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The chemicals we leave behind (video)

WASHINGTON, Everything we use is made out of chemicals. So it’s not surprising that we pick up a lot of foreign molecules from what we bump into all the time, from our multivitamins to the gas we put in our cars. Scientists are now starting to track these everyday chemicals in ways that could be helpful in health and forensic sciences. Learn how in this video from Speaking of Chemistry:

By American Chemical Society - Thursday, September 7, 2017 - Full Story

How rubber makes sports possible (video)

WASHINGTON — Sports balls of all varieties owe their resilience and reliability to an unusual polymer — one whose derivatives and spinoffs are everywhere you look, from cars to shoes to rocket fuel. Learn about rubber, the all-star’s best friend, in this new video from Reactions just in time for kickoff.

By American Chemical Society - Tuesday, September 5, 2017 - Full Story

Oppo’s new flagship 4K player continues the brand’s record of excellence

Relatively hot on the heels of its outstanding UDP-203 universal player comes Oppo Digital’s UDP-205, a sequel that not only equals the previous player’s great video quality but which also ups the audio ante substantially.

And how often can one say that a sequel is better than the original?

The UDP-205 is also the successor up to the company’s BDP-105, which was a heckuva tour de force in its own right. But like its little brother, the UDP-205 adds 4K disc playback capability to the mix. That could be enough to justify it for folks who’ve embraced - or are planning to - the 4K disc format (and if you’re a "home theatrephile" you really should). But 4K is only one thing that’s great about this high end disc player that’s also perfectly happy to function as a media hub and more.

By Jim Bray - Sunday, September 3, 2017 - Full Story

Going ‘green’ with plant-based resins

Airplanes, electronics and solar cells are all in demand, but the materials holding these items together — epoxy thermosets — are not environmentally friendly. Now, a group reports in ACS’ journal Macromolecules that they have created a plant-based thermoset that could make devices “greener.”

By American Chemical Society - Monday, August 28, 2017 - Full Story

Tablo makes a DVR for cord cutters - while Kensington offers dual USB in its power adapter for trave

Dumping cable and/or satellite appears to be quite the trend these days but what happens, once you’ve gotten rid of the service, if you want to record your favourite programs for watching later? Equally important: how are you going to watch the shows in the first place?

Well, that’s the idea behind Nuvyyo’s Tablo DUAL, which the company claims is the first network-connected over-the-air (OTA) DVR to also include 40 hours’ worth of onboard high definition recording storage. In other words, it has a hard drive built in by which you can record your favourite TV broadcasts that spew into the air from your local TV stations.

By Jim Bray - Sunday, August 20, 2017 - Full Story

How ambient energy could power the internet of things

In the modern world, we are increasingly surrounded by digital sensors, cameras and communications devices sending data cloud-based analysis services. Those devices need power, and designers are finding new ways to draw it from ambient sources rather than rely on batteries or hard-wired grid connections. This week Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society, examines energy harvesters and their role in the growing internet of things.

By American Chemical Society - Wednesday, August 16, 2017 - Full Story

Memory foam advances give firm support to growing mattress industry

The way we sleep started to change in 1992 with the commercial release of memory foam — a product originally developed at NASA. A decade later, the product became more accessible when the first compressed mattress sold in a box debuted. Today, the polyurethane mattress industry continues to innovate and grow thanks to new chemistry, as reported in Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society.

By American Chemical Society - Wednesday, August 16, 2017 - Full Story

How to cryopreserve fish embryos and bring them back to life (video)

Scientists report for the first time the ability to both deep freeze and reanimate zebrafish embryos. The method, appearing in the journal ACS Nano, could potentially be used to bank larger aquatic and other vertebrate oocytes and embryos, too, for a life in the future. See how the researchers did it in this Headline Science video:

Watch a zebrafish embryo revive after being frozen in this Headline Science video

By American Chemical Society - Wednesday, August 16, 2017 - Full Story

Smart toys without the batteries

The greatest challenge in entertaining young children is keeping their toys powered up. Now, one group reports in the journal ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering that they are one step closer to battery-free interactive games.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 97 percent of children in the U.S. under the age of 4 have had some type of exposure to a mobile device. These devices are limited by the batteries’ ability to hold a charge.

