Heroes

2 brilliant scientific inventions that could clean up oil spills for good

Before dealing with the root cause, let's keep our oceans clean.

Every year, millions of gallons of oil enter North American oceans.

While 60% comes from oils that exist naturally under the Earth's surface, 8% of that oil comes from oil spills. And those oil spills need to be cleaned up.

Empa — otherwise known as the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Material Sciences and Technology — and Ohio State University are currently researching two promising solutions to clean up oil spills.

1. Empa's nano-fibrillated cellulose

Yep, that's a mouthful, so to put it in easier words: Empa is working on creating a sort of sponge that is created from materials with cellulose (like straw or recycled paper). But unlike straw, it only attracts oil, so it doesn't end up removing water from the ocean.


It's not any ordinary sponge. This sponge is out of this world:

"In laboratory tests the sponges absorbed up to 50 times their own weight of mineral oil or engine oil. They kept their shape to such an extent that they could be removed with pincers from the water. The next step is to fine tune the sponges so that they can be used not only on a laboratory scale but also in real disasters." — Science Daily

A superhero sponge? I want to see this in action.

2. OSU's nano-coated mesh

Now this one isn't as cute as a sponge, but it's still incredibly rad. It's a stainless steel mesh that filters water but attracts oil.

The OSU scientists studied a lot of different surfaces — like butterfly wings and shark skin — before they came upon the ultimate inspiration: The lotus leaf.

See both of these brilliant solutions in action:

Oil spills are terrible. And while we work to stop one of the root causes (human use of fossil fuels), we can also keep our oceans clean, thanks to the brilliant folks coming up with innovative ways to fight back.

Support science so we can get better at cleaning up our environment!

Joy

Man uses TikTok to offer 'dinner with dad' to any kid that needs one, even adult ones

Summer Clayton is the father of 2.4 million kids and he couldn’t be more proud.

Come for the food, stay for the wholesomeness.

Summer Clayton is the father of 2.4 million kids and he couldn’t be more proud. His TikTok channel is dedicated to giving people intimate conversations they might long to have with their own father, but can’t. The most popular is his “Dinner With Dad” segment.

The concept is simple: Clayton, aka Dad, always sets down two plates of food. He always tells you what’s for dinner. He always blesses the food. He always checks in with how you’re doing.

I stress the stability here, because as someone who grew up with a less-than-stable relationship with their parents, it stood out immediately. I found myself breathing a sigh of relief at Clayton’s consistency. I also noticed the immediate emotional connection created just by being asked, “How was your day?” According to relationship coach and couples counselor Don Olund, these two elements—stability and connection—are fundamental cravings that children have of their parents. Perhaps we never really stop needing it from them.


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Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy asked his Senate colleagues the questions millions of Americans have after a mass shooting.

Another school shooting. Another mass murder of innocent children. They were elementary school kids this time. There were 18 children killed—so far—this time.

The fact that I can say "this time" is enraging, but that's the routine nature of mass shootings in the U.S. It happened in Texas this time. At least three adults were killed this time. The shooter was a teenager this time.

The details this time may be different than the last time and the time before that, and the time before that, and the time before that. But there's one thing all mass shootings have in common. No, it's not mental illness. It's not racism or misogyny or religious extremism. It's not bad parenting or violent video games or lack of religion.

Some of those things have been factors in some shootings, but the single common denominator in every mass shooting is guns. That's not a secret. It's not controversial. It's fact. The only thing all mass shootings have in common is guns.

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Joy

Meet Eva, the hero dog who risked her life saving her owner from a mountain lion

Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva when a mountain lion suddenly appeared.

Photo by Didssph on Unsplash

A sweet face and fierce loyalty: Belgian Malinois defends owner.

The Belgian Malinois is a special breed of dog. It's highly intelligent, extremely athletic and needs a ton of interaction. While these attributes make the Belgian Malinois the perfect dog for police and military work, they can be a bit of a handful as a typical pet.

As Belgian Malinois owner Erin Wilson jokingly told NPR, they’re basically "a German shepherd on steroids or crack or cocaine.”

It was her Malinois Eva’s natural drive, however, that ended up saving Wilson’s life.

According to a news release from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva slightly ahead of her when a mountain lion suddenly appeared and swiped Wilson across the left shoulder. She quickly yelled Eva’s name and the dog’s instincts kicked in immediately. Eva rushed in to defend her owner.

It wasn’t long, though, before the mountain lion won the upper hand, much to Wilson’s horror.

She told TODAY, “They fought for a couple seconds, and then I heard her start crying. That’s when the cat latched on to her skull.”

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