Feather Phobia | Warp Bubble | Olympic Recycling ('21 Favorites) - The Convo Kit #29
Happy New Year! Here are my favorite science, space, and tech stories from last year. Coincidentally, they are also the top stories of 2022…so far.
What are your favorites?
- New Year’s Steve
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Science: Feather Phobia, TCK #23
Fresh murder tends to lower property value, for humans and birds. Some bird species manipulate their housing market by faking death in the nest.
Birds strategically place feathers in the nest before foraging
Color coding: white feathers > dark feathers in nest defense
Real estate competition is a constant and deadly reality for many birds
Studies show would-be nest thieves are less likely to squat in a dwelling with feathers strewn about. The feathery mess could indicate a nearby predator’s recent feast; no nest is worth dying for. Which is precisely why I’ve replaced all my locks with white feathers.
Space: Warp Bubble, TCK #26
Dr. Harold White claims to have accidentally discovered a “Warp Bubble” while studying the Casimer effect. A potentially key breakthrough based on physicist Miguel Alcubierre’s 1994 theory on using warp drives to travel beyond the speed of light.
Oversimplified warp physics: shorten distance by bending space with negative matter/energy
Like how folding paper makes the corners closer
Casimer effect: Manufacturing energy imbalance between conducting plates
Dr. White previously worked on warp drive theory for NASA and did not expect to find anything warpy during this study. While his findings are reviewed and debated, White intends to move forward testing a mini-warp craft.
Tech: Olympic Recycling, TCK #8
Recent Olympians competed for the eternal glory of recycled phones. Tokyo's Olympic committee collected small electronic devices from 2017-2019 to be melted into the most meta medal metal.
78,985 tons of recycled devices
70 lbs of gold, 7,716 lbs of silver, 4,850 lbs of bronze
Global electronic waste per year: 53 million tons
Can’t wait to wear my old phone around my neck and tell everyone I’m actually Michael Phelps. Though we may not actually be Olympic athletes, yet, we can take a page from the “2020” Olympics and responsibly recycle our electronics.
Evolution by War, TCK #19
Female elephants in Mozambique have ditched their tusks in just a few decades. During a civil war, ~90% of the elephant population was killed for ivory to fund each side.
~14% tuskless population increase over 27 years
Tusklessness is usually a disadvantage, unless you’re avoiding poachers
Elephants can live without tusks, but it drastically changes their ecosystem
Researchers believe a mutated AMELX gene on the X chromosome determines tusklessness due to its relation to enamel production. Males with this mutation usually die as it’s tied to other integral genes on their sole X chromosome.
Charging Room, TCK #13
Researchers have created the dream: A room that safely charges electronic devices through the air. The system utilizes magnetic fields as opposed to microwave radiation in similar technology.
50 watts of electricity
Installed via small capacitors
By using magnetic fields this technology is theoretically safe to use for medical devices such as heart implants. Wireless charging would remove the need for an external power supply and the associated infection risk. No word on if Android and Apple users will have to charge in separate rooms.
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