Rocks discovered in Canada hold the oldest evidence of life

September 29, 2017 by  
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3.95 billion-year-old rocks could offer the oldest evidence we’ve found for life on Earth . A team led by the University of Tokyo found graphite in Labrador, Canada that they think is biogenic, or produced by living organisms. They contend this is the oldest evidence of life, as opposed to microfossils found earlier in Quebec , saying the dating process used in the latter was highly controversial. In March, the journal Nature published the findings of an international team of researchers who’d found fossils in Quebec that they said could be between 3.77 and 4.28 billion years old. Now, nine scientists at institutions in Japan say they’ve actually found the oldest evidence of life on this planet, and it’s in 3.95 billion-year-old rocks. Related: World’s oldest fossils discovered in Canada – and they’re 4 billion years old These researchers found graphite in sedimentary rocks. Tsuyoshi Komiya of the University of Tokyo said, “Our samples are also the oldest supracrustal rocks preserved on Earth.” Phys.org pointed out the Quebec fossils were found in a similar formation. The Japan team measured the isotope composition of the graphite to find it was biogenic, although the identity of the organisms that produced the graphite or their appearance are mysteries. Komiya said the team could work to identify the organisms by scrutinizing “other isotopes such as nitrogen, sulphur, and iron of the organic matter and accompanied materials.” They can also analyze the rock’s chemical composition to try and figure out the organisms’ environment . Other researchers, like geochemist Daniele Pinti of the University of Quebec at Montreal, seem impressed by the new team’s findings and process. He told CBC News, “For the moment, it looks very convincing.” Phys.org said that should the discovery be accurate, it would mean life sprung up on Earth a geological second after the planet formed around 4.5 billion years ago. Nature published the new study this week. Via Phys.org and CBC News Images via Wikimedia Commons and Tashiro, Takayuki, et al.

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Rocks discovered in Canada hold the oldest evidence of life

Cindy Chinn carves a tiny family of elephants into pencil tips

July 5, 2016 by  
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Many great things spring forth from the tip of a pencil, including beautiful sketches, thoughtful prose, and scientific equations. In all those instances, the graphite running through the pencil serves as a tool for expressing an idea formed in the human mind. Chinn’s work is similar in that she carefully shapes the pencil’s graphite into representations of familiar objects (and now animals). The big difference is that Chinn’s sculptures require considerably more skill and accuracy than using a pencil as a writing or drawing tool. Related: A tiny train emerges from a pencil in this intricate sculpture To create the minuscule pencil sculptures , Chinn hand carves the graphite with the help of a magnifying lamp, trinocular microscope, and surely a metric ton of concentration. She plans each piece carefully and the design of the elephant sculpture evolved from her client’s initial request, all before the sculpting started. “I added some grid lines to help me scale the carving on the pencil lead,” she wrote in a blog post . “The client requested a single elephant, but then I turned it into three… then I wanted to add trees… then I wanted to add grass for them to walk on.” The artist, who lives in Nebraska, regularly creates commissioned artworks  such as this, but also sells sculptures via Etsy . If you are enamoured with Elephant Walk, she will even create a custom version of it for you, ranging from $200 to $800 in price, depending on how many elephants you’d like. Made-to-order versions of her famous train pencil carving are also for sale, as well as other items created using a plasma cutter, such as a handsaw depicting a cowboy and horse cut out of the blade. + Cindy Chinn Via Colossal Images via Cindy Chinn

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Cindy Chinn carves a tiny family of elephants into pencil tips

American Graphite Technologies Begins Development of a 3D Printer that Prints Graphene

October 11, 2013 by  
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Graphene model by James Hedberg From stone , to plastic bottles , and even metal , there is a growing list of materials that can be extruded by a 3D printer. Now, American Graphite Technologies is trying to add graphene to that list. Graphene is one of the world’s strongest materials thanks to its unique, atom-sized interlocking lattice structure, but at the same time it’s also a classically hard to manufacture material. Researchers from the US company have teamed up with with Kharkov Institute of Physics in Ukraine to change that by making the material 3D printable. Read the rest of American Graphite Technologies Begins Development of a 3D Printer that Prints Graphene Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: American Graphite Technologies , graphene , Kharkov Institute of Physics , meta-materials , microscopic , nano-weave , nanostructured carbon , new material research , research , science , Science and Technology Centre in Ukraine        

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American Graphite Technologies Begins Development of a 3D Printer that Prints Graphene

Researchers Use an Inkjet Printer to Create Electrically Conductive Paper

May 15, 2013 by  
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So far we’ve showcased paper artwork , robots and USB drives here on Inhabitat – and now researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam-Golm have utilized sheets of paper to create targeted conductive structures. Using an inkjet printer, the team was able to deposit a catalyst on paper and heat it, turning the surface into graphite that is able to conduct electricity. The team, Led by Cristina Giordano, is now pioneering the field of carbon electronics. Read the rest of Researchers Use an Inkjet Printer to Create Electrically Conductive Paper Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: carbon , carbon electronics , catalyst , cost effective , cristina giordano , Electricity , graphene , graphite , inkjet printer , lightweight , max planck institute of colloids and interfaces , minerva , origami crane , Paper , potsdam-golm        

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Researchers Use an Inkjet Printer to Create Electrically Conductive Paper

3-D Lithium-Ion Batteries Are Lighter and Charge in Minutes

March 31, 2011 by  
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A new type of lithium-ion battery that features a 3-D interior structure is able to recharge in just a few minutes, can be discharged over twice as many times as traditional lithium-ion batteries and is thinner and lighter than existing versions — essentially the dream battery for electric cars. The new battery prototype was presented at this week’s national meeting of the American Chemical Society .  Conventional lithium-ion batteries consist of electrodes stacked in thin layers, which creates many of its problems like slow charging and limited discharging and a tendency to overheat. The new battery reconfigures this arrangement by using copper antimonide nanowires arranged into a tightly-packed 3-D structure similar to bristles on a hair brush.  The nanowires have more surface area and can store twice as many lithium ions and they’re more stable and heat resistant than the graphite electrodes used in existing batteries.  The result is a battery that recharges in 12 minutes instead of two hours and has double the lifespan.

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3-D Lithium-Ion Batteries Are Lighter and Charge in Minutes

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