12-Year-Old Scientist Develops a Plan for Stopping Allergies

Iris Gupta knows something about how necessity is the mother of invention. Inspired by a friend’s terrible peanut allergy and her own problems with cats, the 12-year-old Maryland resident brought some critical thinking to the issue of allergies. The resulting project landed her a spot as one of 10 finalists at the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge earlier this month.

The Challenge is a nationwide competition for middle schoolers interested in science. The grand prize is $25,000 and an “adventure trip.”

Gupta’s anti-allergy project was all about stopping allergy symptoms before they start, rather than simply treating them once they’ve arrived. To do that, the sixth grader proposed injecting or inhaling gold nanoparticles to block histamines that are released when a body comes in contact with an allergen. If the nanoparticles can stop the release, they can alleviate reactions before they begin. The idea still needs to be tested, but Gupta’s mentor in the competition, 3M scientist Raha Been, told The Washington Post that she was impressed.

“Allergies really affect the quality of life that people have. It’s really important to see the passion that Iris has for solving a problem that can really impact people’s lives,” Been said.

Watch Gupta’s proposal video below and visit the competition site to see all the young scientists who made it to the finals, including overall winner Hannah Herbst.

[h/t Business Insider]

Paris is Selling Its Love Locks, and Donating the Proceeds to Refugee Organizations

Paris officials have turned an urban problem into a public service: They’re selling the city’s “love locks” as souvenirs and donating the proceeds to refugee groups. The Guardian first reported the news back in December, and now—beginning on Saturday, May 13—the locks will be auctioned off online.

For traveling couples, the padlocks they affixed to the iron grills of the French city’s bridges, initials scrawled on the surface, were a symbol of romance. But to Parisian officials, they were a civil danger. Fearing that the locks would weaken overpasses like the Pont des Arts, the city began dismantling the metal trinkets in 2015.

Left with 1 million padlocks (which totaled 65 metric tons of scrap metal), authorities needed a creative way to repurpose the waste. So they decided to sell 10 metric tons of locks to members of the public, marketing them as relics of the city’s bygone history.

“Members of the public can buy five or 10 locks, or even clusters of them, all at an affordable price,” Bruno Julliard, first deputy mayor of Paris, said in a statement quoted by The Guardian in 2016. “All of the proceeds will be given to those who work in support and in solidarity of the refugees in Paris.”

The locks will be sold in a variety of lots, some of them just as a single souvenir, others in groups. Smaller lots are expected to sell for anywhere from $100 to $200, while pieces of the padlocked railings could go for as much as $5000 to $9000 apiece. Proceeds will benefit the Salvation Army, Emmaus Solidarity, and Solipam.

99-Year-Old Woman Checks "Spending Time in Jail" Off Her Bucket List

When a senior looks back on his or her life to assess their triumphs and regrets, “not getting arrested” typically falls into the former category. But according to the BBC, a 99-year-old woman in the Netherlands wished she had spent time in the slammer. To help her achieve this unconventional bucket list dream, law officers let the woman, named Annie, hang out in a jail cell—with handcuffs on—at the police station in the eastern Dutch town of Nijmegen-Zuid.

Annie has her family to thank for the experience. "Her niece came to us with this request," a police officer told the BBC. "When she was reporting a crime, she told the police officer about Annie's 'bucket list.'"

"You get many unusual requests with this profession," he added. "We thought it would be nice to do something special for Annie."

Politie Nijmegen-Zuid/Facebook

As you can see in the photos above, Annie’s brush with the law was a blast. However, she isn’t the only senior who has wondered what life is like behind bars. Last year, a 102-year-old woman named Edie Simms from St. Louis, Missouri was faux-arrested per her own bucket list request. Police teamed up with a local senior center to make Simms’s dream come true. "She was so excited that she can ride in a police car and she said, 'Do you think you could put those handcuffs on me?'" Michael Howard, executive director of Five Star Senior Center, told KPLR. Talk about centenarians gone wild!

[h/t BBC]


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