Tag: answers with joe

6 Inventors Who Were Killed By Their Own Inventions

In the endless march of innovation, you’re going to have some missteps along the way. From balloon accidents to questionable bed apparatuses, here are 6 inventors who were killed by their own inventions.


There’s a vault in Paris at the ________, where inside a lead-lined box you will find a set of notebooks that nobody is allowed to handle without proper protection, because these books could kill you.There’s a vault in Paris at the ________, where inside a lead-lined box you will find a set of notebooks that nobody is allowed to handle without proper protection, because these books could kill you.
Consider for a moment a lead-lined box in the vault of the National Library in Paris. Inside you’ll find a simple set of notebooks.
Only a few people are allowed to handle these books and even they have to wear protective gear and can only handle them for a little bit at a time.

These measures might seem normal, important documents are often subject to extreme measures to keep them safe. The difference here is these rules aren’t in place to protect the documents. It’s to protect the people handling them.
That’s because these notebooks belonged to Marie Curie. Marie Curie was of course the chemist who discovered radium and radioactivity in general while she was at it.
She was seriously one of the most impressive scientists of the modern age, to this day she’s the only person to win a Nobel Prize in two different disciplines, Chemistry and Physics.
And yet, there was so much she didn’t know, like the dangers of the radioactivity she discovered.
She handled radium and other radioactive materials with her bare hands, leading her to sadly develop aplastic anemia, and died at the age of 66.
And her notebooks, which she handled right alongside the radioactive materials she was studying, remain dangerously radioactive to this day.
It’s a prime example of someone who got a little too close to their work and paid the ultimate price for it. So today let’s take a look at some other inventors who were killed by their own inventions.

To compile this list, I had to kinda create some ground rules to define what it means exactly to be an inventor. To be honest, starting things off with Marie Curie might be a bit disingenuous because she didn’t invent radium, she discovered it.
But that thing with the notebooks is crazy, right?

So yeah, I cut out people like stuntmen, daredevils, and inventors who were so recklessly overconfident, their end was inevitable.  Franz Reichelt, I’m looking at you. —

Some of these guys were sincerely trying to advance the human race, some were just trying to one-up other people, some… maybe got what they deserved? I’ll let you be the judge of that.
Some might say that our first story falls into that category.

#1 Thomas Midgley, Jr

Thomas Midgley, Jr may be the best example of a “looking to make a buck” inventor, and possibly the least sympathetic character in this video. It’s also probably the oddest, most non-sequitor   ending of them all. If you laugh, I won’t judge you.
I’ve talked about Midgley before in my video about the Montreal Protocol, he’s the guy at General Motors who developed leaded gasoline that poisoned the air and chlorofluorocarbons that, you know… put a giant hole in the sky.
Well done, you twat.

In fact, it’s been said that no single human being in history has caused more harm to the environment than Thomas Midgley, Jr.

And you might say that’s not fair because he couldn’t foresee the unintended consequences of these things, but he probably knew at least the leaded gas was a bad idea. Multiple workers died at his chemical plants.

And Midgley himself got lead poisoning so bad he had to take a leave of absence from his job to recover.
So I mean, he knew. But he pushed it anyway. 

In 1940, he was stricken with polio.  The disease progressed to the point that he couldn’t get in and out of bed by himself anymore, so being a clever guy, he designed a harness and pulley system that allowed him that would lift him up and swing him over without needing anybody else’s help.
And just like his other inventions, he was smart enough to create it, but not smart enough to survive it.
One day in 1944, he got twisted up in the harness. One of the ropes got wrapped around his neck and he died of strangulation at the age of 55.

At least… That’s the official story.
There’s an argument he was lucky to die before he knew the damage he’d done.  Considering his reputation and ability to kinda compartmentalize the consequences of his inventions, I’m not quite sure he would have seen it that way.

#2 Jean François Pilâtre de Rozier

Next up is Jean François Pilâtre de Rozier.

And before I get into this one, I would like to extend an apology to the entire country of France for my pronunciation of his name.
de Rozier was a chemist, kinda like Midgley, but 200 years earlier.
He was also a physicist, and a contemporary of the Montgolfier brothers, who were early pioneers in balloon flight. You might remember them from my airships video.
In June 1783, de Rozier watched an unpiloted test of a Montgolfier hot air balloon, and he was hooked.  In September of that year, he helped the brothers impress King Louis XVI by sending a sheep, a duck, and a rooster on a balloon flight.
They then all walked into a bar and a hilarious joke ensued.

Anyway, de Rozier quickly escalated his balloon game and started making his own flights.
On November 21, 1783, he became the first person to pilot a hot air balloon without a safety tether.
Other balloonists followed, and a race soon started to see who would be the first to cross the English Channel in a balloon.  
de Rozier didn’t win. It was a fellow Frenchman named Jean-Pierre-François Blanchard who got there first in January 1785.

There is an asterisk on Blanchard’s flight though because he was piloting a hydrogen balloon, which was lighter than a hot air version, and even then, he had to dump all his extra weight to make it across, including his food and his pants.

Pretty awkward celebration at the landing point.
So de Rozier wasn’t the first one across but he thought he could be the first one across with his junk covered so he kept soldiering on.
He still wanted to make it across using hot air because of the buoyancy and control it provides but seeing that hydrogen worked, he developed something of a compromise.
He invented a hybrid balloon, where part of the lift was generated by hydrogen, part by hot air. Warmed with an open flame.  Where could this be going?

Before I get to the inevitable conclusion of this story, I should point out that hybrid balloons are totally a thing, and they’re named after him; they’re called Rozières and they’re kinda awesome.
Rozières fly a lot farther on less fuel, in fact, the first non-stop balloon flight around the world was in a Rozière.  But that happened centuries after this story.
I should also point out that modern Rozières use helium instead of hydrogen…

…And here’s why.

Truth be told, there are conflicting reports as to what exactly happened on Rozier’s final flight. Some say it burst into flames, some say it didn’t but pretty much everybody agrees that it got blown off-course.

Either way, the balloon plunged to the ground, killing Rozier and his co-pilot, who was also his brother.
There’s an artist’s impression of the crash that shows an unburnt balloon.  The artist may have been trying to be kind.  There is one account that suggests that hydrogen leaked out because of a faulty valve. A problem that has apparently never been solved.
However they died, the wreck made Jean François Pilâtre de Rozier’s and his brother the first fatalities in the history of manned aviation.

#3 Harry Smolinski

They were, of course, far from the last. As our next story shows.
Allow me to introduce you to Harry Smolinski, the inventor of the flying Pinto.

The Ford Motor Company introduced the Pinto in 1970.  It was a cheap, subcompact car that some poor souls considered sporty.
Later, it would develop a reputation for exploding after relatively minor impacts.

But in 1973, those problems haven’t quite cropped up yet. So when he had the idea of converting a car into a plane by attaching a wing and engines, the Pinto seemed like the perfect fit.
And to be fair, he was the right guy to do it. He had a degree in aeronautical engineering and worked for nine years at Rocketdyne. So he knew his stuff.
So, he started a company called Advanced Vehicle Engineers, hoping to sell modified Pintos with detachable air-frames for $15,000, the equivalent of 100,000 today.

The idea being, you drive your Pinto around like a normal car but when you want to fly somewhere, just drive to the airport, attach the airframe, and in 30 minutes or so, you’re in the air.

I mean… it’s not the worst flying car idea.

He named his prototype the AVE Mizar, after a double star in the Big Dipper, and it lifted off for the first time on August 26, 1973.
It wasn’t a perfect flight. The right wing started wobbling, so the pilot couldn’t turn. He just flew the car straight and eventually landed in a field.
They worked on the problem and a couple weeks later, the Mizar was ready for another test.  The pilot wasn’t available, so Smolinski decided to fly himself, this time he brought his business partner along, a guy named Hal Blake.

The air traffic controller watched the Pinto take off, but after taking a turn, he said he saw the wing fail. And pretty spectacularly, apparently, he said he saw parts scattering everywhere.
The car took a dive, clipped a tree and slammed into a pickup truck. And exploded.
Any kidding aside, the crash killed Harry Smolinksi and Hal Blake, and with them any hope that the flying Pinto could be a thing. The company folded, and the flying car has remained just out of reach to this day.

#4 Valerian Ivanovich Abakovsky

Soviet inventor Valerian Ivanovich Abakovsky had a similar idea, but instead of a flying car, he tried to invent a flying train.
1920s Russia was a land of opportunity for young engineers.  The Bolshevik government was eager to modernize the country and show off their technological prowess.
Plus it’s a giant country so they were eager to improve their transportation infrastructure.
Abakovsky worked as a chauffeur when he wasn’t engineering. So maybe he was just chilling in a limo when he first read about a German attempt to create a high-speed locomotive with a

The idea didn’t really go anywhere in Germany because the strict sanctions at the time after World War 1 made it hard to get parts, but Abakovsky realized he’d have no trouble with that in Russia.
So he pitched the idea, got enthusiastic funding from the government for all the reasons I just mentioned, and thus the Aerowagon was born.
It really was like a combination of a plane and a train, and they actually got it up to 140 km/h in tests.

So in July 1921, the Aerowagon set off on its first inaugural trip, and it actually got a huge vote of confidence from the Soviet state because they had several high-ranking party officials on board.
I feel like it’s worth mentioning, Abakovsky was only 24 years old at the time.
They set off on the morning of July 24th with 22 people on board, including Abakovsky and those high ranking officials.
They made their way from Moscow to Tula, a distance of 193 kilometers at an average speed of 40-to-45 km/h, about the same speed the trains go today.
Great success!

It was on the return trip that everything went wrong.  And it happened for the same reason many things went wrong in the Soviet era. The party officials wanted something, and nobody had the power to say no.

