Researchers in the U.K. and Germany have succesfully demonstrated the use of lasers to tackle radioactive waste. The researchers used a 360J laser pulse—with a duration of 0.7 picoseconds and an intensity of 5 × 1020 W/cm2—that helped form gamma rays as it ionized a gold target behind which was a sample of nuclear waste. Transmutation occurred when the gamma rays ejected a neutron from an iodine-129 nucleus to leave behind iodine 128, whose half-life is only 25 minutes, compared with 15.7 million years of iodine 129.
The amount of plastic clogging the ocean continues to grow. Some startling, not-so-good news has come out recently about the roles plastic is playing in the ocean, as well as more heartening news about efforts to collect and reuse it.
Some of our culture's most enduring robots appeared in the 80s. The Aliens series produced another evil android, and we saw light robot fare in the form of Short Circuit. Two of the great robots of all time also showed up: The Terminator and RoboCop.
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