Simanaitis Says

On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff


I AM a science dilettante in the original sense of this word. “Dilettante,” which today may carry a sense of superficiality, comes from the Latin, dilectare, “to delight.” That is, I delight in science, even if I don’t always dig into its deep details.

Science, the weekly magazine published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, always offers delights. Here’s Part 1 of my dilettante’s recent collection; Part 2 follows tomorrow.

The March for Science, 2018, prompted me to join like-minded people at Fullerton, California, city hall on April 14, 2018.

Above, the new part of my poster. Below, celebrating mathematician Leonhard Euler and his beautiful equation, recycled from my sign for the 2017 March for Science.

Science, April 4, 2018, gave details of the event at “2018 March for Science will be far more than street protests.” Indeed, marches were held in 20 cites in the United States as well as those in Australia, Britain, Canada, Germany, India, and Ukraine.

March for Science 2018, Frankfurt, Germany. Image by Smurrayinchester.

Octopus research has shown how incredibly sophisticated these creatures are. The research has also raised issues of ethics and legality of cephalopod experimentation: In particular, what is the most humane way to anesthetized them? “Humane studies of octopuses get a boost,” by Danna Staaf, is in Science, April 6, 2018. It describes that, because of their complex brains, cephalopods (octopuses, cuttlefish, and squid) are the first invertebrates to be protected by laboratory animal laws.

Researchers studied several options of cephalopod anesthetics. Success was found with ethanol and with magnesium chloride. Ether, by contrast, had overly long recovery periods as well as hazards to researchers. It was also found that lidocane/magnesium chloride injections could be used as local anesthetics.

The algae octopus, Abdopus aceleatus, was one of three subjects in a study of anesthesia. Image from Science, April 6, 2918.

Said one of the researchers, “I care about my animals and I want to see them properly cared for.”

Lithium batteries may heal themselves, thanks to recent research concerning these batteries’ inherent dendrite growth. In normal charge-discharge cycles, dendrites (pointy growths on the battery’s Li metal anode) can lead to premature aging, short-circuiting—and worse.

According to Amartya Mukhopadhyay and Manoj K. Jangid’s Science article “Li metal battery, heal thyself,” intermittent jolts of optimized higher current can generate finer, more densely packed dendrites that smooth themselves in self-healing. This could lead to “a paradigm shift in Li-based rechargeable battery technology…. The faster this happens, the sooner we shall have lighter batteries for greater energy and power output.”

Image from Science, March 30, 2018.

Tomorrow, other tidbits will touch on Charles Darwin and the city, French President Emmanuel Macron, and whether artificial intelligences get the blues. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2018

2 comments on “SCIENCE TIDBITS PART 1

  1. David Thomas
    April 27, 2018

    Well done!!

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