Reportedly the VIPs were tired and wanted to get home, so they insisted they go faster. It’s unknown how Abakovsky felt about it, but they doubled the speed to over 80 km/h.
And it was at this speed when the Aerowagon derailed. Six of the 22 passengers died at the scene, including Abakovsky himself.  One man died later.
This would go down as the worst train-plane hybrid accident until Starscream threw Megatron from Astrotrain in the Transformers Movie.

Seriously, it was a devastating blow.  The Russians abandoned aerowagon as a concept until 1970, and no model never left the lab.Now, in Abakovsky’s defense, there are some that think this wasn’t his fault. That in fact, the train was sabotaged.
There was a guy named Artem Fedorovich Sergeev, who was the son of one of the VIPs that died, he claims that the train was intentionally derailed to get rid of some of those high-ranking officials.

He was actually taken in by Joseph Stalin after his father died so he might have had access to information that others wouldn’t.  And it wouldn’t be the first or last time that high-ranking Russian officials, you know, “had an accident.”

#5 Horace Lawson Hunley

Go back another 60 years or so and you get the story of Horace Lawson Hunley, the inventor of the first submarine.
The time was the American Civil War, and the Confederates were being crippled by Union blockades of their ports, which prevented weapons and supplies from reaching the troops.
The situation got so desperate, they began offering bounties on Union warships. A single ship could bring a bounty of 50,000 Confederate dollars, which would be worth a million today, if Confederate dollars were worth anything.

That was enough money to get Hunley to partner with engineer and former steamship captain James McClintock to build a submarine.  
It should be noted that attempts to build a battle sub go all the way back to 1775, but none had yet managed to sink a ship.

Hunley and McClintock thought the time had come.  They built a sub named Pioneer but had to destroy it when the city where they were testing fell to the enemy.
Their second attempt produced a sub that had to be abandoned due to design flaws.
But the third time, they got it right.  Hunley financed this one himself, so it was named for him.  The H.L. Hunley, and it proved to be really good at killing people.  Those people being its crew.

Five sailors died during a test in August 1863, when a sailor stepped on a lever that opened hatches during a dive. Whoops.
Another test on October 15th killed 8 people when they attempted to dive under a ship at anchor and basically angled too steep and got stuck in the mud. All the sailors on board drowned.
One of those eight sailors was Hunley himself.
A little post-script to this story is that they did resurrect the Hunley and put it back into service, this time under the command of Lieutenant George Dixon. And this time, it actually worked.
Early the next year, the H. L. Hunley attacked and sank the Union ship Housatonic, becoming the first submersible to sink an enemy ship. And then promptly sank itself. For a third time.
Ironically, this took place in 25 feet of water so all the Union sailors were able to climb up the rigging and survived. Meanwhile all eight of the Hunley crew drowned.

So yes, technically the Hunley was the first successful military submarine. If by success you mean it killed 21 of your guys and none of the enemy.
By the way, when the Hunley sank, it kinda disappeared. Nobody knew what happened to it until 1995 when the wreck was found off the coast of South Carolina.
It was raised in the year 2000 and today you can go see it at the Warren Lasch Conservation Center in Charleston. Don’t recommend trying to sail away in it though.

#6 William Bullock

William Bullock was an inventor who created the rotary press for newspaper printing, though you could argue he’s more of an innovator than an inventor. The rotary press was invented a decade beforehand but his improvements were so substantial he tends to get the credit for it.

Before Bullock’s press, paper sheets had to be fed by hand.  Bullock created a way for the press to draw its paper continuously from a large roll.  
He also added mechanisms for cutting and folding paper.

The patent for Bullock’s press was granted in 1863, and this massively improved the speed and efficiency of newspaper printing. In fact, a similar process is still used in printers today.
Unfortunately, he didn’t get to enjoy the fruits of his labor for very long. Four years after his patent was granted, he suffered a horrifying accident under his own invention.
Apparently he found a belt that was becoming dislodged from a pulley and tried to kick it back on. The problem is he didn’t turn off the machine first.
He probably thought he could just give it a quick little tap and pop it back on there while it was moving, in fact he’d probably done that dozens of times by that point but this particular time, his foot got caught in the belt and the machine crushed his leg.

Fortunately for him, it didn’t suck his entire body under there – the damage was limited to his leg – unfortunately for him penicillin was 60 years in the future, so the leg became gangrenous.
The doctors amputated his leg, but it was too little too late.  He died ten days later from surgical complications.
In a sad twist, the bank that had financed his press folded after Bullock died.  In the fallout, the bank’s former president ended up owning Bullock’s company.  It continued selling presses, but none of the money went to Mrs Bullock or her children.

For 97 years, William Bullock rested in an unmarked grave at Union Dale Cemetery in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  In 1964, a magazine article raised enough interest to fund a marker and headstone.  One of the attendants of the ceremony was Bullock’s great-grandson.

Worthy Sacrifice?

Bullock’s death wasn’t the most sensational but I saved it for last because it kinda feels the most human, you know? I mean, who hasn’t kicked a machine out of frustration a time or two?

And I’d like to say that all these guys died for a reason, you know, pushing the human race forward and all that but Midgley and Hunley were on the wrong side of history, Smolinski and Abakovsky’s inventions died with them.
de Rozier might be the exception. He helped kick off an industry that’s changed the world, and a version of his invention is still flying today. You can’t help but wonder what else he could have done if he’d survived.

Maybe just finish on a note here about how some of these guys were reckless or foolish but in the end, their mistakes advanced engineering and helped shape the world today.
Going back to the beginning, of course is Marie Curie, who put her body on the line and changed the world in the process. Of course, cue the comments telling me she wasn’t an inventor though.

Would You Upload Your Mind Into A Machine? (And Other Questions) | Lightning Round

Today’s lightning round questions deal with hot topics like what we’re going to do with trash on Mars, what direction dogs stand when they do their business, what kind of king Charles will be, and why it rains diamonds on Uranus.


Hey, before I get into this month’s lightning round video, I just want to say I just got back from doing some traveling, I was in New York for Educon and San Diego for Fully Charged Live and I think I got to meet and shake hands with more followers of this channel than I’ve ever had a chance to at any one single amount of time.

Hey, before I get into this month’s lightning round video, I just want to say I just got back from doing some traveling, I was in New York for Educon and San Diego for Fully Charged Live and I think I got to meet and shake hands with more followers of this channel than I’ve ever had a chance to at any one single amount of time.
For all of you that I got to meet, I want to say it was great to meet you, thanks for coming up and for all the kind words, but there was one sentiment that was reflected the most that really kinda put me on my heels a little bit.
I had so many people say that what they like about my channel is that I cover a wide range of random topics and let me tell you something, that’s my favorite thing about doing this channel.
It can get really easy to be pigeonholed on YouTube, the algorithm tends to put people in silos and say, “you can talk about this, and if you talk about anything else, we’re just not going to show it.” And I  can tell you right now, if I went by that alone, I would not enjoy doing this.

In fact the channel might grow a bit faster if I did focus on one thing… But it would be a lot less interesting wouldn’t it?
But I can only cover all the weird and wonderful things I do because you guys let me and keep coming back and trust that whatever it is I cover, you’ll dig it, or at least dig my take on it. So I want to thank you for having that trust in me and for coming along with me on this ride. It’s really only because of you that I get to do this.
Besides, I get a lot of my video ideas from you guys in your comments and social media posts… and Patreon supporters with lightning round questions like these.

Thomas Lovse – Patreon – September

What do you think the future of the British monarchy will be now that the Queen died? Will Charles be a good king?

I am wholly unqualified to speak on this.

What is the value of the monarchy? What is a “good king” in 2022?
Whenever I say that we don’t have anything like the monarchy in America, people always say the Kardashians. That reference is apt in a way, and I know a lot of Brits feel the same about the royal family, that they’re just freeloaders and famous for being famous. But I think there’s something about that link to 1000 years of history that people find comforting. That’s what I mean when I say we don’t have anything like that here. I feel like Charles is a fairly uninspiring figure but has garnered some sympathy. Whether he retains it is another thing.

I always kinda had a little bit of empathy for the guy, the fact that he was kinda forced to marry Diana even though he was in love with Camilla, kinda stuck between a rock and a hard place.

The Dr. Becky story

Meghan Betts – Patreon – September

Ok I have one more – I could have googled it but I’d rather hear it from you. Why are most celestial bodies/atomic structures round(ish)?

The short answer is gravity. When an object in space gets big enough, its gravity pulls everything in at a roughly equal force in all directions, lending it to a spherical shape. But gravity is actually a very weak force so objects that are smaller don’t form into these perfect spheres.

Then you have to factor in rotation because most objects are spinning, so planets in general aren’t perfectly spherical, they’re oblate spheroids. Saturn being very low density has a difference of 20,000km around the equator vs polar Then there’s asteroid Bennu, which has become kind-of diamond shaped (or shaped like a top) because it’s small enough that its gravity can’t overcome the centripetal force of its rotation that wants to fling the mass at the equator outward.

As for why atoms are spherical… The short answer is that they aren’t. Not technically. They have electrons in various orbitals with no solid boundaries so it’s not exactly a sphere. We mostly just visualize them that way. But they do have a vague spherical shape for the same reason planets do, the nucleus asserts the same force on electrons in all directions.

Fishtail – Discord – September

Please provide us your ponderances of the gamification of popular prominent pastimes.

For instance TopGolf https://topgolf.com/us/locations/
Go to TopGolf and get footage of hitting some balls

Brian Beswick – Discord – September

I don’t even have a question on this one, I just thought this was cool. Diamond Rain in Uranus… insert joke here.

