As sea levels rise and shorelines erode, the hunt is on for ways to protect the millions of people that live in seaside communities. But engineers with an eye on a wetter future might want to look to the past for inspiration. As Ben Guarino reports for the Washington Post, an innovation from ancient Rome might hold clues to creating a more durable sea wall.
Saltwater corrodes modern concrete within years. But the concrete used by ancient Romans doesn't suffer this same issue. Romans erected sea walls and piers roughly 2,000 years ago, and many still stand strong in Italian waters. Now a new study in the journal American Mineralogist explains why.
Scientists analyzed the chemical makeup of pier pieces from locations throughout Italy and assessed historical writings about ancient Roman sea structures to learn more about the tough material. This analysis suggests that the materials undergo a rare chemical reaction.
Read more: SMITHSONIAN
Ancient Roman Concrete Outperforms Our Own and Science Only Just Worked Out Why: FOX NEWS TECH
Roman Concrete May Be Key to Protecting Cities From Rising Sea Levels: CLEANTECHNICA
WhyRoman Concrete Still Stands Strong While Modern Versions Decay: THE GUARDIAN
Nerve agents in battlefields and cities can now be detected on a glove connected to a wearable database that scans substances touched. Either soldiers in the field, investigative inspectors, manufacturers and emergency personnel can all now use a nano-glove fitted with electro-chemical sensors.
Dr. Joseph Wang residing at the University of California, San Diego has manufactured the nano-glove that is currently being reviewed by Defense Department.
Deadly, banned chemical agents can be deactivated by an enzyme known as organophosphorus hydrolase. Existing nerve agent detectors only record changes induced by the presence of compounds dissolved in gels that are rubbed on to any inspection site. The trick was to miniaturize this process making it easily convertible to difficult working environments.
Published on Feb 26, 2015VX — IUPAC name O-ethyl S-[2-(diisopropylamino)ethyl] methylphosphonothioate — is an extremely toxic substance that has no known uses except in chemical warfare as a nerve agent. It is a tasteless and odorless liquid. As a chemical weapon, it is classified as a weapon of mass destruction by the United Nations in UN Resolution 687. The production and stockpiling of VX was outlawed by the Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993.
The VX nerve agent is the best-known of the V-series of nerve agents and is considered an area denial weapon due to its physical properties.
Ranajit Ghosh, a chemist at the Plant Protection Laboratories of the British firm Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI), was investigating a class of organophosphate compounds (organophosphate esters of substituted aminoethanethiols). Like Gerhard Schrader, an earlier investigator of organophosphates, Ghosh found that they were quite effective pesticides. In 1954, ICI put one of them on the market under the trade name Amiton. It was subsequently withdrawn, as it was too toxic for safe use. The toxicity did not go unnoticed, and samples of it had been sent to the British Armed Forces research facility at Porton Down for evaluation. After the evaluation was complete, several members of this class of compounds became a new group of nerve agents, the V agents. The best-known of these is probably VX, assigned the UK Rainbow Code Purple Possum, with the Russian V-Agent coming a close second (Amiton is largely forgotten as VG).
The Patriot novel series describes the use of VX by rebel forces against government officers.
“It’s in our fallen, sinful nature for tyrants to rise up in every nation. And unfortunately, it’s also in our nature that the vast majority in every nation is either too stupid or too apathetic to do anything about it until the tyrants have put up their barbed wire and spilled a lot of blood.” - Protagonist Todd Gray, in Patriots
"Chemists know it as Tris(2,3-dibromopropyl) phosphate." Jill Rosenbaum. @jrosenbaumdc @nyt
"...To frame the issue, the video goes back to the early 1970s and a controversy that older Americans may recognize from a single word: Tris. Chemists know it as Tris(2,3-dibromopropyl) phosphate. Under the shorter sobriquet, it gained national fame as a flame retardant in children’s pajamas. Its purpose was to buy precious seconds that, in a fire, might spell the difference between survival and death.
But fame turned to notoriety later that decade when research by two scientists, Arlene Blum and Bruce N. Ames, concluded that Tris is a mutagen, a gene-altering agent. The federal Consumer Product Safety Commission, a new agency in the ’70s, promptly prohibited its use in the sleepwear. Even though the courts then struck down the ban, children’s clothing manufacturers in effect enforced it by agreeing to keep that form of Tris out of their products. They then did the same with a new version of the compound, chlorinated Tris. But chlorinated Tris itself was never banned. As time passed, it made its way, along with an array of other chlorinated and brominated flame retardants, into the furniture found in most American homes...."
In ancient Rome, purple was the color of royalty, a designator of status. And while purple is flashy and pretty, it was more important at the time that purple was expensive. Purple was expensive, because purple dye came from snails.
The video above, by CreatureCast, recounts the story of Rome’s vaunted Tyrian purple, and the color’s close link with the marine snail Bolinus brandaris. The New York Times:
To make Tyrian purple, marine snails were collected by the thousands. They were then boiled for days in giant lead vats, producing a terrible odor. The snails, though, aren’t purple to begin with. The craftsmen were harvesting chemical precursors from the snails that, through heat and light, were transformed into the valuable dye.
