'... Lots of people believe the Universe is infinite, but there's a good possibility that might not be the case. Which means that there would be an actual edge of the Universe. What happens at that edge? Is there a restaurant? Join Matt on this week’s episode of Space Time as he explores the greatest expanses of our Universe. So what do you find when you reach the edge? More Universe? Bubble Universes? Back where you started?! Check out this episode of Space Time to find out!
'It’s the ultimate deception and proof that plants are sometimes smarter than animals: grass seeds mimic antelope droppings to deceive dung beetles into dispersing and burying them.
The seeds of Ceratocaryum argenteum are 1 centimetre long, round and brown – just like the droppings of a small antelope called a bontebok – but also strongly scented, emitting many volatile chemicals that are found in herbivore faeces.
Jeremy Midgley at the University of Cape Town in South Africa and colleagues say that the plant, which is endemic to the De Hoop Nature Reserve, is the clearest known example of plants deceiving animals to help them disperse seeds.
Midgley had thought the seeds were being dispersed by field mice. But when his team set up cameras to investigate, they discovered that the rodents weren’t interested. Instead, the footage captured dung beetles rolling and burying the seeds.
Dung beetles are suckers for dung, which they usually roll into balls and bury as food storage or to lay their eggs in.'
'... Last week, Google announced that it would be bringing Google Link–fiber optic cables to enhance the reliability and speed of internet connections–to Ghana after a successful pilot in Uganda. The program is designed to improve Internet access across Africa, a service that is needed on that continent more than any other. According to data from Internet Live Stats, eight of the world’s ten least connected countries are in Africa.
The world’s least connected country is dictator-controlled Eritrea, located in the Horn of Africa, where only .91% of residents have access to the internet. Eritrea has been called the North Korea of Africa in the international press for its extremely isolated citizens and devastating human rights record, but on some measures, Eritrea might be worse: Eritreans are actually less likely to have a cell phone or landline than North Koreans.
'Homo naledi, the ancient human ancestor whose fossils have been retrieved from a South African cave, may have been handy with tools and walked much like a person, according to scientists who examined its well-preserved foot and hand bones.
Its foot and hand anatomy shared many characteristics with our species but possessed some primitive traits useful for tree climbing, the researchers said on Tuesday.
Scientists last month announced the discovery of this previously unknown species in the human linage in a cave northwest of Johannesburg. The new research offers fresh insight into a creature that is providing valuable clues about human evolution.'
'A heart of foam could replace your own. Researchers inspired by soft robots have built a pumping artificial heart that could one day replace the real deal.
The team tested the material with a few simple bending and extending devices that move when filled with air, then constructed a simple model of the human heart. It only has two chambers – as opposed to our four – but powering the heart with air makes it flex and pump water between them. But the foam heart doesn’t visibly beat on the outside because the plastic skin means all the expansion happens internally.'
Poroelastic Foams for Simple Fabrication of Complex Soft Robots - Mac Murray - 2015 - Advanced Materials - Wiley Online Library
Open-celled, elastomeric foams allow the simple design of fully 3D pneumatic soft machines using common forming techniques. This is demonstrated through fabrication of simple actuators and an entirely soft, functional fluid pump formed in the shape of the human heart. The device pumps at physiologically relevant frequencies and pressures and attains a flow rate higher than all previously reported soft pumps.'
- University of TwentePhysics: teaching & research, 1970 - 2001
- Leiden UniversityPhysical Chemistry, 1962 - 1970
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