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What Good Is a Hairball?

When you start looking for clues to good designs in nature, the results are everywhere.

Biomimetics Line-Up

Here's what's hot in the trendy science of making things the way nature does it.

More Cell Machines Come to Light

The living cell contains thousands of molecular machines converting energy into useful work. Here are just a few that were recently described in journal papers.

Animals Come Pre-Equipped With Machinery

Guidance systems, compasses, switchboards, motors, robotic machines: we're talking about systems inside animals—and you.

Your Cells Work for You

At a cellular level, the human body has a dizzying array of workers. Here are a few recent examples discovered.

Cool Tools in your Cellular Toolkit

Biochemists can't help using familiar tools to describe what they are finding in living cells.

Ferrari-Like Gears Move Your Muscles

A creative science reporter compares the "gears" of molecular motors in your muscle cells to those of high-performance cars.

Science Grab Bag

Here's a random assortment of things floating around in the science news media – some fascinating, some informative, some disgusting. We’ll let the readers decide which is which. Since it’s Friday the 13th, a day to enjoy like any other day, we’ll give you a baker’s dozen to sample.

Cells Optimize Their Tasks

The key to design in manufacturing is optimization – hitting the “sweet spot” between competing interests. It’s not always possible to have all the elements of a product be ideal. A laptop computer, for instance, can’t have an extra-large monitor and simultaneously have long battery life and compact design. A muscle car cannot be expected to have the best gas mileage. In the heyday of “faster, better, cheaper” spacecraft, engineers often joked, “pick any two.” In the same way, living cells have to optimize their operations. A couple of recent papers explore how they find that sweet spot.
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