Let's talk about lab water
Let's talk about lab water
It’s time to give praise to that unsung hero, water! No need for skepticism, water is amazing. Don’t believe me? Covering more than 70% of the planet and making up over 60% of your body mass not enough? How about it being the only natural molecule to exist in all three physical states at temperatures found on Earth? It’s less dense in its solid form compared with its liquid form, which is why the ice floats in your gin and tonic! It’s also known as the universal solvent because it can dissolve literally thousands of other substances! Still not impressed? Ok, have a look at these amazing pieces of water research:
I’m not talking about insects skating across ponds here, but rather humans running across water! Yep, humans could absolutely run across a pool of pure water… if that pool was somewhere with weaker gravity, like say, the moon. How do we know this? Well, it’s thanks to Alberto Minetti, Yuri Ivanenko, Germana Cappellini, Nadia Dominici, and Francesco Lacquaniti, who were awarded the 2013 Ig Nobel Prize for Physics for their study ”Humans Running in Place on Water at Simulated Reduced Gravity”.
Early last year a patent was submitted to the US patent office for an egg-shaped device containing “imprinted water”. This ‘eggstra’ special gizmo would quietly sit in your fridge and radiate at 720–930 GHz, a terahertz band which would apparently “retard the activity of bacteria”. It doesn’t say how, but perhaps it’s due the “energized” or “imprinted” water contained within the ‘eggciting’ contraption. It’s all very enigmatic and worth a look. Although it seems that Eggstrafresh®, marketed by eggstrafresh.com may have beaten them to it.
Like most of us I’m sure you’ve wondered to yourself, “Would blowing air at my cow, rather than walking my cow through some water, cause it to defecate where and when I wanted it to?” I know, right? Thankfully, Canadian researchers have saved us the hard work of puzzling this out. Reporting in Applied Animal Behavior Science, they describe how it would be beneficial to train cows where to defecate in order to manage manure. They had a dozen cows walk through or stand in a footbath filled with water, or blew air or water onto their feet. Sadly, the team was forced to conclude that “[n]one of our tests reliably simulated defecation.” Just another of life’s great mysteries that remains to be solved.
(Image from http://bit.ly/1lPjhys)
You remember back in school when your chemistry teacher taught you that oil and water don’t mix? Well, they lied (at least, for some cases). Eric Adams of MIT, Scott Socolofsky of Texas A&M University, Stephen Masutani of the University of Hawaii, and the team at BP (British Petroleum) have thankfully disproved that old adage once and for all! They picked up the Ig Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2005 in recognition of this triumph – pretty slick if you ask me.
Ok, not actual bears, water bears. Tardigrades are water-dwelling organisms about 0.5 mm long and look pretty cute for a tiny arthropod! In addition to looking cool, these little guys were shot into space back 2007, which rocketed them to fame by proving them to be the first animals capable of surviving the vacuum of space, and for a whopping 10 days no less. I wish I could’ve been at the funding proposal meeting for this one! A host of additional research has shown that these little, water-dwelling bears are the original tough guys.
(image from http://bbc.in/1dgTKJ5)