Biological Designs Worth Imitating

first_imgTaking that lesson to heart, scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison are using the decellularized husks of plants such as parsley, vanilla and orchids to form three-dimensional scaffolds that can then be primed and seeded with human stem cells to optimize their growth in the lab dish and, ultimately, create novel biomedical implants.DNA computers are coming along, says Live Science. Tia Ghose writes, “Computers of the Future May Be Minuscule Molecular Machines.” Inspired by DNA’s longevity and extreme storage density, scientists have already encoded the entire works of Shakespeare in the genetic molecules (see article at Evolution News and hear it on ID the Future). Now that biology has shown the way to efficient data storage, engineers at DARPA are looking at other molecules that could encode in new ways beyond silicon’s 1’s and 0’s and DNA’s A-C-T-G system, using orientation, size and color to represent additional bits of information.Power plants. Bio-engineers have been trying to replicate photosynthesis for years, but still seem to have a long way to go. Science Daily says that a Japanese team has uncovered another part of the mechanism the plant uses to break down water, “marking another step towards the potential development of artificial photosynthesis.”Algae petrol. Imagine how much better it would be to create fuel from an abundant, renewable resource: algae. The Japanese are looking at this green gold: “Microalgae can grow with light, water, carbon dioxide and a small amount of minerals, and their cells divide quickly, meaning that they can be harvested faster than land-based biomasses,” Science Daily says. “Algae can also be harvested all year round, potentially offering a more stable energy supply.”Sperm therapy. To get ingredients to a female with cancerous tumors, why not imitate one of nature’s best delivery systems? Phys.org reports that German scientists are developing steerable sperm to do just that. They coax the expert swimming cells into little iron helmets, then steer them where they want them to swim. There are problems with the concept, though; how to shed the helmets after delivery, “And then there is the problem of obtaining the sperm.” There will undoubtedly be volunteers.Borrowing from nature is an age-old theme in science.Improving on nature? An article on Phys.org claims that a new technology is “better than nature” – “artificial biofilm increases energy production in microbial fuel cells.” Well, ‘better’ is relative to the function at hand. If biofilms were meant to generate electricity, the researchers at University of Bayreuth could boast. By combining a gel substance with the bacteria, the scientists got more electrical output than previous attempts with the bacteria alone.The following six papers are more technical for those interested.Bio-inspired Murray materials for mass transfer and activity (Nature Communications). Scientists build on nature’s hierarchical designs for applications needing to move mass. Why? “Natural systems and their hierarchical organization are not only optimized and designed for durability but also have the capability to adapt to their external environment, to undergo self-repair, and to perform many highly complex functions.”Reproducing the hierarchy of disorder for Morpho-inspired, broad-angle color reflection (Nature Scientific Reports). The brilliant blue Morpho butterfly returns to the biomimetics stage in the paper. Praise for the design gets mixed with long-age credulity in the opening sentences: “Intricate structures create structural colors that can remain brilliant after millions of years of fossilization. One of the most well-known examples is the butterflies of genus Morpho whose bright, blue wings grace many famous collections, and are reported to be visible even from low-flying aircrafts [sic].”Structural features and lipid binding domain of tubulin on biomimetic mitochondrial membranes (PNAS). Tubulin is not just a protein component of the cytoskeleton; it is also “a highly unexpected component of mitochondrial membranes involved in regulation of membrane permeability,” this paper says. The authors are studying its interaction with membrane proteins, knowing this will be “important for the structure-inspired design of tubulin-targeting agents.”A living mesoscopic cellular automaton made of skin scales (Nature). Theoretical cellular automata, famously conceived by John von Neumann, are realized in—of all things—lizard skin. Nature (that is, biology, not the journal) had it first. But does Nature‘s evolutionary reference compute?Here we show that in ocellated lizards a