Science Briefs: Scientists create film to keep stinky food under wraps

Green onions: A new, high-tech wrap may keep their smell under control.
Green onions: A new, high-tech wrap may keep their smell under control. MCT

Good news for those who love – or hate – stinky food

Some of the world’s most popular foods and seasonings can also be the smelliest – including garlic, onions, certain cheeses and the notoriously stinky Asian durian fruit. No amount of plastic wrap seems to contain their stench, but Swedish scientists have developed a new film that could finally neutralize the odors of even the most pungent fare. Their report is in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.

The researchers developed a film out of zeolites, which are micro-porous solids containing aluminum and silicon, and cellulose from wood. Testing the material showed that it could trap the sulfur-containing compounds often responsible for bad food smells. This adsorption reduced odors to levels below what humans can sniff out.

Duke scientists network animals’ brains to do tasks in tandem

Neuroscientists at Duke University have introduced brain-networking interfaces to investigate the physiological properties and adaptability of brain circuits and how the brains of two or more animals of the same species can work together to complete simple tasks.

In separate experiments reported in the journal Scientific Reports, the brains of monkeys and the brains of rats are linked, allowing the animals to exchange sensory and motor information in real time to control movement or complete computations.

Brain-machine interfaces are computational systems that allow subjects to use their brain signals to directly control the movements of artificial devices, such as robotic arms, exoskeletons or virtual avatars.

In one example, scientists linked the brains of rhesus macaque monkeys, who worked together to control the movements of the arm of a virtual avatar on a digital display in front of them. Each animal controlled two of three dimensions of movement for the same arm as they guided it together to touch a moving target.

Discovery Place announces fall Maker Faire

Maker Faire – a celebration of tinkers, inventors, innovative crafters, techies and educators – is coming to Charlotte Oct. 10. A Maker Faire has been up and running for several years in Raleigh; Discovery Place is sponsoring Charlotte’s. Applications for exhibitors are now being accepted. Details/application: Deadline for submission: Aug. 24. Staff reports

So how’s your computer feeling these days?

A study by EnigmaSoftware, makers of SpyHunter anti-spyware, assembled a list of the top 20 cities in America for malware infections in the first half of 2015. Raleigh weighed in at No. 14 – up from No. 17 from the firm’s end-of-2014 study – with an infection rate 98 percent higher than the national average. The other Southeastern cities on the list were Tampa, Fla. (No. 1); Orlando, Fla. (No. 3); Atlanta (No. 5); Miami (No. 13); and Richmond, Va. (No. 19). Staff reports