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Has Biomimetics Surpassed Biology?

An article on Science Daily announced an invention that is “Better Than the Human Eye: Tiny Camera With Adjustable Zoom Could Aid Endoscopic Imaging, Robotics, Night Vision.”  While true that human eyes do not have zoom lenses, how does the comparison hold up?     The invention both imitates and surpasses human vision in some […]

Molecules as Traffic Cops

One of the cutting-edge developments in cell biology and genetics is the realization that there are networks of molecules that are regulated by other molecules.  Some molecules stimulate growth while others repress it.  The dynamic interplay between signals, hormones, repressors and other processes somehow leads to “homeostasis” – a dynamic balance that is responsive to […]

The Brain as the Computer Robots Need

A mind is a terrible thing to waste, especially once you realize how incredibly powerful it is.  In some ways it’s like a computer that needs maintenance; in other ways, it is too powerful to describe in machine language.  Here are a few mind matters to mind because it matters: Reboot to clear the ringing:  […]

Insect Wings Are Rainbows of Color

Scientists in Sweden have found that a feature of transparent insect wings – their shimmering colors – may have a purpose.  They are not just accidental patterns like the rainbow colors of oil on water, but are stable structures genetically determined for insect recognition and mating.  They call them “wing interference patterns” (WIP) but their […]

“Primitive” Humans Were Sailors

Greek archaeologists have found stone tools on Crete thought to be between 130,000 and 700,000 years old, reported PhysOrg.  If so, the makers had to sail to get there.  “Crete has been separated from the mainland for about five million years, so whoever made the tools must have traveled there by sea (a distance of […]

Evolution by Gene Duplication Falsified

A common hypothesis in evolutionary circles is evolution by gene duplication.  It posits that duplicated genes are free to evolve new functions without affecting the primary gene.  This idea has been dealt a serious blow by a paper published in Complexity on Dec. 22.1     Joseph Esfandiar Hannon Bozorgmehr first dealt a falsifying blow […]

Cell Division Involves “Vast Array of Molecules and Processes”

Scientists continue to probe the roles of individual proteins in the symphony of molecules involved in cell division.  An article on Science Daily discussed work at Rockefeller University to understand one such protein named PRC1 that acts as a kind of molecular foreman for spindle orientation.  The opening paragraph is the notable part: Just before […]

Plants Outsmart Darwin

There are wonders in plants that continue to be uncovered with the tools of science.  Two recent papers in PNAS lend support to the feeling that plants are smarter than assumed. Trash collection:  Humans usually only employ one trash collection service, but plants have two.  Four Chinese investigators found redundant pathways in plant cells for […]

Brain Synapse Machinery Is Finely Tuned

The New York Times published a brief article on brain facts that is astonishing, when you think about all that goes on in thinking.  Nicholas Wade reported on a new inventory of the proteins involved in the synapses, the key junctions between neurons.  The research team, led by Seth Grant of the Sanger Institute near […]

Secular Evolutionists Are a Small Minority

A new Gallup poll shows that only 16% of Americans subscribe to the view that “Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God had no part in the process.”  About 40% believe in Biblical creationism (recent creation within 10,000 years); that percentage climbs to 60% among churchgoers.  […]

Design Science Scores

A team of scientists at Leeds University (UK) led by well-known design scientist Andy McIntosh has won an award for innovative design inspired by nature.  “The team’s work has received the outstanding contribution to innovation and technology title at the Times Higher Education awards in London,” reported the BBC News.     By studying and […]

News on the Mind

Here are a dozen recent stories dealing with brains, the mind, perception, motivation and other aspects of psychology and neuroscience. Nature and nurture:  PhysOrg claims that scientists at SMU have resolved the nature vs nurture debate with a hybrid approach.  Whether it satisfies critics remains to be seen.  Perhaps they are still thinking inside the […]

Cells Manage Stress and Death

Like soldiers in a foreign land, cells sometimes find themselves in unexpected situations.  Key equipment breaks down, or the environment puts stress on their resources.  Without the ability to adapt, they could perish – and in worst-case scenarios they must, like a squadron under ambush with no way out.  In such cases, like spies carrying […]

Even Your Trash Can Is High-Tech

Cells have the same problem as cities: disposing of trash.  Each of your cells has elaborate trash collector machines that not only dispose of damaged or unneeded proteins – they recycle them, too.  The structure of the proteasome, a fragile machine difficult to crystallize for imaging, has just become clearer thanks to researchers in Germany […]

Let the Birds Teach You

The ancient prophet Job said, “But now ask the beasts, and they will teach you; And the birds of the air, and they will tell you” (Job 12:7).  Maybe the birds of the air can tell us how to fly, and the beasts of the sea how to navigate.  Some scientists are trying that without […]
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