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Published: Tuesday, December 19, 2017 @ 9:54 PM
— Your desk lamp is not the only way to light the room. Plants can do it, too, according to a new report.
Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology recently conducted an experiment, published in the Nano Letters journal, to determine how plants can be a source of electricity.
To do so, they used luciferase, the enzyme that gives fireflies their glow. It acts as a molecule called luciferin, which causes light to emit. They also looked to co-enzyme A, another molecule that helps move the lighting process along by blocking reactions that inhibit luciferase activity.
They then submerged kale, arugula, spinach and watercress into luciferase and then luciferin and co-enzyme A. After applying pressure, they were able to make the plants glow for about 45 minutes. But by the time the paper was posted, they were able to keep them lit for up to three-and-a-half hours.
The watercress had the strongest reaction. Scientists compared the brightness to half of a one-microwatt LED light.
“The vision is to make a plant that will function as a desk lamp — a lamp that you don’t have to plug in. The light is ultimately powered by the energy metabolism of the plant itself,” coauthor Michael Strano said in a statement. “Our target is to perform one treatment when the plant is a seedling or a mature plant, and have it last for the lifetime of the plant.”
This isn’t the first time the team has experimented with shrubs. The researchers previously designed plants that can detect explosives and communicate that information to a smartphone. They also created plants that can monitor drought conditions.
And they are excited about their most recent findings.
“Our work very seriously opens up the doorway to streetlamps that are nothing but treated trees, and to indirect lighting around homes,” Strano said. “Plants can self-repair, they have their own energy, and they are already adapted to the outdoor environment. We think this is an idea whose time has come. It’s a perfect problem for plant nanobionics.”
Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 1:33 PM
LOVE COUNTY, Okla. — A 13-year-old Oklahoma boy perished in a house fire Wednesday morning as he tried unsuccessfully to save his disabled father from the flames and smoke.
The boy and his father, James Cummins, 60, were in their rural Love County home when the fire broke out. According to the Daily Ardmoreite, space heaters may have started the blaze.
Officials with the Oklahoma Fire Marshal’s Office told the newspaper that the family had electricity at the time of the fire, but their propane for the double-wide mobile home’s heating system had run out. The boy’s mother and a sibling had left to buy more, and the family was using three space heaters to heat the home while they were gone.
Love County deputies and firefighters responded to the fire, but were unable to get inside due to debris and the fire’s intensity, Love County Sheriff Marty Grisham told the Ardmoreite.
“Family members stated the father was paralyzed, so the boy went to help him get out, and they both succumbed to smoke inhalation,” Grisham said.
Fire investigators determined that the fire started in the living room, but the extent of the damage made it impossible to say for sure if the space heaters caused the blaze, or if the fire was electrical in nature.
Judah Shepard, an investigator with the Fire Marshal’s Office, said precautions should be taken any time a space heater is used.
“They need to be at least 3 feet from any combustible material and not operated while plugged into an extension cord,” Shepard said.
About 25,000 house fires in the United States each year are attributed to space heaters, according to Consumer Reports. An average of 300 people die as a result of those fires.
The majority of those fires are caused when the heaters are placed too close to curtains, bedding or upholstered furniture.
Aside from keeping a heater at least 3 feet away from combustibles, the publication recommends always using a heater that carries a safety certification. Certified heaters have labels with the UL mark from Underwriters Laboratories, the ETL label from Intertek or certification from CSA International.
A portable heater should also have shut-off features, such as a sensor to shut the heater off if it overheats and a switch to shut it off if it is tipped over.
Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 8:46 AM
COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ore. — An Oregon man is behind bars after sheriff’s deputies said he put his wife’s hand in hot frying oil.
Jeremiah Crothers is also accused of nearly suffocating his baby son, KATU reported.
Police said Crothers covered his 7-month-old son’s mouth and nose until the baby’s legs turned blue, Oregon Live reported.
According to police, Crothers’ wife hit her husband in the head with a frying pan to get him to let go of their child, KATU reported.
Later, police said, Crothers complained that his wife didn’t season the chicken she was preparing for dinner and then grabbed her hand and put it in the oil she was using to fry the chicken, KATU reported.
When police arrived, they said Crothers was not there, but they saw what they said were burns on the victim and the baby had signs of strangulation and a bruise on his head, Oregon Live reported. Crothers was arrested the next day in St. Helens. Crothers has been charged with attempted murder, strangulation, assault, coercion and attempted assault.
A judge set bail at $217,750.
Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 1:13 PM
MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin submerged himself in freezing water in celebration of Epiphany, a holiday in Orthodox Christianity that celebrates Jesus’ baptism.
The Associated Press reported that Russian TV stations and reporters were present as cameras caught Putin dunking and crossing himself in Lake Seliger in the northwestern region of Russia. The lake was frozen and a hole was cut into it so that Putin could take part in the tradition.
Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said the temperature of the water was 21 degrees Fahrenheit.
According to The Washington Post, the tradition involves a ceremony that purifies the spirit. Although Peskov said Putin has taken part in the tradition in the past, Friday was the first time he did so publicly. The publication said the fanfare may have been an effort to appeal to religious voters as Russia’s presidential election is in March.
Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 12:47 PM
LONDON — Prince William debuted a lower haircut while visiting Evelina London Children's Hospital on Thursday.
The heir apparent to the British throne has been visibly losing his hair for years, and it appears this new, very low cut is the 35-year-old’s way of embracing it.
E! News reported that the royal was supporting the Step Into Health program that works to employ veterans in the National Health Service. According to a report from the British tabloid The Sun, the cut was done after William got advice from wife Kate Middleton’s hair stylist, Richard Ward. Joey Wheeler, who works with Ward, did the cut for 180 pounds, or $250, according to the tabloid.
Twitter users had mixed reactions to William’s new look, and some suggested he grow a beard.
Prince William needs a beard— Tyrant (@ProfKumi) January 18, 2018
I've never seen a man in more need of a beard. https://t.co/RpFU2JfMfR— Grant Tucker (@GrantTucker) January 18, 2018
Your family do beards so well. I'll even lend you some beard oil. pic.twitter.com/AFIW22xrUd— Grant Tucker (@GrantTucker) January 18, 2018
I’ve been wondering for ages now why Prince William didn’t just shave his head. I thought there might be some sort of royal rule about it! 😂 He looks GREAT! I love the shaved head & bald look—my hubby rocks it with a big mountain beard! https://t.co/1ha39ZnwMy— Shoshanna Evers (@ShoshannaEvers) January 19, 2018
In the past, William and his family have joked about his hair loss. After the birth of his son, William told the press outside St. Mary’s Hospital that George had “way more hair than me, thank God!”
The Dutchess of Cambridge joked about her husband's lack of hair while watching a sheepshearing demonstration in Australia in 2014.