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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Human Genome? Evidence for the three lines of inheritance from Ham, Shem and Japheth after the Noahic Flood and a short human timeline

While I give Darwinist commenters a chance to shore up the unfortunately silly assertions of Hawking and Sagan and consider the cosmological argument, here is a great Creation article:


Does Genetics Point to a Single Primal Couple?

 

A response to claims to the contrary from BioLogos

 
Published: 30 April 2011(GMT+10)
Genetic Bottleneck

Jon P., from the United States, wrote in with questions about a recent article on our site titled Adam, Eve and Noah vs. Modern Genetics. He first quotes from the CMI article, then references an article that appeared on the theistic evolutionary BioLogos website that supposedly contradicts it. His short letter is printed in full followed by a response from Robert Carter.

Jon P. writes:
“The important take home point is that essentially all of the genetic variation among people today could have been carried within two people,…”
What about what Biologos says that contradicts what you have written? [Link removed as per Feedback rules.]
Dr. Carter responds:

Dear Jon,
I am familiar with Falk and Venema’s article, having read it when it was first posted, and am pleased to finally have an excuse to write a retort.

First, you must read Lita Cosner’s article Evolutionary syncretism: a critique of BioLogos. You will also want to consult A response to Timothy Keller’s ‘Creation, Evolution and Christian laypeople’. 
 
Regarding the science, we must ask, “What would we expect the data to indicate if Adam and Eve actually existed?”


Second, regarding the science, we must ask, “What would we expect the data to indicate if Adam and Eve actually existed?” As I attempted to demonstrate in my article, the data fit very nicely into the biblical model of one founding couple for all of humanity who lived a few thousand years ago. There was one founding female (directly predicted by the creation model and allowed in the evolution model, so this not really evidence for either side). There was one founding male (also non-conclusive). There are three main mitochondrial lineages in the world, found (unequally) among the people groups scattered across the world, with only a few differences between the founder lineages of the three groups (a better fit to the creation model, why did only three sub-lineages of closely-related mtDNAs escape Africa?, etc.). There was a single dispersal of people in the recent past (a better fit to the creation model, but Out of Africa can also be used as an explanation). There was a population bottleneck (a direct prediction of the biblical model and an ad hoc addition to the Out of Africa theory). In short, there are a lot of things in genetics that support the biblical narrative. This would not be expected if Genesis was a random and made-up story (or collection of stories).

You might also be interested in what we have already written on the subject, including the first seven articles (at the time of this writing) on our Genetics Q&A page.

Now, let us deal with the meat of Falk and Venema’s arguments. They give three supposedly independent lines of evidence that point away from Adam and Eve and toward standard evolutionary history. I will treat each in turn:


Method 1: Bottleneck

 

The authors claim 1) there was a dramatic reduction in the size of the human population in the past (this is called a “genetic bottleneck”), but that 2) this does not square with the biblical model of Adam and Eve. They are conflating several things here and seemed confused about what the Bible states about possible bottlenecks. I know what they are trying to do, but there are two separate issues here: the creation of Adam and Eve and the bottleneck that occurred during Noah’s Flood about 1,600 years later.

They say the genetic bottleneck caused by the creation of Adam and Eve would be extreme, since a maximum of only four versions of every genetic variation could be contained with Adam and Eve (because each carried two copies of each chromosome: 2+2=4). What they fail to point out, however, is that most genetic variation comes in two versions and these versions are found distributed throughout the world’s population. When we find more variation than that, the third, fourth, etc., versions of the gene in question are usually restricted to specific subpopulations. In other words, these are mutations that have occurred since the human population spread out after Babel.
Falk and Venema say:
“In short, the genetic impact of such an event would leave a stamp on the genome of that species that would persist for tens of thousands of generations as mutations slowly generated genetic diversity.”
There is a surprising lack of diversity among people worldwide.


But this is exactly what we are seeing. There is a surprising lack of diversity among people worldwide. Most of the diversity is shared among all populations, however, and diversity is increasing over time due to mutation in each of the sub populations.

They go on to say that there is abundant evidence for a population bottleneck, but not the biblical one.

Part of their error comes from the fact that they do not consider the bottleneck that occurred at the Flood, where the entire world’s population was reduced to three reproducing couples. My article discusses this in more depth.

Another part of their error is their appeal to mutation rate theory to calibrate the size of the ancestral population during the bottleneck. The mutation rates used in the calculations generally depend on assumptions of common ancestry,1 which is the very question we are trying to answer. One cannot use an assumption to prove itself! Measurable mutation rates are generally several orders of magnitude faster than those used in evolutionary studies. Using a measured rate would shrink the size of the bottleneck population.

Another part of their error comes from the fact that the authors substitute an evolutionary bottleneck for the biblical one. In evolutionary mathematics and theory, one rarely considers a single-generation bottleneck. Rather, a “bottleneck” is defined as a restriction in the population size that lasts long enough to have an effect. A single-generation event (e.g., Noah’s Flood), with a rapid expansion of the population afterward (prior to and after Babel), will lead to a negligible loss of diversity.

