Basal Science (BS) Clarified

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We started Basal Science (BS) Clarified in 2011 with the aim of generating interest and discussion on various science topics–from social to physical science. Our vision is for BS Clarified to increase the communication between scientists/engineers and the public. Our posts focus on the fundamental or basal understanding of science, particularly the why/how. We hope you will find our posts engaging and perhaps even encourage you to find out more about it! Being new to science writing we consciously strive to write readable posts that will connect with our readers. So please drop us a line, we’d welcome any advice or feedback (positive or negative–as long as it’s constructive)!

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  • January 14, 2013
  • 10:52 PM

Brighter LEDs bioinspired from fireflies

by Cath in Basal Science (BS) Clarified

A team of researchers from Belgium, Canada, and France have developed a more efficient gallium nitride (GaN)-based LED using a design inspired by the firefly. The design, fabrication, and characterization of this [...]... Read more »

  • January 7, 2013
  • 09:24 PM

QR Codes to be used to prevent drug counterfeiting

by Cath in Basal Science (BS) Clarified

Think Quick Response (QR) codes are just for advertising products or transferring addresses and contact information between smartphones? Well, it turns out they can also be used to prevent drug [...]... Read more »

  • December 30, 2012
  • 06:42 PM

Is asparagus a hangover cure?

by Cath in Basal Science (BS) Clarified

As you get ready to celebrate the New Year, you’ve likely come across articles about different food ‘cures’ that can prevent or reduce alcohol hangovers. Aside from anecdotic ‘evidence’ that [...]... Read more »

B.-Y. KIM, Z.-G. CUI, S.-R. LEE, S.-J. KIM, H.-K. KANG, Y.-K. LEE, & D.-B. PARK. (2009) Effects of Asparagus officinalis Extracts on Liver Cell Toxicity and Ethanol Metabolism. JOURNAL OF FOOD SCIENCE. info:/10.1111/j.1750-3841.2009.01263.x

  • December 16, 2012
  • 10:37 PM

Using light to detect the internal damage of materials

by Cath in Basal Science (BS) Clarified

You can usually tell when a material is about to fail, you might see sagging, cracks, dents, holes, etc. But sometimes materials can fail suddenly—without warning— this known as catastrophic [...]... Read more »

  • November 10, 2012
  • 09:45 PM

Detecting bacteria with fluorescent nanoparticles

by Cath in Basal Science (BS) Clarified

pH indicators are more than just tools for helping students visualize the differences between acids and bases. They can also be used in sensors to monitor bacterial growth in packaged [...]... Read more »

  • October 11, 2012
  • 10:14 PM

Powering electronics with stretchable batteries

by Cath in Basal Science (BS) Clarified

Potential health monitors like this one made of interlocking nanofibres are great—it’s flexible and conforms to your body. But what you don’t usually see is how these monitors might be [...]... Read more »

Abhinav M. Gaikwad, Alla M. Zamarayeva, Jamesley Rousseau, Howie Chu, Irving Derin, & Daniel A Steingart. (2012) Highly Stretchable Alkaline Batteries Based on an Embedded Conductive Fabric. Advanced Materials. DOI: 10.1002/adma.201201329  

  • September 22, 2012
  • 12:37 PM

What are you wearing on your arm?

by Cath in Basal Science (BS) Clarified

I’ve blogged about wearable sensors in the past. Those sensors were made of carbon nanotubes and special because of their stretchability.  But now, Changhyun Pang of the Seoul National University [...]... Read more »

Changhyun Pang,, Gil-Yong Lee,, Tae-il Kim,, Sang Moon Kim,, Hong Nam Kim,, Sung-Hoon Ahn,, & and Kahp-Yang Suh. (2012) A flexible and highly sensitive strain-gauge sensor using reversible interlocking of nanofibres. Nature. info:/10.1038/NMAT3380

  • September 11, 2012
  • 05:28 PM

A tougher and more stretchable hydrogel

by Cath in Basal Science (BS) Clarified

Why settle for good enough, when there can be improvements?  “Conventional hydrogels are very weak and brittle—imagine a spoon breaking through jelly,” says lead author Jeong-Yun Sun, a postdoctoral fellow [...]... Read more »

S. Khetan, C. Chung, & JA. Burdick. (2009) Tuning hydrogel properties for applications in tissue engineering. Conference proceedings : .. Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. Conference, 2094-6. PMID: 19963530  

O. Wichterle, & D. Lim. (1960) Hydrophilic Gels for Biological Use. Nature, 117. DOI: 10.1038/185117a0  

Jeong-Yun Sun, Xuanhe Zhao, Widusha R. K. Illeperuma Ovijit Chaudhuri, Kyu Hwan Oh, David J. Mooney, Joost J. Vlassak, & Zhigang Suo. (2012) Highly stretchable and tough hydrogels. Nature, 133. DOI: 10.1038/nature11409  

  • August 29, 2012
  • 10:53 PM

What are we really recycling?

by Cath in Basal Science (BS) Clarified

Having grown up with reduce, reuse, recycle campaigns (Tweety’s Global Patrol circa 1990), recycling is part of my daily routine. In fact, I’ve even spent time at a Japanese university lab [...]... Read more »

Reck BK, & Graedel TE. (2012) Challenges in metal recycling. Science (New York, N.Y.), 337(6095), 690-5. PMID: 22879508  

