GOOD

How Color-Changing Crystals Could Alter the Way Football Handles Concussions

A monster hit turns them from, say, green to purple.

credit: Wikimedia Commons user Jim Ferguson

Brain injuries are incredibly serious, but can be incredibly hard to diagnose in the heat of battle—or, say, a game. This is a grave issue that has plagued all sports—amateur and professional—but none so visibly as football. Earlier this year, a Philadelphia judge approved a plan that will see the National Football League pay out an estimated $1 billion to about 6,000 retired football players currently suffering from serious concussion-related diseases, like Alzheimer’s and dementia.


And a new Will Smith vehicle, to be released in December, is set to bring even more national attention to football brain injuries. In Concussion, Smith plays Dr. Bennet Omalu, a forensic neuropathologist who made the startling connection between football players, brain injuries, and their long-term effects.

Whether the NFL is serious about tackling its brain injury problem is up for debate. But a new color-changing crystal created by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania could at least make serious concussions easier to detect. That might give football players opportunities stop playing before a brain injury becomes even more serious.

Force turns the crystals from green (left) to purple (right), via youtube screencapture

The research team, led by chemist Shu Yang, used a technique called holographic lithography to carefully engineer crystals of a specific color. Once a large force is applied to those crystals, however, their structures change, giving them a different hue.

What does all this complex science have to do with football? Yang’s team found it could incorporate those crystals into a polymer, which could then be molded into your standard football helmet.

“If the force was large enough, and you could easily tell that, then you could immediately seek medical attention,” Yang told phys.org about a potential color-changing helmet.

Yang cautions that right now, the crystal-making process is an extremely expensive one, and not yet viable for mass production. But the advances are great news in a country that has become increasingly obsessed with football—but also increasingly worried about its health consequences.

Via USA Today

Articles
via David Leavitt / Twitter

Anyone who has ever worked in retail knows that the worst thing about the job, right after the pay, are the unreasonable cheapskates who "want to talk to your manager" to get some money off an item.

They think that throwing a tantrum will save them a few bucks and don't care if they completely embarrass themselves in the process. Sometimes that involves belittling the poor employee who's just trying to get through their day with an ounce of dignity.

Twitter is rallying around a gal named Tori who works at a Target in Massachusetts after she was tweet-shamed by irate chapekate, journalist, and Twitter troll, David Leavitt.

Keep Reading
Business

Childbirth is the number one reason American women visit the hospital, and it ain't cheap. In fact, it's getting more and more expensive. A new study published in Health Affairs found that the cost of having a baby with employer-sponsored health insurance increased by almost 50% in the past seven years.

The study evaluated "trends in cost-sharing for maternity care for women with employer-based health insurance plans, before and after the Affordable Care Act," which was signed into law in 2010. The study looked at over 657,061 women enrolled in large employer-sponsored health insurance plans who delivered babies between 2008 and 2015, as these plans tend to cover more than plans purchased by small businesses or individuals.

Keep Reading
Health

A meteorite crashed into Earth nearly 800,000 years ago. The meteor was 1.2 miles wide, and the impact was so big, it covered 10% of the planet with debris. However, scientists haven't been able to find the impact site for over a century. That is, until now. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal believes the crash site has been located.

Tektites, which are essentially rocks that have been liquefied from the heat of the impact and then cooled to form glass, help scientists spot the original impact site of a meteor. Upon impact, melted material is thrown into the atmosphere, then falls back to the ground. Even if the original crater has disappeared due to erosion or is hidden by a shift in tectonic plates, tektites give the spot away. Tektites between 750,000 to 35.5 million years old have been found in every continent except Antarctica.

Keep Reading