The weekend and I must find a way to let the occurrences of the past week go…..not as simple as one might imagine….
I spend a bunch of my day, at least during the week, on my laptop or my netbook or my tablet….doing research and reading and ranting on my blog….and on the weekends I try to find stuff that is not in the least connected to politics……not an easy task…..but I try……
Today I found some sciencey stuff that is just way cool……as published in the Week magazine……
The bacterium Magnetospirillum magneticum can typically be found in ponds or lakes, just below the water’s surface. Magnetospirillum isn’t just your ordinary microbe, though. It possesses a strange and unique ability, one that scientists think may allow us to build faster and more powerful computers in the near future: The tiny creature regularly creates powerful nanoscale magnets that humans otherwise wouldn’t be able to build. Here’s what you should know:
What do the bacteria do, exactly?
They typically spend their time in “shallow pools of water” looking for “oxygen levels they prefer,” says Jesse Emspak at Discovery News. To find areas with higher concentrations of life-giving oxygen, the bacteria “eat” iron particles found in water and use a special protein to transform them into magnetite, “one of the most highly magnetic natural materials” on the planet. Magnetospirillum then use these magnets like compasses to “align with Earth’s magnetic field and orient themselves” toward where oxygen is most plentiful.
And we can use Magnetospirillum to build better computers?
That’s what researchers from the University of Leeds and the University of Tokyo think. “We are quickly reaching the limits of traditional electronic manufacturing as computer components get smaller,” lead researcher Sarah Staniland at the University of Leeds tells BBC News. “The machines we’ve traditionally used to build them are clumsy on such small scales.” Copying the technique of the bacteria, researchers can now produce magnets on the atomic level, which can then be used to create things like more powerful hard drives.
How do scientists do that?
They’ve isolated the special magnet-producing protein “and studied the way these microbes gather, shape, and position these supersmall magnets inside their bodies in order to re-create the phenomenon outside of the bacteria,” says RedOrbit. Now scientists can produce the same nanomagnets on cue. “Using the method developed here at Leeds, the proteins do all the hard work; they gather the iron, create the most magnetic compound, and arrange it into regularly-sized cubes,” says researcher Johanna Galloway, the doctoral candidate who developed the process.
A better ‘puter? Cool! But will they then become cheaper and more affordable for ALL the people? The more people that are able to access information, the more educated they become and in doing so they will contribute more to making this country a better place……I do not think that any of us can be against that.