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Turkeys Aren’t Stupid

first_imgTurkeys that are inspiring homeland security technology are just one example of hot designs engineers are finding in the biosphere’s treasure chest.Turkey tech:  How would you like a smartphone app that provide early warning for toxic chemicals or pathogens?  Science Daily tells how “turkey-inspired biosensors” are the secret for cheap, easy-to-make detectors.  “Turkey skin, it turns out, can shift from red to blue to white, thanks to bundles of collagen that are interspersed with a dense array of blood vessels,” the article says. “… The amount of swelling changes the way light waves are scattered and, in turn, alters the colors we see on the bird’s head.”  Live Science includes a diagram of how the technology works, from turkey head to smartphone.Fur coats:  How do fur and feathers do such a good job insulating mammals and birds?  Priscilla Simonis at the U of Belgium is looking into it, Science Daily reports.  “The insulating power of the animals’ coats made Simonis wonder why thermal insulation in buildings doesn’t work as well.”  She found it’s more than insulation; the radiative properties contribute to heat conservation, too: “repeated backscattering of infrared light between radiative shields, like individual hairs and barbed feathers, could be the primary mechanism for the thermal insulation properties of fur and feathers.”  Application: “focusing on ways to minimize radiative heat loss could lead to the development of new types of ultrathin insulation.”Flexible flyers:  Bendable wings; what a novel idea.  For planes, that is; birds and other flying animals flex their wings all the time.  PhysOrg has the scoop on FlexFoil, an entrepreneurial effort by FlexSys to improve efficiency of wing flaps on airplanes.  “Conventionally engineered mechanisms connected by various joints are designed to be strong and stiff,” the designers note. “Nature prefers strength combined with compliance.”  The FlexFoil wings are seamless, bendable with actuators, that can perform like traditional wing flaps but also twist, improving aerodynamic efficiency and reducing noise without compromising structural integrity.  Existing craft can be retrofitted with this technology for immediate fuel savings.  An embedded video clip shows how it works.  This could improve not only aircraft, but “helicopter rotor blades, wind turbine blades, and boat rudders” – any craft moving through fluid.  The Air Force is backing the work.Shrimp plastic:  “The master designer, nature herself” has given us a new plastic that “flew in the door” – Shrilk, a product inspired by insects and shrimp, but combined with the properties of silk.  So says a video clip on Live Science.  Like insect exoskeletons made of chitin, Shrilk is light, thin and tough.  It can be rigid or flexible.  It came from Harvard’s Wyss Center for Biologically Inspired Engineering.  The short video describes how Shrilk, cheaply made from discarded shrimp shells, is biodegradable and useful for lots of things, from garbage bags to surgical sutures.Wood solar cells:  “A new kind of paper that is made of wood fibers yet is 96% transparent could be a revolutionary material for next-generation solar cells,” PhysOrg reports. “Coming from plants, the paper is inexpensive and more environmentally friendly than the plastic substrates often used in solar cells. However, its most important advantage is that it overcomes the tradeoff between optical transparency and optical haze that burdens most materials.”  The article gives the physics on how it does it.Algae jet fuel in the desert:  Another PhysOrg article tells about “Biofuel from desert plants grown with seawater.”  Using existing salt-tolerant desert plants and waste water from a fish and shrimp farm, Boeing and its Middle East partners envision less polluting and cheaper jet fuel made right at home, sweet desert.  Sometimes biomimetics doesn’t have to re-invent things from scratch, but just take them and combine them in new ways.Seashell preservatives:  Archaeologists would love to find a better way to preserve delicate artifacts and bones.  