Bulgarian authorities appear to be striking back at journalists whose investigations led to the “ApartmentGate” scandal that saw several members of the Bulgarian government resign, including its justice minister and the head of its anti-corruption commission.
Prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov (Foreign and Commonwealth Office)The investigations, first released in March, showed that senior members of the ruling GERB Party had purchased luxury real estate for far below its market value, enraging the country that is in the midst of a period of economic malaise and has seen middle-class Bulgarians struggle to keep up with their own mortgage payments.
Shortly after the scandal broke, top officials started resigning one after another and Bulgaria’s prosecutor-general, Sotir Tzatsarov, announced that he was launching an investigation into the suspicious purchases.
But three weeks ago, further reporting by Bivol implicated Tzatsarov in the same scheme.
By JoAnna Klein
An installation at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden ponders the sounds made by plants.
What does a plant sound like?
This is the sound of corn growing.
It’s also part of an art installation on display at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden in New York through October. This veggie-lullaby plays from large, yellow horns planted with corn seeds in a plot of soil. As the seedlings grow, their sounds will also be recorded.
“They’re communicating to each other,” says Adrienne Adar, the artist who designed this installation, “Sonic Succulents: Plant Sounds and Vibrations,” on display until Oct. 27. “We are not their audience.”
Jain, left, and Yu performing artificial photosynthesis experiments using green light. Credit: Fred Zwicky
Chemists at the University of Illinois have successfully produced fuels using water, carbon dioxide and visible light through artificial photosynthesis. By converting carbon dioxide into more complex molecules like propane, green energy technology is now one step closer to using excess CO2 to store solar energy—in the form of chemical bonds—for use when the sun is not shining and in times of peak demand.
Plants use sunlight to drive chemical reactions between water and CO2 to create and store solar energy in the form of energy-dense glucose. In the new study, the researchers developed an artificial process that uses the same green light portion of the visible light spectrum used by plants during natural photosynthesis to convert CO2 and water into fuel, in conjunction with electron-rich gold nanoparticles that serve as a catalyst. The new findings are published in the journal Nature Communications.
Researchers create altered synthetic genome, in move with potential medical benefits
Ian Sample Science editor
Scientists have created the world’s first living organism that has a fully synthetic and radically altered DNA code.
The lab-made microbe, a strain of bacteria that is normally found in soil and the human gut, is similar to its natural cousins but survives on a smaller set of genetic instructions.
The bug’s existence proves life can exist with a restricted genetic code and paves the way for organisms whose biological machinery is commandeered to make drugs and useful materials, or to add new features such as virus resistance.