Is Star Formation Understood?

Astronomers often speak with apparent confidence about regions of active star formation in nebulae or galaxies. A look at the fine print, however, shows plenty of wiggle room when observations don’t quite match theory.

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 […]

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 […]

Extreme Biomimetics

Imitating spider silk or gecko feet is one thing, but some researchers are going to extremes to try to do what living organisms do. DNA railcar:  Researchers at University of Oxford have constructed a “programable [sic] molecular transport system” that travels like a railcar on DNA molecules, reported PhysOrg.  And that’s not all: they would […]

Update: Maple-Copter Evolves by Design

The rotating helicopter resembling a maple seed, reported on 10/21/2009, has undergone numerous rounds of guided evolution (if that is not an oxymoron). The clever inventors have been trying numerous successive variations on their design, reported PhysOrg. The article includes two video clips showing the young engineers, Evan Ulrich, Darryll Pines, and Sean Humbert from the University of Maryland, testing their product.

Left-Handed Amino Acids Explained Naturally?

The problem of left-handed amino acids in life’s proteins has remained an evolutionary conundrum for decades (see online book and earlier entries).  Another team has tried to tackle it, and boasted great things for their small returns.  Science Daily said, What is the origin of such asymmetry in biological material?  There are two competing hypotheses.  […]

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 […]

Loopy Cosmology Goes Abstract

A physicist from Warsaw standing by a Picasso painting finds convergence with his thinking about the origin of the universe.  The caption on Science Daily reads, “The lines in the painting are fairly similar to graphs showing the evolution of quantum states of the gravitational field in loop quantum gravity.”  The cosmologist is Prof. Jerzy […]

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 […]

Can Astronomers See Behind the Big Bang?

An astonishing claim is being reported: “Cosmos may show echoes of events before Big Bang” (BBC News).  How can this be, since secular cosmologists claim that the big bang was the beginning of time, space, matter, and everything, and it is impossible even in principle to go beyond it?     The character behind the […]

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 […]

Dinosaur Fossils Flaunt Physics

Recent announcements about dinosaurs show that even the large ones exhibited physics fitness.  Their size did not inhibit their mobility. T. rex racer:  Maybe Jurassic Park got it right after all.  According to Science Daily, “Tyrannosaurus rex was far from a plodding Cretaceous era scavenger whose long tail only served to counterbalance the up-front weight […]

Maxwell’s ID Demon Converts Info to Energy

Information can be converted into energy – provided it is guided by intelligent design.  That’s what researchers demonstrated with an experimental setup of “Maxwell’s Demon,” a famous thought experiment about how to overcome the Second Law of Thermodynamics.     James Clerk Maxwell knew that the laws of thermodynamics did not allow the spontaneous separation […]

Plasma May Revamp Cosmology

A “diverse new field” of astrophysics is poised to revolutionize our understanding of stars, energetic galaxies, and perhaps the entire universe.  The properties and interactions of plasma, that hot, electrically-charged gas that makes up the sun and stars, have not been considered as often as matter and light have in astronomy.  A set of top […]

A Tale of Two Mavericks

Two men who recently died are now being honored for their willingness to have stood up to the majority and advanced views that were unpopular at the time.
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