Genetic Diversity of New York City Cockroaches

National Cockroach Project


High school students and other citizen scientists collecting and helping analyze American cockroaches using DNA barcoding.


Genetic diversity is a window into evolution and patterns of migration. American cockroaches originated in Africa and hitchhiked around the world on commercial goods. This project asks:
  • Do American cockroaches differ genetically between cities?
  • Do US genetic types match those in other parts of the world?
  • Are there genetic types that represent undiscovered look-alike species?

National Cockroach Project Needs Your Help To Study The Genetic Diversity Of These Insects

Led by Mark Stoeckle, Daniel Kronauer and Christoph von Beeren with the aid of Hunter College High School student Joyce Xia, the National Cockroach Project has already learned a lot about the genetic diversity of New York City cockroaches, the Wall Street Journal reports. Cockroaches in the city do not have a lot of genetic diversity, according to the researchers, with 90 percent of cockroaches from Staten Island coming from the same gene pool, and with 80 percent reported for cockroaches from the Upper East Side of Manhattan, WSJ notes.


Diamonds on other planets

Diamonds may be hiding on other planets - CNN.com

(CNN) -- Move over, Lucy: Researchers say Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune and Uranus may also be in the sky, with diamonds.

The atmospheres of these gas-ball planets have the perfect temperature and pressure conditions to host carbon in the form of diamond, say Mona Delitsky of California Specialty Engineering in Pasadena, California, and Kevin Baines of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Their research was presented Wednesday at the American Astronomical Society Division for Planetary Sciences conference in Denver.


Diamond-Bearing Pebble Provides Evidence of Comet Striking Earth

Libyan Desert Glass: Diamond-Bearing Pebble Provides Evidence of Comet Striking Earth

A mysterious black pebble found by an Egyptian geologist at the Libyan Desert Glass strewnfield provides the first ever evidence of a comet entering Earth’s atmosphere and exploding.

Earth's inner core iron melt network

Inner core - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The inner core of the Earth, its innermost part, is a primarily solid ball with a radius of about 1,220 km (760 mi), according to seismological studies.[1][2] (This is about 70% of the length of the Moon's radius.) It is believed to consist primarily of an ironnickel alloy, and to be about the same temperature as the surface of the Sun: approximately 5700 K (5430 °C).[3]


Boston Dynamics Robotic 'Wildcat'

Whoa: Boston Dynamics Announces New "WildCat" Quadruped - IEEE Spectrum

Boston Dynamics has just updated its YouTube channel with some new videos. One of them is an update on Atlas. Another is an update on LS3. And the third is this: WildCat, a totally new quadruped robot based on Cheetah, and out of nowhere, there's this video of it bounding and galloping around outdoors, untethered, at up to 16 miles an hour.


Google's 'Project Loon'

Meet Google's 'Project Loon:' Balloon-powered 'net access | Crave - CNET

The search giant wants to give everyone on earth Internet access, and it has a high-flying idea for how to accomplish it.

Google has officially announced "Project Loon," its plan to connect the entire world to the Internet that uses a decidedly 19th century technology: Balloons.

Official Blog: Introducing Project Loon: Balloon-powered Internet access

We believe that it might actually be possible to build a ring of balloons, flying around the globe on the stratospheric winds, that provides Internet access to the earth below. It’s very early days, but we’ve built a system that uses balloons, carried by the wind at altitudes twice as high as commercial planes, to beam Internet access to the ground at speeds similar to today’s 3G networks or faster. As a result, we hope balloons could become an option for connecting rural, remote, and underserved areas, and for helping with communications after natural disasters. The idea may sound a bit crazy—and that’s part of the reason we’re calling it Project Loon—but there’s solid science behind it.

Loon for All – Project Loon – Google

The Technology

Project Loon balloons float in the stratosphere, twice as high as airplanes and the weather. They are carried around the Earth by winds and they can be steered by rising or descending to an altitude with winds moving in the desired direction. People connect to the balloon network using a special Internet antenna attached to their building. The signal bounces from balloon to balloon, then to the global Internet back on Earth.

The Pilot Test

Project Loon starts in June 2013 with an experimental pilot in New Zealand. A small group of Project Loon pioneers will test the technology in Christchurch and Canterbury.