quasi-hexagonal lattice of skin scales, rather than individual chromatophore cells, establishes a green and black labyrinthine pattern of skin colour. We analysed time series of lizard scale colour dynamics over four years of their development and demonstrate that this pattern is produced by a cellular automaton (a grid of elements whose states are iterated according to a set of rules based on the states of neighbouring elements) that dynamically computes the colour states of individual mesoscopic skin scales to produce the corresponding macroscopic colour pattern. Using numerical simulations and mathematical derivation, we identify how a discrete von Neumann cellular automaton emerges from a continuous Turing reaction–diffusion system. Skin thickness variation generated by three-dimensional morphogenesis of skin scales causes the underlying reaction–diffusion dynamics to separate into microscopic and mesoscopic spatial scales, the latter generating a cellular automaton. Our study indicates that cellular automata are not merely abstract computational systems, but can directly correspond to processes generated by biological evolution.Biomimetic supercontainers for size-selective electrochemical sensing of molecular ions (Nature Scientific Reports). This paper describes how “the unique structure of spherical viruses” is  inspiring the construction of nano-containers for storage and sensing applications.Biomimetic catalytic transformation of toxic α-oxoaldehydes to high-value chiral α-hydroxythioesters using artificial glyoxalase I (Nature Communications). This paper describes attempts to mimic enzymes for maintaining handedness in pharmaceuticals. Once again, the authors tip the hat to Darwin: “Nature has evolved a wealth of proteins called enzymes that catalyse the chemical reactions necessary to sustain all life on Earth.” How nature “evolved” these capabilities is never explained.Show these articles to those who think Darwin owns science and intelligent design is religion. Nothing could be farther from the truth. If anything, the religion in these instances is Darwinism, taking it on faith that “nature” works miracles, achieving what our best scientists and engineers are struggling to imitate.Parents: get your kid a Science Fair award! Find a natural design he or she can imitate and learn about, coming up with a useful application. It will be sure to turn the judge’s heads. (Just don’t use the forbidden phrase “intelligent design” in a public school. We don’t want your kid to get Expelled.) Borrowing from nature is an age-old theme in science. Form and function go hand-in-hand in the natural world and the structures created by plants and animals are only rarely improved on by humans. If these designs are so good that intelligent minds want to mimic them, who can believe they emerged by chance?Falcon aircraft: With eyes like lasers, wings for speed, and talons for capture, a peregrine falcon swoops down unerringly for its prey at speeds approaching 200mph—even in high winds. No wonder Phys.org reports that “research work on how falcons fly is inspiring new technologies for aircraft that could contribute to their safety in the air, aerodynamics and fuel efficiency.” But even after over a century of flight design, human engineers probably won’t get close to the falcon’s abilities for another two decades. The article includes this infographic from BAE systems:The article ends with this remark by a specialist in air flow control in military aircraft: “Bio-inspiration is not a new concept; many technologies that we use every day are increasingly inspired by animals and nature.”Cheetah robot.  “University of Twente researcher Geert Folkertsma has developed a prototype cheetah robot,” Science Daily reports. “Folkertsma has dedicated four years of research and development to constructing a scaled-down robotic version of the fastest land animal in the world, with a view to replicating its movements.” To try to replicate the cat’s movements, the PhD student “studied extensive video footage of cheetahs,” the article says.Honeybee cleaners. The life of a honeybee seems like it would be a messy job: getting covered with pollen dust all the day long, even in the eyes. And yet they keep their hairs neat and clean. How? The spacing of the hairs seems to be a key, says Phys.org. The Bioneers at Georgia Tech are onto the case. They found that bees also come equipped with cleaning tools and the training to use them.