  • August 9, 2012
  • 04:47 PM

Building the tallest sandcastle

by Cath in Basal Science (BS) Clarified

The Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) opens in Toronto next Friday (can’t wait!) and they hold an international sand sculpting competition every year. I’m always impressed by the size and detail [...]... Read more »

Pakpour M, Habibi M, Møller P, & Bonn D. (2012) How to construct the perfect sandcastle. Scientific reports, 549. PMID: 22870378  

  • July 27, 2012
  • 03:36 PM

Capturing carbon dioxide emissions

by Cath in Basal Science (BS) Clarified

You may already be familiar with various technologies that minimize the generation of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions like hybrid-electric vehicles, biodegradable plastics, or even solar panels. But what happens when [...]... Read more »

Yasutaka Kuwahara, Dun-Yen Kang, John R. Copeland, Nicholas A. Brunelli, Stephanie A. Didas, Praveen Bollini, Carsten Sievers, Takashi Kamegawa, Hiromi Yamashita, & Christopher W. Jone. (2012) Dramatic Enhancement of CO2 Uptake by Poly(ethyleneimine) Using Zirconosilicate Supports. J. Am. Chem. Soc. DOI: 10.1021/ja303136e  

  • June 29, 2012
  • 04:42 PM

How fireworks light up the sky

by Cath in Basal Science (BS) Clarified

Many countries/regions will be celebrating their national/independence day over the weekend and into next week, so you’ll likely have a chance to see some fireworks whether in person, on television, [...]... Read more »

  • June 20, 2012
  • 11:10 PM

A bright future with self-assembling nanocubes

by Cath in Basal Science (BS) Clarified

What does the home pregnancy test and stained glass have in common? Both contain nanometer sized particles of metal (nanoparticles) that play a key role in how they work. The [...]... Read more »

  • May 31, 2012
  • 09:32 PM

Injection molding nano-features with metallic glasses

by Cath in Basal Science (BS) Clarified

Lego blocks are awesome—they snap together easily and perfectly. These blocks are made using injection molding and wouldn’t fit so flawless together without the precise features of the metal molds [...]... Read more »

Zhang, N., Byrne, C., Browne, D., & Gilchrist, M. (2012) Towards nano-injection molding. Materials Today, 15(5), 216-221. DOI: 10.1016/S1369-7021(12)70092-5  

  • May 24, 2012
  • 02:18 PM

Paving the road with nanoclay

by Cath in Basal Science (BS) Clarified

Summer time means BBQ season but it’s also the start of road construction. Road construction usually leads to traffic jams and slowdowns, so it makes sense to avoid construction in [...]... Read more »

You, Z., Mills-Beale, J., Foley, J., Roy, S., Odegard, G., Dai, Q., & Goh, S. (2011) Nanoclay-modified asphalt materials: Preparation and characterization. Construction and Building Materials, 25(2), 1072-1078. DOI: 10.1016/j.conbuildmat.2010.06.070  

  • May 15, 2012
  • 11:00 AM

Nature’s Hand in Climate Change

by Char in Basal Science (BS) Clarified

The heat wave throughout most of North America in the beginning of April had bought climate change into my mind. Was the heat wave caused by climate change? Likely not, I can’t imagine the effect of climate change happening so abruptly. But it made me think about what really causes climate change on this lovely blue planet of ours?... Read more »

J. Wilkinson. (2012) The Sun and Earth’s Climate . New Eyes on the Sun, , 201-217. info:/

Mufti, S., & Shah, G. (2011) Solar-geomagnetic activity influence on Earth's climate. Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, 73(13), 1607-1615. DOI: 10.1016/j.jastp.2010.12.012  

  • May 7, 2012
  • 09:28 PM

Science in superheroes

by Cath in Basal Science (BS) Clarified

The magic of the movies mean almost anything can happen. You can time travel, control objects with your mind, or even heal yourself no matter how serious your injuries are. But did you know that filmmakers often consult scientists and engineers for their input in movies? Dr. Jim Kakalios, a professor at the University of [...]... Read more »

  • April 26, 2012
  • 10:43 PM

Phthalates–why you should care about these plastic additives

by Cath in Basal Science (BS) Clarified

Aside from cost, aesthetics, and functionality, materials selection is now a topic priority for many consumers when they make a purchase. Consumers are becoming more aware of their choices for sustainable and reusable materials—even the potential health risks/toxicity associated with materials. This is especially true for products containing plastics, particularly the additives used to make [...]... Read more »

  • April 19, 2012
  • 11:02 PM

Nanoparticle-treated wood minimizes biocide leaching

by Cath in Basal Science (BS) Clarified

Sitting on the deck to drink your morning cup of coffee is a great way to start the day—but not when your deck is rotting. Fortunately wood products are protected with wood preservatives, often with chromate copper arsenate (CCA) [3]. But growing concerns over the safety and health effects [...]... Read more »

  • April 12, 2012
  • 12:24 PM

Why the RMS Titanic fractured: clues from the ship’s hull

by Cath in Basal Science (BS) Clarified

This Sunday will be 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Royal Mail Ship (RMS) Titanic. Over the years this tragic accident has been the topic of numerous books, films, exhibits—even a memorial cruise. Not only has this shipwreck captured the attention of the public, but the scientific community as well. Ever since the wreckage [...]... Read more »

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