November 12, 2020 | David F. Coppedge

Do Science for Good

Scientists should get away from philosophizing and help their fellow human beings.

A biomimetic membrane for desalinating seawater on an industrial scale (Phys.org). The common method of desalination, called reverse osmosis, is hard to scale up to industrial capacity. By imitating cell membrane channels in a marine sponge, scientists at CNRS believe they have a new way to desalinate that can be upscaled dramatically.

An international team, involving researchers from KAUST (Saudi Arabia) and Politehnico di Torino (Italy) and coordinated by scientists from the Institut Européen des Membranes (CNRS/ENSC Montpellier/University of Montpellier), has developed a hybrid strategy, which consists of combining a polyamide matrix and artificial water channels into a single structure.

Their membranes, which take the form of a sponge superstructure, have been tested under industrial conditions and outperform conventional membranes. Their flow is 75% higher than that observed with current industrial membranes and they require about 12% less energy for desalination.

Self-Watering Soil Could Transform Farming (University of Texas at Austin). Imagine having a garden that doesn’t need watering, because it draws water right out of the air. That’s what UT scientists are working on.

A new type of soil created by engineers at The University of Texas at Austin can pull water from the air and distribute it to plants, potentially expanding the map of farmable land around the globe to previously inhospitable places and reducing water use in agriculture at a time of growing droughts.

As published in ACS Materials Letters, the team’s atmospheric water irrigation system uses super-moisture-absorbent gels to capture water from the air. When the soil is heated to a certain temperature, the gels release the water, making it available to plants. When the soil distributes water, some of it goes back into the air, increasing humidity and making it easier to continue the harvesting cycle.

New method shows great potential for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease (University of Uppsala). A scourge of the elderly, memory loss due to buildup of tangled proteins in the brain, is of international concern. What if treatment could prevent the elements of those tangles from forming in the first place? Pray this method works and becomes widely available.

In Alzheimer’s disease, the peptide amyloid-beta begins to form clumps in the brain. This process is called aggregation and the clumps so created are called aggregates. The treatment methods for Alzheimer’s disease that are currently in clinical trials are attempts to bind to these disease-causing aggregates. But they are unable to bind to the smallest aggregates, which many now believe are the most toxic to neurons.

The treatment method developed in the new Uppsala research study using mice degrades the building blocks from which these aggregates form before they have a chance to aggregate. This treatment method therefore reduces the formation of all types of aggregates.

Among all the scientific verbiage about dark matter, origin of life and other useless things, articles like this stand out. They could really do some people good.

Support good science while opposing evil doctrines like Darwinism (see 25 October 2020). The projects described above combine two Biblical values: study the handiwork of the Creator (Psalm 111:1-4) and love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:39).

 

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