I don’t want to insert anything into Uranus.
Read and riff on the article. Highlights: It’s done by firing lasers into cheap PET plastics – produces pressure that creates nanodiamonds It’s the pressure on gas giants that causes the chemicals to form into diamonds, but on gas giants the nanodiamonds can grow to “millions of carats” Ultimately those fall to the center and create a “bling ring” around the planet. Nanodiamonds have a very wide array of applications in drug delivery, medical sensors, noninvasive surgery, sustainable manufacturing, and quantum electronics. Joke about all the acronyms and “I don’t know why people find science so unapproachable”

Claudio f souza – Discord – September

Hey Joe , will you upload your mind to ~the machine~ once it’s possible: y/n? And why?

The old teleportation problem I struggle with this. It’s not as simple as uploading your consciousness to a computer because then you’re just creating a replica of yourself. I have two problems with that. One, I don’t actually get to experience it – my replica does. And two, I’m not sure having two of me in the world is a good idea. I did a video that tried to hypothesize a way to kind of turn the brain into hardware so that you could kind-of become a part of the “machine” and not have to rely on “uploading” or “replication”.

Meghan Betts

Meghan here! Do you think we’re living in a white hole? If so does that mean we’re not living in a simulation? Or does that mean that the black hole is the main processor for our simulation?

Hoo boy…
So if my understanding is right – and that’s a big if – there is the idea that the big bang and expansion of the universe was caused by a white hole, which itself might be like the outgassing of a black hole in another universe. It’s kind-of just another way to try to explain where all of this came from. It does kinda collide with the holographic theory, which says that information that falls into a black hole gets encoded on the event horizon and then radiated back out slowly over trillions of years through Hawking radiation.

What this has to do with simulation theory, I’m not quite sure…
There’s an idea that has been rattling around in my head lately, and this might be more science fiction than science science but here goes.
So there’s the whole question of where is all the antimatter, right? They say that when the universe was created in the big bang, it should have produced equal parts matter and antimatter. Which, in theory would have cancelled each other out in a massive explosion and left nothing behind.

Kinda gets to the whole question of why is there something instead of nothing.
But there is something. There is possibly an infinite universe of something, but we don’t see hardly any antimatter, that’s the mystery.
So one of the explanations for that is that there was by some fluke just barely more matter than antimatter when the universe was created, like one billion and one parts matter to one billion antimatter and what was left over was the universe we know of today.

Meaning the infinite universe we currently have is only a billionth of what should have been created.
But another way of looking at antimatter is that it’s regular matter traveling backwards in time.

So when you see a timeline of the universe like this, it maybe should be shown like this.

With our universe traveling in one direction on the arrow of time and an antimatter universe traveling in the opposite direction.Of course, the problem with this visualization is that time doesn’t move physically in one linear direction, it travels out in all directions so it might be more accurate to imagine a second, parallel universe (rotate the negative universe so that it lines up with the original one – maybe slightly askew so you can see both of them) exactly like ours, expanding right alongside ours, made of antimatter in a separate dimension of sorts, a dimension reversed in time.

So in this scenario, the idea of a black hole punching through to the parallel universe would mean that it wouldn’t appear to them as a white hole spewing that matter out into their universe, because they’re reversed in time, it would just be a black hole from their reference frame.
Also I think that would mean that the universe is deterministic because in this reversed time universe from our reference frame the future has already happened.

Earthbound Martian

As a creator, what do you think is the biggest thing you can bring to others lives? What do you feel it means to “create” in today’s world?

Judging by that last segment, it’s breaking people’s brains.
The simplest answer – the best thing we can do is help others feel less alone.
There’s a reason why you can find pretty much everything in the world on YouTube, because no matter how weird or unique you might think you and your interests may be, I promise you there are millions of other people out there that have the same interest.

Like we’re all living very unique and specific lives and have unique and specific perspectives, but we’re a lot more alike than we think.
And maybe you lived your whole life thinking you were different or alone because of this, maybe it made you feel ostracized or disconnected, and then you hear some random person from somewhere else in the world nerding out over the same thing and it’s like a magic trick, “holy crap, that guy’s into it too!”
In the earliest days of this channel, all my videos were more like this, where I would take questions from the comments and answer them, hence, Answers With Joe.

But after a while, I began to just kinda trust that if I was interested in something, you guys would be interested in it too. And that’s kinda proven to be true.
Not all of you like every video obviously, but that’s been a really interesting side effect of this whole thing.
The lesson I’ve learned is that if you just put yourself out there and be true to yourself as much as possible, you’re putting ripples into the universe. And you never know where those ripples will land and how they will affect others. And I think that’s true in life as well.

Cole Parker

One could say that Elon’s companies cover critical needs on Mars, But what about waste management. Humans produce tons of trash, literally. Will the second permanent structure on Mars be the first ex-terrestrial garbage dump or does Musk or others have some high tech solution to burning, reusing or reprocessing waste?

Cole, come on, it’s an entire planet, what could we possibly do to an entire planet?
I did a bit in a video a while back where I imagined how much waste would be created on a trip to Mars and joked that the way to Mars would become a giant skidmark. It was a joke worth repeating.

So, one of the things we’ve been learning on the ISS over the last 20 years is how to do exactly this kind of thing, learning how to build and live in an enclosed system. Of course there are some things that we still haven’t quite gotten down.
Astronauts famously recycle their urine on the ISS, hence the phrase, “Today’s coffee is tomorrow’s coffee”
But solid waste and a lot of other consumables don’t get recycled, they just get put on cargo ships that burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere.

Earth, the ultimate landfill.

But this is not going to be an option on Mars, or on the Moon for that matter.
Now landfills are obviously an option, and it may come down to that but NASA’s working on some ideas to deal with waste in a more useful way.
In fact, earlier this year they launched a few challenges for the public to submit ideas along these lines.
Waste to Base Materials Challenge: Sustainable Reprocessing in Space seeks ideas to convert waste into useful resources, like propellant or raw materials for 3D printing. Participants are asked to share their ideas for managing, converting or processing a few specific categories of waste, including trash, fecal waste, foam packaging, and carbon dioxide. Trash-to-Gas Ash Management Challenge  seeks design concepts for an effective method of removing the ash from a full-scale Trash-to-Gas reactor in microgravity for later use or disposal.

Waste Jettison Mechanism Challenge, seeks concepts from the public for ways to safely eject materials from a crewed spacecraft. Jettisoned objects would safely orbit the Sun so as not to contaminate celestial bodies or interfere with future space missions.
The challenges have closed, and I tried to find the winners and what their ideas were but… I couldn’t. So NASA’s working on it.
As for Elon and SpaceX, I couldn’t find anything when I looked – I saw a lot of articles that were critical of their plans because of the waste issue – but if there’s something out there that I missed, feel free to share in the comments.

I imagine the most likely options would be plasma gassification to get energy out of it, or purposefully using consumable goods that break down organically or can be recycled for 3D printing or construction. And as for human waste, well… potatoes.

Robin Tennant Colburn

 A certain PBS You Tube broadcast mentioned a study found that dogs poop on a north-south alignment. All I can find on the internet seems to trace back to a study of 70 dogs.  How does YOUR dog do what she doo doos so well, ;-)?

Okay, I’m just gonna say that I don’t think this is a thing.
I will say though after reading this question I started paying attention to what direction my dogs poop and of the four times I saw them do it in our backyard… each time they were facing south.

There Used To Be An Island Here

Thousands of years ago, when the ocean levels were lower, an inhabited island once existed between Great Britain and Denmark. Who were the people who lived there? And what happened to Doggerland?


In 1931, a fishing trawler was working in the North Sea in an area known as Dogger Bank, it’s an undersea raised formation about halfway between Britain and Denmark – it’s a popular spot for fishing because the water is shallower there, and that’s actually how it got its name, a Dogger is a type of Danish fishing boat.

Anyway, on this one particular fishing trip, they trawled a little too low and scraped the sea floor and pulled some of that floor up with it.

And as they were digging that sea floor stuff out of their nets they realized that what they had actually dug up underneath the sediment was peat.

Now this is weird right away because peat is a nutrient-dense organic soil that’s made from decomposing plant life over thousands of years, which suggests there was once dense vegetation there, totally not what one would expect at the bottom of the ocean.

But even weirder was that mixed in with that peat, they found this. A stone-age barbed hunting spear made out of antler bone.
What was this doing in the middle of the ocean? Was it dropped off a stone age boat? Did stone age boats even exist?

To get some clarity on this, they analyzed some of the peat from the same area and found pollen that suggested that the area was once a mixed woodland – in other words… This used to be dry land. Dry land with people living on it.

So… What happened?

To say that the world used to be different is the most obvious statement ever made. Of course continents have shifted and changed over time – South America used to spoon up against Africa in the giant continental orgy we call Pangea.

Ooh, naughty geology.

Hell, fossils of sea creatures have been found here in North Texas because back in the Cretaceous, there was an ocean here. It was called the Western Interior Seaway.

But these are things that take place over geologic time, hundreds of thousands, even millions of years. The idea that it could happen during the span of human history – and fairly recent human history at that – is kinda mind-boggling.

And yet, that’s what happened in this area of the North Sea that was once inhabited land. An area now known as Doggerland.

So what caused this to happen? The short answer, is the same thing that killed the dinosaurs… According to Batman and Robin.

Terrible pun. And even worse science.

No, the ice age didn’t kill the dinosaurs, but it did lower sea levels all around the world.

And this changed the map in a lot of ways. In Australia, it gave it this nice little peninsula that merged it with Papua New Guinea.

Just northwest of there, Vietnam and Cambodia merged with Indonesia and Brunei to create this giant land mass bigger than India today.

Speaking of India, it once had a peninsula where the island of Sri Lanka is now.

Saudi Arabia was merged with Iran with no Persian Gulf in between them.

And perhaps most famously, a land bridge formed over the Bering Strait, connecting the Eastern and Western hemispheres, allowing animals and humans to migrate into North America.
And in Northern Europe, the British isles merged with the mainland, forming this region that we’re talking about today.

