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World’s Top Chemists Can’t Match a Plant

There’s a race on: a race to get cheap energy from the sun.  “The design and improvement of solar cells is one of the most vibrant areas of science,” said the BBC News, “in part because sunlight is far and away the planet’s most abundant renewable energy source.”  Two recent articles show that top labs […]

Flying Fish Tested in Wind Tunnel: Match Bird Flight

Sometimes engineers investigate things biologists take for granted.  Flying fish have been observed by countless sailors and cruise passengers, and have been described by life scientists.  It took an engineer, however, to investigate these “unexpected fliers” in a wind tunnel.  Surprisingly, though many have speculated about these creatures, “detailed measurement of wing performance associated with […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Proteins Fold Who Knows How

One of the biggest mysteries remaining in cell biology is how proteins fold.  Proteins start out as chains of amino acids (polypeptides) as they exit the ribosome.  Most of them spontaneously fold into their “native” three-dimensional structures, where they will go to work as enzymes, structural materials or other key players in cell life.  About […]

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 […]

Farm Algae for Energy

June 29, 2010 — Why manufacture fuels when microbes can do it faster, better and cheaper?  Researchers at the University of Cambridge are wiring electrodes to algae to produce “green energy” – solar-powered fuel that is carbon-neutral, “cheaper to produce, self-repairing, self-replicating, biodegradable and much more sustainable – real green energy.”     The team […]

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 […]

Venter Group Plagiarizes Genetic Code

Is plagiarism a form of intelligent design?  We think of intelligent design in terms of God and creation, but in generic terms, I.D. only refers to purposeful, designed action by an agent – any agent, large or small, good or evil.  A planned murder, for instance, can be an evil form of intelligent design.  A […]

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 […]

If Humans Build DNA Machines, Is It Intelligent Design?

Two teams have succeeded in building little robots that work on DNA tracks.  These resemble in many respects the machines that cells use to perform its functions on DNA.  No one denies that humans engineered their nanobots on purpose, but Darwinist scientists claim natural cellular machines evolved without purpose or design.  What’s the difference?   […]

Bacteria: Let’s Harness Those “Perfect Machines”

Ten Italian scientists have a novel idea.  They want to hitch up their wagons to bacteria and use them to power nanomachines.  It’s too much work to build such “perfect machines” from scratch, they said.  Why not just take advantage of what nature has already provided?     Their paper in PNAS1 is downright dreamy […]
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