News 

The Joys of Science

Sciencing in America.

Okay, I do have some fun, and uplifting stuff to share, but I’ve got to get the public service stuff out of the way first.

  1. Don’t drink bleach – It can kill you
  2. Don’t gargle warm water – Viruses live in your blood, not your throat. And, without a specific medical need, it can make you a human petri dish, prone to fungal infections and worse
  3. Masturbation will boost your immune system – So will regular sex. If you’re sheltering with someone, who’s willing to share their body, try and find a nice mix between the two. No matter what, however, it won’t stop the virus
  4. Ibuprofen & Advil have nothing to do with your lungs – No over the counter pain med interacts with your respiratory system. Go ahead and take what you need. I can promise they won’t kill you
  5. Ladies, there is no such thing as a Corona Virus Inspector who needs to see your breasts to confirm “positive air flow.” Quit falling for that trick
  6. Quit buying all the lupus and malaria medicines. The president was completely wrong about this. They won’t cure you, can possibly kill you if you don’t have the diseases they’re designed to treat, and you could be causing someone who truly needs them to suffer

Now, just so we’re clear, despite what some politicians and TV talking heads are bleating, the United States does not have anywhere near enough tests to know what’s really going on. Because of that, the following limitations are in place.

Question 1: Are you having symptoms like fever, cough, or difficulty breathing?

  • If YES: Please answer Question #2.
  • If NO: Testing is not needed. If you have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, stay home and monitor symptoms for 14 days.

Question 2: Are your symptoms severe?

  • If YES: Call your doctor or 911.
  • If NO: Please answer Question #3.

Question 3: Are you over 60? And/or do you have an underlying medical condition like diabetes, cancer or heart disease?

  • If YES: Contact your doctor to determine if testing is needed.
  • IF NO: Testing is not needed. Stay home for 7 days from symptom onset and 72 hours after fever is gone and symptoms improve (whichever is longer) to avoid getting anyone else sick.

If you want more info, just CLICK HERE to get a complete breakdown of what is, and is not, real complete with direct links to the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization.

Now, let’s move on to a subject that should make everyone smile. McDonald’s cooking oil can help save the planet.

No, I’m not drunk.

I’ll let the nice people over at the Good News Network tell you all about it.

Researchers at the University of Toronto Scarborough have, for the first time, turned waste cooking oil—from the deep fryers of a local McDonald’s—into a high-resolution, biodegradable 3D printing resin.

Using waste cooking oil for 3D printing has significant potential. Not only is it cheaper to make, the plastics made from it break down naturally unlike conventional 3D printing resins.

“The reasons plastics are a problem is because nature hasn’t evolved to handle human-made chemicals,” says Andre Simpson, a professor at U of T Scarborough’s department of physical and environmental sciences who developed the resin in his lab.

“Because we’re using what is essentially a natural product—in this case fats from cooking oil—nature can deal with it much better.”

Simpson first became interested in the idea when he got a 3D printer about three years ago. After noting the molecules used in commercial resins were similar to fats found in cooking oils, he wondered whether one could be created using waste cooking oil.

One challenge was finding old cooking oil from a restaurant’s deep fryers to test in the lab. Despite contacting several major national fast food chains, the only one that responded was McDonald’s. The oil used in the research was from one of the hamburger chain’s Scarborough restaurants.

Simpson and his team used a straightforward one-step chemical process in the lab, using about one liter of used cooking oil to make 420 milliliters of resin. The resin was then used to print a plastic butterfly that showed features down to 100 micrometers and was structurally and thermally stable, meaning it wouldn’t crumble or melt above room temperature.

The plastic butterfly printed from the researchers’ cooking oil-derived resin showed features down to 100 micrometers and was structurally and thermally stable (Photo by Don Campbell).

“We found that McDonald’s waste cooking oil has excellent potential as a 3D printing resin,” says Simpson, an environmental chemist and director of the Environmental NMR Centre at U of T Scarborough.

Used cooking oil is a major global environmental problem, with commercial and household waste causing serious environmental issues, including clogged sewage lines caused by the build-up of fats.

Typical resins used for 3D printing cost around $525 per liter due to the extensive process it takes to create them. This, one step, process brings the costs down to around $300 per tonne. Or, 1000 liters. Or, if you prefer, ¢.30 per liter. No matter how you look at it the savings are amazing.

Bonus, as noted above, the end product is entirely biodegradable.

You want more bonuses? Boy you’re kinda greedy … well, okay. Since 3D resins can be used to make solar panels, and since scientists figured out how to use origami to make lightweight solar panels for your windows, the cost of these items being sold by SOLGAMI will become affordable to the nice people who rent their apartments but still pay utilities.

This unique origami-inspired solar panel has the potential to turn windows into a source of electricity for any apartment dweller.

For urban residences and buildings, implementing renewable sources of energy can be difficult. Researchers have tried building solar panels out of various materials so they can be placed in front of windows, but this generally leads to a large decrease in natural lighting in exchange for limited energy generation.

Soligami, on the other hand, is a solar panel system that works similarly to shutter blinds so that light can still be allowed to pass through a window.

Basically, think Venetian blinds that can power your home. CLICK HERE to take a look at them and learn more.

The decrease in costs for 3D resin is going to have a massive effect on the market over the next couple of years. Even if companies allow for a 100% profit margin, the costs to consumers will plummet.

Until then, listen to the Google.

DO THE FIVE

Help stop coronavirus

  1. HANDS Wash them often
  2. ELBOW Cough into it
  3. FACE Don’t touch it
  4. FEET Stay more than 3ft apart
  5. FEEL sick? Stay home

Messenger, Skype, Instagram, and Google Hangouts, all offer free video conferencing services you can use to stay in touch.

All that said, stay calm, stay inside, and stay safe. This will pass, civilization will continue, and we’ll adjust.

In the meantime, you can get real time updates on the spread of the virus just by CLICKING HERE.


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Listen to Bill McCormick on WBIG (FOX! Sports) every Friday around 9:10 AM.
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