96. Universal Blood Type Organs, Rapid Hydrogen Fuel Generation, Startup Drilling For Geothermal Energy

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Summary: News: <p><a href="https://interestingengineering.com/universal-blood-type-organs">Scientists create universal blood type organs for transplant</a> | Interesting Engineering (01:34)</p> <ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">There are 106,435 people in the United States waiting for an organ transplant.</li> <li style="font-weight:400;">Someone in need of a heart or lung spends an average of four months on the recipient list before a suitable organ becomes available.<ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">Waiting for a kidney typically lasts five years.</li> <li style="font-weight:400;">These averages don't reflect the patient's blood type</li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">Marcelo Cypel, a thoracic surgeon, tells IE that people with type O blood are 20 percent more likely to die while waiting for a lung than patients with type A blood. <ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">45 percent of people in the U.S. having type O blood</li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">The reason for that disparity lies in the immune system<ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">Someone with type O blood has an immune system that will attack a transplanted organ that comes from a donor of any other blood type.</li> <li style="font-weight:400;">The differences in blood type can be fatal: A blood transfusion of just 50 milliliters of incompatible blood can kill a person.</li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">The separation by blood type also leads to missed opportunities for a new lease on life if someone has the wrong blood type.<ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">Cypel expands on that stating, “There are situations where we may get a B donor, but we don't have a B recipient … In that case, today, we just don't use that organ; that organ gets buried.”</li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">In a recent study, researchers provide a potential solution: They used a combination of technologies to convert eight type-A lungs into type-O lungs, which are far less likely to be attacked by a patient's immune system, regardless of their blood type.</li> <li style="font-weight:400;">People with type O blood are highly desirable organ donors because their antigens are not adorned with the type-A triangles or type-B squares that would provoke the other's immune systems. <ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">The researchers figured out how to use enzymes to remove billions of type-B squares or type-A triangles while leaving the circles intact. </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">Convert lungs to type O by cutting off the extra sugars. </li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">By showing that the enzymes can dramatically lower the number of antigens on lungs that weren't suitable for transplantation into human patients, the researchers have taken a big step toward proving to stakeholders that the research could be transformative.</li> </ul> <p><a href="https://newatlas.com/science/mosquito-killing-clove-oil/">Scientists boost the mosquito-killing effect of natural clove oil</a> | New Atlas (07:16)</p> <ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">The best method of limiting the transmission of mosquito-borne diseases is to kill the mosquito larvae<ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">Involves the use of synthetic insecticides, which accumulate in soil, water and food potentially causing health problems in both people and wildlife</li> <li style="font-weight:400;">Mosquitoes typically build up a resistance to insecticides over time.</li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">A new study now suggests a method of improving the effectiveness of a cheaper, longer-lasting alternative – clove oil.</li> <li style="font-weight:400;">A substance called <a href="https://newatlas.com/dengue-research-wolbachia-clove/26967/?itm_source=newatlas&amp;itm_medium=article-body">Eugenol</a>, which is found in clove (Syzygium aromaticum), can kill the larva of the dengue mosquito in 24 hours.<ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">Can be prepared at home by blending 60 clove buds and a cup of water. </li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">The oil is safe for the environment, and the cloves from which it's made are inexpensive and readily available in regions where mosquito-transmitted diseases such as malaria, Zika and dengue fever are widespread.</li> <li style="font-weight:400;">Scientists from India's Gauhati University set out to boost the oil’s larvae-killing capabilities.<ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">They found that a liquid organic compound by the name of piperonyl butoxide (PBO) had a particularly pronounced lethal effect on Aedes aegypti mosquito larvae.</li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">Assoc. Prof. Bulbuli Khanikor stated, “The use of synergists, either synthetic or natural, along with insecticides like eugenol helps to prevent resistance development … In the present study, combining synergists like piperonyl butoxide with eugenol was found to enhance the effectiveness of eugenol significantly."</li> <li style="font-weight:400;">It should be noted that while PBO is considered to be only minimally toxic to humans, it is highly toxic to aquatic invertebrates and tadpoles<ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">Ideally be limited to the puddles where mosquitos frequently breed, as opposed to larger marshes or ponds.</li> </ul> </li> </ul> <p><a href="https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/02/220218100644.htm">Easy aluminum nanoparticles for rapid, efficient hydrogen generation from water</a> | Science Daily (12:28)</p> <ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">For years, researchers have tried to find efficient and cost-effective ways to use aluminum's reactivity to generate clean hydrogen fuel</li> <li style="font-weight:400;">A new study shows that an easily produced composite of gallium and aluminum creates aluminum nanoparticles that react rapidly with water at room temperature to yield large amounts of hydrogen.<ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">Even though gallium is not abundant and is relatively expensive, the gallium was easily recovered for reuse after the reaction</li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">"We don't need any energy input, and it bubbles hydrogen like crazy. I've never seen anything like it," said UCSC Chemistry Professor Scott Oliver.</li> <li style="font-weight:400;">Previous studies had mostly used aluminum-rich mixtures of aluminum and gallium, or in some cases more complex alloys.<ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">But in this study they found that hydrogen production increased with a gallium-rich composite.</li> <li style="font-weight:400;">In fact, the rate of hydrogen production was so unexpectedly high the researchers thought there must be something fundamentally different about this gallium-rich alloy.</li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">In this gallium-rich composite, the gallium serves both to dissolve the aluminum oxide coating and to separate the aluminum into nanoparticles.<ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">Making the composite required nothing more than simple manual mixing.</li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">The composite can be made with readily available sources of aluminum, including used foil or cans, and the composite can be stored for long periods by covering it with cyclohexane to protect it from moisture.</li> <li style="font-weight:400;">It remains to be seen, however, if this process can be scaled up to be practical for commercial hydrogen production.</li> </ul> <p><a href="https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-02-gut-bacteriophages-function-memory-flies.html">Gut bacteriophages associated with improved executive function and memory in flies, mice and humans</a> | MedicalXpress (16:05)</p> <ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">A team of researchers in Spain have found evidence of the presence of certain bacteriophages in the gut promoting better executive function and memory in flies, mice and humans.<ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">Prior research has shown that certain types of bacteria in the gut can promote or hinder mental functioning</li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">In this new effort, the researchers wondered if the same might be true of bacteriophages, which are viruses that parasitize bacteria and reproduce inside of them.</li> <li style="font-weight:400;">They first tested fecal samples from 114 volunteers and then again from another 942 volunteers, both times measuring levels of either bacteriophage (Microviridae and Caudovirales).<ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">Gave each volunteer several memory and cognitive tests.</li> <li style="font-weight:400;">Volunteers with higher levels of Caudovirales tended to do better on the tests</li> <li style="font-weight:400;">To contrast, volunteers with high levels of Microviridae tended to do worse on the tests.</li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">The researchers then conducted a study of various types of foods to find out how the two kinds of bacteriophage might make their way into the human gut.<ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">a common route appeared to be through dairy products.</li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">The researchers continued their work by transplanting fecal samples from the human volunteers into the guts of fruit flies and mice. <ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">Then tested their cognitive and memory abilities against control groups. </li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">As with the human test subjects, the researchers found that those given samples with high levels of Caudovirales tended to do better on the tests, while those given doses of Microviridae did worse.<ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">The work does not prove that bacteriophages in the gut can have an impact on cognitive abilities but suggests it does seem likely.</li> </ul> </li> </ul> <p> </p> <p><a href="https://singularityhub.com/2022/02/14/startup-aims-to-drill-12-miles-into-earths-crust-to-tap-the-boundless-energy-below/">Startup Will Drill 12 Miles Into Earth's Crust to Tap the Boundless Energy Below</a> | SingularityHub (21:02)</p> <ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">What if there was a nearly limitless source of energy available anywhere on the planet? </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">What if the only thing preventing us from tapping said energy source was technology? </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">And what if that tech drew on the expertise of a century-old, trillion-dollar industry, and could readily slot into much of the infrastructure already built for that industry?<ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">Geothermal</li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">The core of our planet is hotter than the surface of the sun—all we have to do is drill deep enough to liberate some of its heat.<ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">The dream of the startup Quaise Energy, which spun out of MIT in 2018, and they recently secured $40 million in new funding to go after it.</li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">The big idea? Swap out traditional drill bits for millimeter-wave beams of light to vaporize rock instead of crushing it. <ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">Millimeter-wave energy—an electromagnetic frequency in the territory of microwaves</li> <li style="font-weight:400;">Shoots down the drill hole alongside a gas—nitrogen, air, or argon—and evaporates layers of rock deep in the Earth.</li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">Contactless drills could bore holes as deep as 12 miles into the Earth’s crust where the rock reaches temperatures upwards of 700 degrees Fahrenheit. </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">Water goes down the hole, is converted to supercritical steam, and shoots back to the surface to drive standard turbines and produce electricity to feed the grid<ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">Supercritical steam, a fourth phase of water that’s neither liquid nor gas </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">Holds 4 to 10 times as much energy per unit mass and doubles its conversion to electricity.</li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">According to the company, they are targeting the temperature of the rocks below the surface, not depth. The CEO Carlos Araque stated:<ul> <li style="font-weight:400;">“We want geothermal to be viable no matter where you are in the world, and for that you need to go deeper … 20 kilometers, 12 miles, will pretty much get you 95 percent of the population of the world.”</li> </ul> </li> <li style="font-weight:400;">Earth’s geological engine isn’t scheduled to die for a billion years, and its energy is available from any point on the surface—as long as we can dig deep enough.</li> <li style="font-weight:400;">As the technology advances, geothermal could become an abundant and reliable addition to the energy mix.</li> </ul> <p> </p> <p> </p>