An interesting illustration of this can be seen in Figure 6.2 of Sanford et al. (2007).2 In this example, a 500-generation bottleneck leads to a faster loss of “fitness” than would have been true without the bottleneck. Genetic diversity also goes down, but this is not being shown in the graph. I do not have a convenient reference that illustrates a one-generation bottleneck, but you can reproduce one using the genetic modeling program, Mendel’s Accountant (see reference above). Short bottlenecks have little effect on genetic diversity.

The three founding Ark couples could have carried a huge percentage of the pre-Flood genetic variation (Adam and Eve’s diversity + pre-Flood mutations), with the exception of the Y chromosome (total loss of all but one line) and mtDNA (restricted to three lines). Hence, the biblical model fits the available data nicely and the data do not serve as an easy refutation of Adam and Eve.


Method 2: Alus

 

Alus are small pieces of DNA that occur all over the human genome. Historically, they have been considered to be “junk DNA”, free to jump around and insert themselves into the genome at will.
The authors assume Alu insertions are random. Thus, they treat Alus in the traditional sense, as a class of ‘junk DNA’. My quote from Methane, Ethane, and Pseudogene Functions is appropriate to restate here: “The junk DNA argument is like a zombie. It is dead and buried, but keeps coming back …

Since nothing else is waiting in the wings, they desperately cling to a decaying corpse of a theory.”
Please read The slow, painful death of junk DNA. In this article, I discuss another group of “jumping genes”, retrotransposons, and how our understanding of them has shifted to the point where we now believe they are decidedly functional. I predict Alus are going to fall into the functional class as well. Think about it, they represent a pervasive and active class of DNA elements, with many subfamilies and insertion points unique to humans. They subsume a sizable percentage of the human genome.

They are amazingly similar among themselves and among the world population. If they were “junk” they should be slowly mutating to oblivion. And, they have to be maintained. A significant amount of energy and time is taken up by the cell to maintain Alus. Would not selection pressures weed out these parasitic elements over time? The rule in biology is that form follows function. Alus have a strong form, therefore…

As functional genetic elements, Alus probably do not jump randomly. Their argument is based on the assumption of random jumping. If jumping and insertion is predictable due to environment or a pre-programmed genetic algorithm that controls Alu movement, the argument fails. Time will tell who is correct, but, like Method #1, their conclusions are driven by their starting assumptions.

 

Method 3: HapMap data

 

The HapMap Project3 was designed to catalog a significant fraction of human genetic diversity. They analyzed millions of variants in thousands of people from around the world and made the data freely available. One might wonder, if the HapMap is so unfriendly to the creation model, why do I have much of that data stored on my hard drive? In fact, I am quite happy with what we learned from the project (I am even happier with the 1000 genomes project, which is a step above HapMap, but which is not yet complete). What have we learned?
  1. The human genome is young: shared blocks of DNA are large and there has not been enough time to scramble them to randomness.
  2. The human population came from a single source: most blocks are shared among all world populations.
  3. The human genome is falling apart: deletions tend to NOT be shared among populations, but are unique to subpopulations (this is further evidence for the youth of the genome and that we came from a single source population in the recent past).
The authors once again assume evolutionary theory in their argument. They also assume recombination is random. If it is not, most of what they say falls apart. But the latest data indicate recombination is controlled by genetic factors that vary among populations and that change over time.4

We have a lot of work yet to do on this, but the data are not contradictory to Adam and Eve being our ancestors and living only 6,000 years ago. In fact, the genetic diversity God put into Adam and Eve is still being scrambled by recombination. I hope that, one day, some enterprising creationist is going to take the data (when enough accumulates) and use it to backtrack human history, arriving at Adam and Eve. For now, however, I am comfortable that there is no obvious disproof of Adam and Eve in the HapMap data, despite the authors’ assertions to the contrary.

Summary:

 

Falk and Venema claim their three methodologies are independent, but they are not, for each is based on evolutionary assumptions. Not only that, but they are not necessarily rock-solid, even using evolutionary arguments. Also, none of the three “big arguments” falsifies creation. In fact, I am quite at ease with all of them and will happily use them as arguments for creation in the future.
Thanks for a great question and for giving me the opportunity to wax eloquent on one of my favorite subjects.
Sincerely,
Robert Carter

Related articles

Further reading

References

  1. E.g., if chimps and humans have been separated for 6 million years and there are N differences between two genes shared between the two species, the mutation rate would be N/6,000,000. Return to text.
  2. Sanford, J., et al., Mendel’s Accountant: A biologically realistic forward-time population genetics program. SCPE 8(2):147-165, 2007. This paper can be accessed here: http://mendelsaccount.sourceforge.net/ (scroll down to the references). Return to text.
  3. HapMap.org Return to text.
  4. Parvanov, E.D., et al., Prdm9 controls activation of mammalian recombination hotspots. Science 327:835, 2010; Berg, I.L., et al., PRDM9 variation strongly influences recombination hot-spot activity and meiotic instability in humans. Nature Genetics 42(10):859-864, 2010. Return to text.

