Store Is Closed
May 29 2011 12:43:36 pm ESTTopics:
Giovanni Alfonso Borelli (1608-1679) was a Renaissance Italian physiologist, physicist, and mathematician. He was a pioneer in the field of biomechanics, publishing De Motu Animalium I and De Motu Animalium II, which explored the mechanical nature of biological systems.
D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson frequently sites Borelli’s work, and explores an interesting phenomenon in which a similarly constructed organism, regardless of size, will jump to the same height. In other words, a flea and a grasshopper, despite their differences in size, end up jumping to the same height. Consider the following passage in On Growth and Form (36-37):
Such problems as that presented by the flea’s jumping powers, though essentially physiological in their nature, have their interest for us here: because a steady, progressive diminution of activity with increasing s
May 19 2011 11:18:14 am ESTTopics:
It’s a cold an lonely world without a star to orbit, and recent observations indicate that there may be twice as many orphaned planets than there are stars in the galaxy.
From Scientific American: Two astronomical collaborations report in the May 19 Nature that they have located a population of 10 celestial objects, each with about the mass of Jupiter, with no detectable host star. By extrapolation, the study’s authors, from the Microlensing Observations in Astrophysics (MOA) collaboration and the Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment (OGLE) collaboration, calculate that there should be almost twice as many such objects in the Milky Way as there are stars. Some of the newfound objects may simply orbit a star at a distance so great that their host star is not apparent, but the researchers estimate that most of them are indeed free-floating.
Is pond scum the new Texas tea?
With the price of oil and gasoline on the rise, algae may be poised to enter the market soon as an alternative to fossil fuels. One company, Sapphire Energy, plans to begin commercial production in 2012, and was featured in PBS’s Nightly Business Report.
According to Mike Mendez, V.P., technology, Sapphire Energy, the key is to think of algae as a commodity: “You can’t think like an industry where you’re making a high- end product. This is not a high-end product. This is a commodity. You have to start thinking like a farmer and I think that that’s the way that we needed to approach the problem. Think like a farmer.”
However, an algae farmer has a unique advantage: Algae can be grown in the desert with salt water.
Mendez notes Sapphire’s choice of land: “New Mexico has two of the things we need most. The amount of sunlight we get here is probably the best in the world, definitely within the United States. Under
May 18 2011 9:00:00 am ESTTopics:
Shape memory alloy is an alloy that “remembers” its original, cold-forged shape: returning the pre-deformed shape by heating. This material is a lightweight, solid-state alternative to conventional actuators such as hydraulic, pneumatic, and motor-based systems.
A shape memory spring, for example, can be pulled and twisted out of shape, and will almost instantly reform to its original shape when heated. The process can be repeated “over a million times,” According to Dr. Alan Taub, Vice President of GM’s Global Research & Development.
According to Dr. Taub, shape memory alloy will replace expensive motors, hydraulics, and pneumatic systems for simple processes, such as opening and closing louvers on a radiator or deploying a rear spoiler.
May 17 2011 11:37:05 am ESTTopics:
In a recent study, a single pluripotent stem cell from one planarian flatworm was inserted into another dying planarian flatworm. The single cell multiplied, differentiated, and ultimately replaced all the dying host’s tissues.
In the study, researchers led by Peter Reddien, Daniel Wagner and Irving Wang at MIT exposed flatworms to ionizing radiation, robbing their cells of their ability to divide and regenerate. Without the ability to grow new cells, the animal would slowly die. They spared cNeoblast cells, which are undifferentiated cells capable of dividing into specialized cells, and watched as those remaining cells divided to form large colonies of replac
May 16 2011 12:38:41 pm ESTTopics:
Mix vegetable oil with urea and what do you get? Self-healing rubber.
Scientists in Paris created a rubber that can be torn in half and reattached at room temperature, simply by placing the ends together. After 15 minutes, the rubber can be stretched to twice its normal length without breaking.
The self-healing rubber was made in the lab of Ludwik Leibler, at the Industrial Physics and Chemistry Higher Educational Institution in Paris. Leibler and his colleagues built up their rubber from simple starting materials — fatty acids and urea (that’s vegetable oil and a component of urine). Their research was published in Nature.
Unlike normal rubber, which utilizes a long chain of molecules covalently bonded, Leibler’s approach was to use small molecular groups: the fatty acids from vegetable oil. Reacting these molecules with urea in a two-step process stu
May 14 2011 10:12:49 am ESTTopics:
Looking for a sponge for that special someone? Look no further. This diamond aerogel sparkles like its gem cousin, but with 90% air. Popular Science recently wrote up a nice article on the innovation.
Aerogel is a manufactured material with the lowest bulk density of any known porous solid. It is derived from a gel in which the liquid component of the gel has been replaced with a gas. The result is an extremely low-density solid, with a notable effectiveness as a thermal insulator. It is nicknamed frozen smoke, solid smoke, solid air or blue smoke due to its translucent nature and the way light scatters in the material; however, it feels like expanded polystyrene (styrofoam) to the touch. —Wikipedia
Scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory successfully manufactured diamond aerogel. To make a diamond aerogel, Peter J. Pauzauskie and colleagues at Lawrence Livermore Na
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