Now, PhysOrg says, seashells have provided the inspiration.  “Recreating the story of humanity’s past by studying ancient bones can hit a snag when they deteriorate, but scientists are now reporting an advance inspired by seashells that can better preserve valuable remains.”  Aragonite glue inspired by seashells makes the artifacts 50 to 70 percent more durable.Sugar battery:  Virginia Tech has a sweet but powerful idea: “‘Sugar is a perfect energy storage compound in nature,’ Y.H. Percival Zhang said. ‘So it’s only logical that we try to harness this natural power in an environmentally friendly way to produce a battery.’”  Science Daily reports that they’ve improved their sugar battery by an order of magnitude over earlier attempts.  “In as soon as three years, Zhang’s new battery could be running some of the cell phones, tablets, video games, and the myriad other electronic gadgets that require power in our energy-hungry world, Zhang said.”Robo-ankle:  Humans inspire engineers, too.  Watch Robo-Ankle at work in a video clip on New Scientist.  More soft with “artificial muscle” actuators that allow twist and flexing, this new technology could help patients with cerebral palsy, ALS and stroke improve their walking.  Science Daily‘s title calls it a “bio-inspired robotic device.”  It’s another product of Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering.  Note: if you have working ankles, you don’t need the engineering version.  It’s bulkier, noisier, and doesn’t work as well.Whisker tech:  Whether on a cat or rat, whiskers help many animals sense their surroundings.  Several science news sites – Science Magazine and Science Daily included – are talking about the “Highly sensitive electronic whiskers” announced on PNAS.  Made with carbon nanotubes and silver nanoparticle composite films, these “e-whiskers” mimic the sensitivity of real whiskers, measuring gas flow with high accuracy.  “This work may enable a wide range of applications in advanced robotics and human–machine interfacing,” the paper says.  Will future robots sport beards, too?Swimming bio-bots: “Tiny Swimming Bio-bots Boldly Go Where No Bot Has Swum Before,” Science Daily announced. “The bio-bots are modeled after single-celled creatures with long tails called flagella — for example, sperm.”  These devices being created at the University of Illinois are so tiny, some day they may navigate to tumors with a payload of stem cells.  “Could we make elementary structures and seed them with stem cells that would differentiate into smart structures to deliver drugs, perform minimally invasive surgery or target cancer?”  Why not, if we can follow the lead of remote sensing, motorized cells?Spider-Man is coming:  A Spider-Man robot is undergoing tests at the Bio-Inspired Robotics Lab at ETH Zürich in Switzerland, New Scientist reports.  Like Spider-Man, it “does whatever a spider can – almost.”  Its tricks include shooting out a dragline and abseiling down a cliff, using thermoplastic adhesive for silk.  “A stick of the material is fed into a small chamber and heated, before being fired out of a nozzle into the open air, where it begins to harden into a line,” the article explains.  “As it is pushed out of the nozzle, the line passes between two motor-controlled wheels, which grab it and help to pull the cable out of the device.”  It travels down its dragline at 12 cm per minute – a far cry from the movies, but then again, spiders aren’t that fast, either.  It’s a start for their “spider-inspired robot.”The scientific world is abuzz with DESIGN.  Stories like this are coming fast into the newswires.  Whole institutes are set up to study biological design.  If these scientists needed evolution, they would say so, but they don’t.  Darwinism, that quaint Victorian myth as Ann Coulter dubs it, will fall off like autumn leaves and freeze in its polar vortex, as a new springtime of science blossoms with biomimetics. 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Malting barley acres on the rise

