Plastic Proteins and Turtle Skis

first_imgHere’s news about the latest technologies coming out of biomimetics, the imitation of nature’s designs.Turtle skis. Before the spring skiing season is over, strap on your turtle-shell skis. PhysOrg says that new skis designed to mimic turtle scales will flex more in relation to your body position on the slopes, while remaining shock-resistant. A researcher thought about turtles, and an idea was born:The idea of mimicking the morphology of turtles occurred to Véronique Michaud, a researcher at EPFL’s Laboratory of Polymer and Composite Technology, while she was attending a seminar on bioinspired materials. “The scales of a turtle interlock, like a jigsaw puzzle, and are connected by a polymer,” said Michaud. “When turtles breathe, the scales separate slightly and the shell becomes flexible. But when an external shock occurs, the shell tightens and stiffens. It struck me immediately that we could build these features into skis.”Bacteria batteries. Today’s lithium batteries are unsafe, costly and dirty. Why not make power with living power plants? This would be especially helpful for solar and wind power that needs to be stored. Science Daily says that Dutch researchers see a future in bacteria batteries:The researchers combined, for the first time, two separate microbial energy systems: one that uses bacteria to form acetate from electricity and one to convert the produced acetate back into electricity. The researchers successfully charged the battery over a 16-hour period and discharged it over the next 8 hours, mimicking the day-night pattern typical for solar energy production. They repeated this cycle 15 times in as many days. With further optimization, they say the energy density of the microbial battery could be competitive with conventional technologies. Someday it could help us store energy from local renewable sources safely and at a lower cost than current options.Spider water collector. Why do raindrops stick to spider webs? Korean researchers looked into this, Science Daily says, and found that the adhesion of water to a fiber depends on its speed. A mechanical engineer in Seoul commented, “Engineers will apply our results to control the amount of liquid retained on fibers for water-collection from foggy air, air-filtration, and fiber-coating technologies.”Plastic proteins. What if you could build polymers the way proteins do? Science Daily put this into a long headline: “Plastic proteins: Synthetic material mimics essential characteristics of natural proteins: With inexpensive chemical base, variety of materials could be as limitless as proteins are.” This could give a whole new ID-friendly meaning to the phrase, “building blocks of life.” Synthetic building blocks can be more durable than amino acids while making good use of the design principle that sequence leads to function. Let’s quote the article’s paean of praise for proteins:Proteins are at the core of life: In living things, they are architect and engineer. They are the wrenches and machines that build an organism’s varied parts, building those parts out of other proteins of many sizes and shapes. They form the power plants in cells, run the plants, make energy and store energy. They make things grow, and are the bricks of growth as well.Because of their versatility, proteins are some of researchers’ favorite tools.Moth-eye solar cells. Here’s an update on an old biomimetics classic from Science Daily. The compound eyes of moths have desirable properties like anti-reflectivity and a self-cleaning surface. But they are not alone in the living world as sources of inspiration, this time for Chinese scientists (as you can tell from the English translation):Nature is no doubt the world’s best biological engineer, whose simple, exquisite but powerful designs have inspired scientists and engineers to tackle the challenges of technologies for centuries. Scientists recently mimicked the surface structure of a moth’s eye, a unique structure with an antireflective property, to develop a highly light-absorbent graphene material. This is breakthrough in solar cell technology. Rice leaves and butterfly wings also have unique self-cleaning surface characteristics, which inspire scientists to develop novel materials resistant to biofouling. The bio-inspired periodic multi-scale structures, called hierarchical structures, have recently caught broad attention among scientists in various applications such as solar cells, Light-emitting diodes (LEDs), biomaterials and anti-bacterial surfaces.Coincidentally, an American team is also imitating moth eyes to create silicon solar cells, Science Daily reports.Ant sunshields. This article on Live Science doesn’t mention biomimetic applications directly, but one can feel inspiration offstage. There’s an ant species in the hot Sahara that has silvery hairs that reflect the sun’s heat like tiny mirrors, allowing the ants to keep their cool even in ground temperatures of 122 °F. The secret is in an optical property called total internal reflection. It gives the ants 10 times as much reflectivity as ants shaved of their silver hairs. Now that scientists know how it works, whose to stop an entrepreneur from thinking of ways to imitate it? This cooling secret is apparently unique to this ant, and is also the first time total internal reflection determines the color of an organism, too.Artificial leaf. An update on the challenge to create an artificial leaf, posted by Science Daily, says that Japanese scientists are making progress on one aspect of plant life, getting ammonia from N2 molecules. Plants make it look so easy.Whisker navigation. Rodents use their whiskers to sense their surroundings in dark, narrow places where vision and hearing are limited (like inside the walls of your house). Seals in the ocean do this, too. Engineers from America and Singapore are making progress using this technique on robots, Science Daily says, but the man-made versions use plastic and wire. Their progress is published in the journal Bioinspiration and Biomimetics. So far, the animals are way ahead of man’s clumsy contraptions:Currently, the whiskers developed in this study can only form two-dimensional images. Creating three-dimensional images would require a more sophisticated mathematical model to interpret the signals coming in, as well as improving the whisker sensors, making them smaller and more flexible. Not only this, but because humans have only begun to understand how animals in the wild use their whiskers to read their environment, it is important to continue research to find out how animals such as seals actively process vibrissal signals in their brains in different situations, and to understand how their whiskers are designed to do so.“Designed to do so”? Where were the Darwin censors on that one?Use your influence to promote biomimetics. It’s the antidote to Darwinism. Think of the potential for science projects at school, or motivation for budding entrepreneurs. There’s no need to use the words “intelligent design”; it may freak out teachers unnecessarily or alert the ACLU. Just do what these scientists are doing. If anyone worries, you can quote the articles above to show how major science labs are using the word design. It’s all purely secular, but it gets people thinking along design lines instead of blind, unguided processes. Who needs Darwin just-so storytellers when you can show off real turtle-shell skis or whiskered robots? Cool! Think of the crowds gathering around your kid’s science fair poster about ant sunshields. Think of the customers buying your bacteria batteries and moth-eye solar panels. Evolution is going to seem so quaint, so 1859 in the new design gold rush. This is a positive way to destroy the power of the Darwin Sharia police. (Visited 27 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Jon Miller, June 27

