STEAM to Fuel Your Weekend – December 2

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Written by Kristin Kish, Digital Marketing Intern. 

Between school, homework, practice and spending time with loved ones, it’s easy to miss out on the latest in science, technology, engineering, art and math. But don’t worry, Thinkery’s got you covered. Here are some of our favorite STEAM discoveries from the previous week. It’s fuel for your weekend.

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Photo credit: Shin-ichoro Oka/PLOS.org.

Have you heard about the coconut crab? The largest land-living arthropod in the world, this Indo-Pacific hermit crab can grow up to 18 inches long and weigh up to nine pounds. Not only are they huge, they’re strong, too. They can heft items that weigh 60 pounds, and they can generate a 740-pound force with their pincers! Coconut crabs don’t have shells, but who needs ‘em with those claws?

As you can imagine, these terrestrial hermit crabs have been the object of scientific curiosity for hundreds of years. Heck, Charles Darwin once tried to catch one, but it escaped. Scientists are still fascinated with coconut crabs to this very day, and they will continue to study their lives and uncover their many amazing secrets.

Swedish animator and sculptor Alexander Unger creates fun animation tutorials in his free time. These videos are made up of numerous still pictures (sometimes more than 1,800 images!) that he edits together to create a continuous video. Interested in his process? Head to Innovators’ Workshop and try your hand at stop-motion animation! In the meantime, check out more of Unger’s work here.

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Photo credit: NARA.

Could wood scraps fuel planes? Last week, Alaska Airlines Flight 4 took off as the first-ever commercial flight to be powered by wood scraps. The plane flew from Seattle to Washington D.C., running only on a wood-based biofuel.

So, could this biofuel be the answer to lower carbon emissions for the aviation industry? We sure hope so! The Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance (NARA) does too, as it’s trying to reach a carbon neutral zone by 2020. And wood-based biofuels are promising—turning wood cellulose fiber into jet fuel creates a groundbreaking result and could be the solution they’ve long been looking for.

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