Wirehaired Bugs

A study released last week reveals that many kinds of bacteria sometimes grow minuscule protein-and-iron wires that conduct electricity. The researchers say the wired microbes "will give us insights into all of microbiology that we can't even dream of yet," potentially allowing us to build more-efficient biological fuel cells and understand an important dynamic in the life of bacteria.

...read the rest of my article on Discover's website: http://discover.com/web-exclusives/nanowiredbacteria/


It's Deathly Hot...

...in the city this week. I can't go outside without melting. A new study shows that summertime heat claims more lives than all other weather-related disasters combined, including tornadoes and hurricanes.

from the press release:

“Heat is a stealth killer,” says Dr. Scott Sheridan, Kent State associate professor in geography. Funded by the Environmental Protection Agency, Sheridan recently finished conducting a study on how effectively heat warning systems have been implemented in four cities for which he developed heat warning systems, including Dayton, Ohio, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Toronto, Ontario.

Sheridan surveyed residents 65 and older in each of the four regions about their perception of heat vulnerability, their knowledge of options for dealing with the weather, and why they did or did not take action to avoid negative health outcomes during the heat emergency.

He found that almost 90 percent were aware a heat warning was issued, but only about half of the people did anything about it. Many thought messages were targeting the elderly and did not view themselves as part of that group. For those who did change their behavior on hot days, it was not necessarily due to heat warnings issued by weather forecasters but instead based on their own perceptions of heat.


Bugs sprouting tiny, tiny wires

When Yuri Gorby discovered that a microbe that makes toxic metals safe can sprout tiny electrically-conductive wires from its cell membrane, he reasoned this anatomical oddity and its metal-changing physiology must be related. Bacteria will, under particular environmental conditions sprout nanowires that can shuttle electricity to other cells.

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