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest We are about half done harvesting the wheat. The first 80 acres of wheat we did was extremely wet but we ran it anyway. It seems like that freeze in May maybe affected how it matured but didn’t really affect the yield. We had some a little above 30% moisture. Most of it ran between 25% and 30% in that field. Then we had that rain last week and got anywhere from two to three inches on about all of our fields. We started with wheat again then on Saturday and the moisture was still in the upper 20s. The lowest was about 18% yesterday.We got between a quarter- and a half-inch overnight. We may start mowing straw this afternoon and running wheat again later today. The second half should go faster and it looks like we have a good forecast this week.The first couple of wheat loads had decent test weight and quality. The yield was better than expected after that cold snap we had this spring and the bale count on the first 80 acres has been extremely high. It seems like the variety we are in now is about 10 bushels below the earlier wheat we harvested. I think overall the yield ought to be above average and if the quality stays it should be a decent year for wheat.We were losing yield on the corn before we got that rain. Even though we had two or three inches, it came so fast that a lot of it ran off. We’ll take anything we can get as dry as we were. On some of the lighter banks the corn was turning a whitish purple. It was curled tight before that rain came through.We were able to plant our first double-crop beans last week and the first 25 acres are already out of the ground. The calendar is still on our side, but if it hadn’t rained, planting double-crops would be questionable for some of our fields.So far, weed control has been OK but we are finding a lot of little marestail coming up in the wheat. We are planting some Liberty beans for double-crops to help control the marestail after the wheat.last_img read more