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The number of acres planted to malting barley in Ohio this fall is at an all-time high and will likely continue to increase over the next few years. Although barley is not new to Ohio, raising it for malt is new to us and considerably different from raising it for feed or raising wheat for grain. In particular, the grain quality requirements for malting barley are different from the requirements for feed or grain, and as such there are a few differences in terms of how the crop is managed during the growing season. However, in spite of these differences, there are several key fall management guidelines for wheat and feed barley that would apply equally well to malting barley. For instance, variety selection, planting date, weed, disease, and pest control are just as important for malting barley as they are for wheat. See the links below from Ohio State and Cornell Universities for helpful tips on how to manage barley for malt in Ohio and the eastern U.S. in general:https://u.osu.edu/osuweeds/files/2017/10/barley-guide-2n9akle.pdfhttps://fieldcrops.cals.cornell.edu/small-grains/malting-barleylast_img read more

How The Empire Strikes Back Perfected Blue Screen in the 1980s

first_imgCinematographer Mark Vargo breaks down his work on The Empire Strikes Back and discusses how ILM perfected blue-screen processing in the 1980s.Top image via StarWars.comMark Vargo, ASC has some of my absolute favorite video breakdowns. His technical knowledge and in-depth understanding of historical context make them truly must-watch. Previous videos include a breakdown of the work of grips. In the latest episode, Vargo looks at the blue-screen process and explains why 1980 was a seminal year for blue screen.I compare this era in cinema to our nation’s lunar program. An amazing cooperative of artists, imagination, optics, engineering, and home-brewed software. I learned the blue-screen process at ILM on The Empire Strikes Back.Vargo takes a look at earlier compositing methods and special photographic effects, covering the always amazing work of Georges Melies, the Williams Process from the late 1920s, and the Dunning Process of King Kong in the 1930s.Images via Mark Vargo Mark Vargo also touches on the Oscar-winning blue-screen work of The Thief of Bagdad in the 1940s, and the sodium vapor process pioneered by Ub Iwerks at Disney for Mary Poppins. Together, all of these processes led to a revolution in blue-screen work in the 1980s.Images via Mark VargoPerhaps the most interesting part of the video is the detailed breakdown of the blue-screen process. Vargo explains why they used rear-lit blue screens that emitted light in the range of 500 nanometers. The footage was then sent to an optical printer which rephotographs the footage into a composite. It’s a truly fascinating watch.See the whole video below.What are your favorite VFX breakdown videos? Share them in the comments below!last_img read more

Fun and games help Beermen surround newcomer Romeo with family atmosphere

first_imgMOST READ “Even if it’s not basketball, if you’re together after you do anything, it brings you closer,” said Pessumal, who helped set up the game and refine it to an actual contest that dangles a tiny replica of a WWE championship belt.The four players line up with in a spot designated by the reigning winner. Players start out with 10 points and alternately take shots, with a point deducted for every miss. The last man with still a point wins a round and the shooter who compiles the most victories emerges as the day’s champion.“A shooter’s paradise, huh?” Marcio Lassiter, San Miguel’ deadliest marksman said.“Actually, I haven’t been this happy since my rookie year,” Romeo told the Inquirer in Filipino. “The last time I felt like this was during my freshman year at GlobalPort (now NorthPort). We weren’t winning that much but I was really enjoying the game.”Romeo, who had an unproductive stint with TNT, is a star so complex that no other team reportedly wanted to have him. His time at the KaTropa camp was highlighted with a bitter exit, allegedly the handiwork of seven players.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netSan Miguel Beer took a lot of heat after injecting Terrence Romeo to a stacked roster. Critics said the star guard, who has had brushes with fans, teammates and even his own coach, was only going to disrupt the Beermen’s championship defense.The results so far? Chemistry has never been better.ADVERTISEMENT Bloomberg: US would benefit from more, not fewer, immigrants But all that is in the past. After all, Romeo is still looking to reinvent himself.“I’m working on my defense. My scoring won’t taper off. That’s what endeared me to the game in the first place,” he said. “There are ordinary basketball players. I don’t want to be ordinary.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Colombia protesters vow new strike after talks hit snag Wintry storm delivers US travel woes before Thanksgiving Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Trump tells impeachment jokes at annual turkey pardon eventcenter_img Miguel Romero Polo: Bamboo technology like no other PLDT scores Grand Prix stunner over F2 Logistics LATEST STORIES That’s all thanks to a mini-game engineered by one of San Miguel’s veterans, Alex Cabagnot, one that has squeezed the best out of Romeo, Von Pessumal and Paul Zamar and has injected fun in to their postgame rounds. Just check their Instagram accounts.“We’re just trying to expedite the process of making him comfortable as possible for him to be able to show his wares,” said Cabagnot.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logistics“You know, this is just the cloth of this team,” he added. “The PBA is a business … We try to make it a family environment. We’re even the first team to do Zumba. We do a lot of stuff together as a team.”Zamar, who like Romeo joined San Miguel at the start of the season, said their little extra-curricular contest helps: “If you’re enjoying, come game time, it shows.” SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte 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 Google Philippines names new country director View commentslast_img read more