[credit: (top) Susan Ford Collins on Flickr/ (bottom) Zina Deretsky, National Science Foundation, in collaboration with S. Cranford, G. Bratzel and M.J. Buehler (all three from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Rihcard C. Yu and Andaluz Yu of Green Pacific Biologicals ]
View a video interview with Markus Buehler of MIT, an animationof a spider web under extremes stresses, and an animation of a spider web subjected to mechanical forces.
While researchers have long known of the incredible strength of spider silk, the robust nature of the tiny filaments cannot alone explain how webs survive multiple tears and winds that exceed hurricane strength.
Now, a study that combines experimental observations of spider webs with complex computer simulations shows that web durability depends not only on silk strength, but on how the overall web design compensates for damage and the response of individual strands to continuously varying stresses.
On April 24th, the Hubble Space Telescope marks its 22nd year in orbit. That means its mission has lasted longer than many of your lives, and it’s still churning out amazing work (no pressure though). Sources say that the Hubble promises that it’s not get all crazy like it did last year on its birthday.
To celebrate, the Hubble folks have released this beautiful image of 30 Dor, a star factory in the Large Magellenic Cloud full of high-energy glowing gas. A fine piece of #starporn to decorate your dashboard with.
But why stop there? We can do better than this picture.
No? Then how about an amazing zoomable version so you can dig deep down into the onion-like layers, a virtual rabbit hole of awesomeness?
Still not enough? If you really must go bigger, I have to warn you … this is a pretty hefty link, and it probably won’t open in your browser. Better to right-click and save. Here is an image that laughs in the face of any adjective I try to place before it. Behold a 267-Mb 20,323 x 16,259 pixel smorgasbord of starry goodness, over 300 million pixels of HOLY CRAP.
Photographer James Appleton, 23, from Cambridge, risked his life trekking solo to the area and captured these incredible shots. The Cambridge University graduate spent five days observing the first phase of the eruption from a shack in nearby Fimmvorouhals mountain pass. He spent seven hours battling biting wind and freezing temperatures to get as close to the eruption as possible, against the advice of local guides. Despite being trapped inside a shack there for 48 hours, Mr Appleton managed to trek within 100ft of the volcano.
A red sandstone cliff against the Arizona sky – or not. This is in fact stacked two-dimensional layers of Ti3C2, where a layer from the original compound has been selectively etched away by acid. Inspired by the name of the Nobel-winning material graphene, the researchers who invented this layered material named it “mxene”.
(Image: Babak Anasori, Michael Naguib, Yury Gogotsi, Michel W. Barsoum, Drexel University)
Rare Leopard Photographed in Remote Afghan Mountains.
Camera traps positioned in the rocky terrain of Afghanistan’s central highlands by conservationists recently snapped a surprising photograph of a Persian leopard, a top predator that was long thought to have disappeared from the region.
Hubble was able to clarify something that had boggled astronomer’s minds for decades. The brilliant cluster of stars in the center of this image were long thought to be one, massive star with a mass somewhere between 200 and 300 times that of our own Sun. The clarity of Hubble’s imagery, however, enabled astronomers to determine that what had once appeared to be a single star was actually a cluster of several (still enormous) stars.
On this day in 1877, Thomas Edison announces his invention of the phonograph.
Ever since Thomas Edison (pictured) created the phonograph after five days and nights hooking up his ears to rubber tubes, the world’s been grooving to the oldies thanks to the miracle of recorded music. But way before there was ever anything remotely resembling an iPod, listening to a particular recording meant listening to a victrola, gramophone, or phonograph, which could sound awfully staticky to our MP3-spoiled ears.
On this day in 1895, scientist Wilhelm Roentgen discovers X-Rays.
When Wilhelm Roentgen took the very first X-ray photograph — a ghostly image of his wife’s hand — in 1895, the German physicist not only earned himself the very first Nobel Prize in Physics, he also gave the world the gift of creepy skeletal photographs and seeing bizarre things stuck inside living but unlucky people.
Pictured: 1896 X-ray of Roentgen’s wife’s hand, similar to the very first X-ray picture. Upon seeing her skeletal hand, she reportedly exclaimed, “I have seen my own death!”