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— Space

Scientists propose using gravity microlensing to keep Kepler in the hunt

Last month, NASA declared its Kepler mission to hunt exoplanets at an end when one of the space telescope’s reaction wheels failed. Unable to keep itself pointed in the right direction, it could no longer carry on its hunt for planets beyond the Solar System. That seemed like the end of things, but Keith Horne of the University of St Andrews and Andrew Gould of Ohio State University disagree. They claim that Kepler could still hunt for exoplanets using gravity microlensing to detect how stars with planets distort space. Read More

Portable device detects toxic blue-green algae in water

Cyanobacteria, more commonly known as blue-green algae, can potentially be quite nasty. Some types of the bacteria produce toxins, which can poison humans or other animals that ingest water in which they’re present. Now, however, scientists are developing a portable sensor that will instantly alert users to the presence of the microbes in water samples. Read More
— Children

Seal system aims to keep kids from drowning

It can’t be easy, being a lifeguard at a pool full of children. The kids that catch your attention are going to be the ones who are splashing and yelling, whereas the ones that you really need to look for could be silently slipping below the surface, where they won’t be seen or heard. North Carolina-based emergency physician Graham Snyder decided that those potential drowning victims needed more attention drawn to their predicament, so he created the Seal system. Read More

Water Balance reminds you to love your houseplants

Most of us, at one time or another, have forgotten to water houseplants or flowers sitting in a vase in our homes. It's very easy to do, particularly if you have a busy lifestyle and one too many chores to do each day. If only housebound flowers and plants had a way of communicating with us their need for a drink ... Now they do, thanks to Water Balance. Read More
— Environment

Nanoscavengers could be the next-gen water purifiers

According to a joint World Health Organization/UNICEF report issued this week, an estimated 768 million people relied on unimproved drinking-water sources in 2011, with 185 million of these relying on surface water to meet their daily drinking-water needs. WHO and UNICEF have set a 2030 target for everyone to have access to a safe drinking-water supply and new water-purifying “nanoscavengers” developed by researchers at Stanford University could help achieve this goal. Read More
— Outdoors

NDūR Survival Straw purifies water while you drink

Most of us take water for granted. If we want a drink, we turn a tap or twist a cap and there it is. But if you find yourself off the beaten track in triple-digit heat without it, locating some can mean the difference between life and death. Finding a pool of water in the shade of a rock may seem like a godsend, but then the question of waterborne diseases raises its head. That’s where the NDūR Survival Straw comes in. Read More
— Outdoors

LifeSaver Jerrycan purifies 5 gallons of water for drinking and showering

The LIFESAVER Jerrycan is a large water purification jug that could be of great use to everyone from campers to inhabitants of remote villages. The Jerrycan incorporates a built-in filtration system which can purify 18.5 liters (4.9 gallons) of water at a time, along with an integrated shower attachment that lets you use the water for cleaning as well as drinking. Read More