Greenhouse gas and the concept of Real Science versus PC Science.

Politically correct science is almost always fatally flawed.   If you look back at the history of science, you will see that Aristotle's way of looking at the world which became the Ptolemaic method of scientific reasoning was terribly flawed.  It was Aristotle's scientific method of postulation rather than investigation that led to the Roman Catholic Church to agree with Greek geocentricism, for instance, and it was God-fearing scientists like Copernicus, Brahe and Kepler who put heliocentricism on the table and eventually doubting scientists had to agree with them.   The scientific establishment fought against the idea of the Sun being at the center of the Solar System equally as hard as the rulers of the Church.  Keep in mind that the Church was part of the governance system of the past in Europe.  So therefore traditional scientists, the government and the church establishment were all against Copernican heliocentricism and only yielded after many years and in the face of overwhelming evidence.

Today we see that traditional science has revised the scientific method to include naturalism and that academics and scientists and governments have all conspired to prop up Darwinism and continually repeat the mantra that "Evolution is an established fact" when it is actually a failed hypothesis.  One day we will see the name of Henry Morris revered as a pioneer who led the fight against Darwinism much as Copernicus is revered now as a key scientist who fought the establishment and eventually had geocentricism eliminated by revealing it to be completely wrong even if accepted by the ruling paradigm.   When that day comes, this blog will be only one tiny fragment of the movement to bring Darwinism to it's knees and see it beheaded and debunked but it will be a great day for both me and mankind.

Much like Darwinism, the concept of Anthropic Global Warming is yet another ridiculous and fraudulent concept that is exceedingly harmful to mankind and is also politically correct.  Scientist For Truth lays out the situation nicely below:


World Food Supplies and Carbon Emissions

We are constantly hearing reports that a new revolution in agriculture is necessary to feed the world. With hysterical propaganda the media are hectoring us that global warming/climate change is going to make matters worse and reduce crop yields. In the June issue of National Geographic there is a special report entitled The end of plenty: the global food crisis. The article pays homage to the eighteenth century cleric Thomas Malthus as though he were a prophet, such as in his saying that “The power of population is indefinitely greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man”. That was absolute rot in his day, and it’s absolute rot now. There was a ‘power in the earth’ that he knew nothing about – fossil fuels – that supported the greatest increase in subsistence, population and living standards this world has ever known, and can continue to do so even when the fuels are exhausted (as we shall see below). This world is never going to run out of carbon, water, nitrogen, phosphorous, or any other substance needed to grow crops, and when we can no longer get at them easily by using fossil fuels there will be another ‘power in the earth’ called uranium, and from that plutonium, that will enable us to extract them and produce them in the forms we need from all the materials at our disposal.

But such deranged thinking as Malthus committed to writing has been embraced by the neo-Malthusians, who are intent on reducing the population of the world by two thirds by getting the developed world to buy into evil policies such as reduction in fossil fuel use, introducing wasteful carbon capture and storage, embracing hugely inefficient and silly ‘renewable’ energy schemes rather than cheaper modern nuclear power, and use of biofuels, which take land out of food production and massively increase food prices, all in the end causing poverty, starvation and death to those at the bottom of the ladder in the developing world.

But what if we could introduce a supply of nutrient into farming as a by-product of improved lifestyles that would cost nothing, was completely harmless to all life forms, would need no human labour to apply, and would be effective at improving crop yields on all foods crops in every part of the world? This nutrient would improve crop yields by 30-100%, would enable crops to grow in arid soils with poor nutrients and little water, would make crops resistant to frost and heat damage, would enable crops to grow in areas of high salination and high air pollution, would speed up and shorten the growing cycle, would require less light, would allow most of the world’s crops to out-compete native weeds, would reduce the need for pesticide and weedkiller, would reduce soil erosion, would improve nitrogen fixation, and would reduce food prices…would you be interested? Unlike so-called ‘organic farming’, which permanently poisons the soil with copper salts and makes agriculture extremely inefficient, and food more expensive, and so plays into the hands of the Malthusians, this nutrient has massive benefits across the range. This wonderful nutrient is called carbon dioxide, and an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide has all these wonderful beneficial effects without a shadow of a doubt.

There is a conspiracy of silence on this. The weedkiller and pesticide manufacturers don’t want this known; neither do those who are doing genetic modification; there’s no money in this for them. The fervent believers in the new Eco-religion, whether they know it or not, are in the pocket of the Malthusians and doing their bidding, and certainly don’t want this inconvenient truth known. The very policies of trying to reduce carbon dioxide emissions (or, with carbon capture and storage, taking them out of the atmosphere completely so that they can never be of any use to anyone – a very wicked policy) are directed towards robbing the world of the very benefits it needs to feed more people and reduce food prices.

