank you, Benefactors

6.07.2019

Striking it rich only once in a life-time? Ha! Millions of dollars and euros are bestowed on me every single day by email! Just like that! By total strangers such as you. So, it’s about time for me to say thank-you. To you, „Dr. Tobruqui al Benghazi“, high ranking official of Libya (95 million USD), to „Pandle Swallow“, trusted attorney of the Ivory-Coast business mogul who perished together with his family in a fire disaster (50m), to „John Christopher“ from the US lottery (450,000m), to „Daniel Kroklokwafz“ and „Xin Pling Chi“ from Hong Kong (500,000m each), to Barrister „Franz Mlojeek“ for reminding me of 15m USD lying dormant at a Royal Bank somewhere, to „Dr. Giles Comtrade“ from the “World Bank” saying that my idling 1,8m USD are waiting to be claimed, and to „Garda Giardino“ for letting me know that “United Nations” grants me 500,000 USD, for what merit I’m not sure. I do deserve it, though. It’s absolutely impossible to give credit to the many hundreds of you who have made my well-being your creed. 

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Reading time: about 3 minutes