“Bees have a preprogrammed cleaning routine that doesn’t vary,” said Marguerite Matherne, a Ph.D. student in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering. “Even if they’re not very dirty in the first place, bees always swipe their eyes a dozen times, six times per leg. The first swipe is the most efficient, and they never have to brush the same area of the eye twice.”A mechanical engineer at the school says, “Our findings may also be used to create mechanical designs that help keep micro and nanostructured surfaces clean.”Honeybee robot eyes: Speaking of honeybees, Science Daily says, “Honey bees have sharper eyesight than we thought.” They didn’t specify who “we” is, but they quickly inspire the reader with details about how scientists at the University of Adelaide are applying the new knowledge to the design of sharper eyes for robots. “Bees have much better vision than was previously known, offering new insights into the lives of honey bees, and new opportunities for translating this knowledge into fields such as robot vision, outlines a new study.”Fern batteries. Storing energy from solar cells is a major challenge. You can’t charge the cells at night, so how do you maintain the day’s energy collection? Scientists at RMIT University (Australia) are looking to Americans for answers – to American fern plants, that is – for “bio-inspired” answers to fast charging. The secret is in fractals: subdivisions of subdivisions of subdivisions in the leaves of the western swordfern. “Our electrode is based on these fractal shapes – which are self-replicating, like the mini structures within snowflakes – and we’ve used this naturally-efficient design to improve solar energy storage at a nano level,” they say. The fern-mimic electrode could “boost the capacity of existing integrable storage technologies by 3000 per cent. Watch for it in smartphones, laptops, cars, and buildings.Seaweed superconductors. Speaking of energy storage, ditch the graphite. Cease the lithium-ion pollution. There’s a greener way: use seaweed, say American scientists. Phys.org explains that when chelated, seaweed takes on an egg-box structure that magnifies the energy storage potential of batteries. “Testing showed that the seaweed-derived material had a large reversible capacity of 625 milliampere hours per gram (mAhg-1), which is considerably more than the 372 mAhg-1 capacity of traditional graphite anodes for lithium-ion batteries,” the article says. This could double the range of electric cars, while exploiting a cheap, renewable resource.Bat sonar. Echolocation in a certain species of bat seems to get enhanced when they wiggle their noses and ears. The evidence seems clear; bats have “extraordinary accuracy” at finding what they need in the dark. Virginia Tech engineers have taken notice, wondering if that could improve man-made sonar systems. The techs built a model with the new wiggle technique and found that it improved signal to noise by a factor of 100 to 1000. “Bat echolocation is one of nature’s remarkable achievements in navigation,” the article on Phys.org says, making this interesting admission: “That suggests that bolstering sensor capability by using a dynamic, mobile emitter and receiver should be translatable to engineered systems less complex than real bats, improving the navigation of autonomous drones and the accuracy of devices for speech recognition.”For Bat Appreciation Day (April 17), National Geographic posted “16 Incredible Pictures Show the Beauty of Bats.”Parsley scaffolds. Getting stem cells to grow where you want them is a challenge. Phys.org explains how some scientists are succeeding with plant materials. In the process, the scientists make a good statement about the value of living models:center_img (Visited 242 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Pint-sized Zuriel Oduwole sets her cap for success

first_imgFrom making documentaries about Africa to touring the world and interviewing global leaders, encouraging education for girls and starting on writing a book, Zuriel Oduwole has done a lot. But here’s the catch – she is only 12 years old. Zuriel Oduwole is a young documentary filmmaker who wants to change negative perceptions of Africa. (Image: Facebook) • Kumoodi: from Lagos to the world • Watch: Salif Keita and Black Mambazo call for harmony in Africa • Powerful women shape Africa • African entrepreneur sold his belongings to start Kisua • All about the African Union Priya Pitamber Most 12-year-olds are occupied with going to school and chilling with their friends; but Zuriel Oduwole stands out from this crowd. Her documentary filmmaking skills have led her to interview 14 heads of state and she has visited various countries where her documentaries have been screened.Zuriel’s father is Nigerian, and her mother is Mauritian, but she was born in California.Her passion lies with Africa, however, and the perception the rest of the world has of the continent.