This truly is a conspiracy of gigantic and horrific proportions: the article in National Geographic has not a single word to say about the direct effects of increasing atmospheric CO2 on crop growth, robustness and resource requirements – that in an article about the future of global food crops, which are all made of carbon compounds photosynthesized from carbon atoms sequestered from atmospheric carbon dioxide. However, unlike the global warming hypotheses, which are scientific fraud and have been falsified, the positive benefits of increasing atmospheric CO2 can be – and have been – tested in laboratories and field trials for decades. Anyone can read the results of painstaking research in the literature, and any test centre can reproduce all the beneficial effects described in the previous paragraph, and within weeks and months can confirm the truth of them – this is real reproducible hard science. There are literally thousands of published papers detailing hard scientific results, going back decades. So important is this, and so completely are we being duped to adopt exactly the opposite policy on carbon dioxide to the great detriment of the world’s poorest, that we are dedicating several posts over the coming months to set out the actual scientific evidence for all to see. We will prove all of the points made in favour of CO2 above, and many more. The evidence is incontrovertible.

The agronomist Dr Sylvan Wittwer, Director Emeritus of the Agricultural Experiment Station at Michigan State University and Professor Emeritus of Horticulture, former Chairman of the Board on Agriculture of the National Research Council, consultant for all International Agricultural Research Centers, and all U.S. federal agencies relating to agriculture and environment, and author of more than 750 peer-reviewed studies, in his excellent book Food, Climate, and Carbon Dioxide: The Global Environment and World Food Production (CRC Press, 1995) summarizes the situation as follows:
As far as food and agricultural crops are concerned with variables thus far imposed, most growth responses to elevated levels of atmospheric CO2 are favourable. They include increases in total dry weight, root growth, higher root/top ratios, leaf area, weight per unit area, leaf thickness, stem height, branching and seed, and fruit number and weight. Organ size may also increase along with root/top ratios…Important for agriculture is that there is an increase in the harvest index and the marketable product, and a shortening of the growing season with earlier maturity resulting in reductions in both water and pesticide requirement.
But Wittwer saw that, going back to the 1970s (when the neo-Malthusians hit upon the idea of scaring the world with global warming and pinning the cause on industrial development),
There has been, and still remains, a great reluctance on the part of many climatologists and ecologists, and especially environmentalists, to accept the concept that the rising level of CO2 could be more beneficial than harmful for plant growth, food production, and the overall biosphere (Rozema et al, 1993). Yet the scientific evidence is overwhelming.
Since scientists are supposed to deal with factual evidence, Wittwer thus could discern what he describes a ‘mystery’, and expresses surprise with a touch of irony about ‘an educated and enlightened generation’:
One of the remaining mysteries of modern science and technology, and presumably an educated and enlightened generation, is that in the majority of studies of global food security (FAO, 1981, 1984, 1986; Meadows et al., 1972; Crosson and Anderson, 1992) there is a failure to factor in any climate variables, even though climate is the most determinative factor in agricultural productivity (Oram, 1989
Since Witter wrote that there have been a whole raft of reports that have included aspects of climate – but only the hypothetical negative ones concocted by the climate alarmists of course, and with the neglect of all the positive aspects such as increased CO2, which are hard scientific facts, not discredited hypotheses. This makes it no longer merely a deficiency in the analysis, which is bad enough, but a premeditated unscientific and wholly irrational negative bias on the analysis bent on promoting the reduction of CO2 emissions because of their alleged effects on climate change (the convenient lie), but in realty because of their actual beneficial effects (the inconvenient truth). It is now too kind to describe this as a ‘mystery’.

