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In search of nature’s camouflage

first_imgScientists at Harvard University and the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) hope that gaining a new understanding of a natural photonic device that enables a small sea animal to change its colors dynamically will inspire development of improved camouflage for soldiers on battlefields.The cuttlefish, known as the “chameleon of the sea,” can rapidly alter both the color and pattern of its skin, helping it blend in with its surroundings and avoid predators. In a paper to be published tomorrow in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, the Harvard-MBL team reports new details on the sophisticated biomolecular nanophotonic system underlying the cuttlefish’s color-changing ways.“Nature solved the riddle of adaptive camouflage a long time ago,” said Kevin Kit Parker, Tarr Family Professor of Bioengineering and Applied Physics at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and a core faculty member at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard. “Now, the challenge is to reverse-engineer this system in a cost-efficient, synthetic system that is amenable to mass manufacturing.”In addition to textiles for military camouflage, the findings could also have applications in materials for paints, cosmetics, and consumer electronics.The cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis) is a cephalopod, like squid and octopuses. Neurally controlled, pigmented organs called chromatophores allow it to change its appearance in response to visual cues, but scientists have had an incomplete understanding of the biological, chemical, and optical functions that make this adaptive coloration possible.To regulate its color, the cuttlefish relies on a vertically arranged assembly of three optical components: the leucophore, a near-perfect light scatterer that reflects it uniformly over the entire visible spectrum; the iridophore, a reflector containing a stack of thin films; and the chromatophore. This layering enables the skin of the animal to selectively absorb or reflect light of different colors, said coauthor Leila F. Deravi, a research associate in bioengineering at SEAS.“Chromatophores were previously considered to be pigmentary organs that acted simply as selective color filters,” Deravi said. “But our results suggest that they play a more complex role; they contain luminescent protein nanostructures that enable the cuttlefish to make quick and elaborate changes in its skin pigmentation.”When the cuttlefish actuates its coloration system, each chromatophore expands. The surface area can change as much as 500 percent. The Harvard-MBL team showed that within the chromatophore, tethered pigment granules regulate light through absorbance, reflection, and fluorescence, in effect functioning as nanoscale photonic elements, even as the chromatophore changes in size.“The cuttlefish uses an ingenious approach to materials composition and structure, one that we have never employed in our engineered displays,” said coauthor Evelyn Hu, Tarr-Coyne Professor of Applied Physics and of Electrical Engineering at SEAS. “It is extremely challenging for us to replicate the mechanisms that the cuttlefish uses. For example, we cannot yet engineer materials that have the elasticity to expand 500 percent in surface area. And were we able to do that, the richness of color of the expanded and unexpanded material would be dramatically different. Think of stretching and shrinking a balloon. The cuttlefish may have found a way to compensate for this change in richness of color by being an ‘active’ light emitter (fluorescent), not simply modulating light through passive reflection.”The team also included Roger Hanlon and his colleagues at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass. Hanlon’s lab has examined adaptive coloration in the cuttlefish and other invertebrates for many years.“Cuttlefish skin is unique for its dynamic patterning and speed of change,” Hanlon said. “Deciphering the relative roles of pigments and reflectors in soft, flexible skin is a key step to translating the principles of actuation to materials science and engineering. This collaborative project expanded our breadth of inquiry and uncovered several useful surprises, such as the tether system that connects the individual pigment granules.”Parker is an Army reservist who completed two tours of duty in Afghanistan, so using the cuttlefish to find a biologically inspired design for new types of military camouflage carries special meaning for him. Poor camouflage patterns can cost lives on the battlefield.“Throughout history, people have dreamed of having an ‘invisible suit,’” Parker said. “Nature solved that problem, and now it’s up to us to replicate this genius, so, like the cuttlefish, we can avoid our predators.”In addition to Parker, Hu, Hanlon, and Deravi, the co-authors of the “Interface” paper are Andrew P. Magyar, a former postdoctoral student in Hu’s group; Sean P. Sheehy, a graduate student in Parker’s group; and George R.R. Bell, Lydia M. Mäthger, Stephen L. Senft, Trevor J. Wardill, and Alan M. Kuzirian, who work with Hanlon in the Program in Sensory Physiology and Behavior at the MBL.The work was supported in part by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center at Harvard, the National Science Foundation (NSF), the NSF-supported Harvard Materials Research Science and Engineering Center, and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research.last_img read more

