3D Printer in Space, Antibiotic Laced Pesticides May Trigger Allergies, Milky Way a Member of the Laniakea Supercluster, Drink Responsibly Messages, Reducing E-Waste

Posted September 3rd, 2014 at 7:52 pm (UTC+0)
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3-D printer that will soon be delivered to the International Space Station. Items the 3-D printer created is perched on its top side. (NASA)

3-D printer that will soon be delivered to the International Space Station. Items the 3-D printer created is perched on its top side. (NASA)

NASA Hopes 3D Printer Technology Will Prove Useful in Space Voyages

NASA is taking its first step to see if it could someday create the first machine shop in outer space.

On its resupply mission that should launch sometime after September 19th, the SpaceX-4 will be delivering the first 3D printer to fly in space to the International Space Station.

The 3D printer is specially designed to operate in the micro-gravity environment of the space station.

The space agency is hoping that the 3D printer will operate properly and be able to create various items just as well in space as it does on the ground.

If the 3D printing experiment is successful, NASA says that the technology could someday help space travelers on missions into deep space produce critically needed tools or replacement parts.

Being able to create these items as they journey in space will allow mission crews to not only be more self-sufficient, but could also save space and lighten the weight of the spacecraft instead of having to store a supply of goods that may or may not be needed over the course of a mission.

 

A cornucopia of fruit and vegetables (Jina Lee via Wikipedia Commons)

A cornucopia of fruit and vegetables (Jina Lee via Wikipedia Commons)

Fruits and Vegetables Treated with Antibiotic Laced Pesticides Could Trigger Allergic Reaction in Some

Even if you don’t have any food allergies, scientists have found that danger just might be lurking in the fruits and vegetables you eat.

According to an article published in the September issue of the journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, if you’re allergic to antibiotics such as streptomycin, it could be possible to develop an allergic reaction due to a residue of antibiotics that remains in these foods.

Scientists studied a 10 year-old girl who suffered from a severe allergic reaction after eating blueberry pie despite it being free of any ingredients she is normally allergic to.

After some intensive testing of the young girl and a sample of the pie, the researchers were able to trace her allergic reaction to a streptomycin-tainted blueberry.  It turns out that this antibiotic, which is often prescribed to treat various infections in humans, is also used as an ingredient in a pesticide that fights the growth of bacteria, fungi and algae in fruit.

 

This artist's concept illustrates the new view of the Milky Way. Scientists have discovered that the Milky Way's elegant spiral structure is dominated by just two arms wrapping off the ends of a central bar of stars. Previously, our galaxy was thought to possess four major arms. (Image: NASA)

This artist’s concept of the Milky Way. (NASA)

Milky Way Found to be Part of the Laniakea Supercluster of Galaxies

Most of us already know that our solar system resides in the Milky Way galaxy.  But did you know that our galaxy is part of a supercluster containing other galaxies?

Scientists have found that rather than being randomly strewn throughout the universe, galaxies tend to be grouped in these superclusters and linked together by a network of filaments.

The international team of astronomers who recently outlined the contours of this vast supercluster also came up with a name for this gathering of galaxies: “Laniakea”, which in Hawaiian means “immense heaven”.

Their findings are outlined in an article that appears in the September 4th edition of the journal Nature.

 

A shot of whiskey (David Levinson via Flickr/Creative Commons)

A shot of whiskey (David Levinson via Flickr/Creative Commons)

Study: Drink Responsibly Messages in Liquor Ads Promote Product Not Public Health

You may have seen advertisements on TV and in magazines for various liquor products, and, at least here in the United States, most of the ads contain reminder messages to consumers such as “drink responsibly” or “enjoy in moderation”.

But a new study from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, published in the September issue of the journal Drug and Alcohol indicates that these “reminder messages” do more to promote the alcoholic product rather than deliver fundamental public health information regarding the use or abuse of alcohol.

After analyzing a number of U.S. advertisements for various alcoholic beverages that appeared in U.S. magazines from 2008 to 2010, the researchers found that these advertiser messages also need to spell out what is considered to be responsible drinking and provide clear and specific warnings to the consumer about the risks that are linked to alcohol consumption.

The researchers also indicated that their analysis of the ads containing the “responsibility messages” revealed that 88 percent of the messages wound up reinforcing the promotion of the advertised product, with many of the messages actually contradicting the visual images that were displayed in the ads.

 

Stemming the Tide of E-Waste

The E-waste centre of Agbogbloshie, Ghana, where electronic waste is burnt and disassembled with no safety or environmental considerations. (Marlenenapoli via Wikimedia Commons)

The E-waste centre of Agbogbloshie, Ghana, where electronic waste is burnt and disassembled with no safety or environmental considerations. (Marlenenapoli via Wikimedia Commons)

An article published in the American Chemical Society journal Chemical and Engineering News, notes that people around the world purchase more than 1.8 billion new mobile phones per year, with many replacing older models that wind up as e-waste instead of being recycled or reused.

Precious metals such as gold and silver, which are used to manufacture cellphones that are sold this year alone are said to be worth more than $2.5 billion, according the article.

The author offered suggestions he felt would cut down on the amount of e-waste that’s rapidly accumulating throughout the world.

Among them is to make cell phones with easily replaceable modules that allow the user to replace the worn out or broken internal elements while being able keep the remainder of the phone intact.

Another suggests that the recycling process itself be upgraded to be more efficient and environmentally friendly, allowing for the recovery of a greater number of elements.

However, the article points out that consumers themselves are the key to cutting down the amount of e-waste. Instead of simply tossing aside their used electronic equipment people should consider and embrace the idea of recycling these products.

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