Bone Structure Matches Animal Size

first_imgThe bigger the animal, the more weight it has to carry.  How can large animals maintain strong bones without making them heavier?  It turns out all animals have struts in their bones called trabeculae, but the larger the animal, the fewer, stronger, and farther apart are the struts.  This new finding is leading to ideas that may improve your car.    PhysOrg reported on a team from Imperial College London and the Royal Veterinary College that was curious about bone structure in various mammals.  Looking at femurs from 90 different species of mammals, reptiles and birds, they “found that trabeculae, typically found near joints, have different geometry depending on the size of the species.”  This was news to them.  Dr. Michael Doube at Imperial College London said,“Scientists had not previously known that the structure of trabeculae varied, or scaled up, depending on the size of the animal.  We assumed that trabeculae would be important in supporting the weight of larger creatures such as Asian elephants, which can weigh more than three tonnes.  However, we were surprised to find that animals that have comparatively lighter loads, such as the Etruscan shrew, weighing three grams, also has trabeculae supporting its tiny body.  Our study is helping us to see how the remarkable geometry of trabeculae supports loads in all creatures, no matter how big or small they are.”In addition, they found that the mass of bone per unit volume was roughly constant in big and small animals, but “the trabeculae in bigger animals were thicker, further apart and less numerous.”    Moving from observation to explanation, they reasoned that “the big trabecular struts inside the bones of larger animals help to support their heavier load without the need for thicker and denser bones.  Using this structure saves valuable energy in larger animals because they do not have to grow, maintain and carry extra bone tissue around with them.”  Neat idea.  From explanation they moved to application:The scientists say new structural materials could be developed, which are inspired by geometry inside femurs.  These materials would contain a lattice work of stiff foam that would be reinforced in certain areas, depending on the load being exerted on that particular section.  This type of material could be used in car bodywork, only being reinforced in areas of the car where loads are heaviest.  This could make cars lighter and more fuel efficient.A capital idea, worthy of stimulus by some entrepreneur.  The scientists delved deeper into their biomimetic hunch and generated 200 computer models of “virtual bones,” giving their open-source code, named BoneJ, to anyone who wants to download it (see BoneJ.org).  About 1500 downloads from 250 institutes and organizations have taken a look at it.  Some of them might have great ideas for lightweight aircraft and automobiles.  Think of the slogans: Tough as an elephant or Built to fly like a bird.    Now that they understand bone structure better, the team wants to study animal motion and joints “to understand the relationship between how animals walk and bone structure.”  What might come of that?  Understanding bone deformities, for one thing; reconstructing the movement patterns of extinct species, for another.  Their research was published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.Bravo!  Great science with no evolution!  We wish to praise researchers who get the best aspects of science right: observation, explanation, and application to help improve our lives.  Sir Francis Bacon stressed that you will know good science (like good character) by its fruits.  Biomimetics again shows how a design-focused science not only leads to understanding, but to practical benefits.    We called this “design-focused science” but lest Eugenie and Rick Dawk have a fit, there was no need to mention God, Creator, or religion in this project.  There was, however, an unspoken assumption that animal bones are well designed for what they do (go back and read the quotes for clues).  Was that a science-stopper?  Clearly not.    It would have been so tempting for the reporter to toss in the Darwin fogma, claiming that animals evolved these amazing optimal solutions by blind chance.  But fogma not only blinds, it stinks.  Who needs useless smoke?  Who needs to hear tall tales, like notions that vastly different animals all converged on the same solution to optimize strength per unit mass?  Clear the air, stick to the observations, and make the theory do something helpful.  Observation – explanation – application: that is classical science.  It worked for Faraday, it’s fair for our-a-day. (Visited 37 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more


