The Daily Populous

Sunday August 19th, 2018 evening edition

image for Could an Australian bee solve the world's plastic crisis?

Researchers believe an Australian bee which produces a “cellophane-like” material for its nests could help to end the world’s reliance on disposable plastics.

The native Hylaeus nubilosus masked bee, known for the distinctive yellow badge on its back, does not sting or live in hives but it has generated interest because of the nesting material it produces, which is non-toxic, waterproof, flame-resistant and able to withstand heat.

A biotech company in New Zealand, Humble Bee, is trying to reverse-engineer the material in the hope of mass producing it as an alternative to plastic.

Veronica Harwood-Stevenson, the firm’s founder, said she began investigating the potential plastic alternative after noticing a throwaway line in a research paper about the “cellophane-like” qualities of the masked bee’s nesting material.

"Plastic particles and chemicals have permeated ecosystems and organisms around the world, [from] foetal blood of babies [to] the most remote arctic lakes; it's so pervasive, it's terrifying," she told The Sydney Morning Herald.

"It's about biomimicry, about copying what's in the natural environment, and we've been doing it in design for centuries, from plane wing design inspired by birds of prey to train shapes reflecting bird beaks.".

Richard Furneaux, a chemistry professor at the Victoria University of Wellington, said the discovery of the new material was “almost too good to be true”. »

Sandia National Laboratories: News Releases : Most wear-resistant metal alloy in the world engineered at Sandia National Laboratories

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Sandia’s materials science team has engineered a platinum-gold alloy believed to be the most wear-resistant metal in the world.

It’s 100 times more durable than high-strength steel, making it the first alloy, or combination of metals, in the same class as diamond and sapphire, nature’s most wear-resistant materials.

In electronics, moving metal-to-metal contacts receive similar protections with outer layers of gold or other precious metal alloys. »

'We are real': Saudi feminists launch online radio

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Operating out of a small room in an unknown country, a new internet radio station broadcasts a programme aimed at campaigning for greater women's rights in Saudi Arabia.

"The Saudi authorities could ban Twitter at any moment and we would lose the archive of our thoughts.

All but two of the women are Saudi nationals, and some of the women live in Saudi Arabia. »

Story Behind the Song: 'Don't Stop Believin' '

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Later, when he joined the ranks of Journey, it became the title and refrain of "Don't Stop Believin'."

And it was all based on some advice my father had given me back when I was struggling in Hollywood.

So we went out and we did all the background parts, and the whole band is singing in one mic. »