Researchers find alternate path for Listeria to sicken people

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Purdue University scientists have found another pathway that Listeria uses to enter the bloodstream, suggesting that forms of the foodborne bacteria considered benign may be more dangerous than once thought.About 600 million people around the world contract listeriosis each year, with 420,000 dying, according to the World Health Organization. In the U.S., 1,600 people are infected each year, causing 260 deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pregnant women, newborn children, adults 65 and older and people with weakened immune systems are most at risk. The pathogen is found most often in deli meat, hot dogs, dairy products and produce.To infect someone, the Listeria monocytogenes bacteria must cross the epithelial barrier, a wall of cells in the gut that generally protects the bloodstream from harmful pathogens. It has long been believed that a protein called Internalin A, found in many forms of Listeria, is required for breaking through that barrier.Arun Bhunia, a Purdue food microbiology professor in the Department of Food Science, and his team fed Listeria to mice that have a non-functional receptor for the Internalin A protein. If Internalin A is required for Listeria monocytogenes bacteria to reach the bloodstream, these mice should not have been infected. But they were.“As soon as we feed the mice this bacterium, it goes through the intestine and crosses this epithelial barrier and into the blood circulation, liver and spleen,” Bhunia said. “This suggests there is another way in which Listeria monocytogenes gets through these cells and into the bloodstream.”Bhunia’s findings, reported in the journal Cell Host & Microbe, show Listeria adhesion protein (LAP) interacts with heat shock protein (HSP) in mice, then the epithelial cells move apart to give the bacterium access to the bloodstream. But that is just one path the bacteria might use to infect a host.Since the Internalin A receptors are sandwiched between epithelial cells in humans, they are inaccessible to the Internalin A protein.“When LAP interacts with HSP, those cells move apart, not only giving the bacterium access to the bloodstream, but also exposing the Internalin A receptors and allowing transport of Listeria monocytogenes into the bloodstream, which likely happens in humans,” Bhunia said. “Now that we know the mechanism, we can look at how to block this pathway to prevent the infection.”The findings are also important because Listeria strains that have the defective or nonfunctional Internalin A protein haven’t been considered dangerous. But if the bacteria have another way through the gut and into the bloodstream regardless of Internalin A, that’s no longer true.“We cannot just think that because most of these bacteria that are found in food are Internalin A mutants, we can tolerate it. We can still get infected,” said Rishi Drolia, a graduate research assistant in Bhunia’s lab.Next, Bhunia’s team is working on development of a vaccine that blocks LAP, which could be a method for keeping Listeria from reaching the bloodstream. The Purdue AgSEED program, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Purdue Research Foundation supported this research.last_img read more

Fellaini: We know we can do better

first_imgMarouane Fellaini conceded Manchester United are going to find it difficult closing the gap on the Premier League’s leading pack after drawing 1-1 with Wolves on Saturday.Former manager Sir Alex Ferguson was in attendance at Old Trafford for the first time since suffering a brain haemorrhage in May and United were unable to secure a win.Although Fred gave the hosts the lead against the run of play in the 18th minute , Wolves battled back and deservedly levelled just after the break – Joao Moutinho finding the top-left corner after good hold-up play by Raul Jimenez. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Man Utd ready to spend big on Sancho and Haaland in January Who is Marcus Thuram? Lilian’s son who is top of the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach Brazil, beware! Messi and Argentina out for revenge after Copa controversy Best player in MLS? Zlatan wasn’t even the best player in LA! United piled the pressure on towards the end, though clear-cut opportunities remained infrequent and Wolves held on to a well-earned point.The result leaves United eight points adrift of pacesetters Liverpool – who beat Southampton 3-0 – and Fellaini is already concerned by that gap.”Everyone is disappointed,” the Belgian told Premier League Productions. “We know we can do better.”We had to win today because after that it will be difficult to close the gap. Everyone is disappointed, but that is football.”We have to move the ball quicker, when we create the chances we have to score.”And a frustrated Jose Mourinho was scathing in his assessment of his team for how they got caught on the ball in the build-up to Wolves’ equalising goal. “It’s a situation that the players knew perfectly, that they press in midfield,” he said after the game. “These two Portuguese boys [Ruben Neves and Moutinho], they are both the kind of player that likes to bite, that likes to [give] short distance, to press, we know that they don’t give a long time for you to have the ball, to turn, to one-touch, two touches.”You don’t have much of that, so you concede in a situation which is much harder to accept but that is one goal that you concede and you have 90 minutes to show a different attitude and I think we have to do better.”last_img read more

