Above is a three-millimeter long maggot launching itself into the air for a distance of up to 36 times its body length. Researchers from Duke University and their colleagues studied how these larvae of gall midges leap between plants with the greatest of ease, even rivaling some jumping insects with legs. Their research could have applications in soft robotics and adhesives. From the Journal of Experimental Biology:
They store elastic energy by forming their body into a loop and pressurizing part of their body to form a transient 'leg'. They prevent movement during elastic loading by placing two regions covered with microstructures against each other, which likely serve as a newly described adhesive latch. Once the latch releases, the transient 'leg' launches the body into the air. These discoveries integrate three vibrant areas in engineering and biology – soft robotics, small, high-acceleration systems, and adhesive systems – and point toward a rich, and as-yet untapped area of biological diversity of worm-like, small, legless jumpers.
(via Scientific American)
Watch the skies! The peak of the Perseid meteor shower takes place overnight tonight! The bright quarter Moon will limit the number of shooting stars you'll see but you can still expect around 15-20 per hour depending on where you're at. The meteors are debris from Comet Swift-Tuttle burning up in Earth's atmosphere at speeds […]
"The U.S. has reached a landmark of sorts in its so far not very successful battle with the virus that causes Covid-19 — most Americans now know someone who has been infected," writes Justin Fox at Bloomberg, about coronavirus social data from Navigator Research, shown above.
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After a successful round of funding on Kickstarter, Fluster: The Social Card Game is now ready to help turn a party or game night into the engaging, surprising, and enlightening social affair you always hoped it would be. A deck of 100 cards, Fluster is chock full of unusual, funny, and thought-provoking questions inspired to […]
Physics may have been that class you sleepwalked your way through in high school. But while it might have just slipped under your radar throughout your academic career, you probably shouldn't have given it such shallow attention. Sure, we could focus on the immediate pluses of a career as a physicist, like the more than […]
If you're out of work…well, first, you have our sympathies. Right now, about 31 million Americans are drawing some form of unemployment benefits, which makes competition for virtually any job savagely fierce. But since nobody wants to wallow in the miseries of unemployment, the only legitimate course left open is to scrap like crazy to […]