Episode 42: Remind Me Not To Get On One Of Your Planes

No interview this week! Instead, Graycen and Alison talk about glass data, nail salon chemicals, self-feeding bacteria, and safe airplane seats.

Data stored in glass!

Microsoft’s Project Silicon has been working to find better long-term storage solution for the massive amounts of data we store. The answer might be to etch teeny patterns in voxels within glass plates, which can then be read by shining light through the glass.

We cut a long conversation about this clip from A Very Brady Sequel, which Graycen is always secretly thinking about, but especially during long conversations about glass.

Nail salons

People who work at nail salons are subject to some really nasty chemical fumes. This work explores the risks involved and how we could mitigate them.

  • Paper: Lamplugh et al
  • Article: Lupita Montoya & Aaron Lumplugh (“Nail salon workers suffer chemical exposures that can be like working at a garage or a refinery”) 

Evolving an autotroph E. coli

Finally, an E. coli you don’t have to feed (very much)! E. coli are a major workhorse in synthetic biology and biological engineering, but they require lots of sugar to survive. These newly-minted bacteria get their biomass from the air rather than from sugar. Neato!

Wheelchairs on airplanes

Did you know that most wheelchairs aren’t allowed on airplanes because the FAA doesn’t deem them safe enough? Not ideal! A non-profit called All Wheels Up is researching how to make air travel more accessible.

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