Can caterpillars eat away at our plastic problem? 

On the topic of things that last a very long time, polyethylene (the most common plastic) takes hundreds of years to decay. That’s a problem because we produce about 80 million tons of it annually, and much ends up in landfills and oceans. Federica Bertocchini, a scientist in Spain, has observed that wax worms can digest plastic, leaving behind ethylene glycol (the main compound in antifreeze). The discovery aids the search for an enzyme we can produce at scale to address our plastics problem. learn more

Turning nuclear waste into diamond batteries. 

Nuclear power is a great source of renewable energy, and while many place it in the category of clean energy, it carries a serious downside – radioactive nuclear waste. This stuff is not only dangerous, but also has a crazy long half-life (5,730 years), which makes it dangerous for  very long time. Scientists have created a way to safely harness the radioactivity, using it to power a battery. The long half-life has a silver lining, since the battery can provide power for thousands of years. learn more

Elon Musk’s new company Neuralink. 

Elon Musks’ new company will build interfaces that connect computers directly to your brain. If you’ve never read posts on Wait but Why, now is the time to start. Tim Urban uses his uniquely awesome writing (and drawing) style to give an in-depth overview of what Elon’s trying to achieve, as well as how and why. learn more

Fasting can regenerate your immune system. 

A recent study by researchers at the University of Southern California has found that fasting for three days triggers your body to regenerate immune systems cells. “Prolonged fasting forces the body to use stores of glucose and fat but also breaks down a significant portion of white blood cells. During each cycle of fasting, this depletion of white blood cells induces changes that trigger stem cell-based regeneration of new immune system cells.” learn more