The reason for this drop in

sea levels was, of course, the massive ice sheets that formed over the Northern Hemisphere during the Late Glacial Maximum.

This was a period where just incomprehensibly large miles-high glaciers began creeping down from the arctic starting about 33,000 years ago, and reaching their peak at around 25,000 years ago and finally retreating around 14,000 years ago.

It’s thought that 8% of the Earth’s surface was covered in this thick ice, and sea levels dropped by 125 meters. All because the average temperature dropped by 6 degrees celsius. (11 degrees F).

Now I’ve been calling this the “Late Glacial Maximum,” it’s also often called the “Last Glacial Maximum.” Because it’s not the only time this happened. It happened a lot actually over the years.

From about 800,000 to 500,000 years ago there was the Cromerian Stage, followed by the Elster Ice Age about 450,000 to 300,000 years ago.

This was when Neanderthals and Homo Heidelbergensis entered the scene, leaving behind flint rocks and wooden spears that have been found all over Northern Europe, including in Doggerland.

This was followed by the Saalian Glaciation from 300,000 to about 150,000 years ago, then the Earth had a warming cycle called the Eemian period that started about 120,000 years ago.

This caused ocean levels to rise by 9 meters, and put Doggerland back under water. This would actually happen several times, it would be inhabited, then it would flood, then dry and inhabited, over and over again.

The last of these glacial periods was the Weichselian Glaciation, this began 115,000 years ago, and would last until about 12,000 years ago.

This was the period that encompassed the Last Glacial Maximum and would bring an end to the Pleistocene Age. It was also when we, homo sapiens came on the scene in Northern Europe around 40,000 years ago.

The Pleistocene actually ended with a bit of a last hurrah, with a warming period from 14,690 to 12,890 years ago called the Bølling–Allerød interstadial, followed by the Younger Dryas, a rapid cooling period between 12,900 to 11,700 years ago.

This is when temperatures leveled off into the Holocene period, which is the era we’re living in today.

Now that was a lot of history to cover in a very small amount of time, so a ton got left out, but that brings us to what you might call the Golden Years of Doggerland.

Before the glaciers truly melted away and the seas rose, Doggerland was a lush woodland, populated by mammoths, bison, reindeer, and horses. And some more surprising animals like lions and hyenas.

This was like a Golden Corral all you can eat buffet for early humans in the area, and just to put this into perspective, the Pyramids of Giza wouldn’t be built for another 9,000 years.

Not only was hunting plentiful but fishing was relatively easy, and it boasted a slurry of tree species like Oak, Hazel, Birch, Pine, and Juniper.

It was the Ahrensburg people who populated Doggerland for much of this time, they were an early hunter-gatherer civilization that emerged after the climate shifts caused a change in ecosystems.

Ahrensburg items have been found in Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, North France, and Eastern England, and it’s thought that Doggerland may have been especially popular during the Winter following the migration of reindeer.

And they’ve found similar barbed spears in Ahrensburg settlements much like the one they found on Dogger bank.

They were a group of nomadic tribes so they didn’t set up cities in Doggerland or anything, which is a good thing because as we already know, Doggerland’s days were numbered.

As the glaciers continued to melt and the water slowly rose, much of Doggerland became marshy wetlands, which actually still made for some pretty good hunting grounds for humans because it kept out other predators like sabre-tooth cats.

The Dogger Bank area was higher in elevation so probably still more dry and woody

But then, around 9,000 years ago, an event took place on the other side of the world that pretty much sealed its fate.

In North America, as the Laurentide Ice Sheet melted and receded northward, it left behind a massive lake just to the northwest of the current Great Lakes, called Lake Agassiz.

Lake Agassiz was bigger than all the Great Lakes combined, it covered 440,000 square kilometers, larger than any lake currently existing today – similar in size to the Black Sea.

And when that ice sheet receded past Hudson Bay, all that water – a Black Sea worth of water – spilled into Hudson Bay, which was connected to the Atlantic Ocean.

This rose ocean levels around the world practically overnight, and most of Doggerland slipped under the water. And Dogger Bank bank became Dogger Island.

Some suggest that the Lake Agassiz event might be the source of all the flood myths from all around the ancient world because it raised ocean levels everywhere.

And just like today, people back then tended to settle along coastlines. It’s likely a LOT of settlements got wiped out. Including Doggerland.

But this isn’t why they call Doggerland the Atlantis of the North Sea. No, at this point, Dogger Island still remained, along with a small land bridge connecting Britain to the mainland.

And Dogger Island wasn’t small, it was 23,000 square kilometers, roughly the size of Sardinia.

Oh, and fun fact, in this same area is the world’s oldest boat. A canoe was found and is dated to be around 7750 BCE, so it’s possible people could have even traveled to it.
No, it was another event that has led some to call it Atlantis.

Around 6200 BCE, so 8200 years ago, the North Sea was hit with a series of massive tsunamis caused by the Storegga Slide.

That might sound like a dance you might do at a cousin’s wedding but the Storegga Slide was an underwater landslide that occurred when a massive chunk of the continental shelf broke off and displaced 3500 cubic meters of debris. That’s 840 cubic miles.

That’s basically like if an asteroid 9.5 miles wide dropped into the North Sea.

Experts suggest that this mega-tsunami wiped out both the remaining land bridge and Dogger Island, effectively wiping out any civilizations that might have remained there and separating Britain from mainland Europe.

You could call it the first Brexit.

Now, to the best of our knowledge, any remaining groups still living on Dogger Island were likely hunter-gatherers so the idea that an advanced and powerful civilization got wiped out like the Atlantis myth is kind-of a non-starter.

But it was an inhabited island that literally sank into the ocean in a cataclysmic event.

Of course nothing in science is that cut and dried, there is evidence to show that this happened, like the distribution of sand and clay in the area.

But other findings based off sediment cores suggest that it might have remained above water for several hundred years after the tsunami.
But investigations continue around Dogger Bank to learn more about what was lost all those years ago. Everything from lions to wooly mammoths to dozens more spear tips and tools.

As of right now, the youngest artifact found was from 6050 BCE.

Ironically, plans are in the works to use Dogger Bank to install an offshore wind farm, including a floating “artificial Island” in the same place a real island used to be.

Double ironically, the point of the wind farm is to help reduce the very kind of sea level rise that doomed it in the first place.

It’s a big project but there’s an even bigger project that has been discussed that could actually bring Dogger Island back.

I mean, it’s unlikely. But maybe?

Because of rising sea levels and cities like Amsterdam in the North Sea coming under threat, some proposals have been made to put a dam across the whole North Sea and The English Channel.

The plan is to extend a dam from Scotland and the Shetland Islands across to Norway and from the southwest coast of England to the Northwest tip of France.

This is being called the North European Enclosure Dam and it would not just protect the North Sea but also the Baltic Sea and all the cities that lie on that coast.

It’s a megaproject to say the least. The total length would be 657 kilometers, and it could cost up to $500 billion, but would protect the livelihoods and property of over 25 million people and prevent many times more cost in damages.

And hey, if they get really crazy with it, maybe they could pump out enough to bring Dogger Bank back out of the water, and discover all the secrets it holds.

Again, not likely, but an interesting thought.
And I mean, I think it would be cool to know more about the people who lived on Dogger Island. Like it’s easy to kinda blow it off say ah, they were stone age hunter/gatherers, so what but keep in mind, there were artists painting on cave walls going back 30,000 years.

One of my favorite things that I saw in Ireland on my trip there were stone circles and monuments and tombs dating back 6000 years.

These were mature civilizations with rituals and religions, and understanding of astronomy, they might not have been Atlantis but they were significant.

And since they lived on islands, that isolation probably created very distinct cultures that have now been completely lost to the sea.

Much like Ireland and Britain developed distinct cultures over thousands of years even though they were right next to each other. And this clash of cultures led to a catastrophe of its own that threatened to wipe out Irish culture.

This one, however, was entirely man-made.

The Irish Famine of the late 1840s was not the same as what happened in Doggerland. No tsunami was involved, but an argument could be made that it was the worst disaster that occurred in that area since Dogger Island was wiped away.

It was by far the biggest loss of life in that area – I mean, we have no way of knowing how many people were on Dogger Island when it went down, but it was undoubtably less than the millions of people who literally starved to death between the years of 1846 and 1849.


ASMR Does Something Weird To Our Brains | Answers With Joe

If you’ve been on the internet for more than 5 minutes, you’ve probably heard of ASMR, or Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. It’s the weird – but pleasant – sensation some people get from certain trigger sounds or sensations. It’s sparked an entire industry of content, but it’s still a bit of a mystery. Let’s try to get to the bottom of it.


It’s been called The Tingles, Whisper Porn, even Brain Orgasms. And much like regular orgasms, some people just can’t have them.It’s been called The Tingles, Whisper Porn, even Brain Orgasms. And much like regular orgasms, some people just can’t have them.
So I’ve been told. By some girlfriends.
It’s called ASMR, and if you haven’t heard of it, well, welcome to the internet.

It’s a sensation that people have probably felt for thousands of years, but it was only after the internet came along that millions of people looked at each other and said, “Oh, you too?”
ASMR stands for “autonomous sensory meridian response,” and it was coined by a woman named named Jennifer Allen in 2010.
She was part of a Reddit thread that was trying to get to the bottom of the phenomenon. And it kinda stuck. It was a clinical-sounding name designed to make it easier to talk about but also make it sound more legitimate to researchers. Not to mention negate associations with sexual fetishism. Because it’s not a sexual thing, even though they call it “whisper porn” and “brain orgasms,” and… every search result you get.

