Engineering self-assembling amyloid fibers

Nature has many examples of self-assembly, and bioengineers are interested in copying these systems to create useful new materials or devices. Amyloid proteins, for example, can self-assemble into the tangled plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease — but can also form very useful materials, such as spider silk, or biofilms around living cells. Researchers have now come up with methods to manipulate natural proteins so that they self-assemble into amyloid fibrils. —> Read More Here

Massive Asteroid Aproaches Near Earth


Asteroid (537439) 2004 BL86 was approaching earth on Sunday. At over a half-kilometer wide, we’re fortunate that it will pass at a distance three times the distance to the moon. It’s the largest known asteroid of this size, passing this close, until 2027!

I photographed the comet for a couple of hours last night. I didn’t use a telescope, just a DSLR with a 200 mm lens. I did use a star-tracking mount to minimize star movement as the earth rotates. The image above was created from over 60 individual photos of the asteroid as it approached. I also created the time-lapse video below from 119 of the photos:

The asteroid passes the earth during daylight hours on Monday for those of us in North America, but we’ll have another chance to see it Monday night before it heads back out into space. It’s too soon to say how close the asteroid may come to us on its next lap of the sun. Fortunately, given the size of its orbit, we won’t have to worry about this particular asteroid coming back for another 8000 years. —> Read More Here

Here’s 4.5 Billion Years Of The Moon’s Evolution In One 30-Second GIF

Its pockmarked surface may seem timeless, but the truth is our moon hasn’t always looked the way it does today.

To get a sense of how Earth’s only natural satellite has changed — and the violent forces that caused the changes — have a look at this magnificent GIF (below) that was recently posted to Reddit by Redditor mike_pants.

A sped-up version of a 2012 NASA video, the GIF compresses the moon’s 4.5-billion year evolution in just 30 seconds.

The GIF has been seen more than 2.5 million times since it was uploaded. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s definitely worth a look.

How exactly did the moon form in the first place? For the answer, check out the “Talk Nerdy To Me” video below.

—> Read More Here

Editor/Aviation Historian Fails to Fly


Opinions Expressed are those of The Writer

Once again, the Whitehead Affair is heating to full boil. The reader might remember that in 2013 Paul Jackson, the editor of the aerospace industry guidebook, Jane’s All The World’s Aircraft, proclaimed Gustave Whitehead as being the first human to fly, in August of 1901, near Bridgeport, Connecticut, some two years prior to the first flights of Wilbur and Orville Wright.

To say this caused a “flap” (not as in “flapping wings”) would be a major understatement, and to say that this coronation by Jane’s editor was with merit would be an erroneous statement. The editor was persuaded by the flimsy “evidence” presented by a part-time aviation history dabbler who was and still is employed by a company in Germany which says it will (someday) produce a “car plane” — a roadable airplane, a flying car.

Since mid-2013, there have been several political battles between those in elected office in Connecticut on the one hand and on the other hand those in North Carolina, site of the Wrights’ first flights, and the Wrights’ home state of Ohio, over which state can claim the honors.

Lost in much of the discussion and debate over —> Read More Here

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