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Clever Animals Amaze and Inspire

The living world is an endless source of wonder and inspiration.  There’s an octopus that does a convincing imitation of a flatfish (Science Daily, Live Science), and a red crab species that emerges from its lethargic life around Christmas and migrates miles to the sea by the millions (PhysOrg).  There’s a tiny frog that can […]

Dinosaur Graveyards and Arctic Tortoises: Who’s Got the Context?

Science articles often go beyond the data.  A jumble of bones found on an island is boring; people want a story of what they were, and how they got that way.  Many scientists and reporters are only happy to fulfill that curiosity.  But are the stories they tell, usually presented as fact, the only way […]

God Forbid: Public School Field Trips to a Creation Zoo?

Is it legal?  Can a public school take kids to a creation zoo?  Environment reporter Michael Marshall at New Scientist just about had a fit when he heard that “A UK zoo that pushes a creationist message has been approved as a destination for school trips by the government.”  That could never happen in America, […]

Nature’s Designs Excite Inventors

The imitation of nature – biomimetics – is one of the hottest areas in science these days.  Recent reports tell about research teams racing to move natural designs to market, and there’s no end in sight. Pack it green:  Got parcels?  Don’t use styrofoam peanuts and bubble wraps; that’s so 2009.  Why manufacture plastic and […]

Getting Animals from Here to There

The world is a big place, and most animals are small.  Yet many animals are found far from where their presumed ancestors lived.  Most birds, naturally, can fly long distances, and some sea creatures can cross the oceans with the help of currents.  That cannot explain all the cases, however.  Here are some attempts by […]

Tiny Life in Extraordinary Motion

Don’t despise small things.  Miniature plants and animals can pack some amazing punch and technology, as shown in two recent findings. Plant explosion:  Peat moss.  That’s the filler in our indoor plant soil and Live Science reported that its pots shoot its spores out at 89 miles per hour, producing accelerations of 36,000 G’s.  Some […]

More to a Fly than Meets the Eye

Flies and spiders, members of the arthropod phylum, may seem small and “less evolved” than the larger members of the animal kingdom.  One shouldn’t let size alone be the measure of ability. Fly supercomputer:  Did you ever think of the brain of a fly as a high-speed computer?  That’s what PhysOrg called it: “the minute […]

Productive Science Imitates Nature

Examples continue to accumulate that some of the most interesting and fruitful science projects involve copying design principles found in nature.  This “biomimetics” approach not only pleases the consumers who can look forward to greener, cheaper, better products, but leads to deeper understandings of nature’s workings. Gecko adhesives:  PhysOrg published a story on the ongoing […]

Fossils Without Evolution

New fossils continue to turn up around the world.  Many of them have an amazing characteristic in common: they look almost exactly like their living counterparts, despite being millions of years old, according to the evolutionary timescale.  It’s interesting sometimes to hear how the evolutionists explain the remarkable lack of evolution in all that time. […]

Butterfly Wing Shimmer Done With 3-D Crystals

Those shimmering flashes of light seen on butterfly wings are not done with pigments.  They’re done with tiny, geometric crystals called gyroids stacked in 3-D patterns, scientists have found.  They are so effective at concentrating color, the scientists want to imitate the trick.     “A precise characterization of color-producing biological nanostructures is critical to […]

Butterfly Wing Veins Are Not in Vain

Inventors made an artificial butterfly modeled on the tiger swallowtail.  First they made the wing without veins.  It didn’t fly as well as when they added veins like the real butterfly, according to a short video clip in an article on New Scientist.  The veined wing provided more lift.     The inventors at Harvard’s […]

Like Magic: Spiders Convert Fluid to Steel-Strong Silk

How do they do it?  Spiders spin their webs with such ease, but scientists know they are working a kind of material magic.  Inside the storage sac, the proteins act like a fluid.  Outside the spinnerets, that fluid turns into a structural rope that is stronger than steel, but elastic enough to absorb the energy […]

Leapin’ Lizards: Giant Lizard Discovered

A large species of lizard unknown to science has been discovered alive and well in the Philippines.  The BBC News has a picture of the monster, a class of monitor lizard, that measures 2 meters from snout to tail.  That makes it about 2/3 the size of its famous cousin from Java, the Komodo Dragon.  […]

Snakes Alive!  An Evolutionary Tale

Blind snakes that look like worms: they rule the world.  They’re everywhere.  Where did they come from?  “Blindsnakes are not very pretty, are rarely noticed, and are often mistaken for earthworms,” admits Blair Hedges, professor of biology at Penn State University.  “Nonetheless, they tell a very interesting evolutionary story.”  So reported Science Daily.  National Geographic […]

Biomimetics: Science for Now

Do you want science that makes a difference in our lives?  Look at real plants and animals with real solutions to practical problems.  That’s where researchers are making amazing discoveries with practical spinoffs. Shellfish materials:  Strong, lightweight structures are coming, thanks to the imitation of oysters and shellfish.  PhysOrg reported that researchers at the University […]
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