From NPR News: Protesting Chinese Village Elects A New Path

Go democratic power!!


Residents of a Chinese village who rebelled against corrupt local officials have been choosing an election committee. Some observers are highlighting the unusually open and fair voting process, but there are villagers who think their struggle is far from over. Guest host David Greene checks in with NPR’s Louisa Lim in Beijing.


from News

From Popular Science – New Technology, Science News, The Future Now: 10-Year-Old Accidentally Creates New Molecule in Science Class

Tetranitratoxycarbon Professor Robert Zoellner holds a model of tetranitratoxycarbon. He has a co-authorship on a paper about the new molecule–along with ten-year-old Clara Lazen. Humboldt State University
Little Clara’s tetranitratoxycarbon is brand new and explosiveClara Lazen is the discoverer of tetranitratoxycarbon, a molecule constructed of, obviously, oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon. It’s got some interesting possible properties, ranging from use as an explosive to energy storage. Lazen is listed as the co-author of a recent paper on the molecule. But that’s not what’s so interesting and inspiring about this story. What’s so unusual here is that Clara Lazen is a ten-year-old fifth-grader in Kansas City, MO.

Kenneth Boehr, Clara’s science teacher, handed out the usual ball-and-stick models used to visualize simple molecules to his fifth-grade class. But Clara put the carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen atoms together in a particular complex way and asked Boehr if she’d made a real molecule. Boehr, to his surprise, wasn’t sure. So he photographed the model and sent it over to a chemist friend at Humboldt State University who identified it as a wholly new but also wholly viable chemical.

The chemical has the same formula as one other in HSU’s database, but the atoms are arranged differently, so it qualifies as a unique molecule. It doesn’t exist in nature, so it’d have to be synthesized in a lab, which takes time and effort. So Boehr’s friend, Robert Zoellner, wrote a paper on it instead, to be published in Computational and Theoretical Chemistry. Listed as a co-author: Clara Lazen.

Boehr says the discovery and subsequent publication has incited a new interest in science and chemistry at his school–and Clara seems particularly pleased, saying she’s now much more interested in biology and medicine.

[The Mary Sue via Gizmodo]

from Popular Science – New Technology, Science News, The Future Now

From Popular Science – New Technology, Science News, The Future Now: Cool Plasma Torch Kills Germs on Raw Chicken

Plasma Versus Chicken Breast Dirks et al., Journal of Food Protection

We’ve seen the plasma beam toothbrush, where a blast of room-temperature plasma destroys plaque and bacteria in your mouth. Now researchers at Drexel University have applied the technology to raw chicken and found that the gentle blue blast of ionized matter effectively removes pathogens on the poultry’s surface.

When raw chicken breasts had a normal amount of pathogens (Salmonella enterica and Campylobacter jejuni were the culprits that were tested), the plasma almost completely eliminated them. The technology is still too expensive to fit into the highly streamlined production lines that bring skinless, boneless, sanitized poultry to your table, but — not least because it is equally effective on antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria — the proof of concept is an intriguing one.

The researchers suggest that the treatment could significantly increase the shelf life of raw meat by removing microorganisms responsible for spoilage. They don’t mention, though, the first idea that popped into my mind: delicious chicken sashimi.

from Popular Science – New Technology, Science News, The Future Now