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Graphene phones as thin as paper

Scientists believe graphene, the so-called “wonder material” and known as the world’s strongest (100 times stronger than steel) and thinnest (one ounce would cover 28 football fields), could revolutionize cell phones, solar panels and more. According to the material could lead to the development of smart phones almost as thin and flexible as paper and virtually unbreakable.

Solar panels molded to cover the surface of an electric or hybrid car. Possible treatments for damaged spinal cords. It’s not science fiction. These are other possible applications of graphene, which is the focus of a new episode of the ChemMatters video series.
The video, from the award-winning Digital Services Unit in the American Chemical Society (ACS) Office of Public Affairs, explains how graphene’s incredible properties originate from the unique arrangement of its atoms.

Like diamonds and coal, graphene is made up entirely of carbon. But unlike those materials, graphene’s carbon atoms are arranged in two-dimensional sheets, making it incredibly strong and flexible. Since graphene also conducts electricity as well as copper, it could lead to flexible cell phone touchscreens and transparent, inexpensive solar cells. Ongoing advances in manufacturing graphene are bringing these and other devices closer to reality.

Coffee speeds up bowel function return after surgery

Patients who drink coffee rather than water after bowel surgery to remove a part of their colon experience a quicker return to bowel movements and tolerance of solid food, researchers say.

These are two of the key findings of a comparative study of 80 patients, carried out at University Hospital Heidelberg, Germany.

 “Post-operative bowel obstruction is a common problem after abdominal surgery and the aim of this study was to test our theory that coffee would help to alleviate this,” lead author Dr Sascha Muller said. The 80 patients were randomised into coffee and water groups before their operation, with one patient in the water arm subsequently excluded due to a change in their surgical procedure. Patient characteristics were similar in both groups. Their average age was 61 years and 56 per cent were male.

Key findings of the study were – time to first bowel movement after surgery was just over 60 hours in the coffee group and 74 hours in the water group, the coffee group were able to tolerate solid food in just over 49 hours, compared to just under 56 hours in the water group, the coffee drinkers were also able to pass wind just under 41 hours after surgery, compared with over 46 hours for the water group and length of hospital stay and ill health were similar in both groups.

“This randomised trial showed that the time to first bowel movement after surgery was much shorter in the coffee drinkers than the water drinkers,” Dr Muller said.
“Although 10 per cent of the patients did not want to drink strong coffee at this time, it was well accepted by the group and no coffee-related complications were noted.

Fossil of 100m-yr-old spider attack discovered

Researchers claim to have found the only fossil ever discovered of a spider attack on prey caught in its web – a 100 million-year-old snapshot of an engagement frozen in time.
The extraordinarily rare fossils are in a piece of amber that preserved this event in remarkable detail, an action that took place in the Hukawng Valley of Myanmar in the Early Cretaceous between 97-110 million years ago, almost certainly with dinosaurs wandering nearby.

Along with showing the first and only fossil evidence of a spider attacking prey in its web, the piece of amber also contains the body of a male spider in the same web.  
This provides the oldest evidence of social behaviour in spiders, which still exists in some species but is fairly rare. Most spiders have solitary, often cannibalistic lives, and males will not hesitate to attack immature species in the same web.

“This juvenile spider was going to make a meal out of a tiny parasitic wasp, but never quite got to it,” George Poinar from Oregon State University said. “This was a male wasp that suddenly found itself trapped in a spider web.

“This was the wasp’s worst nightmare, and it never ended. The wasp was watching the spider just as it was about to be attacked, when tree resin flowed over and captured both of them,” he said.

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