Thursday, March 29, 2012

Here’s How Designs in Biology Are Being Used in Advanced Engineering

This week’s 243rd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society in San Diego featured symposiums on biomimetics where scientists “literally take inspiration from Mother Nature, probing and adapting biological systems in plants and animals for use in medicine, industry and other fields.”

Several papers were presented on the wonders of cellulose and one researcher concluded that “We are in the middle of a Golden Age, in which a clearer understanding of the forms and functions of cellulose architectures in biological systems is promoting the evolution of advanced materials.”

Designs from biological systems are leading to advanced materials? Scientists “literally take inspiration from Mother Nature.” It is amazing how random mutations can create such optimized designs for our best scientists and engineers to learn from.

14 comments:

  1. Here are a few more examples:

    Biomimicry - Imitating Design Found In Life and Nature
    https://docs.google.com/Doc?docid=0AYmaSrBPNEmGZGM4ejY3d3pfNDBkZ3Nwcnd0Yw

    Here are a few examples that have to do with optics:

    A biological quarter-wave retarder with excellent achromaticity in the visible wavelength region - November 2010
    Excerpt: In this work, we use both experimental measurements and theoretical modelling of the photoreceptor structure to illustrate how a novel interplay of intrinsic and form birefringence results in a natural achromatic optic that significantly outperforms current man-made optical devices.
    http://www.nature.com/nphoton/journal/v3/n11/abs/nphoton.2009.189.html

    Amazing Animals: Design Vs. Darwinism - Christopher Ashcraft - Excerpt video (please note the "lobster eye" camera that can see through walls.)
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4214676/

    G.E. Brings Life to Good Things - February 16, 2012
    Excerpt: Thanks to the micro-design on a beautiful insect's wings, someday we may see many useful applications. A surgeon might be able to visualize precise locations of inflammation. A soldier might wear higher-resolution night-vision goggles. A firefighter might carry a hand-held thermal sensor to avoid danger. A security inspector might have a new way to detect explosives. Your doctor might study a wound's heat signature for better diagnosis without incisions.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2012/02/ge_brings_life056451.html

    Thinnest ever camera sees like a trilobite - December 2010
    Excerpt: An unusual arthropod eye design that maximizes image resolution has inspired the design of the thinnest stills and video camera yet made.
    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn19895-thinnest-ever-camera-sees-like-a-trilobite.html?DCMP=OTC-rss&nsref=online-news

    Mantis shrimp eye could improve high-definition DVDs, holographic technology - June 2011
    Excerpt: The eye of the peacock mantis shrimp has led an international team of researchers to develop a two-part waveplate that could improve CD, DVD, blu-ray and holographic technology, creating even higher definition and larger storage density. Peacock mantis shrimp are one of only a few animal species that can see circularly polarized light -- like the light used to create 3-D movies. Some researchers believe the mantis shrimp's eyes are better over the entire visual spectrum than any man-made waveplates.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-06-mantis-shrimp-eye-high-definition-dvds.html

    Insect Eyes Inspire More Efficient Solar Power - January 2011
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2011/01/insect-eyes-inspire-more-efficient.html

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  2. This one is just plain cool Dr. Hunter:

    Evolution Vs. The Honey Bee - an Architectural Marvel - video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4181791

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  3. What is this 'Mother Nature?' Is it some form of earth deity, or perhaps an undetectable life process like evolution; either way it doesn't sound scientific to me. I guess it is always ok to believe in something as long as there are no strings attached.

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  4. The funny thing is, one of these days this sort of argument will go extinct. Should we survive long enough, we'll be able to design more efficient biospheres with the help of massively parallel computers.

    At which time, theists will no longer want to claim design of the biosphere any more than they want to claim lighting today.

    In fact the whole argument is parochial in that it doesn't take into account our current, best explanation for how we create knowledge. Either that, or Cornelius thinks Jesus will return before this supposed designer could have any serious competition.

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  5. Scott states:

    'At which time, theists will no longer want to claim design of the biosphere any more than they want to claim lighting today.'

    Yet I don't recall Theists ceding lightning to atheists:

    *Lightning produces nitrates which are an essential fertilizer for life
    *Lightning maintains a ‘charged atmosphere’ which helps keep the atmosphere clear of sub-micron particles which would interfere with our solar energy
    *Lightning emissions produce NOx which is used in the production of Ozone

    etc. etc.

    Scott then states;

    In fact the whole argument is parochial in that it doesn't take into account our current, best explanation for how we create knowledge.

