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10 Mind-Blowing Discoveries This Week

Turns out it is pretty easy to hack into your brain to get your PIN and other important numbers.

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The answer can only be, “Put the gun away.” 

That and, to all the hoaxers out there, get another hobby. Yours isn’t just old hat, it’s too dangerous.

6. A new window on gardening.

In fact, why not just do some nice gardening? 

Almost anyone can do it thanks to a clever new innovation from French designers Nicolas Barreau and Jules Charbonnet that allows even someone with no outdoor space to have a window garden. The  Daily Good says the Volet Vegetal is kind of like a drawbridge: oblong pots are set into holders that are set into a frame which is cranked down (there’s video on the link), allowing plants to get sun during the day; then you crank them back in at night and the frame becomes an indoor plant stand. Even with the smallest amount of space you could grow herbs, flowers, maybe even a pepper or two. And I can vouch for the fact that homegrown is best (I’m referring to tomatoes, oregano and basil, a nice pizza garden...what were you thinking?)

7. You never know what’s gonna grow.

It seems entirely possible that one of these days you might be able to grow a flower in your garden that, until now, hasn’t been seen on earth for 32,000 years.

Brace yourself: this is spiffy. 

A team of scientists studying ancient soil composition in Sibera in 1995 discovered “70 fossilized Ice Age squirrel burrows, some of which stored up to 800,000 seeds and fruits,” writes Eric A. Powell on Discover Magazine. The tissue of the narrow-leafed campion plant was extremely well preserved so researchers from the Russian Academy of Sciences cultured the cells and recreated Siberian conditions in the lab, then watched as the tissue “sprouted buds that developed into 36 flowering plants within weeks.”

You can see the lovely, delicate, white blooms that haven’t been seen on Earth in 32,000 years on the links. Talk about a comeback. And seriously, it’s pretty metaphoric. How many times do we find ourselves saying something is “Never going to happen,” or that we feel we’ve been “waiting forever,” and despairing of a desired event coming to pass. If this plant could rebloom after 32,000 years, I’ve got some advice for you: wait. 

8. Water for everyone.

Having had only backyard and balcony gardens I’ve never had to think about them not getting enough rain; I’ve been lucky to always live where there was a tap and clean water handy. But  many people don’t.

Now, as Carrie Halperin of ABC News reports , a French inventor might make an immense change for the 20% of the world without access to drinkable water. Marc Parent lived in the Caribbean where he was subject to water shortages; it was there he was inspired to work on a system that would collect moisture out of the air and turn it into water. Back in France he founded Eole Water and built a system, the WMS1000 in which electricity generated by a wind turbine collects water -- no lake, river or well required. 

Eole spokesperson Thibault Janin told Halperein, “Each unit can create 1,000 liters of drinking water using only moisture and powered only by wind....Our technology integrates water creation, water collection, water treatment and water local distribution. The WMS1000 can produce and distribute water everywhere.”

The system is being tested in France and Abu Dhabi with that location being running and open to the public by the end of 2012. The WMS1000 costs $600,000 but is designed for remote areas and thus to need little maintenance and last about 20 years. 

 
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