Shape, Vibration of a Smell is Detected by the Nose
A new study of the sense of smell lends support to a controversial theory of olfaction: our noses can distinguish both the shape and the vibrational characteristics of odorant molecules.
The study, in the journal Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, demonstrates the feasibility of the theory – first proposed decades ago – that the vibration of an odorant molecule’s chemical bonds – the wagging, stretching and rocking of the links between atoms – contributes to our ability to distinguish one smelly thing from another.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/videos/2012/09/shape-vibration-smell-detected-nose
I just watched a TED talk on this and its applications in perfume and chemistry a few days ago. It’s really cool to think our noses are basically spectrometers.
Salar de Uyuni
It’s the world’s largest salt flat at 10,582 square kilometers, it is located in Bolivia.
The Salar contains large amounts of sodium, potassium, lithium and magnesium (all in the chloride forms of NaCl, KCl, LiCl and MgCl2, respectively), as well as borax.
With estimated 9,000,000 tonnes (8,900,000 long tons; 9,900,000 short tons), Bolivia holds about 43% of the world’s lithium reserves.
Eerie, glowing waves appear in Maldives
Don’t get creeped out if you’re surrounded by unearthly glowing spots during a midnight swim. Scientists say it’s a completely natural biological (albeit eerie) phenomenon. In recently released photos from the Maldives on the National Geographic’s website, the shoreline surf is dotted with tiny pinpricks of light, seeming to reflect the constellations above. This “bioluminescence” is simply blue light from phytoplankton, microscopic sea creatures that secrete illuminating chemicals as a survival mechanism. Tweeps are calling the marine spectacle “amazing” and “awesome” — though we’d like to know how many would actually dive in for a romp with the light-emitting organisms.
(Image: Courtesy of U.S. Department of Energy)
Can Fast Reactors Speedily Solve Plutonium Problems?
Plutonium, the element from hell. Plutonium is used in nuclear weapons, wherein lies the problem. The U.K. no longer needs to make any more nuclear weapons, and hence no longer needs it’s almost 100 tons of plutonium.
So, what to do with it, apart from spend billions of British pounds to make sure no one steals it to make nuclear weapons? They turn it into something safer. Not through alchemy, sadly, but rather nuclear fission.
The reactor that has been developed to deal with plutonium is called a fast nuclear reactor. It’s name is derived from the fact that the neutrons that whiz around the reactor faster than normal.
The U.K is hardly the only country trying to deal with large amounts of plutonium, with the US storing nearly 70,000 tons of the very radioactive material.
So here’s the deal. Three astronomers, Saul Perlmutter, Brian P. Schmidt, and Adam G. Riess won the Nobel Prize for physics this week. Why is this interesting? Becuase of what they discovered. With the help of a type 1a supernova (a type of exploding star) theydiscovered that the expansion of the universe is actually speeding up, due to an antigravitatonal force called “dark energy.” Although they don’t know exactly what dark energy is, they do know that it’s pushing galaxies apart. An article in the New York Times states that “If the universe continues accelerating, astronomers say, rather than coasting gently into the night, distant galaxies will eventually be moving apart so quickly that they cannot communicate with one another and all the energy will be sucked out of the universe.” Poor Einstein, they believe that there are a bunch of different universes with different properties (obviously we live in one that is habitable). Pretty cool, eh?