Astronaut Urine Will Be a Valuable Resource on the Moon
Since the cost of shipping resources to the moon remains prohibitively high, planning for long stints—or even habitation—requires savvy, as the rugged surface (aka regolith) restricts growth. Earlier this year, researchers found that, when mixed with moon dirt, astronaut urine could be a remarkably useful building material. When urea, “the second-most common compound in human urine after water” is blended with the dirt, the resulting geopolymer (an eco-friendly material, often used instead of traditional concrete) could be employed for various structures and even landing pads. Once filtered, urine can also be consumed or used for growing food. As Ars Technica puts it, pee will be a “hot” commodity. Read more there.
Concrete 3D-Printed House Built in 48 Hours
Working in collaboration with developer Buřinka (aka Stavebni Sporitelna Ceske Sporitelny), sculptor Michal Trpák has designed a 43-square-meter concrete house called Prvok—a structure that can be 3D-printed in just 48 hours and will float on water. The first of its kind in the Czech Republic, the house’s building process not only cuts construction costs, reduces CO2 emissions by 20% and minimizes waste, but the resulting structure also has various eco-friendly elements built in. There’s a green roof, reservoirs to collect water, a recirculating shower and more. While small in size (with a living room, kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom), it’s a big step toward alternative housing solutions—and fast ones, considering this can be produced seven times faster than traditional housing. Read more at designboom.
The Museum of Youth Culture Seeks Submissions
The UK’s Museum of Youth Culture (an exclusively digital operation until they move into their physical space in 2023) has asked the public to peruse old photo albums and smartphone libraries for documentation of awkward teen moments, significant events, fleeting trends, and everything from childhood—shameful haircuts included. Called “Grown Up in Britain,” the project deviates from the museum’s original process for souring images, prompting professional photographers to submit their images. In an effort to supplement the collection and to spotlight the more intimate moments of young adulthood, they’ve offered a helpful brief to conjure memories. “We wanted the story we’re telling to be as representative as possible,” Lisa der Weduwe (who is part of the museum’s Cultural Projects team) tells Atlas Obscura. Read more there.
Ancient Roman Mosaic Discovered Under Italian Vineyard
In Negrar di Valpolicella (located near Verona in northern Italy), archeologists have discovered an ornate, ancient mosaic floor buried beneath the soil of a vineyard. The tiles belong to what’s known as the Roman Villa—a site discovered over a century ago—and have been sitting just a few meters underground since the third century AD. The land-owners, researchers and municipality are working together to find a way to make the valuable find “enjoyable,” as Negrar di Valpolicella Mayor Roberto Grison says, “We believe a cultural site of this value deserves attention and should be enhanced.” Find out more at Smithsonian Magazine.
Mystery of Glass Frogs’ Translucent Skin Solved
Found in tropical Central and South America, the glass frog (of the Centrolenidae family) was the center of a recent study which reveals the creature’s translucent skin to be a camouflage device. While the frog’s back is typically “vivid green with their intestines and heart visible through their underbelly,” their legs are more see-through—making them much harder to detect. Dr James Barnett (postdoctoral researcher and co-author of the study) says, because of extra-translucent limbs, “the frog’s edge is transformed into a softer, less contrasting gradient from the leaf to the legs, and again from the legs to the body.” Scientists found that the frogs’ bodies don’t change too much—whether placed on a leafy, grassy or other background—but legs do, and it’s due to brightness rather than hue. Professor Devi Stuart-Fox says the finding is just another fact that makes the natural world so fascinating, “The sheer diversity of camouflage strategies in nature is truly remarkable.” Read more at The Guardian.
2020 Turner Prize Broadens its Impact
The Turner Prize typically shortlists four artists, with the winner receiving £25,000 and three runners-up receiving £5,000 in prize money. While this year’s Turner Prize has been “cancelled,” 10 winners will be chosen—and each will be awarded £10,000 in an effort to support more artists. The highly regarded award (named for J.M.W. Turner) is one of many that has altered its rules and the scope of its mission to be more inclusive and supportive in the midst of the global pandemic. “Gallery closures and social distancing measures are vitally important, but they are also causing huge disruption to the lives and livelihoods of artists. The practicalities of organizing a Turner Prize exhibition are impossible in the current circumstances, so we have decided to help support even more artists during this exceptionally difficult time,” Alex Farquharson, director of the Tate Britain and a member of the Turner Prize jury, tells It’s Nice That. Read more there.
Crayola’s All-New “Colors of the World” Line Broadens Their Skin-Tone Representation
Working with renowned makeup chemist Victor Casale—who has spent three decades striving to formulate diverse foundation colors—iconic crayon-maker Crayola broadens their skin tone range with the all-new Colors of the World line. It includes 24 specially formulated crayons “designed to mirror and represent over 40 global skin tones across the world,” as well as four hair and four eye colors (in the 32-count box). It’s their first attempt at a more representative and realistic gradient. Colors of the World is available for pre-order and will release in July. Read about the history of the brand’s “flesh” color and their push for diversity at Fast Company.
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