Scientists from the University of Bristol have discovered that flowers use patterns of electrical signals in concert with the flower’s other attractive signals to enhance floral attraction to insect pollinators such as bumblebees.
Insects use several senses to forage, detecting floral cues such as color, shape, pattern, and volatiles. We report a formerly unappreciated sensory modality in bumblebees (Bombus terrestris), detection of floral electric fields. These fields act as floral cues, which are affected by the visit of naturally charged bees. Like visual cues, floral electric fields exhibit variations in pattern and structure, which can be discriminated by bumblebees. We also show that such electric field information contributes to the complex array of floral cues that together improve a pollinator’s memory of floral rewards. Because floral electric fields can change within seconds, this sensory modality may facilitate rapid and dynamic communication between flowers and their pollinators.
Do you like B-movies as much as I do, especially sci-fi and horror b-movies? If so, here’s a treat for you…
Below is a new trailer to Christopher R. Mihm’s upcoming retro creature feature, The Giant Spider — due to release in 2013. Check the website for more info.
Synopsis: When radiation left behind by atomic weapons testing creates a gigantic killer mutant arachnid, it’s up to a trio of scientists, an Army general, and a newspaper reporter and his fiancée to figure out how to stop the hungry beast from devouring the entire county.
In order to make fragile museum objects more accessible so visitors can interact with them and learn more about them, designer Maaike Roozenburg created the ‘Smart Replicas‘ project. The aim is to examine how 3D prototyping can be used to replicate historical items and how augmented reality can be used to enrich them with information. They are presented in small glass cabinets with tiny pieces of card giving a visitor minimal information. It is such a pity because these objects were not made to be shown in a museum, but to be used.
Diamonds were in demand this Valentine’s Day for romantic reasons, but the U.S. military is interested in the synthetic version of this gem all year round for entirely different use.
While American defense companies may not be in the jewelry business, defense sector giants like Raytheon are certainly exploring the potential of this quintessential gem for defense applications.
Laboratory-grown diamonds, when combined with semiconductor gallium nitride, have very promising potential to be an essential component to next generation radar, communications and electronic warfare systems. Research suggests that it is possible to get more power and see farther with diamonds- making them a potent defense asset.