Wittwer continues
Furthermore, seldom, if ever, in textbooks and other documentaries on agricultural food production, are the fertilizing effects of atmospheric CO2 acknowledged. This was true over 30 years ago (Norman, 1962). Now, after more than a century [of controlled experiments, and the evidence of the benefits over the whole twentieth century], and with the confirmation of thousands of scientific reports, CO2 gives the most remarkable response of all nutrients in plant bulk, is usually in short supply [note well!], and is nearly always limiting for photosynthesis [i.e. its shortage rather than other factors usually sets the limits on the rate of photosynthesis]. Moreover, in some of the latest reports and projections on world food production and security, the rising levels of atmospheric CO2 as a contributing plant growth factor do not receive mention (Crosson and Anderson, 1992; Edwards et al., 1990; Per Pinstrup-Andersen, 1994; World Food Council, 1992.)
Yes, there’s a conspiracy of silence, but this issue is going to receive more than a mention on this site.

~~~~~~

 

There were no factories during the time of the Medieval Warming Period, a time of plenty for humanity, when crops and animal farming took place in Greenland, when grapes grew in Britain, when the world food supply allowed for the growth and spread of humanity and civilization.  The cycle of warming and cooling that the Earth undergoes is caused primarily by Solar activity and the tiny fraction of CO2 in the atmosphere is not enough to cause such changes but is nothing more than plant food.  Yes, all this "going green" nonsense is a result of paganism aka environmentalism that has no basis in scientific evidence and is in fact counter to what we know about the impact of CO2 on the planet.  More of it means plants grow faster and need less water.   We should be cheering for those who produce CO2, not taxing them or forcing them to quit doing it!

Malthus and Darwinism and Eugenics are historically linked.  Such hypotheses are used by those seeking to control others to form tyrannical forms of government.  You and I, if you live in the USA, are experiencing a recession right now because the EPA, an arm of the executive branch that makes determinations outside of legislative action, has stopped new drilling for oil, stopped a natural gas pipeline from the North to the mainland of the USA, has stopped atomic energy plants...has stopped businesses from seeking out and producing more energy, thus stopping job growth and bringing more Americans into poverty.   The Obama Administration is the overseer to the EPA.  Need I say more?  Your higher prices at the gas pump, the grocery store, the doctor and everywhere are being raised artificially by the actions of your own government!!!  One reason why?  Politically correct thought, which is anti-science and pagan in origin.  Cue Dr. Beisner:

The Competing World Views of Environmentalism and Christianity

E. Calvin Beisner, Ph.D.
Founder and National Spokesman
The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation

Religion is the root of any culture, and environmentalism has become a full-fledged religion in its own right. It is the most comprehensive substitute in the world today for Christianity so far as world view, theology, ethics, politics, economics, and science are concerned, and you need to understand it in order to counter it effectively, from presuppositions to policies, from classroom to movie theater, from evening network news to Internet and local newspaper.

And because environmentalism—the word coming from French meaning “surroundings,” that is, “everything,” and so meaning literally “everythingism”—because environmentalism is inherently totalitarian, demanding to define and control every aspect of life, it aims to take control of our entire political and legal structure, and indeed has already advanced far in that direction over the last three decades. You, as an individual, have a tremendously important role to play in the church’s battle against this impostor, with its alternative world view, its substitute doctrines of God, creation, man, sin, and salvation, and its lethal mix of bogus science and Marxist economics that threaten to fulfill the radical environmentalists’ and deep ecologists’ dream of ending industrial society and forcing humanity back into a primitive lifestyle—in which, as Thomas Hobbes put it, life was solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.

Read the Rest (pdf)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Biomimetics brings out the best and worst in humans. An argument for a Privileged Planet!

One would think that eventually logical people with at least ordinary intellect would see design found everywhere in existence, understand the barriers to chance occurrences are statistically impossible beyond comprehension and begin to accept that God created.   But what often happens is that people with PhD and other acronyms associated with learning and accomplishment begin to sound like tree-worshiping jungle natives who consider the Earth/Nature to be their God.  Pagan Pantheism is about as primitive and mindless a religion as one can imagine and yet...many scientists have made nature their god, as one can see by the language they use when discussing the designs they seek to copy from organisms.




Those of us who believe the logical concept of a Creator God find the idea of designs in organisms that are more sophisticated than man's mind has been able to think up simply underlines the wisdom and greatness of the Intelligent Designer.  Every time I read a scientific paper where nature or evolution is given credit for sophisticated designs I picture the beginning of "2001...A Space Oddysey" with the newest discovery being the big black monolith and today's scientists as the apes screaming and throwing bones and jumping up and down.  

I wish I could throw a bone up into the air and have a groovy big honking spaceship appear!  Only in the movies...Darwinism throws a bone up into the air and has a modern organism fall down.  In real life, throw a bone up and if it doesn't bonk you on the head on the way down there will probably be a dog or a raccoon that comes along and gnaws on it.   In fact, Darwinism cannot even account for the bone.  Epic fail!  I give you a more plausible explanation below...The awesome movie has come to youtube!!!