The Smiler: Alton Towers' 14 Loop Rollercoaster

Video: World's first 14 loop rollercoaster opens at Alton Towers - Telegraph

Not for the faint hearted, the rollercoaster features a series of twisted psychological effects including optical illusions, blinding lights and jabbing needles designed to mess with your mind.

The Smiler | Alton Towers Resort

The Smiler's 5 Mind Manipulations: 
  • The Innoculator 
    A jab of happiness as you pass by stage one of the Marmalisation process.
  • The Tickler
    Aims to tickle you until you can't resist smiling
  • The Flasher  
    The giant flashing device, blinding you as you hurtle underneath the leg.
  • The Giggler
    Infectious, intoxicating laughing gas
  • The Hypnotiser  
    Has the power to disorientate, mesmerise and disrupt your self-awareness.

The Smiler – The Ride – Experience The Smiler at Alton Towers Resort


Ride time: 165 seconds

Passengers per ride train: 16

Minimum rider height: 1.4m

Location: X Sector

Highest drop: 30m

Maximum speed: approx 85 km/h

Track length: 1,170m

Opening: May 2013


The Narwhal's Mysterious Tusk

Narwhal Tusk Discoveries

The narwhal, Monodon monoceros, has long fascinated sea explorers, scientists and aristocracy. This arctic whale is characterized by a single spiraled tusk extending six to nine feet, emerging from the upper jaw and through the lips of adult males. Some females may exhibit a tusk and, in rare instances, a male with two tusks has been observed. Often associated with the horn of the unicorn, the narwhal tooth has found its way into the books of scientific rarities and mythical tales.

The Narwhal's Mysterious Tusk - YouTube

This species of whale has an unusual and mysterious tusk, once harvested and sold as a unicorn horn for 10 times its weight in gold.

HowStuffWorks "The Narwhal Tusk"

The narwhal's tusk isn't unique at first glance. Elephants, rhinos and walruses all have these long, protruding teeth. But this one is different from any other tooth you've ever seen.


... The soft, sensitive part is on the outside, while the dense, hard part makes up the middle. Ten million tiny holes lie right on the surface on the tusk. Human teeth have these little tubules too, which is why sometimes the cold bothers your teeth, but they're covered with enamel. Imagine having all your nerves exposed in the icy waters of the Arctic. Why would the most sensitive part of a tooth be on the outside?

Harvard Gazette: Marine biology mystery solved

Function of 'unicorn' whale's 8-foot tooth discovered by Harvard School of Dental Medicine researcher

Nweeia has discovered that the narwhal's tooth has hydrodynamic sensor capabilities. Ten million tiny nerve connections tunnel their way from the central nerve of the narwhal tusk to its outer surface. Though seemingly rigid and hard, the tusk is like a membrane with an extremely sensitive surface, capable of detecting changes in water temperature, pressure, and particle gradients. Because these whales can detect particle gradients in water, they are capable of discerning the salinity of the water, which could help them survive in their Arctic ice environment. It also allows the whales to detect water particles characteristic of the fish that constitute their diet. There is no comparison in nature in tooth form, expression, and functional adaptation.


In Vivo Flexible Large Scale Integrated Circuits

Team develops in vivo flexible large scale integrated circuits (w/ Video)

A team led by Professor Keon Jae Lee from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at KAIST has developed in vivo silicon-based flexible large scale integrated circuits (LSI) for bio-medical wireless communication.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-05-team-vivo-flexible-large-scale.html#jCp
A team led by Professor Keon Jae Lee from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at KAIST has developed in vivo silicon-based flexible large scale integrated circuits (LSI) for bio-medical wireless communication.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-05-team-vivo-flexible-large-scale.html#jCp
A team led by Professor Keon Jae Lee from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at KAIST has developed in vivo silicon-based flexible large scale integrated circuits (LSI) for bio-medical wireless communication.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-05-team-vivo-flexible-large-scale.html#jCp
A team led by Professor Keon Jae Lee from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at KAIST has developed in vivo silicon-based flexible large scale integrated circuits (LSI) for bio-medical wireless communication.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-05-team-vivo-flexible-large-scale.html#jCp
A team led by Professor Keon Jae Lee from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at KAIST has developed in vivo silicon-based flexible large scale integrated circuits (LSI) for bio-medical wireless communication.

