Bubbles containing trapped bacteria can act as tiny'microbial grenades', new research shows. Scientists found these tiny natural explosives had the power to launch microorganisms into the air at speeds of more than 30 feet (10m) a second. A single droplet is thought to carry up to thousands of microorganisms, and each bubble can emit hundreds of droplets. A bubble covered in bacteria floating on the water's surface also lasts ten times longer than an uncontaminated one, scientists also found. During this time the cap of the contaminated bubble gets thinner, according to researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
It's the sound of water droplets falling one after another, maybe from a leaky faucet or through a cracked ceiling. It's the kind of sound that can keep you up all night. University of Cambridge engineer Anurag Agarwal feels your pain. While visiting a friend in Brazil in 2016, Agarwal couldn't ignore the water that steadily dripped through the leaky roof and fell into a bucket below. "It was a rainy period, and the downfall was torrential," he says.
Flat-tailed house geckos can skitter across the surface of water – and now we know how they do it. They keep their upper body in the air by slapping hard on the water and creating pockets of air that help them stay afloat. Though they can swim, running across water is a useful way for them to escape quickly when they are threatened. Jasmine Nirody at The Rockefeller University in New York and her team investigated how geckos cross water after her colleague visited Singapore during monsoon season and saw the behaviour in the wild. "To us this was really shocking because when you think about the things that walk on water, you think of these really small insects that can walk using surface tension. Or large bipedal basilisk lizards that generate so much force on the water that they can support their body weight," she says.
It haunts you when you're trying to eat your dinner in peace. It disturbs you when you're trying to watch TV. It even keeps you awake in the wee small hours. It's the insufferable, interminable drip-drip-dripping of a leaky tap. Well, scientists at the University of Cambridge have finally figured out what's causing what is almost certainly the world's most infuriating sound.
Scientists are cooking up a madcap scheme to eradicate hurricanes using underwater bubbles. The plan involves creating a'bubble net' from a pipeline of compressed air strung between two ships or buoys and submerged 300 feet below the ocean surface. In theory, the bubbles would take cold water up to the surface, replacing the warm water that acts as a fuel for hurricanes and tropical storms. One way of deploying this system in the real world to fight powerful storms could be across the 135-mile Yucatan Channel between Cuba and Mexico, experts say. This serves as a natural'choke point' for storms on their way to land across the Gulf of Mexico and the bubbles could see the hurricane dissipate before it makes landfall. The bizarre proposal has divided experts who are debating its effectiveness, but advocates maintain it may save countless lives, if given funding.