Notes 20120202

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  • The MudWatt fuel cell was outputting a steady 357mV. After shaking it to reseat the top electrode, it produced a stabile 385mV. We are still sourcing carbon fiber electrodes for our own design.
  • Steve's large-scale bacterial fabric growth test is growing well (but he thinks an incubator will accelerate it)
  • A member with a farm had large amounts of unrendered pig fat and wanted to make know how to make glycerine from it, or do something else useful with it. We suggested he make biodiesel out of it, which he could use in his tractor and produces glycerine as a byproduct, and gave him some references.
  • New member Andrew is interested in doing DNA origami projects. He has obtained papers, done research, and sourced the components (it uses a long and short strand; the short strands are only 8 base pairs, too short for us to PCR). However, he would need access to an electron microscope to verify the results. Building one has been proposed, but it is complex. We suggested some contacts at UTSW and Zyvex who might be able to help us.
  • Another member brought a hand soap container that had started growing some kind of scum in it (this is notable because detergent dissolves lipid membranes, so most bacteria cannot grow in it). We put it on a slide and looked at it under the microscope and identified it as an algae.
  • Another member brought a lichen, with questions about how to identify it and grow it better. We gave him references to an internet lichen group, and their growth formulas