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Animal Olympians Inspire Engineers

Here are more stories about animals, plants and cells attracting scientists with their astonishing capabilities, proving that biomimetics is one of the hottest trends in science.

Don't Hate Bacteria Irrationally

It should be well known by now that we are surrounded by bacteria, mostly benign, all the time -- inside and out. Some reporters still attempt to gross out the public and make misleading statements from scientific findings.

Bacteria as a Vast Unexplored Medicine Chest

Most of our therapeutic agents have been derived from bacteria. A new survey shows we have barely tapped the surface of potential medicines beneath our feet.

Ready, Aim, Flower

How does a plant know the time to flower? A new study describes a process involving genes, sunlight sensors, switches, clocks, feedback loops and messages.

New Chirality Solution Proposed

It's long been a mystery why cells use one hand of two-handed molecules, like left-handed amino acids and right-handed sugars. A new proposal solves the mystery, explaining how this phenomenon called homochirality arises naturally. Wait a minute...

Stem Cells Getting Healthier

Over the past decade, stem cells have been a hot news item. Here are some late breaking news stories about them.

Animals Have Biological GPS

Global Positioning System (GPS): that's a function. Maintaining a suite of satellites is one method for achieving the function. But there are other ways to figure out where in the world you are, and two very different animals show the way – naturally – using Earth's global magnetic field.

How the Tiger Got Its Stripes: Dunno

A leading hypothesis for morphogenesis (pattern formation, such as tiger stripes) has been shown to be oversimplified. Whatever gave a tiger its stripes is more complicated than developmental biologists thought.

From Wonders of Nature to Wonders of Technology

Living things have solved physics problems like design engineers. Inventors are just now catching on to their tricks in ways that could improve our technology, weaning us off our crude, polluting past and ushering in advanced technology that is not only greener but more effective. The latest stars are two insects and a bacterium.

Is This Plant Really 30,000 Years Old?

A plant said to be 30,000 years old has been brought to life in Russia. A team resurrected a fruit from a rodent burrow in Siberian permafrost, getting it to grow into a whole plant that produces viable seeds. This is now the oldest age claim, by an order of magnitude, for plant material made to live again. Other scientists are startled that plant material could remain viable for so long, since cells have to repair their DNA continually. Other botany news bring different problems to evolutionary theory.

Small Animals Show Even More Design

Your smart phone is a triumph of miniaturization. The first computers were room-filling monstrosities; now, you can hold more computing power than a Univac in the palm of your hand. In the living world, we should't despise small creatures. They can pack a lot of technology into a small space. Here are some record-setting examples of living miniatures reported recently.

Innovation as a Dodge

This is not a truck commercial. It’s not about a Dodge as an innovation, but innovation as a dodge. It’s about how a word, innovation, is used as a euphemism in evolution articles. The word seems to mean, “we have no clue how this evolved, but it must have for evolution to be true.” It’s a handy rhetorical trick, because without it, a reader might be tempted to think the evidence supports creation. Some recent articles show how the trick is employed.

Rethinking Parasitism

Parasitism is bad. Parasitism is evil. Parasites wage war against innocent hosts. This is our mindset. What if parasites can do good? This change of heart seems to be happening for one case, the case of transposable genetic elements. If they are only doing harm to the host, why did some biologists find that “positive selection” seems to be maintaining them? That makes it sound like the cells need them.

Living Surprises, Living Hopes

Here are ten recent discoveries about plants and animals that are surprising and inspiring. Some of them may lead to technologies that can improve our own lives.

Oozing Life Up Against All Odds

The origin of life clearly requires a major leap in complexity, but not just any complexity. A conglomerate rock is complex, but not alive. Life has functional complexity – the ability to selectively take in materials to grow, move and reproduce. Life also requires growth, but not just any growth. Fire grows and reproduces, but is not alive, whereas a living cell grows and reproduces according to internal programmed instructions. Evolutionists think the origin of life by natural causes is a tractable problem that will eventually be solved. Let’s see a couple of examples of how their work is coming along.
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