Budget big on education, jobs

first_imgThe South African government will giveincentives to companies that hire youngpeople. (Image: image library) South Africa’s minister of finance PravinGordhan delivered an applaudable budgetspeech. (Image: GCIS)MEDIA CONTACTS• Thoraya PandyCommunication UnitNational Treasury+27 (12) 315 5944 or +27 82 416 8416Thoraya.Pandy@treasury.gov.zaBongani NkosiMinister of Finance Pravin Gordhan announced a new, energised commitment to South Africa’s young people in his maiden budget speech, with education and job-creation programmes for graduates and school-leavers high on his list of priorities.Addressing Parliament on 17 February, Gordhan said the biggest slice of the national budget for 2010/11, R165-billion, would be ploughed into the country’s 27 000 schools, 23 universities and various colleges.“Education remains our largest item of spending, giving meaning to our commitment that it is our number-one priority,” he said.Some R12-billion from the allocation will go towards the country’s Further Education and Training (FET) colleges, and a further R1.3-billion will be used to improve the salaries of educators at these institutions.Government is working hard to position FET colleges as viable alternatives to universities to absorb as many matriculants as possible into tertiary education.The aims is to equip students, many of whom are there on bursaries, with practical skills to make them more employable.“Expanding and improving capacity at our FET colleges is a vital part of our growth strategy,” Gordhan said. “We have set ourselves ambitious targets to expand the number of young people studying vocational subjects.”Gordhan’s announcement was welcomed by several political parties. “The injection of more resources into the further education and training will assist in the skills development of our people and prepare them for future absorption into the job market post the current recession period,” said the ruling African National Congress (ANC).Treasury has also put aside a further R2.7-billion for the Department of Basic Education to provide school literacy and numeracy workbooks in all 11 official languages.Incentivising job creationAs President Jacob Zuma announced in his State of the Nation address on 11 February, government is committed to building strategies to encourage the private sector to hire inexperienced young South Africans, who currently make up the largest portion of unemployed citizens.Government is planning to subsidise companies that hire young people, making it more of an attractive option for employers.Gordhan said labour market data indicates that “employers are reluctant to hire inexperienced work-seekers”, and this denies youngsters the opportunity to garner “basic workplace competencies”.The Department of Labour will launch a campaign to inform young people about job opportunities and training, with the goal to get this up and running by early 2011.“The aim is to raise employment of young school-leavers by a further 500 000 by 2013,” Gordhan said.“Many South Africans, speaking from their own experiences on the streets of our cities, at factory gates and in rural communities, have urged us to take steps to make it easier for young people to find work.”The country’s official opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), saw Gordhan’s youth job-creation plan as the “main thrust” of the budget speech, “particularly the detailing of a wage subsidy that will open up job opportunities for South African school-leavers”.“We believe wage subsidies can create real, permanent employment for thousands of young people in South Africa,” the DA said.Public worksSouth Africa is also planning to boost employment through the Expanded Public Works Programme, which has already provided jobs for thousands of people, albeit on a temporary basis.The aim of the programme is to create 4.5-million short-term jobs between 2009 and 2014. Gordhan allocated R52-billion over the next three years to strengthen this programme.“An additional R2.5-billion will go towards supporting labour-intensive projects in the social, non-state and environmental sectors, largely targeted at rural areas,” the minister added.Growth expectationsTurning to the recession, which led to 900 000 local workers being retrenched in 2009, Gordhan said: “Our people want action on jobs, growth and poverty. We must build a new common purpose so that we can use all of our talents, skills and resources to tackle our economic and social challenges.”The economy shrank by an estimated 1.8% in 2009, after five years of strong growth.However, for this financial year Gordhan said “things are looking slightly better” – he expects the economy to grow by 2.3% in 2010, rising to 3.6% in 2012.“Household consumption expenditure will improve during the course of this year as confidence improves and household debt levels abate,” he added.Consumer price inflation declined over the course of 2009 and is expected to remain at around 6% over the period ahead. “These are significant improvements in the economic outlook,” the minister announced.Talking tax, Gordhan said that as a result of the deterioration in the South African economy, “we now expect to raise R69-billion less in tax this year than we budgeted”.To boost revenue, government will introduce a 12-month amnesty period for non-compliant taxpayers. The Voluntary Disclosure Programme, to start in November, will enable tax evaders to “disclose and pay undeclared tax liabilities at a reduced interest charge and without penalties”.Health, welfareOther significant announcements in the budget address included a R105-billion allocation for health over the next year, and a further R3-billion to broaden access to antiretroviral treatment – especially for HIV-positive woman and children co-infected with TB who have CD4 counts of less than 350.“Presently, about 920 000 people are on antiretroviral treatment. The budget provides for the number to rise to 2.1-million in 2012/13,” Gordhan said.Government will spend R89-billion on social welfare in 2010/11, with the state old age pension and disability grant rising by R70 to R1 080 a month from 1 March.The child support grant, which has been extended to 18-year-olds, will increase to R250 a month. “The inclusion of about two million children … through the extension of grants up to 18 years … will radically push back the frontiers of poverty and improve the quality of life of millions,” the ANC said.last_img read more


