A wise old owl sat on an oak;
The more he saw the less he spoke;
The less he spoke the more he heard.
Why aren’t we like that wise old bird?
Animal Pics/OWL – BB EYES
CUTE/ SPIDER – WEB
Spiders and some insects use silk to build strong webs and spin cocoons, and now scientists have figured out how to use the material for something even more amazing: electronic computer chips.
Many people have heard that spider silk is a sort of supermaterial: stronger than steel, tougher than Kevlar, and yet incredibly malleable and flexible. But the silk has other properties that make it ideal for use in electronic devices. Light can travel through a silk strand as easily as it does through a fiber optic cable.
“When we first tested spider silk, we didn’t know what to expect,” said physicist Nolwenn Huby of the Institut de Physique de Rennes in France. “We thought, ‘Why not try this as an optical fiber to propagate light?’”
Huby and her team were able to transmit laser light down a short strand of the silk on an integrated circuit chip. The silk worked much like glass fiber optic cables, meaning it could carry information for electronic devices, though it had about four orders of magnitude more loss than the glass. Huby said that with a coating and further development, the silk could one day have better transmission capabilities. She will present her results at this year’s Frontiers in Optics conference, Oct. 14 to 18 in Rochester, New York.
The achievement could open the door to medical applications, such as silk fibers carrying light to places in the body for internal imaging. Because spider silk is incredibly thin — roughly five microns in diameter or 10 times thinner than a human hair – surgeons could perform diagnostic exams using very small openings in the body.
“These materials are harmless, so you can implant them,” said biomedical engineer Fiorenzo Omenetto of Tufts University in Somerville, Massachusetts, who has been working in this field for years and will also be giving a talk on opportunities for silk in high-tech products at Frontiers in Optics. “The body has no reaction to them.”
Omenetto envisions future applications where, after a medical procedure, doctors and surgeons place a silk bandage in a patient embedded with electronic functions to monitor for possible infections. The patient can be closed up and then never have to worry about having the monitoring device taken out again because the body will simply absorb the material. Already his team has developed a small implantable radio frequency heater that could sterilize an area against bacteria.
For his applications Omenetto uses silkworm silk – the kind you find in fancy clothing, ties, and underwear. It shares many of the same properties as spider silk but can be manufactured on an industrial scale. Silkworms can be grown close together and produce copious silk fibers while spiders need lots of space, are often cannibalistic of their neighbors, and produce fewer quantities of silk.
Omenetto simply takes the silk from textiles and boils it in water to extract the silky proteins. His team is able to use this mixture to produce a sort of plastic that is 100 percent natural. Because it is fully biodegradable, electronic silk technology could potentially become widespread. By doping materials with silk, Omenetto’s team has created a device that can shoot a blue laser beam. The gadget’s components are fully compostable and also use less power than equivalent acrylic laser shooters.
With a great deal of further development, e-waste could be a thing of the past. Whenever a new snazzy cellphone comes out, you could simply compost your old model instead of leaving it to languish in a dump, slowly leaching toxic chemicals. But such electronics are still decades away, said Omenetto. Compostable circuits are one thing but engineers would still need to figure out how to make biodegradable batteries, interfaces, and everything else in modern-day electronics, he added.
“We have to be very realistic about these things,” he said.
Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog’s owners, Ron, his wife Lisa , and their little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.
I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn’t do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.
As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.
The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker ‘s family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.
The little boy seemed to accept Belker’s transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker’s Death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives.
Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, ”I know why.”
Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I’d never heard a more comforting explanation. It has changed the way I try and live.
He said,”People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life — like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?” The Six-year-old continued,
”Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.”
Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:
When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure Ecstasy.
Stretch before rising.
Run, romp, and play daily.
Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.
On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
Never pretend to be something you’re not.
If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.
This dog was born with three legs in December 2002. She was nearly killed by her own mother but was saved and taken in by a loving owner. Despite having one of her three legs amputated and doctors suggesting that she be put to sleep, Faith persevered and learned to hop around. What was Faith’s motivation? Like most dogs, food. In this case, it was peanut butter. Amazingly, Faith evolved from hopping around to walking. Her story is a testament to the fact that a physical deformity does not necessarily suggest a lack of mental toughness!
A farmer had some puppies he needed to sell. He painted a sign advertising the pups and set about nailing it to a post on the edge of his yard. As he was driving the last nail into the post, he felt a tug on his overalls. He looked down into the eyes of a little boy.
“Mister,” he said, “I want to buy one of your puppies.”
“Well,” said the farmer, as he rubbed the sweat of the back of his neck, “These puppies come from fine parents and cost a good deal of money.”
The boy dropped his head for a moment. Then reaching deep into his pocket, he pulled out a handful of change and held it up to the farmer. “I’ve got 39 cents. Is that enough at least to take a look?”
“Sure,” said the farmer. And with that he let out a whistle. “Here, Dolly!” he called.
Out from the doghouse and down the ramp ran Dolly followed by four little balls of fur. The little boy pressed his face against the chain link fence. His eyes danced with delight. As the dogs made their way to the fence, the little boy noticed something else stirring inside the doghouse.
Slowly another little fur ball appeared, this one noticeably smaller. Down the ramp it slid. Then the little pup began awkwardly wobbling toward the others, doing its best to catch up. “I want that one,” the little boy said, quickly pointing to the runt.
The farmer knelt down at the boy’s side and said, “Son, you don’t want that puppy. He will never be able to run and play with you like these other dogs would.”
With that the little boy stepped back from the fence, reached down, and began rolling up one leg of his trousers.
In doing so he revealed a steel brace running down both sides of his leg attaching itself to a specially made shoe.
Looking back up at the farmer, he said, “You see, sir, I don’t run too well myself, and he will need someone who understands.”
With tears in his eyes, the farmer reached down and picked up the little pup. Holding it carefully he handed it to the little boy.
“How much?” asked the little boy. “No charge,” answered the farmer, “There’s no charge for love and understanding.”
Like that special puppy, the world is full of people who need someone who understands.
– Author Unknown
26.1.13 FAB: FACTORY – REPORTING FACTORY FARMING
How do you keep consumers in the dark about the horrors of factory farms? By making it an “act of terrorism” for anyone to investigate animal cruelty, food safety or environmental violations on the corporate-controlled farms that produce the bulk of our meat, eggs and dairy products.
And who better to write the Animal and Ecological Terrorism Act, designed to protect Big Ag and Big Energy, than the lawyers on the Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force at the corporate-funded and infamous American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
New Hampshire, Wyoming and Nebraska are the latest states to introduce Ag-Gag laws aimed at preventing employees, journalists or activists from exposing illegal or unethical practices on factory farms. Lawmakers in 10 other states introduced similar bills in 2011-2012. The laws passed in three of those states: Missouri, Iowa and Utah. But consumer and animal-welfare activists prevented the laws from passing in Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York and Tennessee.
In all, six states now have Ag-Gag laws, including North Dakota, Montana and Kansas, all of which passed the laws in 1990-1991, before the term “Ag-Gag” was coined.