Photovoltaic Hornets?

Hornet
Researchers have discovered that a species of hornet might be able to convert sunlight directly into energy via pigments in it’s exoskeleton…

Ishay found that shining light on the hornets—live, anesthetized or even dead—could produce voltage differences of several hundred millivolts across their hard exoskeletons, which suggested that the cuticle material making up the exoskeletons was effectively an organic semiconductor converting light into electricity. Indeed, Ishay even found that shining ultraviolet light on an anesthetized hornet would wake it up faster, as though the light were recharging the insect.

If this proved to be an accurate assessment of the insects abilities it might be possible to ‘grow’ photovoltaic cells.
(Thanks to special field researcher Greg for this link)

via Bug Juice: Hornet May Turn Sunlight Into Electricity

Giant Insects For Science, Honest!

DragonflyI’ve waited a long time for someone to run this experiment!

The giant dragonflies of ancient Earth with wingspans of up to 70 centimeters (28 inches) are generally attributed to higher oxygen atmospheric levels in the atmosphere in the past. New experiments in raising modern insects in various oxygen-enriched atmospheres have confirmed that dragonflies grow bigger with more oxygen, or hyperoxia.

I can hardly wait for more work to be done in this field. I expect that after many generations of insects being raised in a hyperoxic environment there might be some substantial differences between them and their low O2 brothers. Maybe they should try this on fruit flies due to they rapid reproductive rate. The stated goal should be a humming bird sized fruit fly within 20 years. Quite safe outside the lab due to the extra oxygen needed unless someone invents a tiny SCUBA system for them to wear… Please don’t tell DARPA about this one!
Raising giant insects to unravel ancient oxygen

Danes In Space!

Copenhagen Suborbitals HEATSoon a group of volunteers from Denmark will be pushing the boundaries for human endeavor. Well, humans that live in Denmark and are not affiliated with a major aerospace concern. These adventitious will be launching a test rocket as part of their attempt to put a man into space. The launch is to occur in the Baltic Sea on August 31th and is all goes well will reach 150,000 feet.

from their website: “This is a non-profit suborbital space endeavor, based entirely on sponsors and volunteers.
Our mission is to launch a human being into space.  We are working fulltime to develop a series of suborbital space vehicles – designed to pave the way for manned space flight on a micro size spacecraft.  Two rocket vehicles are under development. A small unmanned sounding rocket, named Hybrid Atmospheric Test Vehicle or HATV and a larger booster rocket named Hybrid Exo Atmospheric Transporter or HEAT, designed to carry a micro spacecraft into a suborbital trajectory in space.”

I hope all goes well for them. If they are successful they will be the first organization to enter the manned spaceflight game entirely without government donations.

[via WIRED]
Copenhagen Suborbitals

ATOMIC-ANNIHILATION

The name says it all. Atomic Annihilation, what a more fitting title for a page dedicated to the art of the atomic age. See the atomic powered bombers, the ‘duck and cover’ posters, downwind fallout projections, the very missiles that were to rain vaporizing death in the event of the balloon going up. This is a wonderful collection of cold war inspired artwork and photography that has played a vital role in shaping the very way we think and speak. Enjoy the trip to the past and hope that it truly is behind us.

ATOMIC-ANNIHILATION