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More Efficient Helicopter Blades Based on Whale Tubercles

Weitzman et al. | Dec 22, 2013

More Efficient Helicopter Blades Based on Whale Tubercles

Biomimicry is the practice of applying models and systems found in nature to improve the efficiency and usefulness of human technologies. In this study, the authors designed helicopter blades with tubercle structures similar to those found on the tails of humpback whales. The authors found that certain arrangements of these tubercle structures improved the windspeed and efficiency of a model helicopter.

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Allelopathic Effects of Kudzu (Pueraria montana) on Seed Germination and Their Potential Use As a Natural Herbicide

Mathur et al. | Dec 19, 2013

Allelopathic Effects of Kudzu (<em>Pueraria montana</em>) on Seed Germination and Their Potential Use As a Natural Herbicide

Plants in the wild compete with each other for nutrients and sunlight. Kudzu is a weed that is thought to secrete compounds that inhibit the growth of other plants. Here the authors find that certain parts of kudzu plants can block the germination of clover and dandelion seeds. These experiments may lead to a weed killer that is safe and naturally derived.

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An Investigative Analysis of Climate Change Using Historical and Modern Weather Data

Han et al. | Dec 02, 2013

An Investigative Analysis of Climate Change Using Historical and Modern Weather Data

Climate change is an important and contentious issue that has far-reaching implications for our future. The authors here compare primary temperature and precipitation data from almost 200 years ago against the present day. They find that the average annual temperature in Brooklyn, NY has risen significantly over this time, as has the frequency of precipitation, though not the amount of precipitation. These data stress the need for more ecologically-conscious choices in our daily lives.

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The Effect of UV Treatment on the Degradation of Compostable Polylactic Acid

Zhang et al. | Nov 28, 2013

The Effect of UV Treatment on the Degradation of Compostable Polylactic Acid

Polylactic acid (PLA) is a bio-based, compostable plastic that is comparable in cost to petroleum-based plastics. This study aims to evaluate the effects of UV treatment and mechanical chopping on the degradation of PLA. Based on their findings, the authors propose an alternative PLA degradation process that may be more time and energy efficient than current processes.

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Which Diaper is More Absorbent, Huggies or Pampers?

Shramko et al. | Sep 19, 2013

Which Diaper is More Absorbent, Huggies or Pampers?

The authors here investigate the absorbency of two leading brands of diapers. They find that Huggies Little Snugglers absorb over 50% more salt water than Pampers Swaddlers, although both absorb significantly more fluid than what an average newborn can produce.

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The Effects of Micro-Algae Characteristics on the Bioremediation Rate of Deepwater Horizon Crude Oil

Cao et al. | Jun 17, 2013

The Effects of Micro-Algae Characteristics on the Bioremediation Rate of Deepwater Horizon Crude Oil

Environmental disasters such as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill can be devastating to ecosystems for long periods of time. Safer, cheaper, and more effective methods of oil clean-up are needed to clean up oil spills in the future. Here, the authors investigate the ability of natural ocean algae to process crude oil into less toxic chemicals. They identify Coccochloris elabens as a particularly promising algae for future bioremediation efforts.

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Determining the Habitable Zone Around a Star

Lee et al. | May 29, 2013

Determining the Habitable Zone Around a Star

Life requires many things, including a hospitable temperature, elements, and energy. Here the authors utilize Newton's laws of physics and information relating a star's luminosity and temperature to determine the minimum and maximum masses and luminosities of planets and stars that would support life as we know it. This work can be used to determine the likelihood of a planet being able to support life based on attributes we can measure from here on Earth.

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The Effect of Font Type on a School’s Ink Cost

Mirchandani et al. | May 10, 2013

The Effect of Font Type on a School’s Ink Cost

Your choice of font can impact more than style. Here the authors demonstrate that font choice can affect the amount of ink a given print-out requires. The authors estimate that a switch to Garamond font, size 12, by all teachers in his school district would save almost $21,000 annually.

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