Scientists have created a carbon-trapping mineral in a lab
It’s still only in the lab at this stage, and then there’s the problem of where, exactly, to store the carbon-impregnated magnesite.
The precise formation of the mineral magnesite is MgCO3, which is one part magnesium, one part carbon, and three parts oxygen.
Put together, it forms a mineral that can actually trap carbon molecules—potentially, a humanity-saving discovery.
Natural magnesite crystal (4 microns wide). Credit: Ian Power
There are two major problems so far with it:
1) It takes a metric ton of the stuff to remove a half-ton of carbon from the atmosphere. This will likely create a situation where the mineral works as intended, but storing those tons of magnesite will become a bigger problem.
2) It takes hundreds of thousands of years for the mineral to form naturally, through a process known as hydrothermal metamorphism, where water at high temperatures, combined with pressure, changes magnesium-rich rocks such as peridotite into magnesite.
What these scientists have at least initially solved is the second problem. They have found a much faster way to create magnesite. To do so, they used polystyrene microspheres, which are used in many disciplines of science and are widely available, to cause magnesite crystallization within 72 days—exponentially faster, in other words. A bonus is that it happens at room temperature, which means it doesn’t take energy to create it.
"Our work shows two things. Firstly, we have explained how and how fast magnesite forms naturally. This is a process which takes hundreds to thousands of years in nature at Earth's surface. The second thing we have done is to demonstrate a pathway which speeds this process up dramatically,” said Professor Ian Power of Trent University, Ontario, CA, study lead.
Magnesite sediments in a playa (desert basin) in British Columbia, Canada. Credit: Ian Power
Since humans add 40 billion tons of extra carbon dioxide to the atmosphere every year, doing the quick math tells us: It will take 20 billion tons of magnesite, per year, to trap all of that.
At least, it’s a start.
More from Professor Power: ”For now, we recognize that this is an experimental process, and will need to be scaled up before we can be sure that magnesite can be used in carbon sequestration. This depends on several variables, including the price of carbon and the refinement of the sequestration technology, but we now know that the science makes it do-able.”
Antimicrobial resistance is growing worldwide, rendering many "work horse" medicines ineffective. Without intervention, drug-resistant pathogens could lead to millions of deaths by 2050. Thankfully, companies like Pfizer are taking action.
- Antimicrobial-resistant pathogens are one of the largest threats to global health today.
- As we get older, our immune systems age, increasing our risk of life threatening infections. Without reliable antibiotics, life expectancy could decline for the first time in modern history.
- If antibiotics become ineffective, common infections could result in hospitalization or even death. Life-saving interventions like cancer treatments and organ transplantation would become more difficult, more often resulting in death. Routine procedures would become hard to perform.
- Without intervention, resistant pathogens could result in 10 million annual deaths by 2050.
- By taking a multi-faceted approach—inclusive of adherence to good stewardship, surveillance and responsible manufacturing practices, as well as an emphasis on prevention and treatment—companies like Pfizer are fighting to help curb the spread.
Entrepreneur and author Andrew Horn shares his rules for becoming an assured conversationalist.
- To avoid basing action on external validation, you need to find your "authentic voice" and use it.
- Finding your voice requires asking the right questions of yourself.
- There are 3-5 questions that you would generally want to ask people you are talking to.
Sarco assisted suicide pods come in three different styles, and allow you to die quickly and painlessly. They're even quite beautiful to look at.
Death: it happens to everyone (except, apparently, Keanu Reeves). But while the impoverished and lower-class people of the world die in the same ol' ways—cancer, heart disease, and so forth—the upper classes can choose hip and cool new ways to die. Now, there's an assisted-suicide pod so chic and so stylin' that peeps (young people still say peeps, right?) are calling it the "Tesla" of death... it's called... the Sarco!
Swiss researchers identify new dangers of modern cocaine.
- Cocaine cut with anti-worming adulterant levamisole may cause brain damage.
- Levamisole can thin out the prefrontal cortex and affect cognitive skills.
- Government health programs should encourage testing of cocaine for purity.
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