Beginnings
iStock.com/NATALYA DRALOVA

Beauty and function

Science | Research uncovers the amazing structures of butterfly wings
by Julie Borg
Posted 2/13/20, 05:08 pm

Scientists once thought butterfly wings were just a pair of lifeless membranes. But now researchers from Columbia and Harvard universities have discovered a complex system of living structures hidden beneath the insect’s colorful scales. Their study, published Jan. 28 in Nature Communications, illustrates the divine design in the wings’ dainty flutter.

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Associated Press/Photo by Ahn Young-joon (file)

Lessons learned from SARS

Science | The global response to the coronavirus shows improvement compared to past outbreaks
by Julie Borg
Posted 2/06/20, 04:28 pm

Within three weeks of identifying the first case, Chinese officials had reported a new respiratory illness to the World Health Organization. Scientists identified the coronavirus a week later on Jan. 7. The country’s response to the new strain of viral pneumonia reveals the ways China—and the rest of the world—has improved responses to public health threats.

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YouTube/University of Vermont

Scientists invent ‘living’ robots

Science | The discovery shows human technology can’t surpass God’s design
by Julie Borg
Posted 1/30/20, 03:37 pm

Researchers have refashioned frog stem cells into tiny robots that can move purposefully and heal themselves if injured. University of Vermont computer scientist Joshua Bongard admitted his team turned to biological organisms because life contains a complex artistry human technology cannot replicate. “There’s all of this innate creativity in life,” he said.

The 1-millimeter-wide robots, called xenobots, are “neither a traditional robot nor a known species of animal,” Bongard said. “It’s a new class of artifact: a living, programmable organism.”

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