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Inspiring Life Motivates Designers

Here's the latest collection of bio-inspired designs brought to you by plants, animals, and cells.

Why Chernobyl Neighbors Are Not Dying

Surprising scientists, both people and animals are doing OK around the world's worst nuclear accident site.

Take a Forest Bath

Science supports a Japanese tradition of "forest bathing" for mental refreshment and overall well-being.

Biomimetics Line-Up

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

Plant Intranet Seen in Action

How do roots respond to what the top of the plant experiences? With an elaborate communication system resembling email.

Animals Overcome Limitations of Physics

The limits of human engineering have been overcome by animals in surprising ways worth imitating.

Plants Generate Their Own Sunscreen

Ultraviolet radiation hits plants as well as humans, but plants can’t reach for a tube of sunscreen.  Too much exposure can damage them; what do they do?  They have a sensor that turns on production of their own brand of sunscreen and spreads it on their skin automatically.     UV-B rays are the most […]

Plants Have Social Networks

Plants may be mostly stationary, but they have connections.  They are so well connected, in fact, that they have both intranets, extranets and internets.  Inside their own vessels, they communicate with proteins and RNA molecules from root to shoot (04/23/2010); outside, they have many social relationships with other organisms.  They even “friend” their partners, just […]

Plagiarizing Nature

Copying someone else’s invention is a crime, but researchers in biomimetics are doing it with impunity and getting away with it. Leaf power:  “Why come up with new ways to generate clean energy, when we can copy what plants have been doing for millennia?”  That’s what led Daniel Nocera and colleagues at MIT to develop […]

Evolution Everyone Can Agree On

The controversy over Darwinian evolution concerns one core question: Can an unplanned, undirected process generate new functions and complex organs of irreducible complexity without design?  No one really doubts that organisms vary in horizontal or downward ways – either by modifications of existing genetic information, or by deleterious mutations that somehow allow animals to continue […]

Mummified Trees in the Arctic: Are They Millions of Years Old?

Arctic wood in a “polar desert” has been discovered that is “so well preserved that the wood can still burn, and even the most delicate tree structures, such as leaves, are present” reported PhysOrg.  Joel Barker (Ohio State) remarked, “The dead trees look just like the dried-out dead wood lying outside now.” How old are […]

Daffy Daffodil Darwinism

The daffodil flower has an extra part.  This can only mean it evolved.  That’s what science reporters are saying, leading some readers to wonder how they got there from here.     Most flowers are made of petals, sepals, carpels and stamens, but the distinctive trumpet-shaped corona of the daffodil seems unrelated.  The BBC News […]

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 […]

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.

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 […]
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