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A nano-riffic future is closer than we thought

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You've probably heard a lot about nanotechnology by now -- mostly about how it's the (potentially very dangerous) miracle technology of the future, which could cure cancer, help clean up the environment or, depending on how it's used or misused, wipe out civilization (check out the "Gray Goo" scenario, which we'll be addressing in an upcoming original video).

As of now, though, the nano-enhanced products on the market are very basic, like this nanotech carwash soap and nano sunblock. But very cool and real advances are being made in the arena of cancer-fighting nanotech. The possibilities are exciting: rather than blasting entire areas of the human body with radiation, killing good cells along with the bad to get rid of tumors, nanotech promises a "surgical strike" (no pun intended) that could target malignant cells alone. From Scientific American's article on the Harvard-MIT team that's spearheading the technology:

The researchers have developed and tested injectable multifunctional nanoparticles—particles billionths of a meter in size—that they expect to become a new, potent weapon against cancer. (To provide some perspective, the width of a human hair is about 80,000 nanometers, or 0.003 inches.) They could be introduced into the bloodstream to locate and map tumors so that physicians would know what they were up against. Nanoparticles could also be designed to carry a payload of drugs that could be released near or even inside tumors to shrink or eliminate them.

But what do they plan on tethering their nano payload to inside the body, and how will they trigger its release? That's even cooler: by tying the particles to strands of DNA.

One advantage of a DNA tether, the HST team members say, is that its melting point is tunable—scientists would be able to control when the bonds between the nanoparticles break by creating links of varying lengths with different DNA sequences. Exposing the nanoparticles to a low-frequency electromagnetic field causes them to radiate heat that, in turn, erases the tethers and releases the drugs. The waves in the magnetic field used by the HST researchers have the same frequency range as radio waves (between 350 and 400 kilohertz). These waves pass harmlessly through the body and heat only the nanoparticles. In comparison, microwaves, which would cook tissue, are about a million times more powerful with frequencies measured in the gigahertz range.

The potential here is huge, but as is the refrain with any exciting new technology, the researchers aren't sure when such treatments might be available to patients of the non-rodent variety.

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Little Baby's Ice Cream
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Food
Pizza and Cricket Cake Are Just Some of the Odd Flavors You'll Find at This Philadelphia Ice Cream Shop
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Little Baby's Ice Cream

Ice cream flavors can get pretty out-there, thanks to the growing number of creative scoop shops willing to take risks and broaden their customers’ horizons beyond chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. Intrepid foodies can cool off with frozen treats that taste like horseradish, foie gras, and avocado, while Philadelphia's Little Baby’s Ice Cream is pushing the boundaries of taste with chilly offerings like everything bagel, Maryland BBQ, ranch, and cricket cake.

Cricket-flavored ice cream, created by Philadelphia-based Little Baby's Ice Cream
Little Baby's Ice Cream

Everything Bagel-flavored ice cream, created by Philadelphia-based Little Baby's Ice Cream
Little Baby's Ice Cream

As Lonely Planet News reports, Little Baby’s Ice Cream launched its first signature “oddball” ice cream—Earl Grey sriracha—in 2011. Since then, its rotating menu has only gotten quirkier. In addition to the aforementioned flavors, customers who swing by Little Baby’s this summer can even try pizza ice cream.

The store created the savory flavor in 2011, to celebrate neighborhood eatery Pizza Brain’s inclusion into Guinness World Records for its vast collection of pizza memorabilia. The savory, Italian-esque snack is made from ingredients like tomato, basil, oregano, salt, and garlic—and yes, it actually tastes like pizza, Little Baby’s co-owner Pete Angevine told Lonely Planet News.

Pizza-flavored ice cream, made by Philadelphia-based Little Baby's Ice Cream
Little Baby's Ice Cream

“Frequently, folks will see it on the menu and be incredulous, then be convinced to taste it, giggle, talk about how surprised they are that it really tastes just like pizza … and then order something else,” Angevine said. “That’s just fine. Just as often though, they’ll end up getting a pizza milkshake!”

Little Baby’s flagship location is in Philadelphia's East Kensington neighborhood, but customers can also sample their unconventional goods at additional outposts in West Philadelphia, Baltimore, and a pop-up stand in Washington, D.C.’s Union Market. Just make sure to bring along a sense of adventure, and to leave your preconceived notions of what ice cream should taste like at home.

[h/t Lonely Planet]

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Warby Parker
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Space
Warby Parker Is Giving Away Free Eclipse Glasses in August
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Warby Parker

When this year’s rare “all-American” total solar eclipse comes around on August 21, you’ll want to be prepared. Whether you’re chasing the eclipse to Kentucky or viewing it from your backyard, you’ll need a way to watch it safely. That means an eclipse filter over your telescope, or specially designed eclipse glasses.

For the latter, you can just show up at your nearest Warby Parker, and their eye experts will hand over a pair of eclipse glasses. The stores are giving out the free eye protectors throughout August. The company’s Nashville store is also having an eclipse party to view the celestial event on the day-of.

Get your glasses early, because you don’t want to miss out on this eclipse, which will cross the continental U.S. from Oregon to South Carolina. There are only so many total solar eclipses you’ll get to see in your lifetime, after all.

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