Biomimetics Is On a Roll     11/30/2010    

Nov 30, 2010 — There’s a gold rush on: a rush to copy living technology.  Scientists have found that plants, animals and cells have the solutions to problems that will help us all, if we will just study them, imitate them, or harness them.
  1. Jellyfish pumps:  Need a flexible pump for medical use?  Look no further than the aquarium tank, where jellyfish have mastered the art of propulsion with soft material.  Science Daily reported on work at Caltech to study how jellyfish do it.  “Jellyfish at millimeter scales, for example, exploit the small layer of water that adheres to their surface as they move and use it as additional paddle at no extra cost,  the article said.  “Further, a clever arrangement of multiple pacemakers within the jellyfish body allow for a reliable yet tunable pumping mechanism.”  One of the researchers “plans to use this practical understanding to help design a whole spectrum of flexible pumps that are optimized for different tasks and conditions.”
  2. Elephant trunks:  Getting robotic arms to act gracefully and gently has been a major challenge.  Imagine the pain of shaking hands with a typical robot.  Why not learn the secrets from an elephant, whose trunk can gently pick up a peanut out of a child’s hand?  That’s what Festo, a German company, did.  They created the “elephant’s trunk-inspired Bionic Handling Assistant,” reported New Scientist, which “is peppered with resistance sensors that limit its extension when it senses contact – potentially making it safe for anyone to use and interact with.”  A video clip shows the device doing a clumsy but encouraging imitation of an elephant trunk.

  3.     The short article makes it clear this is not the only example of bio-inspiration going on in Germany:
    Despite its futuristic appearance, Festo’s isn’t the only odd robot arm in development.  A European-wide team has developed something similarly flexible – but here the inspiration came from an octopus’s limb.  Instead of pneumatics, the EU team wants to drive their arm with “electroactive polymers” – smart plastics that bend when a voltage is applied.
        Festo’s decision to seek inspiration from a lumbering mammal marks a departure: it has previously created the most graceful of robotic penguins, jellyfish and manta rays.
        And another German team has created the AirFish: an airship that wags its tail like a rainbow trout.
    Live Science also discussed cheerfully the new elephant-trunk robotic arm, but gave the credit to chance as the inventor: “‘Biomimicry,’ as this design and engineering aesthetic is called, draws inspiration from the biomechanical systems that the process of evolution has honed for millions of years, often resulting in startling insights over manmade artificial solutions.”
  4. Shark skin:  Want to reduce drag on swimsuits and ships’ hulls?  Make like a shark, said National Geographic News says.  It’s “scaly hide serves as both a suit of armor and a means of streamlining movement,” researchers at the University of Alabama are finding.  Professor Amy Lang also gave credit to Darwin: “Overall, sharks’ 400 million years of evolution for strength and speed may someday inspire better designs for machines that are prone to drag, such as aircraft, Lang noted.”
  5. Shark sub.  The whale shark is the world’s biggest fish.  How does it keep all that mass afloat?  “Whale Sharks Use Geometry to Avoid Sinking,” reported Science Daily.  Marine biologists publishing in the British Ecological Society journal Functional Ecology found that the whale shark’s glide, that looks so natural, is really an “astonishing feat of mathematics and energy conservation.”  Adrian Gleiss from Swansea University noted, “oceanic animals not only have to consider their travel speed, but also how vertical movement will affect their energy expenditure, which changes the whole perspective.”
        Sensors placed on the giants showed that they can use their negative buoyancy to descend, but need to flap their tails when ascending; nevertheless, their motion “optimized the energetic cost of vertical movement,” the researchers found.  “This use of negative buoyancy may play a large part in oceanic sharks being able to locate and travel between scarce and unpredictable food sources efficiently.”  Although this article did not mention biomimetics, the principle sounds like something submarine designers could use.
  6. Cell rotors:  Another German team has succeeded in getting a three-blade structure in a hexagonal cage billionths of a meter across to rotate spontaneously.  “Nature itself provides the role model for such self-organizing systems,” a report on PhysOrg said, accompanied by a video clip that shows the nano-rotor in action.  The primitive device is a far cry from those found in living cells: “However, the coveted dream of using self-organization effects in such a way that nano machines [i.e., in the cell] assemble themselves is still a thing of the future.”  Presumably, progress will be made by intelligent design.
  7. Electrical engineering turns bioengineering:  Students at the University of Texas at Dallas are competing in contests to harness bacteria for useful purposes.  Since E. coli bacteria already have the toolkit for probing chemicals, the students employ synthetic biology techniques to make them do what they want – such as turning green when sensing toxins.  Story at PhysOrg.  An engineering prof said, “Synthetic biology borrows a lot of ideas from engineering and puts them in the context of biology.” 
  8. Got that glow:  Speaking of fluorescent proteins (retrieved from jellyfish), Vyv Salisbury, a biomedical researcher at University of West England, is excited about the possibilities of putting glowing bacteria to use.  They have “enormous future potential” to “produce exquisitely sensitive and versatile microbial biosensors,” PhysOrg reported, opening with the promise, “A professor from the University of the West of England will present her inaugural lecture on bioluminesence [sic] and give insight into how this natural phenomenon has been used to make biomarkers that are making exciting breakthroughs in several areas of health research.”
