MastersConnection 2020
Issue 471 In This Issue March 26th, 2016

Editors Corner

Have you ever wondered if clothes could be self-cleaning? Apparently some researchers may have figured out how to do just that. Textiles with nanostructures of copper and silver, when exposed to sunlight, can clean themselves of stains and grime. Click here

Speaking of discoveries, did you know that a type of bacteria called methylotrophs, which live quite abundantly in the ocean, have been identified as a massive source of methanol (a poisonous type of alcohol that can be used as fuel)? Click here

Another discovery that was made fairly recently, has changed where scientists believe camels evolved. It is now believed that camels got their water storing capabilities, among other traits, from snow country, rather then the hot desserts we've come to think of as their natural habitat. Click here

There's more, but I will leave the rest for you to discover and enjoy.
Have a wonderful Easter and we'll see you next week.

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Technology Watch

Nanotechnology self-cleaning clothes are on the way, RMIT University researchers say
People could soon be able to replace their washing machines with a little bit of sunshine, thanks to pioneering nanotechnology research being developed by RMIT University researchers. The researchers have been working on self-cleaning textiles, by growing nanostructures on textiles which — when exposed to light — release a burst of energy that then degrades organic matter. So sunshine, or even just a light bulb, could get rid of stains and grime. And they said the next step could be antibacterial textiles that could kill superbugs. Dr Rajesh Ramanathan, one of the lead researchers at the Ian Potter NanoBioSensing Facility and NanoBiotechnology Research Lab at RMIT, said the team worked with copper and silver-based nanostructures, which are known for their ability to absorb visible light. "Basically what we do is take a simple cotton textile, we have a few different new methodologies to grow nanostructures directly on them, and then once these structures are formed we can just shine light on them," Dr Ramanathan said. "Because the nanostructure is metal-based they can absorb visible light, what that does is it basically excites the metal nanoparticles which are present on the surface.

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Nature Watch

You have no idea where camels really come from

Previously unknown, massive source of methanol identified
A team of scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) have identified the massive, previously unknown source of methanol in the ocean. According to the study, the phytoplankton, microscopic plant-like organisms, possess a surprising and unique ability to biologically produced methanol in abundant quantities, which could compare or even exceed the methanol amounts produced on the land. Research results will help to answer important questions about ocean microbiology and the amount of methanol generated on our planet. It could also spur further research of biofuel applications. "Methanol can be considered a ‘baby sugar’ molecule and is rapidly consumed in the ocean by abundant bacteria – called methylotrophs – which specialize in this type of food. However, up until now, the thought was that methanol in the ocean came from an overflow of terrestrial methanol in the atmosphere. So, this discovery reveals a huge source of methanol that has gone completely unaccounted for in global methanol estimates," said Dr. Tracy Mincer, WHOI associate scientist and lead author of the paper.

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History Watch

Isaac Newton's recipe for magical 'Philosopher's Stone' rediscovered: 17th-century alchemy manuscript reveals ingredients it was thought could make people IMMORTAL
A handwritten manuscript from nearly 400 years ago has revealed a glimpse of the recipe for the mythical ‘philosopher’s stone.’ The 17th century document was penned by Isaac Newton, and is a copy of another known alchemist’s text. After decades in a private collection, the text was purchased by the Chemical Heritage Foundation in the US, which has revealed the early steps in a process alchemists thought could turn lead to gold. In the text, the alchemist describes the process for making ‘philosophic mercury,’ according to Chemistry World. Shortened as ‘sophick,’ philosophic mercury was thought to be a key substance in the creation of the philosopher’s stone, researchers say. ‘Philosophic mercury was [thought to be] a substance that could be used to break down metals into their constituent parts,’ James Voelkel, the CHF’s curator of rare books, told Chemistry World. ‘The idea is if you break the metals down you can then reassemble them and make different metals.’ Translated from Latin, the title of the manuscript reads ‘Preparation of the [Sophick] Mercury for the [Philosophers’] Stone by the Antimonial Stellate Regulus of Mars and Luna from the Manuscripts of the American Philosopher.’ While researchers aren’t sure if Newton ever actually tried to make the substance, Voelkel says it would not have been ‘out of character for him,’ and he likely used the text as a reference.

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Triad Theater
Calendar of Events

March 12th - 26th: Phoenix Rising Children's Art Show
Please show your support for these talented children and stop by Weekends & Wednesdays: 4pm-6pm through March 26th

March 26th @ 7pm: Sing-along - Jesus Christ Super Star
The greatest story ever told with Andrew Loyd Webbers outstanding Musical Direction! Powerful! Thought provoking!
Pay at the door $10 for adults, $5 children.

