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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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ScienceShot: How to Eat an Oil Spill
20 August 2012 4:42 pm
If Ben & Jerry’s really wants to help the environment, it might think about creating a new flavor of ice cream: Oil Spill Crunch. Researchers have developed an ecofriendly way to clean up oil spills that uses just a handful of ingredients—none of them petroleum-based, and all of them are commonly found in foods such as chocolate, ice cream, and peanut butter. One part of the recipe for the new dispersant—any mixture used to separate droplets in a suspension and keep them from clumping—is a cellulose-based polymer that sticks to the surface of oil droplets, thereby preventing them from tainting the feathers of seabirds and rendering them less buoyant and more susceptible to hypothermia. Other dispersants do the same job, but they can be toxic to wildlife. What’s more, the new dispersant’s ingredients can be quickly obtained in multiton quantities at a reasonable cost, the researchers report today at the fall meeting of the American Chemical Society in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. So, they suggest, the Coast Guard and other such agencies could keep small amounts of the dispersant on hand for initial rescue efforts and then readily make larger quantities as needed. If rescuers get hungry, they might even be able to eat it—though no one has tried just yet.
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