Tesla introduces “Bioweapon Defense Mode”

Tesla Motors showed off some tests of their amusingly-named “Bioweapon Defense Mode” on their blog earlier this week. While the demo is raising some skeptical eyebrows among actual biodefense experts, you don’t need crazy movie-plot scenarios to imagine the utility of a more serious approach to indoor air quality in vehicles — air quality in …

Flint may not be alone

The Guardian is reporting that lead contamination may be a problem “in every major city east of the Mississippi,” and that, as in Flint, contamination may be deliberately covered up by local water utilities through a loosely organized program of test gaming. Lead isn’t very soluble in water. If you want your tests to come …

Artist creates solid block of Beijing smog

As Beijing experiences its first “Red Alert” smog emergency, an aptly-timed bit of quirky performance art is making the round on Chinese social media and the English-language press today. A artist from Shenzhen who calls himself “Brother Nut” spent 100 days walking around Beijing with an industrial vacuum cleaner. He then collected dust into a …

A cloud of cloud things for detecting clouds

For the past couple of years, there has been a storm gathering on the horizon of indoor air quality monitoring. Nucleating around crowd-funding sites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo, these devices seem to advect along roughly similar trajectories. The teams working on these projects have created a sort of high pressure system wafting high-quality industrial …

Antimicrobial soap found to be essentially useless

A study appearing yesterday in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy by Min-Suk Rhee et al. found that while triclosan hand soap did kill bacterial after 9 hours, most people wash their hands for about twenty seconds and then rinse the soap off. In these circumstances, the antibacterial properties of the soap won’t do anything. Triclosan works …

Mycodo : A homebrew automated cultivation setup for fungiculture

One of my favorite blogs, Hackaday, recently covered a brilliantly detailed build of a mushroom cultivation control system by Kyle Gabriel. Kyle is a microbiology graduate student at Georgia State University studying the interactions of bacteria and pathogenic fungi for his research, and cultivates edible fungi for fun. The gadget monitors temperature and humidity in a sealed room under positive …

IBM and Mars kick off new food-supply sequencing project

IBM and Mars put out a joint press release today announcing a new effort to use metagenomics to study microorganisms in the food supply chain. The new initiative, called the Sequencing the Food Supply Chain Consortium (SFSC), will use metagenomics and metatranscriptomics to establish what they call a “microbial baseline” that can later be used …