Friday Futures: spicy cactus, cool graphene, even cooler Stan Lee

Image credit: Daniel H. Tong on Unsplash

Welcome to Friday Futures, our weekly guide to the latest visions of The Future from around the web. This week: a cactus 4.5 million times hotter than a jalapeno; the most evil number; energy from poop; a giant crater; graphene is cool; and Stan Lee tells you how to create your own super hero.

This cactus is hotter than the hottest pepper ever – and then some (which is good)

On the Scoville Scale of hotness, the active ingredient of the cactus, resiniferatoxin, clocks in at 16 billion units. That’s 10,000 times hotter than the Carolina reaper, the world’s hottest pepper, and 45,000 times hotter than the hottest of habaneros, and 4.5 million times hotter than a piddling little jalapeno. Read more…

Watch how Numberphile came up with the scariest number, ever

Now we can make energy out of, er, poop

The human body doesn’t extract all the energy out of food, so our waste is a great untapped energy source. Now, thanks to purple photosynthetic bacteria, we can convert our poop into hydrogen and carbon energy sources. Read more…

Heard about graphene? Watch just how cool – and important – it really is 

There is a huge crater under Greenland

An international team lead by researchers from the Centre for GeoGenetics at the Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen have discovered a 31-km wide meteorite impact crater buried beneath the ice-sheet in the northern Greenland. Read more…

Way more water than we thought gets sucked into the earth when tectonic plates move

Slow-motion collisions of tectonic plates under the ocean drag about three times more water down into the deep Earth than previously estimated, according to a first-of-its-kind seismic study that spans the Mariana Trench. Read more…

Here are some props that magicians use (in photos)

You’ve probably seen magicians pull playing cards from thin air, make silk handkerchiefs change colors, or cause cigarettes to vanish. What you likely didn’t notice—assuming the trick was successful—were the secret gadgets and modified props, called “gimmicks,” used to fool your eyes. Read more…

And thank you Stan Lee – here’s how to create your own super hero

(Compiled by Alex Leslie; Edited by John C. Tanner)

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