Indias GDP to grow at 6 during ApriJune Ficci report

first_imgNew Delhi: India’s economy will grow at a median rate of 6 per cent during the first quarter of the current financial year ended June 30, according to a Ficci report. The country’s economy grew at 8.2 per cent in April-June 2018-19. The growth numbers for the first quarter are expected to be released by the Central Statistics Office next week. “The recently released unemployment numbers by NSSO reaffirm the grim situation with regard to employment in the country,” said Ficci Economic Outlook Survey. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalIt pegged the annual median GDP growth forecast for 2019-20 at 6.9 per cent, with a minimum and maximum estimate of 6.7 per cent and 7.2 per cent, respectively. The median is the middle number in a sorted, ascending or descending list of numbers which can be more descriptive of a data set than the average. A majority of the participating economists in the survey suggested the RBI will continue its accomodative stance, with a further cut in the repo rate in the remaining part of 2019-20. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boostThey felt that the prevailing real interest rates were high. They also signalled that tardy deposit growth is haunting the banks as it is limiting their ability to lend and is preventing adequate transmission. The participants identified four key areas of improvement that would help create more jobs: cost of doing business; regulatory reforms; labour reforms and announcement of sector specific special packages. They observed that slower global growth will impact India’s growth prospects going forward. In fact, economists unanimously indicated that India’s potential growth rate would be between 7-7.5 per cent, which is lower than the 8 per cent plus potential growth rate estimated until a few years back, Ficci stated. However, a majority of participants felt that potential GDP growth would settle at 7.5 per cent. The participants were skeptical and divided about replicating the previous high growth performance of over 8 per cent and sustaining it at that level, Ficci stated. Those who were optimistic believed that a turnaround would be challenging given the current global environment and could take at least three to four years, it added. To achieve India’s potential growth rate, the economists suggested boosting agriculture, strengthening micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), undertaking factor market reforms and enhancing avenues for infrastructure financing. A factor market, also referred to as the input market, is a place where companies buy what they need to produce their goods and services. The survey was conducted during June-July 2019 amongst economists belonging to the industry, banking and financial services sectors. While the median growth forecast for agriculture and allied activities has been put at 2.2 per cent for 2019-20, the industry and services sector are expected to grow by 6.9 per cent and 8 per cent respectively during 2019-20, the survey revealed. The outlook of participating economists on inflation also remains benign. The median forecast for Wholesale Price Index based inflation rate for 2019-20 has been pegged at 2.9 per cent, with a minimum and maximum estimate of 2.1 per cent and 5.7 per cent, respectively. Besides, the median forecast for the Consumer Price Index is 3.7 per cent for 2019-20 with a minimum and maximum estimate of 3.4 per cent and 4.1 per cent, respectively. However, according to the survey, concerns remain on external front with median current account deficit forecast pegged at 2.3 per cent of GDP for 2019-20. Merchandise exports are expected to grow by 3.6 per cent, while imports are expected to grow by 4 per cent during the year. Overall decline in global growth forecasts, escalating trade tensions, uncertainty around Brexit and foggy outlook on international crude oil prices have emerged as key concerns on the external front. The economists opined that it was necessary to ensure availability of capital and access to diversified long-term capital sources for carrying out productive investments in the economy. They felt borrowing costs should be lower to drive investments and employment in the country. They said greater efforts are required to develop the bond market, non-bank financial sector, and the stock exchanges. Economists also felt the need for establishing a long-term development finance institution on a priority basis.last_img read more