    Yet Scott forgets that modern science owes its very existence to Christian Theism in the first place;

    Epistemology - Why Should The Human Mind Even Comprehend Reality? - Stephen Meyer
    http://vimeo.com/32145998/

    Why should the human mind be able to comprehend reality so deeply? - referenced article
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1qGvbg_212biTtvMschSGZ_9kYSqhooRN4OUW_Pw-w0E/edit

    And then Scott reveals his religious bias against Christianity when he states:

    'Either that, or Cornelius thinks Jesus will return before this supposed designer could have any serious competition.'

    Yet contrary to the mocking tone of Scott, which he takes to be a scientific argument against the design inference, Christ actually did rise from the dead, just as has been ardently claimed for 2000 years, and thus He actually is returning to earth someday soon, just as He promised;

    Scott, Here is a poem that is simply scary for how fitting it is to this topic:

    Lightning - Inspirational Poem
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4236830/

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  6. Born: Yet I don't recall Theists ceding lightning to atheists:

    You really do not have a clue do you. Let me spell it out for you...

    Does lighting represent God's anger? Is each strike intentionally designed to hit a specific target? If not, then lighting is due to secondary causes.

    At which time, theists will no longer want to claim design of the biosphere [is a direct cause of God] any more than they want to claim lighting today [is a direct cause of God].

    Born: Yet Scott forgets that modern science owes its very existence to Christian Theism in the first place;

    You've confused forgetting history with the assumption that an historical theistic understanding of how we make progress cannot be criticized and found to contain errors, which we discard.

    Born: Yet contrary to the mocking tone of Scott, which he takes to be a scientific argument against the design inference,

    Huh? Again, it seems that you've again responded a barrage of links, which are not actually relevant to what I wrote because you didn't understand what I wrote in the first place.

    Should we survive long enough, we'll be able to design more efficient biospheres with the help of massively parallel computers.

    An assumption that Jesus would return would also translate into an assumption that we wouldn't exist on earth long enough design a more efficient biosphere that what we observe; therefore preventing this sort of argument from becoming extinct.

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  7. Designs from biological systems are leading to advanced materials? Scientists “literally take inspiration from Mother Nature.” It is amazing how random mutations can create such optimized designs for our best scientists and engineers to learn from.


    Hardly a fair comparison. Mother Nature's been at it a bit longer than we have. Give human scientists and engineers a few hundred million years and (assuming we stay around for that long) see what we come up with.

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  8. Scott, your first comment is interesting:

    'Does lighting represent God's anger? Is each strike intentionally designed to hit a specific target?'

    And yet Tesla, who probably knew more about the nature of lightning that anyone, had this to say:

    “The gift of mental power comes from God, Divine Being, and if we concentrate our minds on that truth, we become in tune with this great power.
    My Mother had taught me to seek all truth in the Bible.” - Nicole Tesla

    Particularly this quote of note:

    One day, as I was roaming the mountains, I sought shelter from an approaching storm. The sky became overhung with heavy clouds, but somehow the rain was delayed until, all of a sudden, there was a lightening flash and a few moments after, a deluge. This observation set me thinking. It was manifest that the two phenomena were closely related, as cause and effect, and a little reflection led me to the conclusion that the electrical energy involved in the precipitation of the water was inconsiderable, the function of the lightening being much like that of a sensitive trigger. Here was a stupendous possibility of achievement. If we could produce electric effects of the required quality, this whole planet and the conditions of existence on it could be transformed. The sun raises the water of the oceans and winds drive it to distant regions where it remains in a state of most delicate balance. If it were in our power to upset it when and wherever desired, this might life sustaining stream could be at will controlled. We could irrigate arid deserts, create lakes and rivers, and provide motive power in unlimited amounts. This would be the most efficient way of harnessing the sun to the uses of man. The consummation depended on our ability to develop electric forces of the order of those in nature.

    It seemed a hopeless undertaking, but I made up my mind to try it and immediately on my return to the United States in the summer of 1892, after a short visit to my friends in Watford, England; work was begun which was to me all the more attractive, because a means of the same kind was necessary for the successful transmission of energy without wires. At this time I made a further careful study of the Bible, and discovered the key in Revelation.
    http://www.lucidcafe.com/library/96jul/teslaauto05.html

    Picture - Nicole Tesla sitting under a Tesla coil while it was emitting lightning bolts
    http://s3.amazonaws.com/rapgenius/Exhibit_C_CoverW_JayElectronica.jpg

    Perhaps you should buy a vowel Scott?

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  9. Sorry misspelled Nikola Tesla's name,

    Here is another somewhat relevant quote:

    “Like a flash of lightning and in an instant the truth was revealed. I drew with a stick on the sand the diagrams of my motor. A thousand secrets of nature which I might have stumbled upon accidentally I would have given for that one which I had wrestled from her against all odds and at the peril of my existence.” -
    Nikola Tesla

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  10. Scott: 'Does [lightning] represent God's anger? Is each strike intentionally designed to hit a specific target? If not, then lighting is due to secondary causes.'

