Link About It: This Week’s Picks

Fossilized worm brains, cranberry packaging, the wet history of Mars and more inspiration from nature

World’s Oldest Fossilized Brain Discovered A 525-million-year-old fossil of an extinct worm-like animal known as the Cardiodictyon catenulum was first discovered in China in 1984, but only recently have scientists found that the barely half-an-inch animal has a brain. Using a technique called “chromatic filtering,” scientists were able to reveal the animal’s nervous system and brain in an unsegmented head. Not only is this finding …

The Potential of Dissolvable Cranberry Film

Since 2008, Yanyun Zhao—a professor of food science at Oregon State University—has been researching the potential of the humble cranberry. Even when juiced, the crushed berry maintains a fibrous substance that Zhao turned into a film that’s “edible, no-waste, anti-microbial and water-soluble,” and could replace plastic in many cases. “When you’re making this film,” Zhao says, “You need stretch, you need elasticity, you need a …

Environmentally Conscious Oyster Farmers Find Plastic Alternatives

In an effort to use less plastic and remove plastic waste from waterways, environmentally conscious oyster farmers are turning to (and back to, in some cases) wood, metal, cork and even mushrooms to reduce damage to waterways. Modern Farmer interviewed three aquaculture professionals—Abby Barrows of Long Cove Sea Farm, Eric Oransky of Maine Ocean Farms and Jennifer Scappatura Harrington of Rhode Island-based Quonnie Siren Oysters—about …