California is in its fire season again, and drier than usual, so many of us have spent days watching the devastation that a fire can cause. Few things survive it, even in bits and pieces. Often, though, the matches that began the fire are the most recognizable things left behind. Why is that?
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) put an amazing photo set not long ago showing us the smallest marine creatures living in our planet's seas and oceans. They look like Hubble photos of nebulas and stars.
The arrangement of diatoms into tiny works of art goes back to the Victorian era, but Klaus Kemp has made that old form into a more complex modern one. And now Matthew Killip has made a short film with Kemp showing how he does it.
Many animals have been useful to humankind. Dogs have hunted with us. Horses have carried us around and plowed our fields. Cats have ... I don't know. It'll come to me. In any case, perhaps the most useful animals in the modern world performed their service by dying thousands of years ago.
If your second thought while watching Iron Man (after "I think I have a crush on Robert Downey Jr. again") was "Why can't they make an Iron Man suit in real life?" then the US army and scientists in Madison, Wisconsin, are planning on making you very, very happy indeed.
Not only could we use algae as a new fuel source soon, but we also might use it to create better nanotechnology. Diatoms, tiny phytoplanktons, come encased in a unique cell wall made out of silica, which has pores and channels that increase its surface area dramatically. Using the existing complexity of these natural…