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TECH TUESDAY: How bacteria is helping restore ancient art

Posted at 2:25 PM, Jun 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-01 17:32:13-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — Welcome to Tech Tuesday, where each week I break down the hottest news in the world of science and technology.

Some of the most important hardware and software we use every day is kept on four wheels... the screens and buttons in our cars. As the years go by, it’s becoming more common to see the former than the latter, with huge displays taking over the dashboards of many vehicles. One of the manufacturers of these big screens, Continental, announced that a well-known car-maker has placed a massive order for its impressive, full-width dash. They won’t reveal which company it was, but they did say how much the order was worth: more than $1 billion dollars. If I were a bettin’ man… I'd say it’s Mercedes-Benz. Apparently we’ll know by 2024.

Speaking of cars – here’s a lesson in what not to do with your expensive Lamborghini. A young man in china made a costly mistake when he tried to, uh, barbecue some skewers using the car’s exhaust. At first, it seemed to be going according to plan. The kid, with his bare hand, held the skewer while his friend hit the gas. First of all, get a glove. Second of all, Lambos have such prodigious power, it makes them prone to overheating if you don’t use them properly. So instead of a nicely cooked appetizer, they got a cooked engine. There was so much damage, it’s estimated that it cost $80,000 dollars to fix. The craziest part is how funny they thought it was. Must be nice to be filthy rich.

Something that won’t cost you thousands of dollars – is a fix for your partner’s snoring. Fitbit is getting ready to add snoring and noise detection to some of its devices, that will listen to you as you sleep and notify you in the morning if you were busy sawing logs all night. Depending on how you look at it, it’s either very helpful or very creepy – because Fitbit will “monitor noise throughout the night” using its built in microphone. Not only that, but it will cause a serious drain on your battery – which defeats its main purpose as an activity tracker. No thanks.

Now let’s wrap up with some fascinating science. Remember the movie “War of the Worlds” and how bacteria ended up saving the day? It turns out they’re not just good for defeating aliens – but for cleaning up Michelangelo's sculptures. With such priceless and historical art, you can’t trust regular cleaning products, since they’ll erode the work – so scientists have enlisted special strains of bacteria to break down pollutants and literally eat the grime off. The full results will be released in June, but looking at some of the photos, it’s impressive how clean and shiny these ancient sculptures can be.