Hawaii Issues Alert for Brain-Invading Parasite Transmitted by Snails

The Hawaiian island of Maui is experiencing an uptick in infections stemming from a parasitic roundworm that invades the human brain. Or, in less scientific parlance, brain slugs. In the past three months alone, health officials have confirmed six cases of the picturesquely named rat lungworm disease, with three additional cases still pending investigation. The…

Scientists Turn Spinach into Human Heart Tissue

Popeye was right: spinach really is good for the muscles, and not just the ones in your biceps. In fact, scientists have discovered a way to use the leafy stuff, which has a vascular system not dissimilar to ours, to grow layers of working heart muscle, according to a paper published this month in the…

Solar-Powered Skin Could Help Prosthetics Imbue Sense of Touch

Engineers from the University of Glasgow have developed a synthetic skin that could help amputees regain their sense of touch. Clad in graphene, a form of graphite just one atom thick yet tougher than steel, the “electronic skin” even uses photovoltaic cells to harvest power from the sun. “This could allow the creation of an…

European Firms Eye Artificial Island for North Sea Wind and Solar Farm

Of all the opponents of wind turbines, few are as vociferous as the loose collective that planners and developers deride as “Nimby,” a term that derives from the acronym for “not in my backyard.” Driven to stake out real estate further offshore, a group of European companies have devised a plan almost breathtaking in its…

We Might be Descended From This Horrifying Sea Creature with No Anus

If you’re looking for new nightmare fuel beyond, oh we don’t know, the dissolution of democracy as we know it, meet Saccorhytus, a tiny H.R. Giger-esque monstrosity that scientists say could be our earliest-known ancestor. Going back some 540 million years, it’s also believed to be the most primitive example we have to date of…

New Super-Thin Film Acts Like ‘Air Conditioner’ for Buildings

Engineers at the University of Colorado Boulder have developed a thin, artificially structured “metamaterial” that can cool objects without the use of water or energy. The film works to lower the temperature of the surface beneath it through a process known as “passive cooling,” meaning that it vents the object’s heat through thermal radiation while…

FIT Students Turn Algae, Fungi Into Biodegradable Textiles

A group of students from New York City’s Fashion Institute of Technology have developed a biologically derived filament that can be knit, whether by hand or machine, to create a new breed of textile. Composed of alginate, a polysaccharide found in the cell walls of brown algae, the material led the so-called “Bioesters” team to…