Models as maps and maps as interfaces

One of my favorite conceptual metaphors from David Basanta is of mathematical models as maps. From this perspective, we as scientists are exploring an unknown realm of our particular domain of study. And we want to share with others what we’ve learned, maybe so that they can follow us, so we build a model. We draw a map. At first, we might not know how to identify prominent landmarks, or orient ourselves in our fields.…

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Nanoplastics accumulating in marine organisms

I’m starting to have a collection of postings related to plastic nanoparticles and aquatic life (I have a listing below). The latest originates in Singapore (from a May 31, 2018 news item on ScienceDaily), Plastic nanoparticles — these are tiny pieces of plastic less than 1 micrometre in size — could potentially contaminate food chains, and ultimately affect human health, according to a recent study by scientists from the National University of Singapore (NUS). They…

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How UAVs can help industry detect methane gas

Unoccupied Aerial Vehicles (UAVs or drones) are also becoming a tool of interest for upstream oil and gas producers. A methane gas detection UAV is capable of spotting small, isolated gas leaks at ground level from up to 30 meters in the air — a feat that’s not quite as easy as it sounds.

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Colo(u)r-changing bandage for better compression

This is a structural colo(u)r story, from a May 29, 2018 news item on Nanowerk, Compression therapy is a standard form of treatment for patients who suffer from venous ulcers and other conditions in which veins struggle to return blood from the lower extremities. Compression stockings and bandages, wrapped tightly around the affected limb, can help to stimulate blood flow. But there is currently no clear way to gauge whether a bandage is applying an…

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ArtSci Salon visits the Society for Literature, Science & the Arts 2018 Meeting in Toronto (Canada) while Vancouver’s Curiosity Collider provides a November 2018 update

I have two art/sci (or sciart) announcements, one concerns an event and the other is a news update. Toronto’s ArtSci Salon and the Society of Literature, Science & the Arts (SLSA) 2018 Meeting How could I not have stumbled across SLSA until now? Better late than never but the 2018 meeting/conference in Toronto, Canada is the 32nd of this annual event. (sigh) Getting on to the important points, the ArtSci Salon is hosting a special…

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Wooden supercapacitors: a cellulose nanofibril story

A May 24, 2018 news item on Nanowerk announces a technique for making sustainable electrodes (Note: A link has been removed), Carbon aerogels are ultralight, conductive materials, which are extensively investigated for applications in supercapacitor electrodes in electrical cars and cell phones. Chinese scientists have now found a way to make these electrodes sustainably. The aerogels can be obtained directly from cellulose nanofibrils, the abundant cell-wall material in wood, finds the study reported in the…

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Bourbaki vs the Russian method as a lens on heuristic models

There are many approaches to teaching higher maths, but two popular ones, that are often held in contrast to each other, are the Bourbaki and Russian methods. The Bourbaki method is named after a fictional mathematician — a nom-de-plume used by a group of mostly French mathematicians in the middle of the 20th century — Nicholas Bourbaki, who is responsible for an extremely abstract and axiomatic treatment of much of modern mathematics in his encyclopedic…

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Electrode-filled elastic fiber for wearable electronics and robots

This work comes out of Switzerland. A May 25, 2018 École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) press release (also on EurekAlert) announces their fibers, EPFL scientists have found a fast and simple way to make super-elastic, multi-material, high-performance fibers. Their fibers have already been used as sensors on robotic fingers and in clothing. This breakthrough method opens the door to new kinds of smart textiles and medical implants. It’s a whole new way of thinking…

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Transparent graphene electrode technology and complex brain imaging

Michael Berger has written a May 24, 2018 Nanowerk Spotlight article about some of the latest research on transparent graphene electrode technology and the brain (Note: A link has been removed), … In new work, scientists from the labs of Kuzum [Duygu Kuzum, an Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of California, San Diego {UCSD}] and Anna Devor report a transparent graphene microelectrode neural implant that eliminates light-induced artifacts to enable…

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Creating cheap, small carbon nanotubes

The excitement fairly crackles off the video, A May 24, 2018 news item on Nanowerk announces the research, Imagine a box you plug into the wall that cleans your toxic air and pays you cash. That’s essentially what Vanderbilt University researchers produced after discovering the blueprint for turning the carbon dioxide into carbon nanotubes with small diameters. Carbon nanotubes are supermaterials that can be stronger than steel and more conductive than copper. The reason they’re…

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