Struvite recovered from wastewater could be used to suppress wildfires

Scientists in the US have produced an economically viable, sustainable fire retardant by combining a waste product from water treatment plants with a viscoelastic hydrogel. Wildfires are a serious problem in the US, threatening homes, lives and health with increasing prevalence. The US Forest Service aerially deploys thousands of cubic metres of fire retardant every […]

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Invisible graphene veil protects paintings from fading

A transparent layer of graphene, just a few atoms thick, can prevent pigments in paintings from fading by protecting them from ultraviolet light, moisture and air pollutants. Colour fading is a major problem for painted artworks. Vincent van Gogh’s famous Sunflowers paintings, for example, contain photosensitive lead pigments. Originally bright yellow, they have turned greenish-brown […]

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Renaissance Science – XIV

In the previous episode we saw how the Renaissance rediscovery of Vitruvius’ De architectura influenced the development of architecture during the Renaissance and dissolved the boundary between the intellectual theoreticians and the practical artisans. However, as stated there Vitruvius was not just an architect, but was also an engineer and his Book X deals quite extensively with […]

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Scientists at EPA allege ‘deliberate tampering’ with chemical risk reviews

Officials at the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have ‘improperly altered’ safety assessments of new and existing chemicals for years and are continuing to do so, four scientists at the agency claim in a complaint filed by the non-profit environmental protection organisation Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (Peer). The EPA employees disclosed ‘disturbing evidence of […]

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Experimental observations of bubbles containing multiple electrons

Chemists at the Indian Institute of Science have produced bubbles that contain either six or eight electrons. The bubbles are nanometre-sized cavities, which are formed by injecting electrons into liquid helium. Cooling helium-4 causes it to behave like a superfluid, something with zero viscosity. Eventually, the injected electrons come to a standstill and open a […]

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They also serve…

In 1610, Galileo published his Sidereus Nuncius, the first publication to make known the new astronomical discoveries made with the recently invented telescope. Source: Wikimedia Commons Although, one should also emphasise that although Galileo was the first to publish, he was not the first to use the telescope as an astronomical instrument, and during that early […]

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Renaissance Science – XIII

As already explained in the fourth episode of this series, the Humanist Renaissance was characterised by a reference for classical literature, mostly Roman, recovered from original Latin manuscripts and not filtered and distorted through repeated translations on their way from Latin into Arabic and back into Latin. It was also a movement that praised a […]

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Divining the future in the past

This book review needs a little background. Some readers will know the blog post I wrote about meeting historian of astrology, Darrel Rutkin, on a country bus in 2014, whilst reading Monica Azzolini’s excellent The Duke and the Stars: Astrology and Politics in Renaissance Milan. Later I also wrote a review of Darrel’s equally excellent Sapientia Astrologica: Astrology, Magic […]

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Renaissance Science – XII

There is a popular misconception that the emergence of modern science during the Renaissance, or proto-scientific revolution as we defined it in episode V of this series, and the scientific revolution proper includes a parallel rejection of the so-called occult sciences. Nothing could be further from the truth. This period sees a massive revival of […]

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