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Model calculates energetics of piercing fangs, claws and other biological weapons

Researchers have created a model that can calculate the energetics involved when one organism stabs another with its fangs, thorns, spines or other puncturing parts.

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Newswise — CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Researchers have created a model that can calculate the energetics involved when one organism stabs another with its fangs, thorns, spines or other puncturing parts. Because the model can be applied to a variety of organisms, it will help scientists study and compare many types of biological puncturing tools, researchers said. It also will help engineers develop new systems to efficiently pierce materials or resist being pierced.

The new findings are reported in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface.

“The idea behind this was to come up with a quantitative framework for comparing a variety of biological puncture systems with each other,” said Philip Anderson, a University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign professor of evolution, ecology and behavior who led the research with postdoctoral researcher Bingyang Zhang. “An initial question of this research was how do we even measure these different systems to make them comparable.”

“It’s a challenging problem to predict the properties of biological systems,” Zhang said.

Animals and plants deploy a variety of strategies for stabbing prey or defending themselves from other organisms, and even those that use similar strategies or tools alter those tools to meet their specific needs, the researchers said. Their targets also differ.

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“In vipers, for example, some bite mammals, which means they must puncture through soft tissues encased in skin, while others target reptiles, which have scales, making them stiffer and harder to pierce,” said Anderson, who studies the mechanics and energetics of biological puncturing systems.

Other organisms, like parasitoid wasps, may use their ovipositors to burrow through the hides of caterpillars but also can penetrate fruit or even wood, he said.

To develop a model that can be applied to a variety of systems, Zhang determined the key factors that must be included in any calculations of the energetics involved. These include changes in the kinetic energy as the puncturing tool is used, but also take into account the material properties of the target tissue.

This involves calculations describing how the initial kinetic energy drives a puncturing tool into a material, opening up new surfaces in the material as the fracture propagates. It also takes into consideration the frictional resistance and elasticity of the target tissue.

The calculations were aimed at tapered puncturing tools, which are common in biological systems, the researchers said.

Anderson is deploying the new model to aid his studies of puncturing organisms like viper fangs, stingray spines and parasitoid wasp ovipositors.  

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“If we know the morphology or the shape of the damage created by a puncture tool, we can use this model to predict how much energy was expended during a puncture scenario,” Zhang said. “Or we can predict different aspects of the material’s property, for example, how it will fracture, which will be useful in both engineering and biological applications.”

The National Science Foundation supports this research.

Source: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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A greener internet of things with no wires attached

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Credit: 2022 KAUST; Heno Hwang
Wirelessly powered electronics developed by KAUST researchers could help to make internet of things technology more environmentally friendly.
« A greener internet of things with no wires attached

Newswise — Emerging forms of thin-film device technologies that rely on alternative semiconductor materials, such as printable organics, nanocarbon allotropes and metal oxides, could contribute to a more economically and environmentally sustainable internet of things (IoT), a KAUST-led international team suggests.

The IoT is set to have a major impact on daily life and many industries. It connects and facilitates data exchange between a multitude of smart objects of various shape and size — such as remote-controlled home security systems, self-driving cars equipped with sensors that detect obstacles on the road, and temperature-controlled factory equipment — over the internet and other sensing and communications networks.

This burgeoning hypernetwork is projected to reach trillions of devices by next decade, boosting the number of sensor nodes deployed in its platforms.

Current approaches used to power sensor nodes rely on battery technology, but batteries need regular replacement, which is costly and environmentally harmful over time. Also, the current global production of lithium for battery materials may not keep up with the increasing energy demand from the swelling number of sensors.

Wirelessly powered sensor nodes could help achieve a sustainable IoT by drawing energy from the environment using so-called energy harvesters, such as photovoltaic cells and radio-frequency (RF) energy harvesters, among other technologies. Large-area electronics could be key in enabling these power sources.

KAUST alumni Kalaivanan Loganathan, with Thomas Anthopoulos and coworkers, assessed the viability of various large-area electronic technologies and their potential to deliver ecofriendly, wirelessly powered IoT sensors.

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Large-area electronics have recently emerged as an appealing alternative to conventional silicon-based technologies thanks to significant progress in solution-based processing, which has made devices and circuits easier to print on flexible, large-area substrates. They can be produced at low temperatures and on biodegradable substrates such as paper, which makes them more ecofriendly than their silicon-based counterparts.

Over the years, Anthopoulos’ team has developed a range of RF electronic components, including metal-oxide and organic polymer-based semiconductor devices known as Schottky diodes. “These devices are crucial components in wireless energy harvesters and ultimately dictate the performance and cost of the sensor nodes,” Loganathan says.

Key contributions from the KAUST team include scalable methods for manufacturing RF diodes to harvest energy reaching the 5G/6G frequency range. “Such technologies provide the needed building blocks toward a more sustainable way to power the billions of sensor nodes in the near future,” Anthopoulos says.

The team is investigating the monolithic integration of these low-power devices with antenna and sensors to showcase their true potential, Loganathan adds.

