We’re not quite there yet, but University of Southern Denmark scientists have developed a crystalline material that absorbs oxygen from water and air, and stores it for future use.
The aptly named “Aquaman Crystal” uses cobalt to work its magic, and it doesn’t need a lot — just a few grains provides enough oxygen for the first breath. As the research team notes, because the material can continually absorb oxygen from the water, a diver would only need to bring a tiny amount underwater in order to breathe without a tank.
“It is also interesting that the material can absorb and release oxygen many times without losing the ability,” said Christine McKenzie, one of the scientists involved with the project. “It is like dipping a sponge in water, squeezing the water out of it and repeating the process over and over again.”
It has uses beyond diving, too. The scientists note that the material can also be used to help lung patients who breathe with the help of an oxygen tank.
“When the substance is saturated with oxygen, it can be compared to an oxygen tank containing pure oxygen under pressure — the difference is that this material can hold three times as much oxygen,” McKenzie said.
With the help of her classmates, the 19-year-old freshman at Strathmore University in Nairobi City, Kenya developed a sensor to let park rangers know when poachers have entered a wildlife preserve. The result was shown at the United Nations Social Good Summit last month.
She and her class received support from Innovate Kenya, a program that awards funding to students who pitch solutions to local problems. This particular solution involves Arduinos, which are little sensors that detect nearby movement. By placing enough of them around park borders, authorities will know if someone sneaks in (and alert them to the presence of wildfire, another issue).
But now I do, thanks to this article. I even know the answer to a question I never thought to ask (and am still shaking my head over): Can you make cheese out of human breast milk?
Other questions that are answered-
Why is cheese yellow?
Why are some people told to avoid raw-milk cheese (incidentally, this is a serious one. Raw milk is not pasteurized, which is the process by which pathogens are eliminated from milk, which greatly reduces your chances of y’know DYING from consuming dairy products)?
Where do the holes in cheese come from?
Can lactose intolerant people eat cheese?
What is the difference between making cheese and yogurt?
Why are certain varieties of cheese made in specific places?
Why do fresh cheese curds squeak?
There’s a final question, but I won’t include it, bc it’s too cheesy.
Turmekistan, one of the Turkic states in Central Asia, is home to a gaping wound in Mother Earth. Actually, it’s a huge crater with a gooey molten center. You know, like lava cakes! More seriously, the hole is a molten crater known as the Darvasa Crater (its nickname is the ‘Door to hell’). It has been burning for over 40 years.
The origin of Turkmenistan’s Darvaza Crater – nicknamed the “door to hell” – is disputed, but the theory most widely accepted involves a Soviet expedition to explore for gas.
Recently, a Canadian explorer by the name of George Kourounis became the first known person to descend into the pit to collect soil samples to see if life could exist in such a climate. Turns out there was bacteria down there. That could apparently help inform the search for life outside our solar system. Cool!