Spider Silk: Strong as Steel, Could Replace Kevlar

The UC Riverside biology professor (and MacArthur grant recipient) Cheryl Hayashi gave a TED talk Wednesday on the astonishing strength of spider...

The UC Riverside biology professor (and MacArthur grant recipient) Cheryl Hayashi gave a TED talk Wednesday on the astonishing strength of spider silk. Although some silks can be less than one tenth the diameter of a human hair, they can be stronger than steel. According to Hayashi, spider silk might one day supplant Kevlar as preferred armor for soldiers.The strongest silks are found in "draglines," from which a spider dangles while spinning its web; a black widow's silk is one of the most durable. As part of Wired's TED coverage, Kim Zetter spoke to Hayashi on the subject, asking why scientists haven't yet succeeded in replicating the stuff. Hayashi's reply:
When you watch the spider spin a web they pull it out with their leg - they touch a leg to the correct spinnerets and then they yank - it's sort of like a painter's palette you dab your brush into whatever color. So the idea of shooting out silk proteins through a syringe was that perhaps it was the narrow aperture and the force of pulling it was maybe all it took. You can get a fiber that way, but unfortunately it's thin and kind of brittle. So there's something about this whole machinery that the spider has that makes it into the fiber.
The rest of the interview contains great bits on how spider silk could have applications in surgeries, as well as what obstacles we currently face in regard to using it. Biomimicry is a source of endless fascination for me.
via David Leavitt / Twitter and RealTargetTori / Twitter

Last Friday, GOOD reported on an infuriating incident that went down at a Massachusetts Target.

A Target manager who's come to be known as "Target Tori," was harassed by Twitter troll David Leavitt for not selling him an $89 Oral-B Pro 5000 toothbrush for a penny.

He describes himself as a "multimedia journalist who has worked for CBS, AXS, Yahoo, and others."

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via David Leavitt / Twitter

Anyone who has ever worked in retail knows that the worst thing about the job, right after the pay, are the unreasonable cheapskates who "want to talk to your manager" to get some money off an item.

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Twitter is rallying around a gal named Tori who works at a Target in Massachusetts after she was tweet-shamed by irate chapekate, journalist, and Twitter troll, David Leavitt.

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via Haldean Brown / Flickr

In a typical work day, people who smoke take more breaks than those who do not. Every few hours they pop outside to have a smoke and usually take a coworker with them.

Don Bryden, Managing director at KCJ Training and Employment Solutions in Swindon, England, thinks that nonsmokers and smokers should be treated equally, so he's giving those who refrain from smoking four extra days to compensate.

Funny enough, Bryden is a smoker himself.

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