The Return of the Energy Quiz

first_imgWhen I published my first Energy Quiz over a year ago, a reader posted the comment: “I want another quiz.” Okay — we aim to please.Remember, using Google for research is cheating. Answers are at the bottom of the page.1. Evaporative coolers:a. Perform better in a dry climate than a humid climate.b. Perform better in a humid climate than a dry climate.c. Don’t work very well anywhere in the U.S.2. To insulate basement walls in Climate Zone 6 with XPS, what is the minimum thickness required by the 2006 IRC?a. One inch.b. Two inches.c. Three inches.3. When home inspectors see tongue-and-groove ceiling boards:a. They smile, because tongue-and-groove boards are a natural (and green) choice for ceilings.b. They smile, because 3/4-inch-thick boards add to a ceiling’s R-value.c. They become concerned, because such ceilings often lack an air barrier.4. The wall and roof insulation used in the hut erected in 1910 by Robert Falcon Scott at Cape Evans in Antarctica was:a. Strawb. Quilted seaweedc. Sealskin5. In a Florida home with an unconditioned attic:a. It’s helpful to bury attic ducts in a deep layer of cellulose insulation.b. Burying attic ducts in cellulose insulation can lead to moisture problems.6. The soil used in a typical “green” (vegetated) roof:a. Has a significant R-value, greatly improving the insulating value of the roof.b. Has a low R-value — less than required for a typical roof — and is more expensive to install than conventional insulation.7. The process whereby the moisture content of a porous (hygroscopic) building material increases is referred to as:a. Capillary action.b. Permeance.c. Sorption.8. Of all the windows sold in Sweden in 2002:a. 20% were triple-glazed.b. 50% were triple-glazed.c. 80% were triple-glazed.9. The 2009 IRC requires builders:a. To… This article is only available to GBA Prime Members Sign up for a free trial and get instant access to this article as well as GBA’s complete library of premium articles and construction details.center_img Start Free Trial Already a member? Log inlast_img read more


Apple Is Starting To Look A Little Nervous About Samsung

first_imgThe Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology Related Posts Today is the big launch of Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S4 smartphone — and Apple has clearly taken notice. Earlier this week, Apple released two new iPhone commercials, which were well-crafted if boring. It is unlikely the timing of these new ads was coincidental.Yesterday, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller gave a rare interview to the Wall Street Journal. Schiller was clearly on the attack.Schiller insisted that surveys reveal that iPhone users are more “satisfied” with their device than Android users. Schiller mentioned that Android is plagued by fragmentation and that Android users are often running outdated versions of the operating system. Schiller wasn’t finished: Android is often given as a free replacement for a feature phone and the experience isn’t as good as an iPhone.While Apple’s advertising focuses almost exclusively on its own product, Schiller spent much of his time with the Wall Street Journal knocking Android.When you take an Android device out of the box, you have to sign up to nine accounts with different vendors to get the experience iOS comes with. They don’t work seamlessly together.While Schiller mostly talked Android, Samsung was clearly on his mind. For example, he took a swipe at Samsung and its larger-sized Galaxy displays, suggesting that the bigger screen is necessary to mask a larger battery with which to compete with the iPhone 5’s battery life.Schiller even disputed the recent smartphone market share numbers, touted the claim that Android users are more likely to switch to iPhone, and stated:I’m not sure that the estimates and the modeling accurately gives an accurate picture of it all.There is good reason for Schiller to be concerned, at least with Samsung, if not Android. According to the most recent comScore figures, Apple has a 38% share of the US smartphone market. Samsung is second, with 21%. But according to mobile analyst, Tomi Ahonen, Samsung is the clear global smartphone winner — having sold 215 million devices in 2012, compared to Apple’s 136 million.The disparity could grow throughout the year. Samsung has recently stated that its flagship Galaxy line has sold over 100 million units since its May 2010 launch and that it expects to sell over 300 million smartphones in 2013.Another point of concern for Apple: Samsung has been outspending Apple on advertising. Samsung spent $401 million just in the U.S. last year to promote its smartphones. Apple spent $333 million. Just as important, Samsung’s advertising has been more impactful. As ReadWrite noted this week, Samsung’s commercials “are the kinds of ads that strike a chord.” Apple remains the leader, however, where it may matter most: profits. As we noted last week, “Samsung is winning every way but one” against Apple. That one way, of course, is profits. Nonetheless, Apple clearly is watching Samsung carefully — and isn’t above having the likes of Schiller toss a brushback pitch from time to time. Tags:#Apple#iOS#iPhone#Samsung#Samsung Galaxy What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech …center_img Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement brian s halllast_img read more