“I wanted to do it [film and documentaries] because there is power in media and also I wanted to show positive things of the African continent to the rest of the world because usually whenever they talk about Africa, they portray it as a continent of negative things,” she explains.“But because I lived in Africa for a period of time, I see a lot of positive things.” She introduces herself as a proud pan-African child, in the ninth grade at school. “I am working hard to do my school projects, play in my basketball league, and still do what I enjoy a lot – like my extracurricular activities of interviewing world leaders, making compelling documentaries, and inspiring girls around the world to dream bigger, much bigger.”A serendipitous startHer passion for making films was ignited in 2012 when she entered a documentary-making competition with The Ghana Revolution. “After this first foray into filmmaking, Zuriel was bitten by the director’s bug and quickly wanted to make more movies,” stated US news site CNN. “She turned to the web to find the tools she needed and got involved in the entire filmmaking process.”Quite a bit of training was needed to learn how to make a video. “My mum taught me how to use different software first, like how to edit things, how to add animations, how to put in fades, transitions and all those things but I am glad I had the time to learn it,” Zuriel said.Her second project, Educating and Healing Africa Out of Poverty, it looked at the formation of the African Union in 1963. Another interest, education, was examined in Technology in Educational Development. Her latest series, A Promising Africa, profiles five African countries, beginning with her father’s homeland, Nigeria. Zuriel has visited several countries to attend screenings of her documentaries, including South Africa. Sawubona !! South Africa Movie Premier this week. Hello everyone. My most busy week in my entire life. Arrived South… Posted by Zuriel Oduwole on Saturday, 21 March 2015Left Paris to Tokyo. Got spolit a lot. Showing my film here next week/ Educate A Girl 2 see what she can do. Thankful pic.twitter.com/JUwCReEsBc — Zuriel Oduwole (@ZurielOduwole) March 28, 2015“I’ve interviewed 14 heads of state and a few of those include the presidents of Tanzania, Liberia, Kenya, South Sudan, Nigeria and Cape Verde, to name a few,” she told CNN. “I’ve also been able to interview business leaders like my friend Mr Aliko Dangote.”The list of people interviewed by the 12-year-old is impressive: • Jerry John Rawlings (Ghana) • John Kufour (Ghana) • Joyce Banda (Malawi) • Jakaya Kikwete (Tanzania) • Rajkeswur Purryag (Mauritius) • Uhuru Kenyatta (Kenya) • Goodluck Johnathan (Nigeria) • Salva Kirr Mayardit (South Sudan) • Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (Liberia) • Jorge Fonseco (Cape Verde) • Portia Simpson Miller (Jamaica) • Thomas Thabane (Lesotho) • Ralph Gonsalves (St Vincent & Grenadines) • Denzil Douglas (St Kitts & Nevis) Education and empowermentThe importance of education is Zuriel’s other passion. She visits schools and gives talks on its value through her Dream Up, Speak Up, Stand Up programme. So far, she has reached 21 000 children in nine countries.“The reason I do it is because I want them to see that education is very important in life and I want to show them here is an example,” she said, pointing to herself, “and show them what they can do if they are educated, and if they are focused in life and have goals.”Not every girl was able to get an education or a chance to accomplish her dreams. “My vision is to see that this changes one day, and my mission is to use my Dream Up, Speak Up, Stand Up programme and other new ideas to inspire girls to accomplish this mission.”Speaking to CNN, she pointed out that in Africa, boys were the first to receive an education. “The boys go to school and get an education while the girls stay at home,” she explained, “And those girls aren’t educated and have fewer options in life when they get older.”In Accra Ghana 2day with kids at De Young school – Nima. We hung out, talked education and documentary. They are cool pic.twitter.com/u7TKKxQt6T — Zuriel Oduwole (@ZurielOduwole) March 26, 2015Varied interestsBesides filmmaking, Zuriel has a variety of hobbies, such as playing sport and reading. She is part of a basketball league, she plays soccer and is on the athletics team, and she does hip-hop dancing with her sisters.Reading helps her to improve her vocabulary. “I love reading National Geographic Kids Magazines,” she writes on her website. “I also love adventure and spy novels. I have started to write my own book which I hope to publish next year.”Global recognitionZuriel was the youngest recipient of the Governors Gold Medal Award and was featured in the American business magazine, Forbes, when she was 10 years old. The Canadian edition of the women’s magazine, Elle, put her on its list of 33 Women Who Changed The World in 2014.She has also appeared in numerous television interviews, including with BBC TV in London, CNBC Africa, and the SABC in Johannesburg.Premiered my film A Promising Africa in Johannesburg, Attended SAFTA, guest on CNBC, SABC Morning LIVE #LetGirlsLearn pic.twitter.com/O68D9ThEM3 — Zuriel Oduwole (@ZurielOduwole) March 21, 2015last_img read more

