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Plants Generate Their Own Sunscreen

Ultraviolet radiation hits plants as well as humans, but plants can’t reach for a tube of sunscreen.  Too much exposure can damage them; what do they do?  They have a sensor that turns on production of their own brand of sunscreen and spreads it on their skin automatically.     UV-B rays are the most […]

Plants Have Social Networks

Plants may be mostly stationary, but they have connections.  They are so well connected, in fact, that they have both intranets, extranets and internets.  Inside their own vessels, they communicate with proteins and RNA molecules from root to shoot (04/23/2010); outside, they have many social relationships with other organisms.  They even “friend” their partners, just […]

Your DNA Repairman Is Handy as an Octopus

Some 10 times a day in a given cell, your DNA breaks on both strands.  This is an emergency.  Unless repaired quickly, serious diseases, like cancer, can develop.  But no fear: the first responder is an octopus-shaped protein complex that rushes to the rescue, wraps around the damaged site, and brings in all the parts […]

Neurons Know What to Do

Neurons are among the most vital cells in the body: after all, your brain is largely composed of neurons.  Neurons are transmission lines of information that keep a body in touch with itself and the world.  None of the other body organs would work without neurons.  The increasingly powerful tools of microscopy are allowing neuroscientists […]

Plants Spring into Action

We shouldn’t take plants for granted.  They seem so slow and stationary, but actually they move and breath and carry on their lives in truly amazing ways.  Plants really show off their glory in the spring.  But how do they know, without eyes, what time it is?     In “The science of spring,” PhysOrg […]

Sensing the World Requires Intelligent Design

How do our bodies make sense of the external world?  Through our senses, of course; at least they are the entry points of data into the mind.  Behind those senses are remarkable mechanisms that we use but do not actively operate.  The design in their automatic operations is slowly being revealed with better observing techniques. […]

Double Ratchet Found in ATP Synthase

ATP synthase, the rotary engine in all living things, has another trick in its design specs: a ratcheting mechanism that improves the efficiency of ATP synthesis.  ATP is the “energy currency” of cellular life, so the efficiency of production of ATP is of vital importance.  (For background and animation, see CMI article.)     Three […]

Feather Color Is a Costly “Complex System Design”

The brilliant, shimmering colors in the breast feathers of the Bird of Paradise have long fascinated ornithologists.  Alfred Russell Wallace was perhaps the first Englishman to see the magnificent birds in their native Malaysian habitats and wrote, “the richness of their glossy orange colouring, and the exquisite delicacy of the loosely waving feathers, were unsurpassable.”1 […]

You Have Electronic Skin

Your skin has resistance with memory.  That makes it like a memristor, researchers at the University of Oslo are saying.  A memristor is a device that remembers the last current it experienced, and varies its resistance accordingly.     New Scientist explained what they found: They found that when a negative electrical potential is applied […]

Go to the Cell, Thou Sluggard

Solomon ordered the lazy man, Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise (Proverbs 6:6).  Today, he would probably tell lazy materialists needing wisdom to consider the cell.  Several recent scientific papers and news stories illustrate why materialism faces a stiff challenge from design features found in the fundamental units of […]

Amazing Animals

Three recent articles about amazing animals and fossils deserve entries of their own, but due to lack of time, will be corralled here lest, like strays, they wander off. Turtle navigation:  Wired Science has a beautiful photo of a marine turtle in an article about how they achieve a difficult navigational skill: determining longitude from […]

Plant Accelerates 600 G’s

Among the fastest organisms in the world is – a plant.  The bladderwort Utricularia, a carnivorous plant that lives in the water, sucks in its prey in a thousandth of a second with an acceleration 600 times the force of gravity.     New Scientist and Science Daily reported on work by the University of […]

This Is Your Brain on Bytes

It’s mind-boggling time.  Some recent articles have tried to quantify the information capacity of the eye, the brain, and the world.  Ready?  Think hard. Eye boggle:  Your eyes contain about 120 million rods and 6 million cones each.  If each receptor represents a pixel, that is 2 x 126 million pixels, or 252 megapixels.  And […]

How Bacteria Use Their Flagella

Do an imaginary mind-meld with a bacterium for a moment.  Visualize yourself encased in a membrane, surrounded by fluid.  You have no eyes, ears, or hands.  You need to find where food is, and avoid danger, so you have organelles that can take in molecules that provide information about what is going on outside, where […]

Amazing Mammals

As the Superbowl approaches, millions of spectators will enjoy the feats of our own sports heroes.  But what if animals put on games with their capabilities?  Human athletes would find it hard to compete. Swimming:  A polar bear performed a phenomenal feat of endurance swimming, reported the BBC News.  According to a zoologist who observed […]
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