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Tag: Science (Page 1 of 64)

New surface is so slippery, shellfish can’t get a grip

Enlarge / A sticky situation. (credit: University of Washington)

When engineers look at mussels, they're typically looking in awe at how they anchor themselves to nearly every surface imaginable, all while under water. The fibers they use to attach themselves are incredibly strong, and the adhesive works wet or dry on all sorts of materials. For the most part, engineers are looking to create a substance with similar properties.

This week, however, brings an exception: engineers who want to try to keep mussels from sticking to everything. Zebra mussels, a species that has invaded the Great Lakes, is estimated to cost utilities hundreds of millions of dollars each year due to clogged pipes and intakes. Ships, buoys, and pretty much anything else we put in the water also ends up needing to have mussels cleared off.

The international team behind the new work has designed a material that mussels can't seem to get a grip on. It's not because the mussel's adhesive fail; instead, the mussel itself doesn't seem to know what it's touching when it's set down on the material.

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New surface is so slippery, shellfish can’t get a grip

Enlarge / A sticky situation. (credit: University of Washington)

When engineers look at mussels, they're typically looking in awe at how they anchor themselves to nearly every surface imaginable, all while under water. The fibers they use to attach themselves are incredibly strong, and the adhesive works wet or dry on all sorts of materials. For the most part, engineers are looking to create a substance with similar properties.

This week, however, brings an exception: engineers who want to try to keep mussels from sticking to everything. Zebra mussels, a species that has invaded the Great Lakes, is estimated to cost utilities hundreds of millions of dollars each year due to clogged pipes and intakes. Ships, buoys, and pretty much anything else we put in the water also ends up needing to have mussels cleared off.

The international team behind the new work has designed a material that mussels can't seem to get a grip on. It's not because the mussel's adhesive fail; instead, the mussel itself doesn't seem to know what it's touching when it's set down on the material.

Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Scientists remotely hacked a brain, controlling body movements

brain hack

Imagine someone remotely controlling your brain, forcing your body's central processing organ to send messages to your muscles that you didn't authorize. It's an incredibly scary thought, but scientists have managed to accomplish this science fiction nightmare for real, albeit on a much small scale, and they were even able to prompt their test subject to run, freeze in place, or even completely lose control over their limbs. Thankfully, the research will be used for good rather than evil... for now.

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This live map shows lightning strikes all over the world in real-time

lightning map

Everyone loves a good thunderstorm, but they can be hard to come by depending on where you live. If seeing a storm unfold as it happens sounds like fun to you, there's a seriously cool website that you're going to adore. The appropriately named LightningMaps.org tracks lightning activity all over the Earth thanks to a massive network of detection sensors, and you can watch it all happen in real-time.

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Here’s what happens to your retina if you view an eclipse without protection

Enlarge (credit: Getty | Ian Hitchcock )

Americans are making their last dashes for glasses and viewers to watch the rare total solar eclipse that will glide across the continental US on Monday. Meanwhile, eye doctors are trying to clear away any orbiting debris that's obscuring vision safety information—and spotlight the dangers of unsafe viewing.

Everyone knows that watching an eclipse—or staring into the Sun in general—can damage eyes. But in a series of articles published Friday in JAMA and JAMA Ophthalmology, a group of ophthalmologists explains in detail how sunlight damages the retina, plus dispels some misconceptions about viewing techniques for the rare event. They also provide a case study of what happens when you go into an eclipse event eyeballs-out.

David Calkins and Paul Sternberg of The Vanderbilt Eye Institute in Nashville, Tennessee, (which will experience a total eclipse) wrote one of the pieces in JAMA Ophthalmology. In it, they point out that many people have the misconception that an eclipse allows safe viewing of the Sun—that the lunar disk will cover everything but the Sun’s beautiful corona. This is true for those lucky ones that are along the path of the total eclipse, albeit only briefly. For those in the totality path, the Sun’s core will be blotted out for no more than two minutes and 41 seconds. “However, for most people, at least some portion of the Sun’s core will be visible during the event,” Calkins and Sternberg note.

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