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  • News in Brief

    How some sap-sucking insects fling their pee

    Some sap-sucking insects can “make it rain,” flinging droplets of pee while feeding on plant juices. Now scientists have explained how the insects, known as sharpshooters, create these sprays using tiny catapult-like structures that propel the waste at extreme accelerations.

    A tree infested with sharpshooters exudes a steady pitter-patter of pee. “It’s crazy just to look at,” says...

    12/04/2018 - 06:00 Biophysics
  • News

    Zapping substances with electrons can quickly map chemical structures

    The one-hour photo booth has met its molecular match.

    By adapting a technique for determining protein structures, two independent teams have charted chemical structures of antibiotics, hormones and other compounds with unprecedented speed. Depending on the molecule, it took between 30 minutes and a day to determine structures, where traditional techniques could take months to years.

    ...
    10/29/2018 - 06:00 Chemistry, Biophysics
  • News in Brief

    T. rex pulverized bones with an incredible amount of force

    ALBUQUERQUE — Tyrannosaurus rex had a special way of crunching bones.

    A lethal combination of a powerful bite, strong teeth and repeated crunching allowed these giant predators to pulverize the bones of their prey, researchers reported October 20 at the Society for Vertebrate Paleontology’s annual meeting.

    Bones have a nutritious inner cavity containing marrow and phosphate salts....

    10/22/2018 - 08:00 Paleontology, Animals, Biophysics
  • Science Visualized

    Dandelion seeds create a bizarre whirlpool in the air to fly

    When you’re essentially a little ball of floof, flying is hard.

    To ride the wind, dandelion seeds stir up a weird type of whirlpool in the air directly above them. The newly discovered way of moving through the air, described October 17 in Nature, resolves a long-standing question about how the seeds stay aloft.

    Dandelion seed flight is not unlike the flight of Mary Poppins:...

    10/17/2018 - 13:00 Biophysics, Plants
  • It's Alive

    How nectar bats fly nowhere

    Flying forward is hard enough, but flying nowhere, just hovering, is so much harder. Most bats and birds can manage the feat for only a few frantic seconds.

    Hovering means losing a useful aerodynamic shortcut, says aerospace engineer and biologist David Lentink of Stanford University. As a bat or bird flies forward, its body movement sends air flowing around the wings and providing some...

    10/15/2018 - 07:00 Animals, Biophysics