The Situation Becomes An Animal Advocate For PETA

first_imgJersey Shore may be about to kick off its final season, but Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino already has his next gig lined up: animal advocate.The Situation PETA AdThat’s why Sorrentino, who recently spent time in the Celebrity Big Brother (CBB) house, teamed up with PETA US for a brand-new campaign that calls attention to the homeless animal situation. In the ad, the CBB finalist shows off his celebrated six-pack amid a rowdy crowd of felines and next to the words, “Too Much Pussy Can Be a Bad Thing” The ad concludes, “Spay or neuter today.”“It definitely was overcrowded, and I learned that there’s been a problem, and it’s a growing problem,” Sorrentino said of the homeless animal overpopulation crisis following a recent visit to an animal shelter. “Fix your animals.” Sorrentino also cautions everyone that adopting a dog or cat is a lifelong commitment and urges anyone who witnesses animal abuse to call the authorities immediately.Each year, thousands of cats and dogs in animal shelters must be killed because there aren’t enough good homes for them. Other animals are abandoned on the streets, where they starve to death, get injured or killed by vehicles or fall prey to abuse. Adopting – not buying – is the answer. Also, the best way to minimize the number of homeless cats and dogs is by always having companion animals spayed or neutered.Sorrentino joins a long list of celebrities, including Justin Bieber, Kellan Lutz and Simon Cowell, and reality TV stars, such as Lauren Goodger and Chantelle Houghton, who have teamed up with PETA and its affiliates to help fight animal abuse.For more information, visit PETA.org.uk.last_img read more

Wind knocks out power in the BC Peace

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Over 500 customers in the B.C. Peace are without power.Hydro reports there are several power outages all around the B.C. Peace affecting customers since as early as 4:30 a.m. Sunday.Strong winds in the region have caused the outages.  Overnight wind gusts at the Fort St. John Airport reached 80km/h. The largest outages are in the Charlie Lake area.  Crews are on-site trying to fix the outages, but there is no estimate on when power will be restored.To view a full list of the power outages, visit www.bchydro.com/outageslast_img read more

Naidu condemns Centres move to invoke OSA in Rafale case

first_imgAmaravati (AP), Mar 7 (PTI) Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Thursday alleged the Modi government was trying to silence the media through “unconstitutional means”, condemning the Centre’s threat of invoking action under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) against The Hindu newspaper in the Rafale case.The government Wednesday told the Supreme Court that documents related to the deal were stolen from the Defence Ministry and threatened the newspaper with action for publishing articles based on them. Also Read – How a psychopath killer hid behind the mask of a devout laity!”Instead of coming clean on alleged irregularities of Rafale deal brought out by The Hindu and Mr N Ram, the Modi govt is trying to silence the press through unconstitutional means by creating a climate of fear. It signals an imminent possibility of the breakdown of democracy,” the chief minister tweeted. “After misguiding SC, misleading the nation, destroying all vital institutions of the country, Modi govt’s threat to file cases under Official Secrets Act against The Hindu and Mr N Ram is a serious threat to freedom of speech & expression guaranteed by the Constitution of India,” he claimed. Attorney General K K Venugopal had said before a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi that those who put documents on the Rafale deal in the public domain are guilty under the act and contempt of court. Unruffled by the Centre’s stand, Hindu publishing group Chairman N Ram had said nobody would get any information from the newspaper on the confidential sources who provided the documents.last_img read more