Dr. Craig Richard, from Shenandoah University in Virginia is an ASMR expert and created an online resource called ASMR University.
He’s also the author of the book Brain Tingles where he describes ASMR as:

“… a deeply relaxing feeling often accompanied by light and pleasurable brain tingles. It’s often stimulated during moments of positive, personal attention from a kind or caring person whispering, speaking, acting, and moving in a gentle way. It may be likely that about 10-20% of the global population is able to experience ASMR.”
Up until 2010, ASMR was sometimes called “The Unnamed Feeling,” “Weird Head Sensation,” and “Attention Induced Euphoria.”
It was also called “(head)tingle(s),” “head orgasm, and “braingasm.”

A person going by the screen name WhisperingLife uploaded the first, intentional ASMR video to YouTube in 2009.
It’s called “Whisper 1 — hello,” and it consists of a black screen and a lo-fi, whispered recording of her talking about making a YouTube channel specifically for whispering.
Since then, ASMR content has exploded online. When researching this video, a Google search brought up 244 million videos.

So you’re watching the 244 million and first video ever uploaded about ASMR.
It’s even making its way into mainstream commercials.
Hershey’s Chocolate Co. released an almost 90-minute online video titled “Reese The Movie: An ASMR Experience” in 2019.
The company brought together five popular ASMR creators to sit at a round table in an orange room and take turns whispering about the candy, along with crinkling its wrappers and eating the peanut butter cups.
Michelob Ultra ran a commercial during the Super Bowl in 2019 that had Zoe Kravitz whispering into a microphone and tapping her fingernails against a bottle.

So, how does ASMR work? What happens on a physiological level when it’s triggered? 

ASMR isn’t experienced by everyone. But for those who do, it usually starts in childhood.
Like you might feel tingles when your head was checked for lice or fingers running through your hair.
Or maybe you felt tingles when someone would trace a finger across your back.  (which to me doesn’t sound that strange, doesn’t everybody get a shiver?)

There are also consistencies in ASMR triggers. These include

Like some people have trouble experiencing them in clinical lab situations. For obvious reasons.
Its’ also kinda hard to determine whether people are having “true” ASMR experiences.
Regardless, there’ve been several studies over the last few years that look into the personalities of those who can experience it.
To better understand what happens to the brain, Dr. Richard and co-researchers had 10 participants watch ASMR videos in an fMRI machine for a study in 2018.
The participants’ brains showed significant activation in areas associated with reward and emotional arousal.
Brain activation also showed similarities to patterns observed in musical frisson, also known as music chills because of a chills-down-the-spine sensation.
As Dr. Richard told National Geographic in March 2022:

“[The study] showed that specific areas of the brain are active when someone is experiencing ASMR. Some of these regions highlight the likely involvement of dopamine and oxytocin.”
Oxytocin is sometimes called the “love hormone.” Behaviors that trigger oxytocin release are similar to behaviors that trigger ASMR.
Oxytocin can also stimulate states of relaxation and comfort, which are similar to ASMR feelings. 
Another study in 2017 focused on the default mode network (DMN) of the brain.

This gets a little in the weeds but the default mode network is made up of several modules in your brain and it’s kind-of on when you’re not.
Like if you’re focusing on a task, something external, then the network is less active. But if you’re kinda relaxed and looking inward; thinking – being introspective, that’s when it becomes more active.

And in this study, they measured the DMN activity of 11 people who could experience ASMR and 11 people who can’t. And they found that there was less functional connectivity in people who can experience ASMR.
In other words, all those different modules that make up the DMN had weaker connections in the ASMR group. Possibly making it easier for certain sensory stimuli to kinda short it out.
But they also found higher connectivity in certain parts of the brain that manage executive control and visual resting-state networks.

To put all that together into some sexy science speak:

The researchers suggest that it’s possible that “ASMR reflects a reduced ability to inhibit sensory-emotional experiences that are suppressed in most individuals.”

In other words, it might be something that we all feel, but for most of us it gets suppressed in the brain.
The researchers made sure to point out this doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with people who experience ASMR, it’s not a mental disorder or anything. In fact, it may be actually be helpful as a tool to cope with depression or stress.
Speaking of coping, two studies published in PLOS ONE in 2018 looked into the physiological benefits of the ASMR experience, especially when watching videos.

One of the two studies showed reduced heart rates and increased skin conductance levels and said it could be “a reliable and physiologically-rooted experience that may have therapeutic benefits for mental and physical health.”
The researchers specifically noted in both studies that ASMR is not associated with sexual arousal.

As the researchers wrote:
“This misconception may arise from the often interpersonal and intimate nature of some ASMR videos, but our research indicates that sexual arousal is not a reliable outcome of watching ASMR videos.”
The boobs in the thumbnails are just a bonus I guess.

Then there’s a new study published in the Journal of Research in Personality in April 2022 focused on sensitivity.
The study looked at 500 people and showed that people who experience ASMR scored significantly higher on tests involving  external hypersensitivity and body perception.
But as one of the researchers pointed out, this does have a downside. Saying:

“Highly sensitive people may be able to experience intensely pleasurable feelings like ASMR but this high sensitivity also has downsides. For example, the noise of a pen clicking or someone chewing gum could set off a negative reaction, which others would simply ignore.”
There is actually a term for what could be considered the opposite of ASMR, misophonia, where you experience discomfort or disgust at certain sounds.
Another study from February 2022 suggests ASMR experiencers may be more neurotic and have more baseline anxiety than non- experiencers.
This suggests that they may be more prone to experiencing negative emotional states as well as anxiety disorders. The good news is that they suggest the ASMR experience can help mitigate that.
One last study worth mentioning was published in Frontiers of Psychology in 2017 that focused on personality traits.

They studied 290 ASMR experiencers and 290 controls and found that the ASMR group demonstrated higher scores on Openness-to-Experience and Neuroticism and lower levels of Conscientiousness, Extraversion, and Agreeableness when compared to the controls.
In other words, introverts may be more likely to have them.

They said:
“It may be that inward looking people are more likely to experience ASMR symptoms than more sociable, outward looking people. Alternatively, the ASMR symptoms may lead people to be less sociable and more introspective.”

Little bit of a chicken and egg thing there but especially if the hypersensitivity to stimuli thing is true, then yeah, I can imagine those people preferring to be in a more relaxed, quiet setting.
So, what are we to make of all of this? ASMR is non-sexual… (thumbnails) really… some people who experience it may have more anxiety than others, may be more introverted than others, but the experience is a beneficial one for them.

Also, ASMR could be triggering memories from infancy.
In fact, Dr. Richard thinks the quality that is underneath almost all ASMR videos is a “tranquil, womb-like intimacy.”

He believes that sounds like towel folding and whispering are about triggering the experience of being loved.
When his study participants were asked how they most prefer to experience ASMR outside of videos, they ranked receiving light touches with their eyes closed first.

Sound triggers were ranked second, and visual ones below that.
And he points out that interestingly, this is how our senses develop over time.

When you’re born, you receive most of your information about the world through touch. Parents often coddle and stroke their newborns.
So, ASMR could be an experience of reliving your newborn time.

As Dr. Richard told Smithsonian Magazine in 2017:
“The reason people can get tingles and feel relaxed and comforted listening to Maria GentleWhispering is because she’s acting very much the way a parent would care for you, with the caring glances, gentle speech and soothing hand movements.”

This is classic pattern recognition. Our brains recognize the pattern of someone who cares, and that comforts us. And it activates that oxytocin that makes us feel good.
Maybe that’s what it’s all about – feeling loved and cared for. After all the studies, all the theories, all the debates, it’s really just the deep down universal human need to feel loved.
So if you are into ASMR content and someone tries to give you crap for it, you’ve got the perfect comeback.

So, do you experience ASMR? If so, what’s your trigger? Or misophonia? Anything weird you can’t stand to hear?
My little weird thing is when people wear thong sandals and they kinda slap the bottom of their feet as they walk…  I don’t know why, I hate it. Just… (react)
But either way, if you do enjoy a good brain tingle, I say go for it.  Life is hard, times are tough, self care is important.


…And Then 1700 People Died.

This sounds crazy, but it’s true. There are lakes in the world that randomly explode, and it works in much the same way as soda cans, but on a massive scale, and cause massive death and destruction. They’re called limnic eruptions, and they’re super weird.


Maybe I should do the whole Mentos in a Diet Coke bottle thing in my carport and then explain why it does this. Something about how the chemicals in mentos rapidly pull CO2 out of the carbonated water.

I’ve never actually done this…

Well that made a mess. And it’s like a hundred degrees out here so… I’m going to do the explanation part of this inside.

After I clean this up.

Carbonation happens when carbon dioxide dissolves in water to make carbonic acid, and it does this through pressure. Reason number 1001 that pressure changes everything.

There’s a couple of different ways to do this. Beer makers for thousands of years would add sugar and yeast into a sealed container – the yeast eats the sugar and produces CO2, which with no place to go builds up pressure and dissolves into the water.

This… can go badly.

Today, soda companies add fizz to drinks by injecting carbon dioxide into water and pressurizing it.
To get a little nerdier, the chemical reaction looks like this: H2O plus CO2 produces H2CO3 in dynamic equilibrium. The “dynamic equilibrium” part means the reaction can go left-to-right or right-to-left.
Add pressure, and the reaction goes to the right. Release that pressure, and the process reverses.

So when you open a soda can…

That sound is water and CO2 breaking up. Still a better love story than Twilight.

That’s the sound of water crying.

But why does Mentos make it so explosive? Well the surface of the Mentos is rough, and that rough surface which creates millions of tiny spots where the water and CO2 can break apart, and because they’re heavy, they sink to the bottom, allowing more of the surface to be in contact with the water.

Now this is just a fun little science experiment that might help teach about how soda works but mostly it’s just fun blowing stuff up.

But it turns out, this can happen in nature, on a massive scale. And it’s not quite so fun.

The Lake Monoun Disaster

Late in the evening of August 15, 1984, an explosion rocked the residents of the village of Njindoun in Cameroon. They told police the next morning the sound had come from the direction of Lake Monoun, 5 kilometers to the south.