  9. Whale blades:  According to PhysOrg, “lessons learned from the ocean’s largest mammals has inspired United States Naval Academy researchers to tackle one of the serious challenges of this technology: the low velocity associated with many tidal flows and the difficulty of extracting useful energy from low speed flows using current designs.”  Enter the humpback whale, with its bumpy-edged fins.  Turns out that design improves performance: “We designed a novel blade modification for potential turbine performance improvement, which was inspired by humpback whale flippers, with the addition of tubercles, or bumps, to the leading edge of each blade,” announced Mark Murray, a Naval Academy engineering professor.  He showed that “the addition of biomimetically derived protuberances (technology that mimics nature) improved stall characteristics and aerodynamic performance.”
  10. Studying flight:  Four recent articles did not mention human applications yet, but showed how scientists are eagerly studying the flight capabilities of animals to gain understanding, with a subtle indication that human engineers can learn from them.  Students at Wright State in Ohio are studying dragonflies (New Scientist).  An engineer at Bristol University gained insights into pterodactyl flight (BBC News).  And the BBC News also posted half a dozen dazzling photos of flying fish.  PhysOrg spoke of scientists studying flying snakes.  You thought this one was going to be about birds, didn’t you?  That last article did mention another team proposing that “airplanes be designed more like birds.”
The excitement over biomimetics can be sensed by the conferences, journals and societies devoted to it, such as the Bioneers at Georgia Tech (10/29/2005) and the Information Science and Technology initiative at Caltech (06/5/2005).  PhysOrg reported on one such recent event: “The physicists, biologists and engineers were huddled around every available bar-height table in the Long Beach Convention Center, covering their tiny surfaces with laptops and notebooks.”  What did they come for? – “many of the scientists were gathered earlier this week at a fluid-dynamics conference to show how insights from the world of animals and plants might guide tomorrow’s technology -- a burgeoning field known as bio-inspired engineering.

    Here’s a short list of the animals that were inspiring their design plans: flying snakes, sharks, birds, whales, hummingbirds, and jellyfish.  “These scientists from far-flung fields share a common conviction: that future engineering has a great deal to learn from the natural world.”  The article quoted a USC engineer who said, “The number of people who are developing, encouraging, thinking about biologically inspired designs is vastly more than it was five years ago, two years ago even.”

    A journal called Bioinspiration and Biomimetics published a special edition called “Bioinspired Flight” this month, said PhysOrg.  And it’s not just for the birds.  Scientists analyzed controlled falling and gliding by geckos, snakes and insects.  Bioengineering brings together engineers and biologists, who have typically lived in different academic worlds.  “Because biologists and engineers are typically trained quite differently, there is a gap between the understanding of natural flight of biologists and the engineer’s expertise in designing vehicles that function well,” David Lentink from Wageningen University said.  “In the middle however is a few pioneering engineers who are able to bridge both fields.”  The article includes three video clips, one of a falling gecko flipping over and landing on its feet like a cat, one of a test robotic fly, and an amazing series of snake flights showing how they can maneuver and even turn while gliding.

    The Biomimicry Institute is open for business with a website, newsletter, educational resources, and even a children’s music CD.  Why?  “Biomimicry is the science and art of emulating Nature’s best biological ideas to solve human problems,” the website explains on its front page.  “Non-toxic adhesives inspired by geckos, energy efficient buildings inspired by termite mounds, and resistance-free antibiotics inspired by red seaweed are examples of biomimicry happening today -- and none too soon.  Humans may have a long way to go towards living sustainably on this planet, but 10-30 million species with time-tested genius to help us get there.”  Another of their websites, AskNature.org, provides a “database of nature’s strategies” with 1360 entries so far.

    Not everybody is inspired to the same degree.  The PhysOrg article about the Long Beach convention quoted USC engineer Geoffrey Spedding cautioning, “Just because it exists in nature doesn’t mean it’s an optimum ... the designs that come through evolution are just good enough to survive, that’s all,” adding that “Nature has yet to come up with a decent wheel.”
What is Spedding talking about?  Hasn’t he seen a bacterial flagellum?  It’s a more efficient wheel than anything man ever invented.  And his logic is bad.  Like a Darwinian, he has to see everything in terms of mere survival.  The world has a great deal of “useless beauty” that goes beyond mere survival.  Look at the coloration on birds and insects, the patterning on mammal fur, and the shapes and colors of flowers.  Survival does not require these things, or every bird, mammal, and flower would be so decorated.  Beauty and elegance are not incompatible with survival; they provide frosting on the cake, making this a world of incredible variety and beauty.  Even evolutionary scientists can recognize that animals are “overengineered” for the functions they require for survival (03/23/2004).

    Biomimetics has the potential to make Darwinism irrelevant, and bring together both creationists and evolutionists for the common goal of improving human life through understanding and imitation of natural design.  Darwin need not have anything to do with it.  Evolutionary theory could be a harmless sideshow, if not a distraction, to the goals of biomimicry.

    Two alarming subcultures are tainting the biomimetics movement, however.  One is that Darwinists are trying to co-opt the movement by forcing their worldview onto it: e.g.,
  • “...the designs that come through evolution are just good enough to survive, that’s all,” (PhysOrg)
  • “...the biomechanical systems that the process of evolution has honed for millions of years” (Live Science)
