The GOOD 100: Artificial Photosynthesis

Fake Plastic Trees Some 2.4 billion years ago, tiny blue-green algae figured out a neat trick. Using sunshine, water, and...

Fake Plastic Trees

Some 2.4 billion years ago, tiny blue-green algae figured out a neat trick. Using sunshine, water, and carbon dioxide, they produced plant food as well as the oxygen that makes our existence possible. We're still driving around on the fruits of their labor all these eons later-not to mention turning on the lights, flying into space, and everything else we do with the energy embedded in the fossilized sunshine that is coal, oil, and natural gas.But plants aren't all that efficient at harvesting the energy that falls on them as sunlight, so the chemist Daniel Nocera of MIT is trying to mimic photosynthesis, and improve on it. His idea is simple: Split water into hydrogen and oxygen with sunlight, and then recombine them (which creates energy) in a fuel cell when power is needed. The trick is to do both these things cheaply.Nocera has come up with a way to split water into its constituent elements that is less expensive than the machines used today. But he has yet to show that it can be done on a broad scale.For now, the future of an artificial leaf that's as cheap as the real ones may come down to some elementary chemistry: Can scientists find replacements for the expensive and rare metals currently required? Nocera says a "new catalyst" for fuel cells is what's needed, but he's hopeful that he'll find it. He predicts success in less than a decade-or about as long as it takes to grow a tree.


Some beauty pageants, like the Miss America competition, have done away with the swimsuit portions of the competitions, thus dipping their toes in the 21st century. Other aspects of beauty pageants remain stuck in the 1950s, and we're not even talking about the whole "judging women mostly on their looks" thing. One beauty pageant winner was disqualified for being a mom, as if you can't be beautiful after you've had a kid. Now she's trying to get the Miss World competition to update their rules.

Veronika Didusenko won the Miss Ukraine pageant in 2018. After four days, she was disqualified because pageant officials found out she was a mom to 5-year-old son Alex, and had been married. Didusenko said she had been aware of Miss World's rule barring mother from competing, but was encouraged to compete anyways by pageant organizers.

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One mystery in our universe is a step closer to being solved. NASA's Parker Solar Probe launched last year to help scientists understand the sun. Now, it has returned its first findings. Four papers were published in the journal Nature detailing the findings of Parker's first two flybys. It's one small step for a solar probe, one giant leap for mankind.

It is astounding that we've advanced to the point where we've managed to build a probe capable of flying within 15 million miles from the surface of the sun, but here we are. Parker can withstand temperatures of up to 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit and travels at 430,000 miles per hour. It's the fastest human-made vehicle, and no other human-made object has been so close to the sun.

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via Sportstreambest / Flickr

Since the mid '90s the phrase "God Forgives, Brothers Don't" has been part of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point's football team's lexicon.

Over the past few years, the team has taken the field flying a black skull-and-crossbones flag with an acronym for the phrase, "GFBD" on the skull's upper lip. Supporters of the team also use it on social media as #GFBD.

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