April 1st @ 9pm: Comedians hit the stage - No Foolin'
April fools stand-up comedy featuring Chris Walter, Tracee Mitchell, Robert Moore, Evelyn Jensen
$25 includes one beverage - CLICK HERE for tickets

April 8th @ 7pm: Documentary - Cooked
As he tries his hand at baking, brewing and braising, acclaimed food writer Michael Pollan explores how cooking transforms food and shapes our world. Based on Michael Pollan's book. Cost: $8.

Every Sunday in April, 1pm to 4pm: The Truth about Cancer - A Global Quest
Admission $8per/$25 package (no need to pre-register-pay at the door)

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In The News

Environmental Research Reveals Seattle Salmon are on Drugs — Thanks, Humans!
A paper published in the journal Environmental Pollution has given a fresh meaning to the phrase “you are what you eat” — but this time, it’s in reference to the polluted diet of Pacific Northwest chinook salmon. Once hailed as an exceptionally healthy food, salmon has come under scrutiny as the ecosystem has become increasingly toxic from industrial waste, plastics, microbeads, general pollution and now, sewage treatment plants. The research was conducted in the Puget Sound area near Seattle, Washington, and found the amount of drugs and chemicals dumped into waterways could be as much as 97,000 pounds a year. This cocktail of toxins involved 81 different pharmaceuticals and personal-care products — including antidepressants like Paxil and Zoloft, narcotic pain relievers such as Oxycontin and Darvon, along with a range of antibiotics, fungicides, insecticides, antiseptics and anticoagulants. In some instances, cocaine, DEET and female reproductive hormones were also detected.

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High lead levels found in North Minneapolis - regulator
High levels of airborne lead particles and other heavy metals have been detected in North Minneapolis, Minnesota, by state environmental regulators. Health officials said the pollution may have long-term impacts for nearby residents and workers. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) reported"violations of the state standard for particles" in an industrial section of North Minneapolis. Air monitors installed near the Northern Metals recycling plant along the Mississippi River in 2013 and 2014 now show that heavy metal presence in the area is cause for concern, the agency said. "The two air monitors, on the west bank of the river near the Lowry Avenue Bridge, recorded lead at higher levels than at other Minnesota locations," MPCA announced on Thursday. "In addition, while other metals don't have state or federal standards, chromium, cobalt and nickel were measured at levels above health-based guidelines used by state and federal agencies to set protective levels for air emissions." It was only recently that the agency air monitors gathered enough data to accurately judge air quality near the recycling plant, which is suspected by officials to be a top contributor to the pollution levels, MPCA Assistant Commissioner David Thornton said.

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This green entrepreneur was once an undocumented farmworker
We’ve come to think of the tech world’s heroes as well-educated, creative people who dream of saving our world with their ideas. In the popular imagination, their stories follow a similar path, one that involves dropping out of Harvard or Stanford to create the next big thing. Ruben Garcia’s story is nothing like that. Born in Mexico, he grew up as an undocumented farmworker, picking onions when he was just 5 years old, and never attended college. But Garcia’s remarkable innovations are helping to clean up the shipping industry. “We can make a huge difference,” Garcia says of his company, Advanced Environmental Group, based in Long Beach, Calif. “And we want to make a difference.” Massive container vessels, like the ones that sail to the Port of Long Beach, are among the planet’s super polluters. One estimate said particulate matter from their exhaust caused 87,000 deaths from cardiopulmonary disease and lung cancer in 2012. The Guardian estimated that the world’s 15 biggest ships belch as many emissions as all of the cars on the planet.

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GMO Watch

USDA okays Monsanto’s herbicide-resistant GMO corn w/o permits
The US Department of Agriculture will end regulation of Monsanto’s genetically-modified corn that is engineered to resist the company’s herbicide, the federal regulator said. Farmers will now be able to plant the corn strains without permits. The action, announced by USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service on Wednesday, applies to Monsanto’s MON87419 corn strain, which resists dicamba- and glufosinate-based herbicides. These resistances allow farmers to grow plants that aren’t destroyed by herbicides produced by the same companies that designed the genetically-modified crops themselves. Monsanto’s August 2015 petition for nonregulated status was granted by regulators despite two dozen unfavorable statements during the USDA’s public comment period. One such concern was from the consumer rights nonprofit Food & Water Watch, which said that allowing such herbicide-resistant crops to proliferate could “lead to an increase in dicamba use, which will spur the evolution of dicamba‚Äźresistant weeds and the abandonment of conservation tillage practices.”

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On The Lighter Side

Now that's an Easter egg hunt! Latest internet brain-teaser drives viewers mad trying to find an egg among rabbits

First he drove the internet mad trying to find a panda among a group of snowmen, then he challenged you to pick out a cat blended into rows of owls. Now Hungarian cartoonist Gergely Dudas is back with an Easter-themed puzzle that involves an egg cleverly disguised alongside a group of bunnies.

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