A KAIST Research Team Developed in Vivo Flexible Large Scale Integrated Circuits - Technobahn

Professor Keon Jae Lee's team fabricated radio frequency integrated circuits (RFICs) interconnected with thousand nano-transistors on silicon wafer by state-of-the-art CMOS process, and then they removed the entire bottom substrate except top 100 nm active circuit layer by wet chemical etching. The flexible RF switches for wireless communication were monolithically encapsulated with biocompatible liquid crystal polymers (LCPs) for in vivo bio-medical applications. Finally, they implanted the LCP encapsulated RFICs into live rats to demonstrate the stable operation of flexible devices under in vivo circumstances.

Professor Lee said, "This work could provide an approach to flexible LSI for an ideal artificial retina system and other bio-medical devices. Moreover, the result represents an exciting technology with the strong potential to realize fully flexible consumer electronics such as application processor (AP) for mobile operating system, high-capacity memory, and wireless communication in the near future."


Boeing X-51A WaveRider test flight

Experimental aircraft speeds to more than 3,000 mph in test flight - latimes.com

A lightning-quick experimental aircraft made history when it sped more than 3,000 mph above the Pacific Ocean in a test flight, reigniting decades-long efforts to develop a vehicle that could travel faster than a speeding bullet.

Boeing X-51 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Boeing X-51 (also known as X-51 WaveRider) is an unmanned scramjet demonstration aircraft for hypersonic (Mach 6, approximately 4,000 miles per hour (6,400 km/h) at altitude) flight testing. It successfully completed its first powered flight on 26 May 2010 and also achieved the longest duration flight at speeds over Mach 5.[1]

The X-51 is named "WaveRider" because it uses its shockwaves to add lift. The program is run as a cooperative effort of the United States Air Force, DARPA, NASA, Boeing, and Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne. The program is managed by the Aerospace Systems Directorate within the United States Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).[3][4] The X-51 had its first captive flight attached to a B-52 in December 2009.

Boeing: Boeing X-51A WaveRider Sets Record with Successful 4th Flight

A U.S. Air Force B-52H Stratofortress from Edwards Air Force Base released the X-51A from 50,000 feet above the Point Mugu Naval Air Warfare Center Sea Range at 10:55 a.m. Pacific time. After the B-52 released the X-51A, a solid rocket booster accelerated the vehicle to about Mach 4.8 before the booster and a connecting interstage were jettisoned. The vehicle reached Mach 5.1 powered by its supersonic combustion scramjet engine, which burned all its JP-7 jet fuel. The X-51A made a controlled dive into the Pacific Ocean at the conclusion of its mission. The test fulfilled all mission objectives.

The flight was the fourth X-51A test flight completed for the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory. It exceeded the previous record set by the program in 2010.


OpenWorm an Open-Source Virtual Worm

BBC News - Virtual worm project wriggles into life

The nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans is one of the most widely studied creatures on Earth
Soon you could have an artificial creature living in your web browser.
Programmers and scientists have joined together to try to create a comprehensive computer model of the Caenorhabditis elegans nematode worm.

OpenWorm Is An Open-Source Virtual Worm, Accurate In Every Way | Popular Science

Elegant Elegans The OpenWorm 3D Browser iPhone app lets you peek into C. elegans at the cellular level. MetaCell, LLC
Predictive models are essential in engineering fields, but less common in biology, though accurate simulations of living organisms could help us understand disease, drug efficacy and neuroscience.

OpenWorm, a new open-source project devoted to creating a complete virtual model of a worm, aims to bring simulation into the living world by creating a digital organism--C. elegans, a nematode commonly used as a model organism in biology research.

Controlled Flight of Insect-Scale Robot

BBC News - Robotic insect: World's smallest flying robot takes off

Scientists in the US have created a robot the size of a fly that is able to perform the agile manoeuvres of the ubiquitous insects.
This "robo-fly", built from carbon fibre, weighs a fraction of a gram and has super-fast electronic "muscles" to power its wings.

Robotic insects make first controlled flight — Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Cambridge, Mass. - May 2, 2013 - In the very early hours of the morning, in a Harvard robotics laboratory last summer, an insect took flight. Half the size of a paperclip, weighing less than a tenth of a gram, it leapt a few inches, hovered for a moment on fragile, flapping wings, and then sped along a preset route through the air.