Danish Wind Power Meets 44 Percent Of Demand For All Of 2017

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Numbers have just come out this week from the Danish energy organization [showing that] wind turbines delivered power equivalent to 43.6 percent of Denmark’s electricity consumption in 2017. This is a new milestone in the effort to transition the energy supply system in the country to be carbon neutral.2017 ended in a stormy December…and the year totaled an output of about 14,700 GWh…a new record year for wind in Denmark. Although wind turbines deliver a steadily increasing share of the Danish electricity supply, that does not mean that the number of turbines increases. On the contrary, today there are about 20% fewer wind turbines in Denmark than in 2001, when the number of wind turbines peaked. In 2017, about 6,100 wind turbines were in service according to the Danish Energy Authority.The turbines have become bigger and more efficient.Overall, capacity in Denmark has more than doubled since 2001, with today’s 5.3 GW wind capacity installed on land and water. By 2020, wind is expected to reach 50 percent of the electricity consumption in the country. In total, renewable energy, including solar and sustainable biomass, will cover 80 percent of electricity consumption in Denmark.More: Denmark Smashes All Previous Wind Energy Records In 2017 Danish Wind Power Meets 44 Percent Of Demand For All Of 2017last_img read more

The Latest: Bach says future may see fewer sports events

first_imgThe Italian sports minister says it is increasingly unlikely the soccer season will resume.Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte announced Sunday that professional sports teams can resume training on May 18. That means Serie A could resume playing games in June.But Vincenzo Spadafora tells Italian television channel LA7 that “resuming training absolutely does not mean resuming the season.”He adds that he sees “the path to restarting Serie A getting ever narrower” and that if he was among the presidents of soccer teams “I would be thinking about next season.”The French government called off the season in that country on Tuesday and Spadafora says that could push Italy to do the same. April 29, 2020 This year’s Vuelta was set to start on Aug. 14. New dates have not been announced.___More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports,Tampa Bay Lightning advance to face Dallas Stars in Stanley Cup finals, beating New York Islanders 2-1 in OT in Game 6 The Latest: Bach says future may see fewer sports events Bach cited “financial pressure” on organizers and the need to address climate change and says “we may also have to look more closely into the proliferation of sports events.”The IOC president cautions in a letter to Olympic officials and athletes worldwide “the current health crisis will lead to a long and deep economic crisis” which will affect sports.Bach says “governments must include sport in their economic support programs” so it can be part of a worldwide recovery.The IOC has proposed saving money on staging the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 to help offset the Olympic body’s extra costs of hundreds of millions of dollars because of the postponement.___center_img Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditThe Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:___IOC President Thomas Bach says the future of sports after the coronavirus pandemic might mean fewer international events. ___The Spanish Vuelta cycling race will not start in the Netherlands as originally planned.This year’s race was set to begin in the Dutch regions of Utrecht and North Brabant but the changes in the cycling calendar because of the coronavirus pandemic forced organizers in the Netherlands to cancel the country’s participation.Dutch organizers say the project “had been designed as a big summer party” which would not be able to happen because of the changes in the Vuelta’s original dates. They say they “preferred to request the official departure’s cancellation.”Spanish organizers say they hope to plan a new start in the Netherlands “in the very near future.” Associated Press last_img read more

USC to host Washington State at home

first_imgUSC baseball’s season has been tumultuous to say the least. The team started 4-1, then lost eight straight.The Trojans appeared to get back on track with a thrilling 2-0 win over then-No. 13 UCLA at Dodger Stadium. Then they lost five in a row and started Pac-10 play 2-4. Their season has been marred by multiple losses to teams such as UC Santa Barbara, Pacific and UC Riverside. Yet they have taken series from the likes of then-No. 11 Stanford, No. 6 Arizona State and then-No. 2 Oregon State .The team appears to have found some stability in recent weeks, both on the field and off. After taking two of three from the No. 6 Sun Devils, Frank Cruz was named full-time coach by athletic director Pat Haden. His team responded last weekend by handing the No. 2 Beavers their first series loss of the season.This weekend, the Trojans (22-29, 12-12) host Washington State in a three-game set at Dedeaux Field in what will be both teams’ final games in 2011. Both teams are under .500, and although the Cougars (24-26, 8-16) can finish no higher than seventh in the Pac-10, USC could finish as high as fourth. For a program that hasn’t finished in the top half of the conference since 2005, that would be a huge step forward.For that to happen, however, the Trojans will need to win their sixth Pac-10 series this season, which would be the most since their last postseason appearance in 2005. Last year the team won just two series in conference play. This year, they have been favored in just two series — this being one of them.The Cougars have just two Pac-10 series wins this season against rivals Oregon and Washington — USC also took its series against those schools. However, the Cougars won a pair of games against UC Santa Barbara, a team that swept the Trojans.Washington State is led at the plate by first baseman Taylor Ard. The sophomore has played in all 50 of the Cougars games this season and was the Pac-10 Player of the Week after leading WSU to a series win against Oregon, going 12-for-24 at the plate with nine extra-base hits. Ard is slugging .546 on the season and currently leads the Pac-10 in home runs,  with eight, and RBIs with 50.This series will likely be decided by pitching. The Trojans, as they have all season, will start three righties: junior Andrew Triggs on Friday, junior Austin Wood on Saturday and senior Logan Odom on Sunday. Wood and Odom are coming off dominant performances against the Beavers, while Triggs tossed a complete game against the Sun Devils.The Cougars will kick off the series with Adam Conley on the hill. The lefty is projected to go in the first five rounds of the upcoming MLB draft, and leads Cougar starters with 102 innings pitched and a 3.35 ERA, fanning 82 hitters while walking just 24. Saturday starter Chad Arnold has struggled this season. The senior righty has posted a 6.75 ERA and has walked the same number of hitters as he has struck out. The season will close for the Trojans against righthander James Wise, who owns a 4-6 record and a 4.50 ERA.Although it might seem as if neither of these teams have a lot to play for, that’s never the case. A sweep by the Trojans could put the Cougars last in the Pac-10. A sweep would also guarantee the Trojans a top-half finish. For a team picked to finish ninth in the Pac-10 at the start of the season, it’s hard to ask for much more.last_img read more

