One of the ways that scientists propose that we tackle the problem of global warming is to actively remove greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, from the atmosphere. To be an effective compliment to reducing our CO2 output from transport and industry, carbon sequestration will have to be done on a massive scale, meaning that the materials used in the process will need to be plentiful. One of those materials, magnesite, readily absorbs CO2, but there are both practical and economic limits keeping industry from mining the mineral in quantities large enough to be effective. However, researchers in Canada have discovered a way to quickly produce the mineral artificially.read more

Last January, France’s Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN) detection stations began detecting the presence of radioactive iodine-131 in the air across Europe. While the concentrations of the radioactive substance are still well within accepted safety limits, its source remains a mystery, despite numerous investigations having been conducted into the event over the past month.
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Silicon is the second most common element in the Earth’s crust, after oxygen. However, aside from its non-organic use by certain sea sponges and microorganisms, very little silicon is used by Earth’s biology, despite making heavy use of other common elements, such as carbon, hydrogen, iron, magnesium and oxygen. This has presented a long-standing puzzle for scientists: why would nature ignore such an otherwise useful substance?
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Researchers at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia has developed a new method that can allow liquid metal to self-arrange its own shape, using external chemical inputs. The substance is made up of a highly-conductive liquid-metal core, surrounded by a film of semiconducting oxide skin, allowing the arrangement to be completely malleable, resembling the mimetic polyalloy used by the T-1000 from the Terminator movies.

The technique used to cause the metal to rearrange its shape involves changing the chemical makeup of the water that the metal is kept in, altering the pH levels and salt content of the solution. This prompts the skin surrounding the metal to change its shape, to the point where this change can cause the metal blob can propel itself.
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