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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.
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Julian Meehan

Young leaders from around the world are gathering at the United Nations Headquarters in New York Saturday to address arguably the most urgent issue of our time. The Youth Climate Summit comes on the heels of an international strike spearheaded by Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden, who arrived in New York via emissions-free sailboat earlier this month.

Translated from Swedish, "berg" means "mountain," so it may feel fated that a young woman with Viking blood in her veins and summit in her name would be at the helm. But let's go out on a limb and presume Thunberg, in keeping with most activists, would chafe at the notion of pre-ordained "destiny," and rightly so. Destiny is passive — it happens to you. It's also egomaniacal. Change, on the other hand, is active; you have to fight. And it is humble. "We need to get angry and understand what is at stake," Thunberg declared. "And then we need to transform that anger into action."

This new generation of activists' most pernicious enemy is denial. The people in charge — complacent politicians and corporation heads who grossly benefit from maintaining the status quo — are buffered from real-life consequences of climate change. But millions of people don't share that privilege. For them, climate change isn't an abstract concept, but a daily state of emergency, whether it comes in the form of "prolonged drought in sub-Saharan Africa…devastating tropical storms sweeping across Southeast Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific…[or] heatwaves and wildfires," as Amnesty International reportsare all too real problems people are facing on a regular basis.

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"We need to act right now to stop burning fossil fuels and ensure a rapid energy revolution with equity, reparations and climate justice at its heart," organizers say.

There's no doubt the visual images from the marches send a powerful message to those on the ground but especially those watching from around the world. GOOD's own Gabriel Reilich was on the scene for the largest of the Climate Strikes. Here are 18 of the best signs from the Climate Strike march in New York City.

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September 20th marks the beginning of a pivotal push for the future of our planet. The Global Climate Strike will set the stage for the United Nations Climate Action Summit, where more than 60 nations are expected to build upon their commitment to 2015's Paris Agreement for combating climate change.

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via Apple

When the iPhone 11 debuted on September 10, it was met with less enthusiasm than the usual iPhone release. A lot of techies are holding off purchasing the latest gadget until Apple releases a phone with 5G technology.

Major US phone carriers have yet to build out the infrastructure necessary to provide a consistent 5G experience, so Apple didn't feel it necessary to integrate the technology into its latest iPhone.

A dramatic new feature on the iPhone 11 Pro is its three camera lenses. The three lenses give users the the original wide, plus ultrawide and telephoto options.

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via I love butter / Flickr

We often dismiss our dreams as nonsensical dispatches from the mind while we're deep asleep. But recent research proves that our dreams can definitely affect our waking lives.

People often dream about their significant others and studies show it actually affects how we behave towads them the next day.

"A lot of people don't pay attention to their dreams and are unaware of the impact they have on their state of mind," said Dylan Selterman, psychology lecturer at the University of Maryland, says according to The Huffington Post. "Now we have evidence that there is this association."

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