Gold fever wasn’t just
a thing from DuckTales or the California Gold Rush. It’s real, and it’s
still happening. Howdy, gold diggers. Trace here. Thanks for watching DNews today. Discovery’s upcoming
new series Klondike tells the story of
the men and women who risked their lives to
strike gold in the Yukon. But gold isn’t just used to make
coins and build governments. Gold resists corrosion. It’s highly conductive,
and it’s highly malleable. If I took pure gold, a
hammer, and an anvil, I could probably make gold leaf. It would feel like cloth,
but it would be gold. You’ll also see
it, um, in space. Gold’s reflective properties
and ability to be super thin make it ideal to send
to space for protection from the sun and the harsh
environment out there. The Hubble Telescope
contains layers of gold to keep it from corroding. Photos of the astronauts
during spacewalks have gold visors designed
to reflect cosmic rays. On the ground,
they use gold leaf to cover the windows of
Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, because it reflects
light and heat so well that it lowers
their cooling bills. Plus, you know, bling. Gold is biocompatible, so
you can actually eat it. My first shot in college
had gold flakes in it. It was really gross. Gold is used in
nanotechnology, because it resits bacteria and
the body’s defenses. At an atomic level, gold
isn’t actually gold in color. It can be crimson or
light blue, and it has predictable reactions
with certain proteins. Gold is already used
to detect cancer cells, but a study in Proceedings
of the National Academy of Sciences found if you
mix gold nanoparticles with tea and then drink it,
the particles of each combine and latch onto and
attack prostate cancer. What the what? It’s not just nanomedicine. Pure gold attached to the
underside of the eyelid will ease problems with people
who have facial paralysis. The weight of the
gold is a big help. Plus, when injected into joints,
pure gold can ease arthritis. But we have no idea
why that works. The University of
Washington says injected gold can reduce
swelling, damage, stiffness, and pain. Gold also protects
the air we breathe. If you own a car
purchased after 1975, it probably has a
catalytic converter. They’re designed to convert
noxious gases into, well, less noxious gases. In 2011, a partnership
with NASA and a company called Nanostellar reduced
emissions by one fifth by using gold in the
catalytic converters. Most cars use even
more expensive metals in the converter, like
platinum, so this is a big step. This wonder material
detects and fights cancer. It protect astronauts
and satellites. It cleans the air. It eases arthritis. But it also brings you DNews. Gold is used to make
electronics better. Much like gold leaf, you
can stretch pure gold into strands 10 to
200 microns thick. Microns! Those strands are
used to bond materials inside computer chips. That’s small, you guys. It’s used on the macro level to
protect conductors like copper or silver from corrosion,
which is why those HDMI cables that you can get
are super expensive. And that’s stupid. Ugh, I buy the
cheap ones for $2. No difference– unless my
TV was in space, maybe. This precious material
is so damn useful. Maybe the Gold Rush
was all worth it. You can watch the drama unfold
and decide for yourself. Klondike premieres this Monday,
January 20, at 9:00 PM Eastern, 8:00 Central, on Discovery. Can you think of some
innovative new ways to use gold? Tell us some stuff
from your brains below in the comments, and
thanks a lot for watching, everybody. Stay classy, internet.