Except for the whole “make you sick and can’t be killed” thing, viruses are basically the ultimate renewable resource. They’re natural. They’re numerous. They replicate themselves. And, after some tinkering by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, they can generate electricity. A project at the lab has incorporated genetically modified viruses into a piezoelectric system — a way of generating electricity based on touch. Piezoelectric systems exist already: They’re behind the shoe- and pavement-generated electricity projects. But the current generation are made from ceramics, which create toxic byproducts. Viruses, by contrast, are environmentally friendly. The virus-based generator is five or 10 …
NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured terrific footage of Venus' path across the sun.
We love tiny housing — it’s less wasteful, and so adorable! But there’s a limit to how small a space you can live in and still not go insane. We butted up against it with the 78-square-foot apartment, but this video about a (fictional, but plausible) Hong Kong apartment called King’s Cube plunges past the way-too-tiny event horizon. The room in the video is 16 square feet, just big enough for a smallish bed.
You might think that air quality controls are about mitigating the health effects of breathing in pollution. If you’re a staunch Republican, you might think they’re about destroying capitalism. But blogger (and birther) Daren Jonescu knows what air quality controls are really about: Giving white children lung diseases. (And destroying capitalism.) Jonescu wrote a piece in the ironically named American Thinker laying out the problems with big government trying to legislate our children’s lungs, and he did it by picking apart the language of an Obama administration report about childhood asthma.
Filmmakers Hugo de Kok and Kay van Vree say they “where curious about de forms and shapes food makes when you flatten them.” (They’re Dutch.)
The Doritos Locos taco is now Taco Bell's most popular product launch ever.
Tommy Mitchell wasn’t an Occupier, but when he visited Occupy Wall Street, he found out that OWSers were charging their cell phones at a hot dog vendor’s gas-guzzling generator, The New York Times reports. “I was like, ‘Well that’s awful,’” he said. That’s when he began thinking about inventing a device that could harness renewable electricity in a public space without outlets. “It’s so practical that you can see it,” he said. So Mitchell whipped up a solar cellphone charger, then brought it back to Occupy, where everyone loved it and declared him a hero of the people.
Manhattanhenge is cool, but it happens twice a year. Ditto Supermoons. Solar eclipses are less common, but nothing like today’s astronomical weirdness. This afternoon and evening, Venus will pass in front of the sun, for the last time in your lifetime unless you are a robot or a Time Lord. Here’s why you should try to watch it, and how.
Disney will no longer broadcast or post advertisements that promote unhealthy food. The company is also branching out into food policing, with the "Mickey Check" -- a Disney seal of approval on a packaged food's nutritional value.