“The Japanese jewel beetle has been a prized ornament since ancient times, and now researchers have revealed the secret to its scintillating good looks.
Brilliant metallic purples and greens run the length of each beetle’s body. Each color band corresponds to varying numbers of stacked chitin layers in its wing covers.
These nano-scale layers scramble light and reflect an iridescent sheen, reported a team from the Netherlands and Japan in the Mar. 12 issue of The Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.
“This surprises me. I’ve always assumed they had the same number of layers throughout the body,” said Dave Kavanaugh, curator of the insect collection at the California Academy of Sciences, who was not involved with the study. “It makes the color change much less accidental.”.”
“Robotics can be a tricky subject to teach children, and it’s hard to know where to start. Cubelets is a system of modular cubes that each have one use, interaction, or behavior, and by linking them together you can create easy to understand robots with impressive behavior.
It’s a great concept: you start with very basic ideas, and then by linking them together you can create something that can work in a variety of ways.
“Cubelets was originally called roBlocks and was a project I worked on while in grad school for architecture at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh,” Eric Schweikhardt, the creator of Cubelets, told Ars.
He wanted a way to let people interact with digital models, and thought blocks was a good beginning. “I started to add more functionality into the different cubes and Cubelets evolved out of that.
I never intended to make and sell a product, but after the 20th lab visitor asked when they could buy them, I started to warm to the idea.” Smart move: the first batch of 100 beta kits has already sold out.”
“It’s hard to get your head around what, exactly, to call Dror Benshetrit’s latest brainstorm, the QuaDror. “Structural element” sounds too stodgy, something from the back shelves of the Architect’s Warehouse Supply store. “Ingenious Building Gizmo” is closer, but lacks the gravitas to capture the many possible functions – some philanthropic, some serious load-bearing, some fancy pants artistic — for which this invention is suitable.
Engineers would call the QuaDror a “space truss geometry,” a wonky term for a sort of geometrical jujitsu: a structural joint that looks a little like a sawhorse, but can fold flat, making it both stunningly sturdy, remarkably flexible, and aesthetically pleasing. Today, the world is getting its first look at this marvel in person, when the Israeli designer introduces his brainchild at Africa’s pre-eminent design conference, Design Indaba, in Cape Town.”
“It’s hard to believe nowadays, but in a simpler time, cellphones really were called “cell phones,” not dumbphones, smartphones, feature phones, or superphones. They bulged in your pocket — if they fit in your pocket at all, that is — and they made calls. That’s it. None of this social networking, messaging, browsing, Instagramming, Flash 10.1 nonsense. They didn’t upload 5 megapixel photos to Flickr, and they most certainly didn’t turn into wireless hotspots.
Of course, those bleak days are mercifully behind us now — but as carriers around the world start to light up a promising new generation of high-speed wireless networks, things are beginning to get a little confusing. Just what is “4G,” anyway? It’s one higher than 3G, sure, but does that necessarily mean it’s better? Why are all four national carriers in the US suddenly calling their networks 4G? Is it all the same thing? Answering those questions requires that we take a take a little walk through wireless past, present, and future… but we think it’s a walk you’ll enjoy.
First things first: “G” stands for “generation,” so when you hear someone refer to a “4G network,” that means they’re talking about a wireless network based on fourth-generation technology. And actually, it’s the definition of a “generation” in this context that has us in this whole pickle in the first place; it’s the reason why there’s so much confusion. But more on that in a bit — first, let’s take a trip down memory lane into the primordial ooze that gave rise to the first generation way back in the day.”