"This toilet floats. It's an outhouse and sewage-treatment plant in one, processing human waste through a "constructed wetlands." Green builder Adam Katzman, the inventor and builder of the toilet-boat, says it's meant to be more inspirational than practical. His paddle-boat-toilet ("Poop and Paddle"), parked at a marina in Queens, demonstrates how sewage and rainwater can be converted to cattails and clean water. It's a zero-waste waste disposal system."
"Water striders don't really stride, they row on the water. But their legs are spindly and don't seem good for paddling. David Hu, mechanical engineer at Georgia Tech, wanted to understand the basic physics of how water striders glide. By filming them stride on food coloring and building his own robotic strider, he found out that the secret to the stride is in the paddle."
"From death caps to puffballs, the fruiting bodies of fungi can be grouped into about a dozen major categories. Mycologist Roy Halling walks us through the wide world of mushrooms and takes us on a fungi foraging foray on the grounds of the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx. With record-breaking rainfall in the northeast in the last few weeks, mycologists say that mushroom numbers seem to be up this year. Wet weather is prime for mushroom emergence because the fruits of fungi form through a hydraulic process, says Nicholas Money of Miami University in Ohio."
"Maxwell von Stein, a 22-year-old graduate of The Cooper Union, built bicycle that uses a flywheel to store energy. Instead of braking, Max can transfer energy from the wheel to the flywheel, which spins between the crossbars. The flywheel stores the kinetic energy until Max wants a boost, then he can transfer the energy back to the wheel using a shifter on the handlebars."
Yup, it's Friday.
So let's not beat around the bush.
Courtesy Science Friday
"Malcolm Beck was farming organically in the 1950s, and that's how he got into compost. What started out as a little manure pile on his farm became a 40-acre compost-processing business five decades later. Beck sold his company, Garden Ville, but still works there and is constantly experimenting with different fertilizer formulas--from bat guano to earthworm tea.
When San Antonio’s Malcolm Beck got into the compost business over fifty years ago, many people had never heard of compost, Beck says. Beck began making it for his organic farm and found that his compost more profitable than produce. Science Friday stopped by for a tutorial in the art of composting.
"Humpback whales blow bubbles around schools of fish to concentrate them for easier capture. It's called a bubble net, says David Wiley, research coordinator for Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, and it's visible as a ring of bubbles at the surface. Now, with underwater digital tracking tags and custom visualization software, whale researchers can see what the whales are doing underwater when they're bubble-netting. Humpbacks are the only whales known to blow bubble nets -- a circle of bubbles that traps schools of fish for easy capture. Although this hunting technique has been documented in humpbacks for decades, just how whales make the nets wasn't well-understood until now, says David Wiley, a biologist with NOAA. Wiley and colleagues attached digital tags to Humpbacks' backs to find out what they do underwater when they're bubble-netting."
It's Friday. You know the drill.
"Using the Swedish Solar Telescope, a ground-based observatory, Goran Scharmer and colleagues probe the penumbra--that's the stringy structure around the perimeter of the dark part of the sunspot. The images give scientists new insight into how that structure forms."Learn more.
"In 1968, the New Jersey Senate decreed the town of Franklin a geological wonder: "The Fluorescent Mineral Capital of the World." Over 350 different minerals have been found in the area, ninety of which glow brilliantly under ultraviolet light. There are two mineral museums devoted to fluorescing rocks, the region's unusual geology and its zinc mining history."
Well, it's May 19, the estimated hatch date for the peregrine falcon chicks in the nest box at the King power plant in Bayport. Haven't seen any chicks yet, but Belinda's made a little moat of pebbles around the eggs -- the folks on the Raptor Resource forum say that's something she always does right before hatching. Stay tuned...
It's Friday. Yes, I know I missed it last week. But it's time for a new Science Friday video.
"The latest on the bug beat: To survive floods, fire ants band together to form a raft. They can sail for weeks. But how does the raft stay afloat? Researchers report the answer in PNAS this week. Plus, engineers at Tufts are looking to the caterpillar for inspiration for soft-bodied robots. The problem is that squishy bodies make it difficult to move quickly--but some caterpillars have developed a workaround."