LEARN FROM NATURE #3
STRENGTH OF SPIDER SILK Did you know that a spider silk is lighter than cotton – yet, ounce for ounce, it’s stronger than steel? For multiple decades, scientists have been exploring spider silk that is used to form spiderwebs. The strongest of the seven types of spider silk is dragline silk. It is more durable and moisture-resistant than silkworm strands, which are traditionally used in the manufacture of silk clothing.
Let’s contrast it to Kevlar, a synthetic fiber. To produce Kevlar, you need high temperatures and organic solvents. But spiders produce their silk at room temperature and they use ordinary water as a solvent. So they use less energy to create their silk
At the same time, the most amazing thing is how strong spider webs are than Kevlar. If you took a spiderweb and scaled it to the size of a football field, then it could stop a flying jumbo jet! Imagine that. That’s why scientists are so interested in the strength of the dragline silk.
WHY IT’S BETTER NOT TO CURSE Do you know why bad language is bad? Linguist James O’Connor said: “People who swear often tend to be disagreeable, critical, cynical, angry, argumentative, and unhappy complainers.
For example, a person who swears whenever something goes wrong, shows by his behavior that he believes everything should always be right and according to what he wants. He does not know how to overcome mistakes and failures. It reflects a lack of maturity. Contrast that to someone who doesn’t curse. According to O’Connor, people who don’t curse “are usually calm, mature people who know how to cope with everyday troubles.” What kind of person do you want to be?
COMPOUND EYES Many insects, such as a honeybee and dragonfly, have compound eyes. The compound eye consists of a multiple optical units that each point in its own direction. These lenses create individual images that combine into a single mosaic which helps the insects detect movement and provide a wide field of view.
Scientists are trying to apply this concept to create high-speed motion detectors and ultra-thin multi directional cameras. This technology could be used in medicinal devices – for example, to enable detailed examination of the stomach walls. Scientists want to create a “microscopic system” which a patient can swallow. Once inside the stomach, this device with its multifaceted “eyes” would wireless collect and transmit information.
Bio engineers has already developed an artificial multi-faceted eye that fits a space the size of a pinhead. It has 8,500 lenses on a space of about 2.5 millimeters. Insane, right? Yet as remarkable as that sounds, even then, the device cant stand in comparison to the compound eye found in nature. Just imagine – a dragonfly has 30,000 optical units –and that’s on each eye!
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