Over 45K complainants visited police stations in three months

first_imgNew Delhi: More than 45,000 complainants with their grievances visited city police stations till March this year. The law enforcement agency after listening to their complaints registered over 6,000 FIRs in different cases.Police sources said that 34,140 complainants met Public Facilitation Officers whereas the concern of 14,194 people was heard by the Station House Officers (SHOs) or Additional SHOs of more than 180 police stations and units in Delhi Police. Sources further told this newspaper that 39,800 complaints relating to different natures including sexual assault, robbery, kidnapping, hurt, theft, quarrel, cheating, forgery and others came. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderThe nature of 563 complaints was regarding sexual assault whereas 18,65 complaints were related to missing and kidnapping. The complaints pertaining to snatching, robbery and theft were 4,982. “As many as 4570 complaints came to police related to hurt, threats and quarrel whereas in cheating and forgery 2,164 complaints were heard,” said sources adding that other complaints were 23,920. In a recent meeting, the Police Commissioner reviewed the status regarding handling of complaints at police stations and prompt registration of cases. The police chief also discussed the disposal of pending investigation cases and period of pendency of these cases especially rape and POCSO. The top cop also reviewed the status of computers with internet connections of facilitation desks in police stations. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchingsSources said that out of 189 police stations, 183 have PFO desk. In 85 police stations, PFOs have computer connectivity whereas in 56 stations, internet is being provided. Recently, the office of LG Anil Baijal wrote to Delhi Police for providing internet connection to Public Facilitation Desks. “It has also been desired to provide an internet connection in Public Facilitation Desks so that these Desks can facilitate the lodging of e-fir as well,” sources said quoting letter content. According to Delhi Police Annual Report of 2018, as many as 2,36,476 IPC cases were registered during the year as against 2,23,077 in 2017. The report further said that the criminal activities and space, are getting integrated, syndicated and globalised. Consequently, they pose a challenge not only to the law enforcement agencies but also to the civil society in general. Incidents in Delhi are the focus of attention not only for the National Media but also to world media and even ordinary crimes and disorders tend to be sensationalized causing an unsettling effect on the minds of the people and their perception of the functioning of the police.last_img read more

Star power doesnt matter in web space

first_imgAfter creating a niche in the film industry with her versatility, passion, and love for acting, Isha Koppikar is now working to leave her impression on the web space. The actor says she is always in search of good content and that’s all that matters to her. “My focus has always been ‘good content’. I want to do roles that are substantial, roles that one can reckon with. I want to play characters that will allow me to experiment and grow as an actor. The idea is, whatever you do, make sure you choose good content. When you work on a good project, you experience a high. I want to be in that high all the time,” says Koppikar. Also Read – The Puja carnivalOn how star power doesn’t really matter in the web business, Isha says, “In web, we care more about good actors who can justify the role. Content is the sole king here. This is because unlike movies, numbers are not an aspect to be concerned of.” The actress is currently working for ALT Balaji’s upcoming web series Fixers. She will be seen playing the character of Sub-Inspector Jayanti Javdekar, a typical Marathi woman who lives in a modest house with her young son and husband. Also Read – Wave City brings special offers this NavratraFixer tells the thrilling story of a tainted ATS officer from Delhi who is drawn into the murky underbelly of Mumbai movie mafia and industrialists and becomes a fixer. Exuding immeasurable power and strength, Jayanti is the one who Malik relies on for any information or arrangements. Besides, Hindi cinema and web space, the actress has proven her acting potential in Kannada, Telugu and Tamil movies including ‘O Nanna Nalle’, ‘Jodi, Surya Vamsha’, ‘Prematho Raa’ to name a few. Being a part of this industry for more than two decades now, she has seen how the audience and their demands have evolved over the years. Isha feels, today, the audience is much smarter and it is difficult to cater to their demands and match to the level of their expectations. “This new generation has got immense exposure because of technology, as a result of which their thought process is changed. They are glued to information and are constantly looking for something meaningful. This is one of the reasons why reality-based web shows and movies are doing well,” says Koppikar who wishes to play a character like a warrior queen Wonder Woman in her career. However, in the real world, she is indeed a wonder-woman balancing a hundred things on her plate. She is not just an actor, but a wife, mother, an entrepreneur, a politician and a lot more. Sharing her mantra of managing everything so well, Isha says, “We all have to balance for better. It is all about how much you value your time as well as the time of others who are important to you. Also, it is important how you utilise that time. Like, I have a 4-year-old daughter. I can be with her all day but if I am not participating in her day-to-day activities, how am I adding value to her life as a mother,” “I believe, we all have time… we make time for what is important,” she concludes.last_img read more