I was looking for something to post today, Wednesday being one of my regular days. lo and behold, I’ve collected enough stuff for another Idea Mill post.
For those who are new here, and there are a few of you, I set up my IPad to push interesting articles to me via Zite Magazine and my RSS reader. When something looks like it might add some spice to a story, or even carry a whole novel, I save it until I have enough to post.
First up is an article that dives into all the research that’s been going on with spider silk. In theory, this stuff could influence electronics and textiles, but there is more work to do. It has already been used in the growth of artificial tendons. Now the experiments are starting to get fun.
It is possible, in theory, to grow human organs using stem cells. One of the difficulties is in getting the right size and shape. An 8 X 10 sheet of liver probably isn’t going to do anyone much good. Some organs are going to require a framework to grow upon. Apparently, they tested the cardiac material from rats, and were able to grow a thin shadow of a rat’s heart. It looks like more research is needed, but this step sounds like it has promise.
The idea is that my eventual heart replacement will be a duplicate of my own heart. No waiting on lists, and hoping for a match. No more drugs to prevent me from rejecting the transplant. So show a little respect with the next spider you see, she may save your life one day. Read the article here.
The next article involves a biological cocktail that causes concrete to heal itself. Concrete deteriorates over time. Ice expands in micro cracks and creates bigger cracks to begin the cycle next year. Tree roots cause even more problems. These guys found a type of bacteria that eats a specific form of calcium. The bacteria version of poo poo is calcite. They created a way of encapsulating the bacteria and its food into the wet concrete mixture. It sounds almost like microscopic pills. The “pills” dissolve in water and the bacteria is released alongside its favorite food. When the gluttony ends, the bacterial poo poo actually heals the cracks in the concrete. Read the article here.
Need a delivery system for your fictional terrorist biological weapon? The concrete batch plant might be a plausible way to do it.
Finally, we have the moving coffins of Barbados. There is a tomb there once owned by a wealthy family. It seems that whenever a new family member was added to the crypt, the previous coffins were found in new positions. Local officials even went so far as sealing the tomb, and sweeping clean sand onto the floor. The next time the tomb was opened, the coffins were again scattered, and in some cases upside down. The sand revealed no tracks. In one instance, a coffin was propped against the door from the inside – of a sealed tomb.
Speculations range from earthquakes to flooding, but no one has ever found a plausible answer. Eventually, the authorities ordered the bodies removed and planted in the cemetery. They’ve been still ever since.
Need something interesting for your paranormal story? This could add a bit of spice to your witches and vampires.
The link I had quickly went dead. I had to Google the story, and will share that link with you here.
I usually try to suggest a corny story involving all three tales, but this is going to be tough. Maybe the patriarch of the vampire clan had his family crypt built with self healing concrete. This way the natives wouldn’t notice his breaking out to return to his laboratory. At the lab, he was experimenting with spider silk to grow his lady love a new heart that didn’t have a wooden stake through it. He failed to account for the natives adding his family members to the crypt and they discovered his tantrums of moving the coffins around.
Okay, that qualifies as corny. What can you come up with? Would one of these items spice up your Barbados pirate story? Maybe my grinder outline needs to use spider silk in some fashion. Maybe one of you is writing a thriller and wants to corrupt the self healing concrete. Let me hear it in the comments.