By American Chemical Society - Wednesday, August 16, 2017 - Full Story

How animals glow (video)

WASHINGTON, Fireflies, frogs, jellyfish, mushrooms and even parrots have the ability to emit light from their bodies. These creatures use either bioluminescence or fluorescence to put on their light shows. Speaking of Chemistry explains the chemistry behind these natural light sources in this week’s video:

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By American Chemical Society - Monday, August 14, 2017 - Full Story

Rotel’s new nearly-all-in-one audio component sounds very sweet

Perhaps you could call it an "unreceiver." Or maybe a "deceiver."

However you refer to it, Rotel’s RAP-1580 is a one box solution to most current audio needs. The only mainstream feature it doesn’t have on it is a radio tuner, which would make it a "receiver." And as popular as receivers are, I can’t see why many folks would care about that in 2017, since the RAP has Bluetooth capability by which you can stream your favourite radio stations from around the world via a smart device and the Internet.

By Jim Bray - Friday, August 11, 2017 - Full Story

The nitty-gritty behind how onions make you cry

Adding onions to a recipe can make a meal taste rich and savory, but cutting up the onion can be brutal.  Onions release a compound called lachrymatory factor (LF), which makes the eyes sting and water. Scientists know that a certain enzyme causes this irritating compound to form but precisely how it helps LF form in the onion remained an open question. Now, one group reports in ACS Chemical Biology that they have the answer.

By American Chemical Society - Wednesday, August 9, 2017 - Full Story

How superhydrophobic materials stay totally dry (video)

WASHINGTON,  — Raincoats, car windshields, waterproof phones: They all use a little chemistry to stay dry. Inspired by nature, chemists use extremely water-fearing, or superhydrophobic, coatings to repel water from surfaces to keep them dry. Watch as the Reactions team uses a high-speed camera and some brave volunteers to bring the science of staying dry to life:

By American Chemical Society - Wednesday, August 9, 2017 - Full Story

Hacking the human brain – lab-made synapses for artificial intelligence

One of the greatest challenges facing artificial intelligence development is understanding the human brain and figuring out how to mimic it. Now, one group reports in ACS Nano that they have developed an artificial synapse capable of simulating a fundamental function of our nervous system — the release of inhibitory and stimulatory signals from the same “pre-synaptic” terminal.

By American Chemical Society - Friday, August 4, 2017 - Full Story

Wine snobbery: Fact vs. fiction (video)

WASHINGTON, Aug. 1, 2017 — We all know at least one wine snob who goes through all sorts of rituals that they swear will bring out the best flavor, like swirling the glass and decanting the bottle before drinking. But is there any merit to these claims? We talked to expert wine researchers and sommeliers to find out. Watch the latest Reactions video in which we play wine fact versus fiction:

By American Chemical Society - Wednesday, August 2, 2017 - Full Story

New law could shore up U.S. helium supply

Helium is essential for MRIs, the fiber optics that deliver images to our TVs, scientific research and of course, party balloons. In the past decade, helium prices have sky-rocketed due to supply shortages. But if small updates are made to an old law, the U.S. could boost its domestic helium output and help keep critical medical tests and electronics running, reports Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society.

Senior C&EN Correspondent Marc S. Reisch explains that the rise in helium prices is partly due to an uncertain market that is plagued by geopolitical disputes. For example, the recent Qatar blockade temporarily stopped helium shipments from that country, a major producer. Sales from the U.S. reserves help counter some of the instability, but the government plans to stop dipping into the stockpile. Additionally, restrictions on how helium can be extracted have caused its production in the U.S. to stall.

As a result, the U.S. House Subcommittee on Energy & Mineral Resources held a hearing in June on the newly proposed Helium Extraction Act of 2017. This bill would update the nearly 100-year-old Mineral Leasing Act to allow operators to lease and drill on federal land for the sole purpose of extracting the element. Currently, they can only recover helium when drilling for oil and gas. While this change would not immediately solve helium shortages because it takes years to establish a well, industry experts say it would be a step in the right direction.

More helium is on the way

By American Chemical Society - Thursday, July 27, 2017 - Full Story

Longer-lasting fragrance is just a shampoo away, thanks to peptides

Many people select their shampoo based on smell. Unfortunately, that scent usually doesn’t last long on hair. Now, one team reports in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces a new way to help the fragrance “stick” to hair longer.

