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

Changes made to rules on applying fertilizer

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Take a whole class or just take the test, which is better? Farmers will get to decide.Those who apply fertilizer on 50 or more acres now have the option to take an exam or attend a three-hour course to get the required certification aimed at protecting water quality.The exam is a new option the Ohio Department of Agriculture will offer to make it easier for farmers to get certified and yet ensure that those who are applying fertilizer know the safest measures. The exam option was one of the rule changes on fertilizer certification that went into effect Oct. 1.The other changes include the following:Those renewing their fertilizer certificate, which must be done every three years, must either pass a fertilizer exam or take a one-hour class. Previously, the recertification class was two hours.Two new items were added to the required records that certified fertilizer applicators must keep: Now they must record the number of acres where they applied fertilizer and the total amount of fertilizer applied.Only one person at a farm or business needs to be certified to apply fertilizer. A family member or employee of the certificate holder can apply fertilizer under their direct supervision, meaning the certificate holder has instructed that person where, when and how to apply fertilizer, and is no farther than 25 miles away or within two hours travel of the applicator working under their direct supervision. The rule change clarified that provision.Certificate holders who do not also hold a license to apply pesticide will see their fertilizer certificate period change to April 1 to March 31. Previously, it was June 1 to May 31. The new cycle is aimed at ensuring that certifications will generally be in place prior to the planting season.A grace period of 180 days is offered to certificate holders who do not send in their application and payment prior to the date their certificate expires. However, in renewing their certificate, the applicant has to have completed the required training or test before March 31.Since Sept. 30, growers who apply fertilizer to more than 50 acres have been required to be certified, a measure aimed at keeping nutrients from farm fields from contributing to algal blooms in Lake Erie and other bodies of water. Phosphorus and nitrogen in fertilizer can trigger the growth of algal blooms. Those blooms produce toxins in the water, making it unsafe to swim in or drink. And as the blooms decompose, they take oxygen from the water, depleting the supply available for other aquatic life. The extent of 2017 algal blooms in Lake Erie was the fourth most severe in recent history, according to a November report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.All the recent changes are aimed at making the certification process less burdensome on farmers, said Peggy Hall, agricultural and resource law field specialist for Ohio State University Extension.OSU Extension provides training for applying fertilizer, focusing on teaching how to apply fertilizer at the correct rate, time and location in the field, to keep nutrients in the field and available to crops while increasing stewardship of nearby and downstream water resources.“The goal of the entire program is that we constantly educate ourselves about how we are applying these fertilizers and make sure we understand the science behind it,” Hall said.“Hopefully more education, more understanding and continued research will help with the runoff issue.”Across Ohio, an estimated 3,700 private fertilizer applicators have certificates expiring in March 2018, according to records from the Ohio Department of Agriculture.OSU Extension will begin offering recertification programs in nearly every county this fall and winter, said Mary Ann Rose, program director for OSU Extension’s Pesticide Safety Education Program.“Most of the fertilizer recertification programs will be offered in combination with pesticide recertification meetings; farmers will have the option to attend either or both,” Rose said.For more information, visit agri.ohio.gov/apps/odaprs/pestfert-PRS-index.aspx and nutrienteducation.osu.edulast_img read more

Hurriyat chief Geelani hospitalised

first_imgHardline Kashmiri separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani was hospitalised here on Sunday due to ill health.The Hurriyat Conference chairman was shifted to SKIMS hospital after he complained of abdominal cramps, dehydration and weakness, a Hurriyat spokesman said.He said Mr. Geelani has been admitted at the hospital and is under observation. He added, there is “nothing serious” as far as the Hurriyat hawk’s health is concerned. The octogenarian leader has been under house arrest in his uptown Hyderpora residence here for over an year.last_img read more

Ex-NSUI district chief held for harassing college student

first_imgA former NSUI district unit president was arrested on Tuesday for allegedly harassing a woman college student here, the police said.The woman had complained to the college authorities that former NSUI president Irfan and three others had misbehaved with her in the Sadar Bazar area, they said. After she complained to the authorities, the accused allegedly had threatened her and a video of the incident went viral on social media on Monday. The police said that as the issue concerned members of different communities, a case was immediately lodged against Irfan and others who were identified as Nadeem, Kamran and Shahroz. Some Hindu organisations had also burnt Irfan’s effigy and submitted a memorandum to the authorities for immediate arrest of the accused, they said. SP (City) Dinesh Tripathi said Irfan was arrested on Tuesday and a hunt has been launched to nab the others. Meanwhile, Congress district unit president Kaushal Misram said that Irfan has been suspended from the party.last_img read more

SBP starts forming best PH team for 2018 Fiba 3×3 World Cup

first_imgBrace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Read Next Do not bring these items in SEA Games venues “It’s very heartwarming because without naming names, we’re getting a lot of volunteers from the PBA, especially from those who have already played 3×3 here and abroad. We at SBP pride ourselves that everyone who played 3×3 have improved when they returned to their mother teams,” he said.While this year’s World Cup is not a qualifier for any major tournaments, it is a good test for Filipinos ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, where 3×3 basketballl will be played for the first time. Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH BI on alert for illegally deployed OFWs to Iraq John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding 8th Top Leaders Forum assessed the progress of public-private efforts in building climate and disaster resilient communities MOST READ Asian shares slide on weak Japan data; US markets closedcenter_img LATEST STORIES “We’re looking at being able to field the best team we can field. The 3×3 game is very different from the 5-on-5, so we expect to do well in this coming tournament,” said SBP executive director Sonny Barrios in the event launch Thursday at Bonifacio High Street.“We still don’t have a team. We will have to sit down. We have been talking about this for the past week also. Coach Eric Altamirano has been the one in charge of the 3×3 program of our national team. But coach Chot Reyes, as the overall national team head coaches’ leader, will be part of the discussion,” he said.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutLast year, the Philippines finished 11th in the 2017 Fiba 3×3 World Cup in Nantes, France with the team represented by Kiefer Ravena, Jeron Teng, JR Quiñahan, and Jeron Teng.Barrios said that this early, players have already expressed their intentions to be part of the 3×3 team. Ngannou could go from homeless to UFC heavyweight champ Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Officials from the SBP and Fiba launch the logo for the 2018 Fiba 3×3 World Cup. Photo by Randolph B. LeongsonThe Philippines is looking to make waves by parading the best team possible when it hosts the 2018 Fiba 3×3 World Cup on June 8 to 12 at Philippine Arena.With still a few months to go before tournament, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) is already in the process of coming up with a competitive roster.ADVERTISEMENT Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View commentslast_img read more