12 May

A large part of sustaining life on Mars is finding a way to give humans the life-sustaining nutrients they receive on Earth. NASA researchers are hard at work doing just that, in the form of a greenhouse system that will allow Mars dwellers to grow plants.

The space agency has already had success in growing plants on the International Space Station, but the same structure faces more challenges on the Red Planet. A team of scientists and engineers have created a prototype at the Kennedy Space Center which uses a closed-loop system to recycle nutrients in a way that imitates the lifecycle on Earth. Astronauts would set up the inflatable greenhouse on the planet, at which point they would be able to produce the plants and crops that are essential to breathing, drinking, and eating.

10 May

Tokyo seems to love everything associated with manufacturing, robotics, engineering, and science.  And that deep devotion to all things tech-related has had an effect on how people relate to machines of all kinds -- especially anything having to do with automation.

As a report from Evolo notes, "The proliferation of vending machines in Tokyo is impossible to ignore. They are on nearly every block in Tokyo down alleyways, in front of convenience stores and almost in every neighborhood."

The proliferation of vending machines has resulted in the elimination of sales clerks. So, could a giant vending machine potentially do away with the need to deal with home sales staff?

That's one of the ideas behind the Pod Vending Machine, which would dispense housing units on demand and continue to grow skyward as the city's housing demands increase.

08 May

How can the food needs of nearly 24 million people be met without needing to run an expansive farm, taking up valuable space, particularly in heavily populated areas?

By building a massive, vertical urban farm among the skyscrapers -- an idea that's gaining traction in various parts of the world where open, arable land is hard to come by.

Plans for the latest such farming laboratory call for a 100-hectare facility in the Chinese city of Shanghai, where high real estate prices make building vertically more economical. Besides, it's nice to see something alive and growing amid all the steel, concrete, and glass structures reaching skyward.

06 May

For years, people have eaten salty food with a cool beverage nearby, operating under the assumption that eating salt makes us thirsty. But a new study challenges that idea, revealing instead that eating salt makes us want to eat, not drink.

The findings explain why people tend to compulsively eat items like chips and popcorn. One bite of a salty food creates a craving for more of that food, the research discovered. The scientists believe that salt consumption triggers the kidneys to retain water while producing urea. This process takes energy, which leads to an increase in hunger instead of thirst.

04 May

Unlike previous generations, millennials aren’t embracing running as a form of exercise, leading to a ten-percent drop in participation between 2013 and 2015. But new research may lead millennials to rethink their stance on running as a form of exercise. The study discovered that runners have a 25 percent to 40 percent reduced risk of early death, living about three years longer than those who don’t run on a regular basis.

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