A policeman went to the lake to investigate, and he brought a doctor with him just in case anybody was hurt. And before they even reached the lake, they came across a strange cloud.

It looked like pale smoke and kind-of hovered near the ground, only reaching a height of about 3 meters. But before they got a chance to really investigate it, they both started feeling sick, so they got out of there.

Once the cloud dispersed, they came back to the area and discovered that whatever that cloud was… it killed everything.

Strewn all over the place were bodies of animals and birds… and 37 people. All of them asphyxiated, and many had strange blisters all over their skin.

The investigators were baffled. There was flattened vegetation around the lake that suggested a 5-meter high wave had crashed at the shore, and there was a sulfurous odor in the area.

As time went on and no answers were found, rumors started to spread that the deaths had been deliberate. Maybe even some kind of biological weapon.

Why Did it Happen?

This, of course, got the attention of the U. S. government. Because weapons… That’s OUR thing.

So they asked Professor Haraldur Sigurdsson to investigate. He is not only the most Icelandic sounding human being alive, he is also an expert volcanologist and geochemist. Which… being from Iceland would make sense.

In fact I believe he popped up in my supervolcanoes video.

And he’s the right person for the job because Lake Monoun was created by a volcanic eruption way back in the day, and it’s actually one of 38 lakes that lie on a chain of volcanoes called the Cameroon Line.

As part of his investigation, he interviewed locals went went out into the lake on a boat to take samples.

It turned out finding the right spot was easy because bubbles were still breaking the surface.

And what he figured out was that these bubbles were carbon dioxide. The lake had become saturated with it and these bubbles were the lake literally fizzing just like a carbonated soda.

Only something caused this lake to erupt. Something was the Mentos that caused this lake to explode. And in the process released so much carbon dioxide gas that everything and everyone in the area choked to death.

After two years of studying this eruption, Haraldur published his theory and gave the phenomenon a name. Limnic eruptions.

Danger at Depth

Well how does a lake get saturated with CO2? It’s the same as with the beer and soda examples earlier – you add pressure.

And it turns out an easy way to add more pressure is just add more water.

If a lake is deep enough, water at the bottom will be under so much pressure from the weight of the water above that water will bond with carbon dioxide, just like in soda.

Now, most lakes absorb CO2 from the air, but since the source of the CO2 is at the top where the pressure is low, it doesn’t become carbonated.

So for that water down at the bottom to become saturated, there has to be a source of carbon dioxide down at the bottom of that lake.

And there are two sources that fit that bill – volcanic gas vents and decomposing plant or animal matter. Both of which create methane, too, which also can dissolve under pressure.
And what happens when lake water combines with CO2 or methane at depth? Well, nothing, so long as the pressure stays high. But if pressure drops….

Imagine fifty billion Mentos falling into a hundred billion liters of Diet Coke. This is a phenomenon that Haraldur Sigurdsson called Lake Overturn.

And Lake Monoun isn’t the only lake to experience this, or the deadliest. Actually, not even close.

The Lake Nyos Disaster

Literally 2 months after Haraldur Sigurdsson published his findings, a second event occurred only 100km away at Lake Nyos.

Around 9 PM on August 21, 1986, people living near the lake heard a rumble. A wind caused some to pass out.

The next day, investigators found the lake transformed. The blue waters had turned red, from iron being dredged from the depths.

They found that a massive wave had struck portions of the lakeshore, with water cresting as high as 100 meters in some places.

It damaged the contours of the lake so much it dried out a waterfall.

But far more disturbing was the death around the lake. It wiped out literally everything.

Eyewitnesses described a chilling silence in the area. No bird calls, no animals moving around. Not even any bugs.

I think the creepiest detail from the eyewitness accounts was the absence of flies. Dead bodies were all over the place and none of them had any flies on them. Because even the flies were dead.

The human death toll in the end came out to 1,746 people. This was a massive disaster. And it brought a lot more experts to Cameroon.

They found blisters on the bodies, as they had at Lake Monoun. This lead some to believe that a volcano had erupted. But volcanoes… let’s just say they aren’t that subtle.

Volcanic eruptions throw out huge quantities of rock and ash, create lava flows, and release sulfur in the air. Now you might remember reports of a sulfur smell at Lake Monoun, well it was also smelled by Nyos survivors, but when investigators couldn’t find evidence of elevated sulfur levels anywhere.

The water was also too cool to have suffered a volcanic eruption. Investigators found that if it was volcanic the water would be 40 degrees Celsius warmer.

It was pretty clear that CO2 was the culprit for the deaths, in fact, one of the key investigators name George Kling took a sample of Lake Nyos water and said it literally exploded from its container.

Unanswered Questions

But there were still some major questions around this. Number one was the smell. CO2 doesn’t smell like sulfur.

On the other hand, it has been known to trigger sensory hallucinations. Maybe the sulfurous odor was an illusion.

Or maybe the survivors did smell sulfur, but at such low doses, it left only traces were found.

What about the blisters? One theory was that it wasn’t carbon dioxide but carbon monoxide, which has been known to cause blisters, by limiting the circulation of blood to a person’s skin.

Or they could have been caused by trace, toxic gases mixed in the CO2 cloud.

Which leaves only the big question. Why, exactly, did the lakes erupt? What caused that pressure drop that set everything in motion?

Lake Monoun and Lake Nyos appear to have been accumulating gases for some time. Both are thought to be fed by “soda springs” that carry gasses from deep underground.

One theory was that a landslide may have broken the lake’s seal. Or a volcanic eruption that was too small to leave direct signs.

Both disasters occurred during monsoon season, so George Kling suggests a rain storm might have cooled the water and allowed the deep water to rise, which would lower the pressure.
We may never have all the answers to these two eruptions. But we do know arguably the most important thing – how to prevent them in the future.

Degassing Efforts

In 1990, a team of engineers added plumbing to the exploding lakes. There were money problems and it took a while to build but they basically installed artificial fountains that let the gassy water escape from the depths.

Nyos was so saturated the fountain shot up to 45 meters high. At first. It’s gone down since then, which is a good thing, that means it’s working.

And yeah, thanks to these efforts, Lake Nyos and Lake Monoun are now considered safe.

But… in the words of the great Master Yoda… There is another.

Lake Kivu’s Danger

About 2000 kilometers west of Lake Monoun lies Lake Kivu. Kivu is not only much larger and considerably deeper than these two lakes, but it’s also sitting on top of volcanic vents that have been releasing gas into it for thousands of years.

Yeah, they estimated in 2021 that the amount of CO2 in Lake Kivu equals as much as 5% of global CO2 emissions. That’s in one lake.

So if Lake Kivu exploded, that would be bad for, like, everyone. But for the people nearby… It would be an absolute disaster.

Actually, no Lake Nyos was a disaster, and that was with a population of 14,000 people living around it. Lake Kivu is on the border of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. And there are nearly 2 million people living around it.

And it’s also bordered by an active volcano, Mount Nyiragongo, which actually erupted in May of 2021. Half a million people had eo evacuate. Luckily Kivu didn’t explode.

Actually the size of Kivu might be its saving grace. It’s just so big and heavy it can keep that pressurized gas trapped down there.

But don’t relax too much because it also contains huge amounts of methane, which is more prone to the overturn effect.

The upside to methane is that it’s a natural gas, so if you can get it out of the lake, you can sell it. And that’s exactly what’s happening.

Power Plant Plans

In 2015 a new power plant came on line called KivuWatt that’s currently delivering 26 MegaWatts of electricity to the Rwandan power grid. I mean talk about a win-win.

Of course every rose has its thorn. Some experts are concerned that methane extraction can destroy the layer of dense water that keeps the gasses trapped.

And if that doesn’t trigger an explosion directly, it could make the lake more sensitive to other triggers, like Mount Nyiragongo.

On top of that, many of the locals make a living by fishing the lake, and there are concerns that the methane extraction could stir up other toxic gasses that the volcanic vents have been releasing.

To be fair, the Rwandan government is monitoring the water and so far, so good.

But KivuWatt isn’t a perfect solution. At their current rate, they will extract less than 5% of the lake’s methane in 25 years. Plans to expand are in place, but they have moved slowly.

Of course, they kind of have to. Lake Kivu is a time bomb.

Except with a time bomb, at least you know how much time is left.

So next time you crack open a soda, just remember you’re flirting with some dangerous chemistry. and don’t get me started on the sugar, it’s bad for you…So bad for you.

Could SpaceX Beat Artemis To The Moon? (And Other Questions)

From the mystery of what cars birds poop on to an update on the Dear Moon mission, these are the burning questions from Patreon this month.


Hey today we’ve got a lightning round video, which is where I take questions from Patreon supporters above a certain level, that level being $50 a month.

Yeah, I know, that’s insane but those insane people are the ones who help keep this channel going, so I want to make them glad they made this insane decision.

And the whole “get a question answered” thing is one of their perks. But there are other perks at much lower levels, like interacting with me in live streams and zoom calls, and access to a private Discord server, this has now become a shameless Patreon ad…

Anyway, sometimes in these lightning round videos I get asked a question and the answer goes to a place I really wasn’t expecting… And today definitely had one of those. Actually 2.

So I encourage you to stick around to the end because it does kind-of spark a debate that I would really love to know your thoughts on. Anyway, let’s start this thing.

Brian Beswick
The first images from Webb are a big deal, but we also heard something big too. What’s your thoughts on the new FRB discovered?
So Brian sent me to this Space.com page where somewhere in this sea of ads is an article about a weird new FRB that was discovered last month.

FRBs are Fast Radio Bursts and they’ve been kind-of a mystery for a while now, I think the first one was discovered in 2009, and they’re basically extremely short, like millisecond-long but can release as much energy in a millisecond as the sun does in 3 days.

And the spooky part? Nobody knows what causes them!