Calvin Abueva’s defensive grit helps keep Fuel Masters unscathed

first_imgGrace Poe files bill to protect govt teachers from malicious accusations Phoenix took an 83-77 lead with 2:47 left in the fourth quarter after Wright’s jumper over Galanza.READ: Matthew Wright on Phoenix’s 4-0 start: Nothing to brag just yetAlthough the Fuel Masters allowed the Road Warriors to score five unanswered, Abueva’s grit was able to save them.“Coach always tells us to focus especially in the end game because that’s what really matters,” said Abueva who finished with 13 points, 11 rebounds, and two blocks.“We can keep a steady pace in the first three quarters but the fourth really is the most crucial and that’s the time where we really want to show our mentality.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next US judge bars Trump’s health insurance rule for immigrants SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte ‘We are too hospitable,’ says Sotto amid SEA Games woes The defensive play started when Justin Chua deliberately stepped on the sideline to get a delay of game warning that allowed the Fuel Masters to read the Road Warriors’ offense, giving the chance for Abueva to pounce. PBA: Phoenix stays hot, escapes NLEX for 5-0 start LATEST STORIES PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Calvin Abueva after his block on Galanza to preserve Phoenix’ 83-82 win over NLEX and also to keep their unbeaten start that has now stretched to 5 wins. | @BLozadaINQ #PBA2019 pic.twitter.com/E6fr4qbBsb— INQUIRER Sports (@INQUIRERSports) February 8, 2019MANILA, Philippines—It may have looked like a spur of the moment defensive play but Calvin Abueva’s game-winning block on Bong Galanza was the culmination of a well-thought, calculated moved.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chiefSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesAbueva’s block not only gave Phoenix the 83-82 win, but it also preserved the team’s unbeaten start in the PBA Philippine Cup that has now stretched to five wins.ADVERTISEMENTcenter_img Oil plant explodes in Pampanga town Oil plant explodes in Pampanga town MOST READ View comments ‘We are too hospitable,’ says Sotto amid SEA Games woes Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Calvin Abueva’s crucial block saves Phoenix. PBA IMAGES“I helped because my teammate was already beaten and we all knew the offense would go through Larry [Fonacier] so when Galanza got free I just forced myself for the help defense instead off allowing him to take the shot,” said Abueva in Filipino Friday at Mall of Asia Arena.Fonacier was pinned down in the screens and Galanza was able to free himself for the three,  but Abueva was there to help out on Alex Mallari who was also trapped in the picks.READ: PBA: Phoenix stays hot, escapes NLEX for 5-0 startBut it wasn’t just Abueva who displayed the tenacity down the stretch since it was the credo that Phoenix head coach Louie Alas instilled in them.The Fuel Masters trailed by as much as 11, 56-45, early in the third quarter but slowly clawed their way back and tied the game at 77 after Matthew Wright’s triple with 4:15 remaining in the game.ADVERTISEMENTlast_img read more

a month agoDybala delighted after Juventus defeat SPAL

first_imgDybala delighted after Juventus defeat SPALby Carlos Volcanoa month agoSend to a friendShare the lovePaulo Dybala was pleased after Juventus’ 2-0 defeat of SPAL.Miralem Pjanic opened the scoring, then Cristiano Ronaldo headed in a Dybala cross.“It’s important to win these games. We were a little slow in our movements in the first half, but fortunately we broke through at the last second before the break and that meant SPAL had to open up,” Dybala told Sky Sport Italia.“It created more spaces for us and we had a lot of chances, the goalkeeper did well, but we got the second in the end.“The move for the second goal was a well-worked team approach with a lot of one-touch football.” About the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your saylast_img