AL picks Niketa for Fakhruls vacant seat

first_imgBogura Awami League joint secretary T Zaman Niketa. Photo: CollectedBogura Awami League joint secretary T Zaman Niketa has been picked for contesting the Bogura-6 by-election on party ticket.”We’ve chosen T Zaman Niketa for the Bogura-6 by-election from our party,” AL joint secretary Mahbub-ul-Alam Hanif told UNB over phone on Sunday.The decision came from a meeting of Awami League Nomination Board held at the prime minister’s official residence Ganobhaban with prime minister and AL president Sheikh Hasina in the chair.Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury on 30 April declared the Bogura-6 constituency vacant as BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir did not take oath as MP or seek time before the deadline expired.As per the law, if any MP-elect refrains from taking oath within 90 days after the beginning of the first session or refrains from informing the Speaker, his/her membership gets cancelled.The election commission has announced that fresh polls will be held to Bogura-6 constituency on 24 June.The last date for submitting nomination papers is 23 May and candidates will be able to withdraw nominations by 3 June. The nomination papers will be scrutinised on 27 May.The symbols will be allocated among the candidates on 4 June.Although Fakhrul refrained from taking oath, five other BNP MPs, however, were sworn in to the 11th parliament. While four of them took oath on 29 April, another was sworn in on 25 April.last_img read more


The Kaleidoscope Theater Brings In A Couple Of Industry Veterans

first_img Share TKT StaffScene from TKT’s production of “Urinetown.”Bruce Lumpkin isn’t going to sugarcoat it: There’s a lot of work involved in building up a young theater company.“We need to create a board, we need to raise money, we need to enhance the space,” Lumpkin  says. “We need to bring people onboard. They’ve built all their own sets and their own costumes – everything they’ve done with the four of them.”Late last week, The Kaleidoscope Theater announced that Lumpkin is joining their artistic staff. The former artistic director of Houston-based Theater Under the Stars is coming on board with Marley Wisnoski, previously the Associate Artistic Director for TUTS. Wisnoski says some of the challenges from moving from one of the city’s largest theater companies – to one of its smallest – are obvious.“First off, there’s only six of us, so it’s more work,” she says. “Also right now, the space is configured for 100 seats. We want to get it to a point where we can seat about 250.”TKT StaffScene from TKT’s production of “Metamorphoses.”The buildup and buildout of The Kaleidoscope Theater could ultimately mean more paid work for local actors. Right now, the staff isn’t getting paid, but the intent is to get the funding needed to become an equity house, meaning they’d be hiring union employees.“Professional theater doesn’t  necessarily mean that it’s equity in all cases,” says Kaleidoscope’s Founding Artistic Director Colton Berry. “But what we’d like to do is be able to hire actors from every point of the spectrum from the city. So, we want to be able to offer those equity contracts, and that’s something that we’re pushing towards almost immediately.”But Wisnoski adds that what many grassroots groups lack in funding is made up in other areas.“There’s the artistic freedom of being able to program as we like, and experiment as we like and do some exciting different things that haven’t been done before,” she says.The announcement of The Kaleidoscope Theater’s new additions comes just weeks after Lumpkin’s unannounced departure from TUTS, which was followed shortly by Wisnoski’s resignation. The mysterious and seemingly abrupt breakup caused rumors in the arts community to swirl, but Lumpkin puts it in plain terms.“The truth is that, TUTS is going forward with an artistic vision that I personally didn’t feel I could enhance or support and so it was time to move on,” he said. Lumpkin’s and Wisnoski’s titles with The Kaleidoscope Theater have not been assigned, but they’ve already started working on productions for the company’s new season, which begins later this month. To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: X 00:00 /02:22 Listenlast_img read more