But this telling leaves out one of the best parts of the story.
The video explains that snail-fueled purple persisted until chemists learned to make synthetic dyes. But the development of an artificial purple wasn’t a deliberate decision, but a happy accident for a young chemist named William Henry Perkin.
In the 1850s the British Empire was pushing into Africa. The Empire’s colonization attempts, though, were being beaten back by malaria. Scientists had recently realized that quinine, a chemical derived from the bark of cinchona trees, could be used to treat against malaria. But cinchona trees come mostly from South America, and scientists wanted a better way to get their hands on the drug.
Enter William Perkin, a young chemist who had joined the Royal College of Chemistry at 15. In 1856 Perkin, now 18, was trying to synthesize quinine in the lab. After repeated failures, “Perkin produced little more than a black, sticky mess,” says the Independent. Trying to dissolve his gunk in alcohol, though, revealed a deep purple liquid.
Perkin’s purple, otherwise known as aniline purple, or mauveine, was the first synthetic dye. The synthesis transformed purple’s elite status, and probably saved the lives of a great many snails.
The Lost Purple Snail starts at minute 7:00
An ancient sea snail shell discovered on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem has created tremendous interest among researchers, who believe the find ties in with the particular shade of vibrant blue dye ("tchelet" in Hebrew) used in ancient times to color the fringes of religious garments.
The shell of the branded dye-murex (Hexaplex trunculus) snail was recently discovered as part of the Temple Mount Sifting Project underway in the Emek Tzurim National Park. The project is funded by the Ir David Foundation and directed by archaeologists from Bar-Ilan University.
Archaeologist Zachi Dvira noted that finding the shell of an ancient sea snail far inland on the Temple Mount raises questions, as such snails are generally excavated in coastal archaeological digs.
The Army’s Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit program, or TALOS (pronounced: Tay-los), represents the point at which comic book fiction meets reality. It’s a concept for a so-called exoskeleton that could shield soldiers from bullets and injuries. One of its most important roles will be to decrease the load for ground troops. That’s important because the military is placing a heavy weight on the backs of soldiers in the literal sense.
In 2007, a Naval Research Advisory Committee study found that the average Marine “assault load” can vary from 97 to 135 pounds. The recommended load is 50 pounds.
One potential solution to troops’ weight problem: Get robots to help carry the load. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Squad X Core Technologies program would put load-carrying robots like the Boston Dynamics Big Dog on patrols with dismounted troops, military speak for fighters moving around the battlefield on foot, not in vehicles. The robots would be able to carry much more of the load, but not all. That’s what TALOS is for.
Former chief of U. S. Special Operations Command Adm. William H. McRaven announced the TALOS program in 2013. The hype has since faded and the program is facing challenges. In 2014, the House Armed Services Committee sounded a skeptical note on the project, saying that “overall efforts lack proper coordination and oversight, systems integration and collaboration, and prototype evaluation.” The program could wind up costing hundreds of millions of dollars beyond the $80 million that’s already been allocated for it. )
Summary: Because of the limited amout of space inside the nucleus, each element on the Periodic Table is determined or constituted by the number of protons in the nucleus. This limited, confined space would justify how the Periodic Table would be limited. It also explains the professional drive pushing scientists to discover the next element. THIS IS NOW OVER.
Finally: Each element on the Periodic Table has a maxium of 7 orbitals; trajectories evidencing pathways for electrons that move around the nucleus. We've NEVER found more than 7 orbitals for any element. This justifies how we know limits about the Periodic Table.
From the coasts of Indonesia to the rainforests of Peru, venomous animals are everywhere―and often lurking out of sight. Humans have feared them for centuries, long considering them the assassins and pariahs of the natural world.
Now, in Venomous, the biologist Christie Wilcox investigates and illuminates the animals of our nightmares, arguing that they hold the keys to a deeper understanding of evolution, adaptation, and immunity. She reveals just how venoms function and what they do to the human body. With Wilcox as our guide, we encounter a jellyfish with tentacles covered in stinging cells that can kill humans in minutes; a two-inch caterpillar with toxic bristles that trigger hemorrhaging; and a stunning blue-ringed octopus capable of inducing total paralysis. How do these animals go about their deadly work? How did they develop such intricate, potent toxins? Wilcox takes us around the world and down to the cellular level to find out.
Throughout her journey, Wilcox meets the intrepid scientists who risk their lives studying these lethal beasts, as well as “self-immunizers” who deliberately expose themselves to snakebites. Along the way, she puts her own life on the line, narrowly avoiding being envenomated herself. Drawing on her own research, Wilcox explains how venom scientists are untangling the mechanisms of some of our most devastating diseases, and reports on pharmacologists who are already exploiting venoms to produce lifesaving drugs. We discover that venomous creatures are in fact keystone species that play crucial roles in their ecosystems and ours―and for this alone, they ought to be protected and appreciated.
Thrilling and surprising at every turn, Venomous will change everything you thought you knew about the planet’s most dangerous animals.