The most likely candidates are pulsars or magnetars but it’s still not completely settled.


What’s interesting about this new one is instead of the burst happening in milliseconds, this one is 3 seconds long, so like thousands of times longer.

And it also happens in regular intervals so they’re saying it’s kind-of like a universal heartbeat.

So poetic.

They named it FRB20191221A and what’s cool about it is they think it could help shed some light on what these things are but it s regularity could be used to help measure the expansion of the universe.

By the way, the instrument that detected it is called CHIME, which stands for Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment. Love me some acronym porn.

Are you planning on doing a speaking tour?

I was actually just talking to someone about that the other day. It’s being talked about. Nothing concrete but… Yeah. Maybe.

John Regel
Have you ever been recognized in public outside of Creator-specific venues? If so, would you mind sharing an anecdote about it from your perspective?

It doesn’t happen a lot, but it happens enough for me to always be aware that someone might recognize me, so I try to be on my best behavior.

The most recent one that really surprised me was when I was in Ireland, I got recognized in Galway, and I’m sorry his name dropped out of my head but that was a nice surprise.

For anybody who bumped into me out in the world, I guarantee I walked away from that encounter second-guessing everything I said.

What’s even weirder is when people see me and they don’t say hi but then they send a tweet at me like, “I saw you at the mall today.” (shiver)

But feel free to say hi if you see me, it’s always nice to meet viewers in person because this is so impersonal.

What do you think about YouTube thumbnails that are intentionally designed to make you “rage watch” the video? Example: The Empire Was Right in Star Wars.

I hate them. And I hate even more that they work.

“Rageonomics” is a term I’ve heard lately.

I don’t think anybody wants this to be a platform where people have to resort to that to get people to watch their videos. But here we are.

Robin Tennant Colburn
A friend told me that someone at a local scientific institution told her birds poop on blue cars more than any other because “that is the color of water, and birds tend to drop their and their offspring’s poop over water.” I started searching the internet for corroboration but I keep seeing the number one “pooped upon” car color is red. Is there a truth out there? Or is it really maybe just random?

RobIn always brings the weirdest questions. And I love it, because weird is fun. But I also kinda hate it, because they’re really hard to answer.

So Robin, love ya… But hate ya.

So I found this article from a site called the Charm City Circulator, which I can only assume is out of Baltimore, but it’s all about car repair and maintenance, but anyway, according to this article, a study was actually done on this in the UK by an auto parts company called Halfords.

They looked at over 1100 cars in five cities and found that red cars got it the worst at 18%, blue cars at 14%, black cars at 11%, white at 7%, gray or silver got 3% and green only 1%.

Now, they don’t provide a link to this study, so I don’t know exactly what their methodology was, like did they count individual droppings or was it just by car? Like did a car with 5 turds count the same as a car with 1 turd?

Actually the percentages only add up to 54 so I’m guessing they looked at 1100 cars, and of the cars that had turds on them, these were the colors.

But there’s still a lot I can’t know like what locations did they pick because different socioeconomic areas are going to favor different types of car, some of which are more popular in certain colors…

I feel like I’d want to see an experiment where they take 5 different colored cars and park them under a balcony, or around a tree and see if one consistently gets more than the others.

Like this is one of those studies that could be done in a million different ways and could lead to a million different conclusions.

In fact, the British Trust for Ornithology pushed back against the study saying, “We do know that birds can be attracted to certain colors during display but droppings on cars is probably more to do with where you park; if you park where birds roost, then you are going to get more droppings on your vehicle.”

So there you go guys, scientists have proven that if you park where birds poop, you’re more likely to get pooped on. (The More You Know jingle)

The article goes on to say that birds might poop on red cars because they think it’s food, because it’s the color of blood, so they’re drawn to red cars and therefore poop on them more.

Another theory is that red is a mating color, so birds might seek out that color to use to attract mates. And one theory even suggested that clean cars get pooped on more often because the bird sees their reflection and it scares them enough to poop.

“Females would poop because they thought they saw a male they could mate with. But they’d defecate out of frustration when they realized they couldn’t mate since what they thought was an actual bird was only their reflection.”

I mean who hasn’t been so frustrated with the dating scene that they physically shit themselves?

I don’t know, I think this might be one of those things like the claim that red cars get more speeding tickets, therefore if you drive a red car, you’re more likely to get pulled over?

And people look for all these reasons why that happens, everything from profiling to the color red messes with the cops’ radar guns…

When what it really comes down to is red is a popular color for sports cars. And people who drive sports cars tend to drive faster… Because that’s what they’re made for. Hence, more speeding tickets.

I imagine this is something like that, maybe red cars are more popular in places that have more pigeons, or I don’t know, park under trees more or something like that.

Assuming that this was even a real legit study, it was done by a company that sells car wash accessories. So take from that what you will.
And I saw a butt-ton of articles that referenced this study from back in 2012, it looks like it was first reported in the Daily Mail and even they don’t have a source linked so I can’t find the actual study to save my life. If any of you can find it, feel free to share in the comments.

So yeah, there’s a chance this whole study could turn out to just be one of those internet things where someone says a thing and then it gets passed around and eventually becomes common knowledge.

If Zoe chews shoes, whose shoes does she choose?

She wasn’t picky. Thankfully she doesn’t really do that anymore.

John Regel
How many Lowe’s could Rob Lowe rob if Rob Lowe could rob Lowe’s?

Okay, what happened on Patreon this month?


Cole Parker
What’s the update on Dear moon and would you think about applying to go yourself and do a few Answers with Joe in orbit around the moon!

Well they closed down submissions a while back and I did think about applying – and chose not to.

There really hasn’t been a lot announced, especially this year, but if you haven’t been following it since the first announcement, here’s some of the broad strokes…
It was first announced in 2018, it was the brainchild of Yusaku Maezawa and the original idea was he was going to invite 8-12 artists and entrepreneurs to fly around the moon on the SpaceX Starship so that they can share that experience with the world.

Actually, it was originally going to be on a Crew Dragon in 2018, but it would have required going up on the Falcon Heavy, and it hadn’t been crew rated yet. Eventually SpaceX decided not to crew rate the Falcon Heavy and focus on Starship.

So he upgraded the plan for Starship and set it for 2023.

In March of last year, Maezawa announced that he was going to open up 8 seats to the general public and encouraged people to apply with videos detailing why they wanted to go. Apparently they got over a million entries from all over the world.

They did close down applications later on last year and haven’t really made any announcements other than to say that they have narrowed down the finalists and are doing medical checks and testing qualifications and stuff.

And it hasn’t been publicly announced, but there are rumors that the crew has been picked… But I don’t know who those people are.

The only name that’s been floated around is filmmaker Damien Chazelle, he shot the movie First Man with Ryan Gosling and apparently in an interview Maezawa invited him to join if he wanted.

To my knowledge he hasn’t accepted. But they’re being super secretive around it so who knows.

Asking if I would ever want to do something like that… I mean… I’m probably not American Hero material but no, I’m not gonna be first in line to do something like that.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s absolutely a dream of mine to go to space someday and I hope space tourism becomes so commonplace that it becomes like taking a cruise or something, I would totally be up for something like that, but no… I’m not gonna be one of the pioneers.

I’ll just talk about it on my channel.

As for timelines and how realistic they are, it’s still being planned for 2023 from what I can tell but since SpaceX still hasn’t gotten it to space yet… Consider me super doubtful.

Now something I keep saying ad nauseum is that I think it’s going to be a while before they’ll be flying people on a Starship that involves propulsive landing, especially if the landing involves catching it in the chopsticks.

It’s just such a brand new thing that’s never been tried before (riff)

I know this is a private flight so it’s outside of NASA’s authority but I don’t know if they still have to be approved by the FAA… I’ll confess to ignorance on that.

So I think it’s more likely to get pushed to 2024 at least but if it does, that brings up a really interesting debate… Who’s gonna get there first? Dear Moon or Artemis II?

Because Artemis II is scheduled to go up in 2024, and it’s going to have almost the exact same flight plan.

Just sit with that for a second… if SpaceX sends a dozen artists and poets and dancers around the moon in a fully reusable ship BEFORE NASA can send 4 highly trained astronauts in a single-use ship that costs $2.2 billion… (shrug) I mean, I don’t think we’ll ever see SLS again.

BUT… And this is a big butt (sir mix-a-lot flash) that’s only if SpaceX can develop the Starship fast enough. Because as of the day this video goes out… assuming everything goes to plan… NASA will be ahead. Their vehicle will have gotten into space.

Of course, SpaceX could be right behind them, they might be doing their first orbital test in a month or two, so… Yeah. 2024 could be really interesting.

I’m curious to hear who you’d bet on in the comments but yeah… I guess we’ll have to wait and see.



Theranos Was A Dumpster Fire – But Here’s Where It Was Brilliant | Answers With Joe

The story of Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos is a story of a big idea that got overshadowed by even bigger lies. Here’s why the idea was actually kinda great, why it failed, and how it could still be a reality. (Sort-of.)


By now you’ve most likely heard the story of Elizabeth Holmes, once considered the next Steve Jobs and one of the youngest billionaires in history… And who now is a disgraced fraud with a felony conviction.

And you thought your pandemic was bad.

The story is crazy and Elizabeth Holmes is fascinating for all the wrong reasons but what gets missed in the whole thing is the idea itself. The thing she was selling. I mean she made billions of dollars selling it, so it was valuable to someone.

The idea was a desktop device that with just a few drops of blood could diagnose up to 200 diseases in a matter of minutes. Think about that for just a second.

While other countless tech startups are building new apps and cryptocurrencies and gadgets, this would democratize healthcare, this would change the world. In theory.

I mean going to the doctor is basically like taking your car to the mechanic, but with the hood welded shut. Doctors have to figure out from clues what’s going on in your body because you’re sealed up pretty tight.

