Pour Yourself a Glass of 100,000 Volts

You’d be hard pressed to find a hacker or maker who doesn’t have a soft spot for the tantalizing buzz and snap of a high voltage spark gap, but it remains the sort of project that most of us don’t take on personally. There’s a perceived complexity in building a …read more

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Ancient Mars may not have been “warm and wet” but covered in ice

Modern Mars is a barren world, drier than any desert on Earth. But geological evidence shows that this wasn’t always the case – in the distant past the Red Planet had flowing water. It’s long been thought that ancient Mars was warm and wet, but a new s… Continue reading Ancient Mars may not have been “warm and wet” but covered in ice

Interstellar organic matter might be a major source of Earth’s water

Earth is a famously watery planet, but where exactly it all came from is a mystery. Now, researchers in Japan have suggested a new origin story, by showing that water – and petroleum – can form inside clouds of organic matter, at high temperatures and … Continue reading Interstellar organic matter might be a major source of Earth’s water

Coral polyp-inspired robot cleans up using magnets and light

Researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands have drawn inspiration from a tiny tentacled marine creature to produce a centimeter-scale robot that is powered by magnets and light. With the ability to grab and release objects und… Continue reading Coral polyp-inspired robot cleans up using magnets and light

US Army’s gravity-defying aluminum panel purifies water with sunlight

Providing clean drinking water in regions where the resource is scarce is a huge challenge, and one that we’re seeing plenty of inventive solutions to. A research team from the US Army and the University of Rochester is throwing a new possibility into … Continue reading US Army’s gravity-defying aluminum panel purifies water with sunlight

Autonomous robot scientist can choose its own experiments

Robots are learning to do the jobs of human factory workers, bus drivers, burger flippers, butlers, and healthcare workers, among many others – and now, they may be coming for scientists as well. Engineers at the University of Liverpool have developed … Continue reading Autonomous robot scientist can choose its own experiments

Solar power, wood and bacteria join forces to purify water for drinking

Evaporation is one of the most enduring methods of purifying water to make it drinkable. Now researchers at the University of Science and Technology of China have developed a novel device made of wood that can do just that, by employing bacteria to hel… Continue reading Solar power, wood and bacteria join forces to purify water for drinking

Zaps of electricity clean up wastewater from biofuel production

Scientists are getting creative with new ways to produce fuels and electricity, but they can introduce their own problems too. Making biofuel from algae, for example, is showing promise, but it does create large amounts of toxic wastewater. Now, resear… Continue reading Zaps of electricity clean up wastewater from biofuel production

Water-filled windows could both heat and cool buildings

When it comes to keeping buildings energy efficient, windows certainly pose a challenge. It was with this quandary in mind that a British scientist has created a new type of window – one that’s filled with water.Continue ReadingCategory: Good Thinking,… Continue reading Water-filled windows could both heat and cool buildings