I come across a lot of science news stories (as you can imagine) and have noticed that journalists are attracted to certain topics – ones that they think have a certain ‘sexy’ appeal to their readers I imagine. Bionic body parts seems to be one of them – conjuring imagery of a future where we are all enhanced by ultra-efficient prosthetic body parts like RoboCop.
One of these stories that hit the press recently was the news that researchers in Princeton have created a ‘bionic’ ear. More
In the news last week: scientists have DNA evidence that bacteria living underneath the ice in Lake Vostok are a new species. In a similarly hostile environment, on Jupiter’s moon Europa, scientists have gathered evidence that salty water exists there which may be a source of chemical energy for life.
Other stories from last week reported in the newsletter include camels that once lived in the Arctic, a possible cure for lung cancer using gene therapy and the chance of seeing a comet this Friday.
So, I guess I this should be a post about the Higgs Boson as the announcement yesterday was quite a big deal. However, it’s not for three reasons:
1. There is a lot of stuff on it already out there.
2. Despite spending time yesterday reading several articles and watching videos involving ping pong balls and sugar, I still don’t know enough about it to make a meaningful contribution.
3. I found this video which is amazing: real-life hot wheels!
OK – so this did not really happen. It”s a PR stunt to mark the start of science month on the TV channel, Eden. However, the video does talk about what could happen if a real meteor of this size hit London, and it would be a lot more devastating than one crushed taxi. More
As human population grows and pollution levels rise, our demand for clean water increases but its supply dwindles. How long will it be before our planet cannot provide its population with enough clean water to survive?
Some would say that this is already happening..
Japanese design company, Takram, was asked to design a water bottle that could be used to used to ensure that we could get enough daily water to survive if the worst case scenario become reality. But they went one step further and designed a set of cyborg organs, the Hydrolemic System, that could be used to reduce water loss from the body in order to keep intake down to a minimum.
The video shows how they would work.
This video from last week shows stuntman Gary Connery falling 2400 feet without a parachute and surviving to tell the tale. This would be a great story in a lesson on forces with any age student.
The students could:
- Name the forces acting on him as he fell.
- Calculate his average speed by using time from the video clip and using the speed equation (2400 feet = 731.52 m). As he fell for around 19 seconds this makes it an incredible 38.5 m/s (86 mph)!
- Draw force diagrams for when he just left the aeroplane (unbalanced forces), when he was at terminal velocity (balanced forces) and when he had just hit the boxes (unbalanced).
- Explain why his suit helped him survive the fall. More able students can link forces, particles and energy in this explanation.
- Calculate his potential energy when he was in the plane (mgh). Gary is approximately 84 kg.
- Sketch a velocity/time graph for the fall.
If you have any other ideas – please leave a comment and share!