Fragrances are one of the most expensive shampoo ingredients, but most of these floral- or fruity-smelling compounds evaporate rapidly or are easily washed away when surfactants, such as shampoos, are used. Currently, manufacturers try to keep the smells around longer by incorporating delivery systems. One such system is “profragrances” in which a polymer is attached to the scent compound and is broken off once shampooing starts, and another is encapsulation of the scent compound with polymers. Although these approaches have been shown to be effective, they still don’t help fragrances adhere to the hair for long periods. Harm-Anton Klok, Andreas Herrmann and colleagues are now looking at ways to promote the deposition of scents onto hair.

The group identified a cyclic peptide that could bind to hair under shampooing conditions, which meant a low pH and in the presence of surfactants. Then, the peptide was connected to the two popular delivery systems: a microcapsule and a profragrance model polymer. They found that the peptide efficiently deposits both types of systems to hair. The researchers say that for the polymer and microcapsule tests, those that were bound to a peptide were loaded about 5 and 20 times more efficiently, respectively, onto hair than those that lacked a peptide. This increased deposition resulted in a stronger fragrance smell on hair for up to 24 hours after shampooing.

Selective Peptide-Mediated Enhanced Deposition of Polymer Fragrance Delivery Systems on Human Hair

By American Chemical Society - Thursday, July 27, 2017 - Full Story

Personalized ‘earable’ sensor monitors body temperature in real time

Wireless, wearable sensors are all the rage with millions of people now sporting fitness trackers on their wrists. These devices can count footsteps, monitor heart rate and other vital signs. Now researchers report in the journal ACS Sensors that they have developed a 3-D printed sensor worn on the ear that measures one of the most basic medical indicators of health in real time: core body temperature.

The ups and downs of core body temperature can signal a range of health conditions. The most obvious is an infection, which causes a fever. But temperature fluctuations can also indicate insomnia, fatigue, metabolic function and depression. Current wearable sensors can detect skin temperature, but this can change depending on how hot or cold an environment is. And oral and other thermometers that measure core body temperature are designed only for periodic use and aren’t meant to be strapped on for constant detection. So Ali Javey and colleagues set out to develop a convenient device to monitor core body temperature in real time on a continuous basis.

The researchers integrated data processing circuits, a wireless module and an infrared sensor, which detects ear (and thus core body) temperature, in a 3-D printed device. The disk-like structure covers the ear and can be customized to fit the contours of a person’s ear for a comfortable fit. To ensure that users can still hear clearly while wearing the device, the researchers embedded a microphone to capture and transmit outside sounds to the inner ear. And the Bluetooth module transmits temperature measurements to a custom smartphone app. Testing showed that the “earable” sensor measurements closely matched those of a commercial ear thermometer.—“3D Printed ‘Earable’ Smart Devices for Real-Time Detection of Core Body Temperature

By American Chemical Society - Wednesday, July 26, 2017 - Full Story

The chemistry of fried chicken (video)

WASHINGTON,  Battered and deep-fried chicken might be one of the most delicious foods ever. But what makes this summer picnic staple so tasty? It all comes down to the chemistry of frying. In the latest Reactions video, learn how the delicate dance of fat at high temperatures leads to a crispy, savory summer snack:

By American Chemical Society - Thursday, July 20, 2017 - Full Story

5 Israeli precision-ag technologies making farms smarter

Israeli precision agriculture started with a drip and became a deluge.

The “drip” is drip irrigation. The single most significant advance in modern agriculture, invented in Israel by Simcha Blass and his son Yeshayahu in 1959, increases crop yield, quality and consistency while using less water.

Netafim, the multinational company founded in 1965 to commercialize the Blass invention, remains the foremost name in irrigation technologies worldwide.

The “deluge” includes a host of farm management solutions. No fewer than 70 Israeli companies make tools for measuring, analyzing, monitoring and automating processes to give crops and soil exactly what they need, exactly when and where they need it, ensuring minimal waste of resources and maximum efficiency and yield.—More…

By ISRAEL21c - Wednesday, July 19, 2017 - Full Story