Like a proud parent watching a child take its first steps, graduate student Pakpong Chirarattananon immediately captured a video of the fledgling and emailed it to his adviser and colleagues at 3 a.m.—subject line, "Flight of the RoboBee."

"I was so excited, I couldn't sleep," recalls Chirarattananon, co-lead author of a paper published this week in Science.

Robotic insects make first controlled flight

The RoboBees project "provides a common motivation for scientists and engineers across the university to build smaller batteries, to design more efficient control systems, and to create stronger, more lightweight materials," says Harvard engineering professor Robert J. Wood. "You might not expect all of these people to work together: vision experts, biologists, materials scientists, electrical engineers. What do they have in common? Well, they all enjoy solving really hard problems." (Credit: Kevin Ma and Pakpong Chirarattananon, Harvard University.)

The demonstration of the first controlled flight of an insect-sized robot is the culmination of more than a decade's work, led by researchers at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard.

"This is what I have been trying to do for literally the last 12 years," says Robert J. Wood, Charles River Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences at SEAS, Wyss Core Faculty Member, and principal investigator of the National Science Foundation-supported RoboBee project. "It's really only because of this lab's recent breakthroughs in manufacturing, materials, and design that we have even been able to try this. And it just worked, spectacularly well."

Controlled Flight of a Biologically Inspired, Insect-Scale Robot

Vol. 340 no. 6132 pp. 603-607
DOI: 10.1126/science.1231806


Printable Robots

MIT Project Aims to Deliver Printable, Mass-Market Robots | Gadget Lab | Wired.com

Insect printable robot. Photo: Jason Dorfman, CSAIL/MIT
[...] MIT announced a new project, “An Expedition in Computing Printable Programmable Machines,” that aims to give everyone a chance to have his or her own robot.

MIT CSAIL Project Could Transform Robotic Design and Production | CSAIL

It currently takes years to produce, program and design a functioning robot, and is an extremely expensive process, involving hardware and software design, machine learning and vision, and advanced programming techniques. The new project would automate the process of producing functional 3-D devices and allow individuals to design and build functional robots from materials as easily accessible as a sheet of paper.

“Our vision is to develop an end-to-end process; specifically, a compiler for building physical machines that starts with a high level of specification of function, and delivers a programmable machine for that function using simple printing processes,” said Rus.

Science Nation - Printable Robots Designed to be Consumer-friendly, Inexpensive - YouTube

"This research revolutionizes the design and manufacturing of robots, with a profound potential impact on society," says Ralph Wachter, a program director in the NSF Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering. "It would remove barriers to manufacturing robots, making it possible for average citizens to customize and manufacture their own robots to meet their needs. This opens the door to great possibilities."


Suprapower Wind Turbines Supercharged with Superconductors

European Commission : CORDIS : Newsroom : Super wind turbines represent a major technological breakthrough

Harnessing the wind's energy is the objective of a new project, which aims to provide an important breakthrough in offshore wind industrial solutions.

The EU-funded project, called SUPRAPOWER, is working on a more powerful, reliable and lightweight superconducting offshore wind turbine. The four-year project has the expertise of nine European partners from industry and science under the coordination of Tecnalia in Spain.

Suprapower | Superconducting, reliable, lightweight and more powerful offshore wind turbine.


SUPRAPOWER (SUPerconducting, Reliable, lightweight, And more POWERful offshore wind turbine) is an EU FP7 founded research project focused on a major innovation in offshore wind turbine technology by developing a new compact superconductor-based generator.

The project aims to provide an important breakthrough in offshore wind industrial solutions by designing an innovative, lightweight, robust and reliable 10 MW class offshore wind turbine based on a superconducting (SC) generator, taking into account all the essential aspects of electric conversion, integration and manufacturability.

Wind turbines supercharged with superconductors - tech - 18 January 2013 - New Scientist

At heart, a wind turbine is simple - a series of wire coils attached to the rotor blade spin in the presence of strong magnetic fields, provided by stationary magnets. This generates a current, but the resistance in copper wire limits the amount of current that can flow through the coils. Making the coils from a resistance-free superconductor would cut down on weight and boost power generation.
Using superconductors will not be easy, though, partly due to the ultra-low temperatures they require. Developing a coil that can be cooled while simultaneously rotating with the turbine blades is a big challenge. A research project dubbed Suprapower, funded by the European Union, kicked off in December to address this problem.