    Born: [goes off on a tangent by posting links that do not directly reference the question asked.]

    Should I take that as a "No"? Or perhaps a "Yes"? I can't tell.

    Given that you seem incapable of answering, simple, direct questions, I'm not sure if "mental powers", or lack there of in the case of your response, is something that theists should want to claim as a direct cause of God, either.

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  11. Scott, as soon as you surpass Nikola Tesla as the greatest inventor who ever lived in the world, the man who 'mastered lightning' according to a PBS special, perhaps your opinion on lightning and God will matter more than the tremendous weight he carries is such a consideration.

    Tesla - Master of Lightning
    http://www.pbs.org/tesla/index.html

    Personally I find your superficial questions to be pointless and contrived to give you the atheistic answer you want instead of penetrating and honest. But so be it. I shall not chase your tail in a circle for you seeing as do that job extremely well by yourself!

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  12. You think I'm wrong and absurd, so of course, you'd conclude my questions must be pointless and contrived regardless of what I actually write.

    For example, my comment wasn't atheistic, per se. I merely said that, eventually, theists will not want to claim God was the direct cause of designing the biosphere; just as they no longer want to claim God is the direct cause of lighting today.

    Whether God actually exists or actually did design the biosphere, is separate from whither theists will actually want to claim he did in the future.

    After all, you think that God exists, but you do not think God is a direct cause of lightning, right? So why couldn't theists in the future think God exists but not want to claim God was a direct cause of the biosphere?

    Could it be you think my comment was atheistic because your belief that God exists hinges on a claim that he designed the biosphere as a direct cause?

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  13. Scott you state:

    'I merely said that, eventually, theists will not want to claim God was the direct cause of designing the biosphere; just as they no longer want to claim God is the direct cause of lighting today.'

    You keep stating this as if quantum mechanics has not completely overturned reductive materialism; i.e. Our advances in science have given us far greater proof than ever before that God not only created this universe, but also sustains this universe!

    "It from bit symbolizes the idea that every item of the physical world has at bottom - at a very deep bottom,, - an immaterial source and explanation; that which we call reality arises in the last analysis from the posing of yes-no questions and the registering of equipment-evoked responses; in short, that things physical are information-theoretic in origin."
    John Archibald Wheeler

    Why the Quantum? It from Bit? A Participatory Universe?
    Excerpt: In conclusion, it may very well be said that information is the irreducible kernel from which everything else flows. Thence the question why nature appears quantized is simply a consequence of the fact that information itself is quantized by necessity. It might even be fair to observe that the concept that information is fundamental is very old knowledge of humanity, witness for example the beginning of gospel according to John: "In the beginning was the Word." Anton Zeilinger - a leading expert in quantum teleportation:
    http://www.metanexus.net/archive/ultimate_reality/zeilinger.pdf

    Prof Anton Zeilinger speaks on quantum physics. at UCT - video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3ZPWW5NOrw

    Zeilinger's principle
    The principle that any elementary system carries just one bit of information. This principle was put forward by the Austrian physicist Anton Zeilinger in 1999 and subsequently developed by him to derive several aspects of quantum mechanics.
    http://science.jrank.org/pages/20784/Zeilinger%27s-principle.html#ixzz17a7f88PM

    In the beginning was the bit - New Scientist
    Excerpt: Zeilinger's principle leads to the intrinsic randomness found in the quantum world. Consider the spin of an electron. Say it is measured along a vertical axis (call it the z axis) and found to be pointing up. Because one bit of information has been used to make that statement, no more information can be carried by the electron's spin. Consequently, no information is available to predict the amounts of spin in the two horizontal directions (x and y axes), so they are of necessity entirely random. If you then measure the spin in one of these directions, there is an equal chance of its pointing right or left, forward or back. This fundamental randomness is what we call Heisenberg's uncertainty principle.
    http://www.quantum.at/fileadmin/links/newscientist/bit.html

    'Quantum Magic' Without Any 'Spooky Action at a Distance' - June 2011
    Excerpt: A team of researchers led by Anton Zeilinger at the University of Vienna and the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information of the Austrian Academy of Sciences used a system which does not allow for entanglement, and still found results which cannot be interpreted classically.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110624111942.htm

    Quantum Entanglement and Teleportation (Implications discussed in description) - video
    http://vimeo.com/38463906

    John 1:1-5
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

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  14. Even with the potential of quantum computing, I don't think we'll ever be creating biosphere's like Earth. The 'answer' to life is going to be to big to fit inside one persons head. How will anyone direct efforts toward what would need to be done? In fact, I do not think we have a chance of preserving even our own genome let alone those of all other species. I think John Sanford's genetic entropy theory will be testable within a few thousand years.

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