Scientists teach spinach to send emails.


Spinach Can Now Send Emails

Scientists at MIT recently revealed that they turned spinach plants into bomb-detecting warning systems.

In a study published in the journal Nature Materials, the research team said it used nanotechnology to insert carbon nanotubes into the plants’ roots. The tubes emit a signal when the plant detects nitroaromatics in the groundwater—compounds that are found in many explosives. The signal is picked up by infrared sensors, and an email alarm is automatically sent out.

“Plants are very good analytical chemists,” lead researcher Michael Strano told Euro News. “They have an extensive root network in the soil, are constantly sampling groundwater and have a way to self-power the transport of that water up into the leaves. … This is a novel demonstration of how we have overcome the plant/human communication barrier.”

The team says the technology could be used in situations other than detecting explosives. Similar setups could help alert scientists to dangerous pollutants or other environmental conditions that plants are able to detect before humans.

“Plants are very environmentally responsive,” said Strano. “They know that there is going to be a drought long before we do. They can detect small changes in the properties of soil and water potential. If we tap into those chemical signaling pathways, there is a wealth of information to access.”

Vagina-Scented Face Masks Now Available

The pandemic has opened up new avenues of making revenue online, including a new craze for vagina-scented face masks.

According to Vice some users on the website Snifffr—a fetish marketplace dedicated to selling used clothes—are selling surgical face masks meant to act as protection during the COVID-19 pandemic that have been worn in a variety of personal places and ways so that they carry the intimate smells of the seller.

A user going by the name Cat told reporters that she has been selling intimate masks on the fetish site for nearly a year. “I think people like them because they’re able to enjoy a fetish outside of their home,” she said. “I think it’s like a little secret only they know, and it makes it risky and fun.”

Sellers say that while the scents associated with these products serve specific desires, the aspect of public play—wearing the mask in public—is what attracts most customers. “The allure is that they can share something very private and intimate with me right out in the open, in public,” said another seller, Sidney77. “They get to walk around with a dirty little secret.”

Prices for masks on Snifffr are reportedly between $5 and $250. Various options for their preparation are available.

Wallet Lost in the Antarctic Found After 53 Years

A former Navy meteorologist was reunited with a wallet he lost in Antarctica in 1967.

The San Diego Tribune reports that Paul Grisham went to the frozen continent to work as a weather forecaster at McMurdo Station, a science station and airport on Ross Island, for 13 months. During his stint there, he managed to lose his wallet and was unable to find it before returning home.

Earlier this month Grisham held the wallet in his hands again when it arrived in the mail at his home. It had been found behind a locker when crews went to demolish one of the buildings at the station in 2014. Internet detectives Stephen Decato, his daughter Sarah Lindbergh and Bruce McKee worked together for weeks to find the owner of the wallet.

Inside the wallet was Grisham’s Navy ID, his driver’s license, a tax withholding statement, a recipe for homemade Kahlua, a beer ration punch card, receipts for money orders for his poker winnings at the station and a pocket reference card with instructions for defensive actions during an enemy weapons attack.

The team who found the wallet have reportedly reunited other veterans and their families with long-lost items. “I have a deep love for those that serve and their stories,” McKee told reporters. “Something such as an old wallet can mean so much to someone with the memories that item holds.”

Man Leaves Dead Animals At Grave

An elderly Arkansas man has pleaded guilty to disguising himself as a woman and placing dead animals on a former neighbor’s headstone.

According to KNWA in Arkansas, 79-year-old Joseph Stroud agreed to a plea deal last week that lowered his felony charge to a misdemeanor defacing objects of public respect. Stroud was caught on surveillance cameras last summer as he placed at least two dead animals on the headstone of his deceased former neighbor. At the time of the incident, Stroud was disguised in overalls and a gray woman’s wig.

Stroud was ordered to surrender his driver’s license and was given a one-year suspended sentence. He was ordered to pay more than $2,500 in victim restitution.

NY Met Looks to Sell Paintings

Due to revenue woes caused by the pandemic, the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art is looking to sell some of its priceless works of art.

The New York Times reports that the world-famous art museum is discussing plans to sell some of the artworks in its collection with curators and auction houses. The Met plans to take advantage of a two-year suspension of regulations that control how funds derived from art sales can be spent. The regulations—enforced by the Association of Art Museum Directors—usually bar museums from using art sale revenue for anything other than purchasing more works of art. But the rule has been suspended until April 2022 to allow museums to use those funds to maintain their collections.

Museum department heads, the museum’s director and the board will decide which works can be sold before public auction.