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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: Wednesday, April 25, 2018 @ 11:45 AM
LAWRENCEBURG, Ky. — As anyone who frequents Walmart knows, it can be frustrating when you need help and can’t find anyone wearing a Walmart associate’s blue vest.
One Kentucky man had enough of not being helped in the sporting goods department so took matters into this own hands, WKYT reported. He picked up the store’s public address system and announced over the intercom, “Customer needs assistance in sporting goods, please. I’m the customer.”
His message was caught on video, and quickly went viral, as other Walmart shoppers commiserated about their shopping pains.
Forrest Hunter, the reported name of the man who asked for help, said that a worker came up to him shortly after he made his announcement.
“A guy walked up and asked if I needed any help. I said, ‘How’d you know?’ Then I bought my hunting license,” he told WKYT.
The six-second video has been viewed more than 2.7 million times and shared 50,000 times.
Published: Wednesday, April 25, 2018 @ 1:24 PM
DETROIT — More than a million Audi vehicles are being recalled by Volkswagen Group of America because of faulty coolant pumps. Audi is a luxury brand of Volkswagen.
The Associated Press reported Tuesday that the company issued the recall on 1.2 million cars and SUVs with a 2-liter turbocharged engine. The recall includes the 2013-2016 A4, 2013-2017 A5, 2012-2015 A6 and the 2013-2017 Q5.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the electric coolant pump in the vehicle can be blocked with debris and lead to a short-circuit or overheating.
Published: Wednesday, April 25, 2018 @ 1:05 PM
With few answers yet as to why a group of IT aides were fired by House Democratic lawmakers in 2017, a U.S. House panel on Wednesday approved a series of plans designed to tighten internal procedures for internet technology workers who have ‘privileged access’ to the House internet network, focusing on those who work for multiple members of Congress.
“It’s important that we actually get this right,” said Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL), who led a task force that looked at how to more closely monitor part-time workers known on Capitol Hill “shared employees.”
Under the plan, House officials would get 30 days to report back on how they would implement the changes, which Davis said would include ‘a much needed background check system.’
“It will strengthen the regulations associated with individuals known as ‘shared employees,’ who are employed by three or more offices,” said Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS), the Chairman of the House Administration Committee.
During the committee’s meeting on Wednesday, there was never a mention of the name of Imran Awan, a naturalized U.S. citizen who has become the focus of press allegations that he – and his relatives – may have compromised information on the House computer system, while working for several dozen House Democratic offices over a number of years.
No official explanation has been given as yet – by lawmakers or House officials – as to why Awan, his wife, and a handful of their relatives were suddenly terminated, and while no charges have been filed, it was clear from the proposed policy changes advanced on Wednesday that lawmakers believe tighter controls are needed for the future.
The new proposals for U.S. House employees would include:
+ A requirement for background checks “as a condition of privileged access” to the network not only for IT workers, but also for other ‘shared employees’ who do budget, payroll or other financial work for a lawmaker.
+ Setting up a task force to routinely review polices related to IT workers employed by multiple members of Congress.
+ Develop a new employee ID badge which clearly identifies ‘shared employees’ who are doing work on Capitol Hill.
+ Make it easier to block access for those workers – not only to the Congressional IT network – but also limit physical access for them if there are issues with the employees.
+ Not allow shared employees to also be engaged in an outside business activity which sells/leases/provides goods or services to any House office.
The changes were approved with little debate in an eleven minute meeting of the House Administration Committee. There were no direct references made to the Awan investigation, and no hints at any further developments in the probe of why Awan, his wife, and relatives were fired in February and March of 2017.
As of now, no charges have been filed for any wrongdoing involving the House IT system, though Awan and his wife, Hina Alvi, face federal bank fraud charges involving a home equity loan.
Published: Wednesday, April 25, 2018 @ 12:03 PM
— Krispy Kreme is offering its signature doughnuts with lemon glaze, but only for a week.
Participating shops of the doughnut chain are offering the flavor from April 23 to April 29. The glaze was one of four options customers could vote for. The others, Food and Wine reported, were caramel, maple and blueberry.
According to a news release, the #VoteForGlaze campaign pulled in nearly 2 million votes. Maple had 18 percent of the vote, while blueberry had 20 percent and caramel was second with had 26 percent.
Depending on the success of the limited run, Krispy Kreme could sell the lemon-glazed doughnuts seasonally, Food and Wine reported.
“Experimenting with the many flavor profiles lemon presents to create an all-new lemon glaze was a fun, but serious culinary challenge,” Jackie Woodward, Krispy Kreme’s chief marketing officer, said in a statement. “There has been so much anticipation and zest for the new Lemon Glaze Doughnut, we can’t wait to share the joy with our fans!”
Customers can find out if the Lemon Glaze Doughnut is available at a Krispy Kreme near them at KrispyKreme.com.
Related video: Doughnuts – Fast Facts