TECNALIA will shake up offshore wind market with smaller wind turbines - Tecnalia. Inspiring Business

The project aims to provide an important breakthrough in offshore wind industrial solutions by designing an innovative, lightweight, robust and reliable 10 MW class offshore wind turbine based on a superconducting (SC) generator, taking into account all the essential aspects of electric conversion, integration and manufacturability.

SUPRAPOWER will pursue

  • To reduce turbine head mass, size and cost of offshore wind turbines in about a 30% by means of a compact superconducting generator.
  • To reduce O&M and transportation costs and increase life cycle using an innovative direct drive system.
  • To increase the reliability and efficiency of high power wind turbines by means of drive-train specific integration in the nacelle.


Norway plans world's first ship tunnel

Norway plans world's first ship tunnel | Construction News | The Construction Index

It would bypass the Stad peninsula in Selje, which is a very exposed area of the coast.
The Norwegian government said that the tunnel will reduce accident risk and improve conditions for sailors along the coast. "This is a spectacular project that we are looking forward to taking on," said coastal director Kirsti Slotsvik.

BBC News - Who, what, why: Why build a ship tunnel?

The Norwegian government has backed an ambitious plan to create the world's first ship tunnel. But why has nobody tackled this engineering feat before?

The answer

  • The Stad peninsula is a mountainous finger of land where fierce weather conditions disrupt and endanger ships
  • Shipping is Norway's second most important industry after oil and gas
  • They are also world-leaders in tunnelling technology, having completed the world's longest road tunnel

Norway to build world's first tunnel for large ships - Ship Technology

The government has agreed to provide NOK1.6bn ($274m) for the Stad Ship Tunnel, which will be built to a height of 45m, width of 36m and will span a length of 1.7km.
The proposed tunnel, which is being planned by Nordfjord Vekst, would bypass the Stadlandet (Stad) peninsula in Selje, Norway linking two fjords near the towns of Teigen and Berstad.
Peaking at 645m, the Stad peninsula is a mountainous divide between the Norwegian Sea to the north and the North Sea to the south.


The flow around the butterfly

The Mathematical Butterfly: Simulations Provide New Insights On Flight | Inside Science

The researchers ran three different simulations of this mathematical butterfly, and found that the insect used the forces from teensy whirlpools in the air created during each flap of its wings to create lift. They noticed that the butterfly's flight was bumpy as it moved through the air, with lots of ups and downs as it pushed itself forward. 
There were some surprises in the tiny flows of air surrounding the butterflies. "The flow around the butterfly is much more turbulent than expected," says Yokoyama.

The researchers surmised that the minute bumpiness of the air causes butterflies' signature flit, and also may help protect them against predators – the more they duck and weave, the harder it is to catch them. The research was published earlier this year in the journal Physics of Fluids

High speed video - Painted Lady butterfly (front) - YouTube

High speed video recorded at 3000 fps.
See www.jhuinsectflight.com for more information on Tiras Lin's research project at Johns Hopkins University.

Mathematical butterflies provide insight into how insects fly

Using data from observations of butterfly flight in wind tunnels, the researchers conducted three different types of simulations with their model that were defined by the position and attitude of the thorax: tethered (where the thorax is fixed), prescribed (where the thorax is programmed to move in an expected manner) and free-flight (where the thorax movement is unrestricted). They found that their mathematical butterfly did -- as predicted -- make use of the tiny, swirling vortices that form in the direction of travel during a downward flap, pushing air down and providing lift. However, they also observed that the flow around the butterfly is much more turbulent than expected. This turbulent flow triggers the complex trajectories characteristic to the flights of butterflies that may be one of the strategies by which the insects avoid predators.

Phys. Fluids (1994-Present) - Physics of Fluids

Naoto Yokoyama, Kei Senda, Makoto Iima, and Norio Hirai
Phys. Fluids 25, 021902 (2013); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4790882 (24 pages)
Online Publication Date: 21 February 2013