Dungloe’s James Boyle in Irish squad for Amputee European Championships

first_imgDungloe man James Boyle has been named in the Irish squad that will take part in the first ever Amputee Football European Championships in Turkey next month.Boyle has been selected as part of the team that is set to face games against England, Russia and Greece in Riva.The Irish hopefuls have been meeting monthly at the University of Limerick for training. The tournament takes place from October 1-10.Boyle, who has scored 12 goals in 29 international appearances, has become a mainstay in the side since his debut against Poland in March 2012.Boyle – who was born with fibular hemimelia, a birth defect where the fibula bone is missing – had his left leg amputated when he was just six years old.One of his Irish goals came in the Amputee World Cup in Mexico in December 2014, when he scored a penalty against Uzbekistan in a 6-1 defeat. Ireland also lost 2-0 against Brazil and 2-0 against Ukraine, but Boyle is already accustomed to the big stage. “James has worked very hard over the past year to make selection for the senior international Amputee squad,” said Simon Baker, the Chair of the Irish Amputee Football Association.“We are extremely proud of all the hard work and training these players have put in to reach the euros and we are very confident that these players will do their country very proud.”Ireland face Russia – the number 1 seeds – on October 3rd, England on October 4th and Greece on October 5th.The tournament represents the culmination of the incredible work that has been done across Europe in developing the sport of Amputee Football since the establishment of the EAFF in 2015.The tournament also promises to be of an incredibly high standard. 3 of the top 4 nations in World Amputee Football were named 1st seeds for the draw (Russia #1, Turkey #3 and Poland #4). Dungloe’s James Boyle in Irish squad for Amputee European Championships was last modified: September 11th, 2017 by Chris McNultyShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:Amputee Football European Championshipsdungloejames boylerosses community schoollast_img read more

‘Not Racist or Hostile’: Bulgaria Slam England ‘Tensions’ Ahead of Euro 2020 Qualifiers

first_imgSofia: Bulgarian authorities on Thursday urged UEFA to stop “tensions” after England player Tammy Abraham said his team was prepared to defy rules and walk off the pitch if they face abuse during Euro 2020 qualifiers.Gareth Southgate’s team travel to the Czech Republic and Bulgaria for back-to-back matches on Friday and Monday. The second game, in Sofia, will be closely watched as the hosts will be playing in the Vasil Levski National Stadium, partially closed as a sanction following previous incidents of racism.Borislav Mihaylov, president of the Bulgarian Football Union (BFU), said his association had taken “extreme efforts and measures… to ensure a fair and safe environment” since the 2011 incidents.”I strongly suggest that the UEFA administration take measures against the build-up of unnecessary tension,” he said in a letter to UEFA published online.He added Bulgarian fans were being made “subject of public reprimand and scrutiny”, demanding for it to stop.”The Bulgarian public has in no way committed any recent infringements that deserve it to be stereotyped as ‘racist’ or ‘hostile,'” he said.Last month, the BFU already responded with outrage to suggestions by Southgate that his players anticipated racist abuse when they visit Sofia in Euro 2020 qualifying.The game will be England’s first visit to Bulgaria since September 2011, when Ashley Young was subject to monkey chants as the visitors won 3-0.The BFU was fined 40,000 euros ($44,000) by UEFA for “discriminatory” chanting and because fans threw fireworks.Bulgaria were also punished by UEFA for “racist behaviour” when they lost away to the Czech Republic on June 7 and at home to Kosovo three days later in Euro qualifying.For the England visit, UEFA has ordered the BFU to close at least 5,000 seats at the Vasil Levski National Stadium and display a banner that reads: “#EqualGame”. BulgariaEnglangEuro 2020 Qualifiersfootball First Published: October 11, 2019, 8:20 AM IST Get the best of News18 delivered to your inbox – subscribe to News18 Daybreak. Follow News18.com on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Telegram, TikTok and on YouTube, and stay in the know with what’s happening in the world around you – in real time.last_img read more