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Follow the Insects

Science has good reason to study insects – not just because they are the most numerous and diverse animals on the planet.  They know some tricks we would do well to emulate.  Robot designers are taking the lead on following insects. Print a fly:  New printers are allowing inventors to print the paper-thin wings they […]

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 […]

Enceladus Geyser Heat Much Higher Than Thought Possible

The Enceladus problem – accounting for the heat source of a tiny moon of Saturn – just jumped by more than an order of magnitude.  “Cassini Finds Enceladus Is a Powerhouse,” reported Jet Propulsion Laboratory today.  “Heat output from the south polar region of Saturn’s moon Enceladus is much greater than was previously thought possible,” […]

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 […]

Busted!  Planet-Making Theories Don’t Fit Extrasolar Planets

Famed planet-hunter Geoff Marcy is giving theorists headaches.  The leading theories of planet formation won’t stand up to observations of hundreds of planets we know.  In National Geographic News reporter Richard Lovett lamented, “The more new planets we find, the less we seem to know about how planetary systems are born, according to a leading […]

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 […]
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