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Brownfields, landfills and marriage

Jeff Moore

By Jeff Moore

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded the city of Ashland $400,000 in Brownfields Cleanup Grant money for remediation of hazardous substances at the former Chicago Iron & Supplies Inc., both for its north and south sites.

The primary cleanup objectives for the former Chicago Iron properties are to remove blighted buildings, to protect the public from direct contact with surface contamination through removal/capping, and to redevelop the properties for residential purposes.

Following completion of remediation, the approximately 2.15-acre property will be available for redevelopment as a residential space.

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During an expedition to Ecuador, students from Yale discovered a type of fungus which exists solely on a diet of polyurethane. The Amazonian fungus, Pestalotiopsis microspora, was discovered in an anaerobic environment in an Ecuadorian rainforest and whether it can survive in the aerobic environments where landfills exist remains to be seen.

If  it or the enzyme which enables the fungus to break down polyurethane can survive in oxygen rich environments, landfill bioremediation will have a glorious new weapon to tackle pollutants with.

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Superhero scientists have successfully shoved into a False Death’s Head Cockroach’s living brain a miniature fuel cell that converts a naturally occurring sugar in the cockroaches’ bodies called trehalose and oxygen from the air into electricity.

This source of electricity could be collected, stored and used to power a variety of mircodevices. The implant did not kill the insects or impair functioning of their internal organs.

“Daniel Scherson and colleagues explain that scientists are developing ways to generate electricity from chemicals inside living things or from their movements to power implanted sensors or other miniature devices. Such devices could provide researchers or physicians with important information about processes going on inside insects, animals or even people without the need for batteries.”

These biofuel cells could power artificial organs, nanorobots or wearable personal electronics.

More information: An Implantable Biofuel Cell for a Live Insect, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2012, 134 (3), pp 1458–1460. DOI:10.1021/ja210794c

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Woman to ‘marry’ historical building

Babylonia Aivaz plans to marry a 107-year-old building. And she needs to do it quick as demolition of the warehouse has begun.

Babylonia said she hopes to save the abandoned building for a community center. The Occupy activist is standing up to developer Seawest, which would rather use the space for a luxury apartment complex.

Aivaz firmly opposes this act of gentrification, which she says would hit the poorer members of the neighborhood with increased rent.

“If corporations can have rights as people, so can buildings,” the “bride” told American Komonews, referencing a Supreme Court decision on political advertising. “I’m doing this to show the building how much I love it, how much I love community space and how much I love this neighborhood. And I want to stop it from gentrification.”

Jeff Moore is a data reporter at The Daily Reporter. He once tried to marry a deli sandwich.

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