Engineering
Top stories summarized by our editors
12/7/2017

MIT engineers used genetically programmed bacterial cells that light up in response to stimuli to fashion a temporary tattoo that alerts its wearer to the presence of toxins and pollutants. The researchers blended the bacteria with a hydrogel and nutrients to form an ink that can be run through a 3D printer to produce the tattoo.

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Gizmodo Australia
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MIT
12/6/2017

The movie scene in which a helpless astronaut drifts off into the vastness of space may inspire nightmares, but a new system is designed to address that and provide a safe return to the home ship. The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory's Simplified Aid For EVA Rescue, or SAFER, module attaches to an astronaut's life-support pack and contains nitrogen-powered thrusters and a home-return system similar to those used on some drones.

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New Atlas
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Charles Draper Laboratory
12/6/2017

Nanowires in place of silicon film may be the key to making solar power more feasible and even portable. Researchers at the Rochester Institute of Technology found the tiny wires' vertical structures in place of silicon makes for less material use and lowers costs by nearly 90%.

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ASME
12/5/2017

Even moderate storms are washing away significant chunks of Alaska's coastline. One problem is that the absence of sea ice allows wind and waves to penetrate farther inland.

12/5/2017

Obama-era enforcement of the Clean Water Act rule is a classic example of federal overreach, Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt said recently. "The agency took a definition under the Clean Water Act and turned it into something that Congress never intended," Pruitt said, noting its extension to protect even small streams and wetlands.

12/5/2017

A University of Nebraska at Lincoln study was designed to fill a gap in sediment and erosion research by monitoring long-term effects of costly streambank stabilization projects. Among other things, researchers found jetties to be the most cost-efficient practice, with a 70% rate of success.

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MDPI (Switzerland)
12/5/2017

California's San Elijo Lagoon in Encinitas is the subject of a newly launched $100 million restoration that's part of a larger, 30-year program to preserve and restore coastal habitats. San Elijo's initial phase will clear vegetation and construct dikes to control water quality and levels, to be followed by removal of sand to nourish shorelines.

12/5/2017

The Environmental Protection Agency's popular brownfield program to help cities and states clean up and redevelop contaminated industrial sites would be extended through 2022 under a bill that easily cleared the House. The bill funds the program at $200 million a year.

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The Hill
12/5/2017

A two-dimensional bed evolution model was used in a Taiwanese study to estimate sediment distribution, bed evolution and sediment flushing efficiency in reservoirs. Results indicated that average sediment flushing efficiencies of the shaft spillway under one- and two-day storms were close, suggesting that the model could be adopted to prolong sustainable use of reservoirs and determine the best areas to locate shaft spillway pipes.

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MDPI (Switzerland)
12/5/2017

Sand may appear to be abundant, but in some places it's growing scarce, with annual global consumption of sand and gravel -- chiefly in construction -- topping 40 billion tons a year. Sand "takes millions of years to form -- but a mine can be exhausted in decades," notes researcher Kiran Pereira, who says the world needs "to recognize and value the ecosystem services provided by sand, many of which are irreplaceable."