Journal Link: Nature Electronics

Source: King Abdullah University of Science & Technology (KAUST)

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That year LA declared it was at “Peak Car!”

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Peak Car
Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Was there a time it was consider that “The City of Angeles,” had reached “Peak Car?”

I recently came across an article posted by the Metro Digital Resources Librarian on the Dorothy Peyton Gray Transportation Library and Archive web site run by Metro Los Angeles. The article talked about LA’s new obsession with the automobile and how it gained popularity, in the early 1920s.

Library researchers pointed out that notable resources concurred with this, including Scott L. Bottles’ Los Angeles and the Automobile: The Making of the Modern City, and Ashleigh Brilliant’s The Great Car Craze, How Southern California Collided with the Automobile in the 1920s.

The automobile was new and fresh, and also offered freedom to its owners, who realized that they could become more mobile and not rely solely on the massive LA street car network at the time.  The number of vehicle registrations in Los Angeles had quadrupled in just an eight-year period from 1914-1922.

“Automobile use exploded as the passenger vehicle transitioned from a hobbyist’s pursuit to a relatively affordable means of getting around the sprawling region and beyond.”

Metro Librarian found out what was happening on the public transit side of the story when they found an article published in Electric Railway Journal titled “California and Her Tractions, Part II.

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MetroDigital Resource Librarian:

As one of several features titled “A Series of Articles on Salient Phases of the Electric Railway Situation,” author Edward Hungerford details the then current state of public transit in the Los Angeles area.

And within that overview, he interviews Paul Shoup, Pacific Electric Railways president and vice-president of Southern Pacific Company.

Hungerford documents Pacific Electric’s earnings in a recent six-month period, and asks Shoup “for the real translation of these figures.”

Shoup responds by stating:

They mean that the peak of the competition of the automobile, publicly or privately owned or operated, has been reached out here — and passed. Not only is the rapidly rising cost of cars and tires and gasoline and oil beginning to deter the overenthusiastic motorists, but I think that the novelty of excessive motor riding also is rather wearing off. The hazards of driving on crowded highways are becoming more apparent and parking spaces in towns and cities more a question of doubt.

In addition to our great numbers of motor stage routes in every direction, we now have some 500,000 automobiles in California licensed for pleasure purposes, to which should be added the cars owned and operated by the 100,000 Easterners who come out here every winter. The competitive effect of all these cars has been, and still is, vast indeed. But we already can see in it a declining curve.

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Yes, you read that right, Shoup declared that personal vehicle usage had peaked and that it was on the decline.

Shoup explains that Los Angeles Railway profits were consistent with those of Pacific Electric, but acknowledges that “increases in both operating cost and taxes had gone ahead a little more than proportionately.” But he intimates that the rising cost of automobile operation (gas, tires) means that cars will cease their encroachment into transit’s share of mobility.

MetroDigital Resource Librarian:

This statement was part of an interview published in a national journal. Was he telling industry professionals what they wanted to hear? Did he want to assuage fears of rail employees that their jobs were going to disappear as more people purchased and used automobiles? Was he hoping that his perspective would turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy so he could remain atop Pacific Electric and Southern Pacific?

You can read the full article here: https://metroprimaryresources.info/when-los-angeles-was-declared-to-have-hit-peak-car-in-1920/15665/

https://stmdailynews.com/category/stm-blog/blog/

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Oklahoma Students to Hear from NASA Astronaut Aboard Space Station

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NASA
GMT362_22_38_Koichi Wakata_1018_Exp 68 crew

Students from Choctaw Nation Head Start, Jones Academy Elementary, and seven area public schools in Durant, Oklahoma, will have an opportunity this week to hear from a NASA astronaut aboard the International Space Station.

The space-to-Earth call will air live at 10:20 a.m. EST on Tuesday, Jan. 31, on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.

NASA astronaut Nicole Mann will answer prerecorded questions from pre-K through 8th grade student participants. The event, hosted by the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, is an opportunity for students and tribal members to get a firsthand look at living and working in space, inspiring the next generation to pursue STEM. The downlink aligns to students’ current science, technology, engineering, and math curriculum, which uses NASA lessons. The event also includes the opportunity for tribal students to connect and be inspired by Mann, who is the first Native American woman to fly in space.

Media interested in covering the event should contact Randy Sachs at [email protected] or 580-380-2597 no later than 10 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 31.

For more than 22 years, astronauts have continuously lived and worked aboard the space station, testing technologies, performing science, and developing the skills needed to explore farther from Earth. Astronauts living in space aboard the orbiting laboratory communicate with NASA’s Mission Control Center in Houston 24 hours a day through the Near Space Network Tracking and Data Relay Satellites.

As part of Artemis, NASA will send astronauts to the Moon to prepare for future human exploration of Mars. Inspiring the next generation of explorers – the Artemis Generation – ensures America will continue to lead in space exploration and discovery.

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See videos and lesson plans highlighting research on the International Space Station at:

https://www.nasa.gov/stemonstation

Source: NASA

https://stmdailynews.com/category/science/

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