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News Briefs

1 min read

High-Level Weather Watch.

China's state news agency reported on 19 September that the country is planning to set up a scientific research outpost on Mount Everest. The research station, which will be located near the mountain's Base Camp, 5000 meters above sea level, will be used to study the relationship between the atmospheric conditions in that area, known as the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, and global patterns.

Photo: Paramount Pictures/Getty Images

Vegan Voltage.

The cartoon character Popeye always got a boost of energy when he ate his spinach. And soon, electronic devices such as laptops and cellphones may get their power from leafy greens, too. A group of researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Tennessee, and the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory have come up with a recipe that allows them to take advantage of the photosynthetic proteins in spinach and other plants, which capture energy from sunlight. When laser light is shined on a "spinach sandwich" containing ground photosynthetic proteins mixed with detergent peptides, a tiny current is produced.

Nosy Phones?

Imagine getting an urgent message on your cellphone telling you to gargle with mouthwash. That may soon be reality. On 21 September, researchers at Siemens Mobile's R and D lab in Munich, Germany, reported that they are developing a mobile phone equipped with a chemical sensor chip, or sniffer, that will detect foul odors. The chip will enable handsets to alert users to bad breath or body odor, tell them when their breath indicates a high blood alcohol content, and warn them of the presence of noxious fumes.

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