With the exception of a couple of places. And the long, swirly tube that connects them.

The history of medicine is really just a history of trying to figure out what’s going on in this black box we call a body in the least invasive way possible.

In the past, this often meant, you know, just opening a guy up. With no anesthetic. And dirty instruments that give the guy sepsis and he’s dead in a week.

Today we have comprehensive blood panels but they take several vials of blood that get tested on different machines, sometimes in different places, and it takes days or even weeks to get results.

But imagine with just a few drops of blood from a pinprick, a doctor could feed it into a machine right there in their room and know what’s wrong, right on the spot.

You’d be out the door in 10 minutes with the medicine in hand.

Not only would it free up busy doctors offices but imagine what it could do in developing nations and underserved communities.

It’s actually a brilliant idea… In theory.

The problem with it it’s just not really possible. We’ll get to why in a minute but first let’s refresh our memories about what happened to Theranos.


Elizabeth Holmes got her start in much the same way as some other tech billionaires – as a college dropout.

Yes, much like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs – whose name will pop up a lot in this video – Holmes dropped out of Stanford in 2003 to start her own tech company. She was only 19 at the time.

She named this company Theranos, which by the way is a portmanteau of “therapy” and “diagnosis.”

In 2005, she partnered with entrepreneur Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani; he’d had a successful software industry career and sold an e-commerce startup. So she could be the vision guy and he would be the guy who gets it done.

He didn’t come on in an official role until 2009, when he loaned $10 million to Theranos, but one of the more scandalous things that came out later was that they had actually been in a relationship and living together and they hid that from the rest of the company and the investors… This story doesn’t need a sex scandal in it, but it’s there.

Theranos operated in stealth mode for nearly 10 years, nobody really knew what they were working on but finally, around 2014, they went public.

They announced that they could run up to 200 tests from a single drop of blood using a technology they named Edison.

And people kinda lost their shiiiiiiiit.

Walgreens especially was on board, they imagined testing centers in all their stores, where instead of having to make appointments with doctors, people could just come to Walgreens and take a quick test for a few Hamiltons and walk out the door with the medicine, which might cost a few Benjamins.

So they partnered with Theranos. Investors saw an opportunity and flooded the company with cash. By 2014, Holmes is named one of the richest women in America by Forbes, with a net worth of $4.5 billion.

In summer 2015, the FDA approved Theranos’ technology for testing herpes simplex 1 virus. Just 199 more to go.

But then, cracks began to form. In October, The Wall Street Journal published a report claiming that most of their tests were being done on traditional machines, with vials of blood from patients’ arms.

Apparently… The thing never worked at all, they were just sending blood off to labs like everyone else.

Walgreens backed out of their partnership in January 2016, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services took legal action, banning Holmes and Balwani from the lab business for two years.

Balwani left Theranos in May 2016. Right about that time, Forbes revised her net worth from $4.5 billion… to zero.

Jump ahead to March 2018, and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charges Holmes and Balwani with fraud.
The SEC claims Holmes and Balwani defrauded investors of more than $700 million, creating “an elaborate, years-long fraud in which they exaggerated or made false statements about the company’s technology, business, and financial performance.”

They had insider documents that showed that they knew that their machine could only perform 12 of the 200 tests it claimed on its patient testing menu.

It’s then that Holmes gives up company control and most of her stake in it.

Earlier this year, she was found guilty on four of 11 federal charges, and he was found guilty of 10 counts of federal wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

They’re both scheduled to be sentenced later this fall.

Yeah, this story is crazy pants. It’s crazy in the pants.

Like, I don’t know if it’s a thing where she was running a scam all along or if she really believed – in her young naïveté – that if you sell the idea well enough and raise enough money and throw enough money at the problem, that smart people would figure it out.

She saw herself as bold, visionary leader, she wasn’t there to solve the problem, she was there to galvanize resources around it and facilitate the solving of the problem.

So what she focused on, very obsessively, was her image.

She… really studied Steve Jobs.

From quoting him in interviews to maintaining super strict diets and schedules, to straight up stealing his black turtleneck look.
Like it’s so obsessive I kinda wonder if the only reason she dropped out of college was because that’s what he did.

But she cultivated this image of herself as a tech prodigy, this unicorn, this next-level genius that’s just about to change the world before she even turned 30. And then there was the voice.

Yeah somewhere in the pile of leadership books she read along the way, she found out about a study saying that people with more masculine voices are taken more seriously in business settings.
Hence the Barry White impression.

And some have come to her defense a bit because there is sexism in Silicon Valley, but it does highlight how much effort was put into the facade. To the point that the word sociopath has been used quite a bit.
Or as John Carreyrou, the journalist behind that Wall Street Journal piece said, “I’ll leave it to the psychologists to decide whether Holmes fits the clinical profile, but there’s no question that her moral compass was badly askew.”

By the way, when I suggest that maybe her original intentions were good… I might be going a little too easy on Elizabeth Holmes here.

Like I think the word “scam” gets thrown around way too much these days, pretty much any time someone takes money from other people, somebody will label it as a scam, when most of the time… It’s really just capitalism.

Especially in the startup space, if you’re developing a new technology or pushing the limits of an existing technology, that requires money. So there’s no getting around it, you have to raise money for something that doesn’t exist yet.

So as long as your science and engineering is solid, as long as you are working in good faith to solve the problem, as far as I’m concerned, that’s not a scam, that’s just the development process.

But in the case of Theranos, I do think the word scam applies because regardless of her original intentions, it became clear at a certain point that their science and engineering was not solid. And they kept selling it anyway.

They kept selling it and tried to cover up the fact that their machines didn’t work. So yeah. It definitely became a scam.

All right, so why didn’t their machines work? What in their science and engineering was so flawed?

The biggest reason is that there isn’t enough data from a drop of blood to test for all the conditions they claimed.

There are a finite amount of molecules in any collection of blood.

While some condition markers have a high presence of molecules, others are less prominent and would need more blood to get an accurate reading.
According to Dr. George Yaghmour, a hematologist at USC’s Keck School of Medicine, “It depends what kind of test you are running,” “Platelet count, kidney function, liver function, sodium level, electrolytes —basic stuff. It would be doable, you don’t need much blood. But if you talk about culture and infection, then you need a specific amount of blood.”
Now, there are devices that run multiple blood tests. Like the Siemens Advia 1800. It’s about the size of a minifridge, and it can run dozens of tests at the same time.

And since COVID, there have been efforts to improve on this, you know, developing devices that could check multiple things like the flu and COVID at the same time.

But designing something the size of a desktop computer that can run hundreds of tests at once is way more difficult. And to do it with only one drop of blood? Practically physically impossible.
Or, according to Dr. Mike White from Washington University in St. Louis, “There’s no magic bullet, and that was the weird thing about Theranos’ claims… They seemed to claim that they had one key trick that made a whole bunch of different things easy, and that turned out not to be true.”

So, yeah, there were problems all around the idea, from the science behind it to the technology to the people running it.

But… the dream isn’t dead. There have been some advancements in microfluidic testing that might get us a little bit closer to this vision.

It’s possible now to run multiple diagnostic tests on just a few drops of blood, but not hundreds as Theranos promised.

For example, Abbott Laboratory’s i-STAT 1 is a handheld blood analyzer with single-use cartridges for specific tests that offers multiple results from a finger-prick sample.

Their Chem 8+ cartridge can deliver results for nine metabolic measures with just a few drops of blood.

The tests include blood gases, cardiac markers, coagulation, chemistries, electrolytes, glucose, and hematology.

Abbott representatives say that results are available in two minutes.
And then there are some tabletop blood chemistry analyzers.

For example, the Piccolo Xpress is around the size of a shoebox. It can perform 14 tests on a finger-prick sample and offer results in 12 minutes.
There’s also the Maverick Diagnostic System from Genalyte. It uses a silicon chip-based photonic ring resonator to perform multiple, rapid tests on a small volume of blood or serum.

In fact, the company says its Maverick Immunoassay Analyzer can run up to 26 tests on a single drop of blood.

Genalyte’s FDA-approved system is cloud-connected for assay protocol retrieval and clinical oversight.
And don’t get me started on their retroencabulator. I know that’s what I’m starting to sound like right now.

So we may not ever be able to reach the lofty heights that Elizabeth Holmes was shooting for, but we are getting closer, and the fact of the matter is, blood testing in general is central to the future of healthcare.

As people are getting proactive with extending healthspans and lifespans, regular blood tests are essential to catching problems early and maintaining healthy biomarkers.

Many companies like BioIntelliSense are working on creating health dashboards that basically work the same way as a car dashboard, giving you a real-time status on your health.

Some of these use devices like wearable glucose monitors which obviously is great for diabetics but also used by non-diabetics just to monitor how various foods spike their blood sugar.

Hamish Grierson, the co-founder of a blood test startup called Thriva described it by saying, “This is mission critical for society and it doesn’t require giant leaps in medical science,” Grierson says. “Increasing healthspan is reliant on proactive health interventions and lifestyle medicine and will increasingly be driven by our use of data and technology, powered with diagnostics tools like blood testing.”

We might soon be living in a world where simple, accurate, and fast blood testing just becomes a regular part of life, and Elizabeth Holmes will finally see her big idea come to fruition. From the comfort of her jail cell.

Feeling Weirdly Optimistic With Hank Green – Episode 17 Information

Hank Green is one of the first and most popular science communicators on YouTube, having started out with his brother, author John Green, on their channel Vlogbrothers, and growing an empire of science channels through his company, Complexly. Along the way, the two of them founded VidCon, now the largest online video conference in the world, and he’s written two books, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing and A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor.

He joined me to talk about all things science and YouTube, a little bit of politics and some surprising reasons to be optimistic about the world right now.

Find more about Hank and his endeavors at his website: https://hankgreen.com/

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