  • “...sharks’ 400 million years of evolution for strength and speed may someday inspire better designs for machines” (National Geographic)
  • “...Scientists in the US and Canada are studying how flying fish evolved the enlarged paired fins...” (BBC News)
  • After 3.8 billion years of evolution, nature has learned what works and what lasts” (Biomimicry Institute)
Hopefully many will discern that oil and water mix better than biomimetics and Darwinism.  How long can the public endure the halitosis that billions of years of chance accidents yielded engineering marvels that our goal-oriented, purposeful human intelligence cannot duplicate?  Remember, too, that as good as the robotic flexible arm or mechanical insect perform, artificial biomimics cannot reproduce themselves, repair themselves, or proofread themselves.  Human technology looks pathetic by comparison.  Darwinists insert their rhetoric into the biomimetics adventure at their peril.

    A second and more worrisome trend is a kind of new-age mysticism arising about nature.  This can be seen at the Biomimicry Institute where Nature is capitalized, as in, “How would Nature heat and cool a home?”  Even though hardcore atheist evolutionists like E. O. Wilson are on its advisory board, the Biomimicry Institute risks a return to Pocahontas-style nature worship with lines like, “Humans may have a long way to go towards living sustainably on this planet, but 10-30 million species with time-tested genius to [sic] help us get there.”  Their children’s CD is labeled “Ask the planet,” as if we are to seek inner wisdom from the Earth goddess.

    It’s an alarming sign, but Bible-believing Christians can take heart at this in a backhanded way.  For one, it unmasks the secular evolutionists as the pantheist pagans they always were at heart.  For another, it fulfills Scripture.  Their behavior follows exactly what the Apostle Paul described in Romans 1, “For his [God’s] invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.  So they are without excuse.  For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.  Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.  Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever!  Amen” (Romans 1:21-25).

    Nothing has changed since the old paganism except the sophistication of its ignorance.  Creationists and proponents of intelligent design can embrace biomimetics, but should be on guard against these trends that would distort it into Charlie worship or pagan Nature worship.  By contrast, engaging in diligent biomimetics research and design is one way to honor and serve our Creator, and to say, “Thank you, Lord.”

Next headline on:  BiomimeticsMarine BiologyMammalsCell BiologyTerrestrial ZoologyBirdsPhysicsDarwin and EvolutionIntelligent DesignEducationAmazing Facts
  Magicians through the looking glass: wars in the kingdom of OOL (11/29/200)

(Karl Priest and) Jonathan Sarfati presented the algorithmic navigating ability of ants some time ago:


Ants Find Their Way by Advanced Mathematics

by Jonathan Sarfati

The Saharan desert ant, Cataglyphis fortis, often travels hundreds of metres in zigzag paths to food, but can find its way to its nest over a different route, despite the near lack of landmarks.

There were several plausible explanations, but researchers from Germany and Switzerland1 have performed careful experiments that ruled out the use of visual clues, time or energy. For instance, the ants were tested on uniformly grey and smooth surroundings, but the ants unerringly found their way.

The evidence is consistent with ants having a built-in odometer that performs a complicated mathematical operation called path integration. That is, the journey is divided into small vectors, each with a certain length and direction, and they are added to give a ‘homing’ vector that gives the direction and total distance to the nest.

But what about bumps in the terrain, which would be like ‘hills’ and ‘valleys’ to the ant, and cause the ants to walk further than on totally flat ground? To find out, the researchers trained groups of 21 ants on trails with many symmetrical tall hills and deep valleys (to an ant’s scale) to locate a food source that would take them 8.7 m to walk, but which was only 5.2 m of ground (horizontal) distance away. Then they transformed the intervening terrain to a flat surface. The ants then walked a far shorter distance which was very close to the ground distance.

And vice versa, when 17 ants were trained on flat terrain to find a food source 5.2 m away, and the terrain then transformed into hills and valleys, the ants walked a distance very close to the distance (8.7 m) that equates to the ground distance.

The experimenters ruled out the possibility that the ants were using only the uphill (or only the downhill) paths by performing similar tests on asymmetric hills.
Channel figure
A U-shaped channel arranged in a saw-tooth pattern (top) was the basis for this experiment. Ants were trained to forage over this simulated ‘hilly’ terrain to a food source located at the end (middle). When put on simulated flat terrain, the ants walked a shorter distance equivalent to that of the projection of the ‘hilly’ terrain onto a fictitious horizontal plane before hunting for food (bottom).
This means that the ants apparently calculate the horizontal projection of the distance travelled. That is, the image of the ant’s travel vectors is projected onto an imaginary flat screen underneath the ant’s terrain, and the path integration is performed in this x-y plane. To do this, the ants must have a way of estimating the slopes, and multiplying the travelled distance by the cosine of the angle of inclination to work out the corresponding ground distance.

The ants probably use the internal sense called proprioception, which animals and humans use to determine the location of their body parts. Ants probably measure slopes by the same means as they sense gravity, i.e. by proprioceptors on various joints between moving parts. These are a number of hairplates, and there may be some backup design so one might take over another’s function if it is surgically removed. This makes it hard to determine the exact mechanisms involved in precisely determining ground distance.

The alternative mechanism to horizontal projection is the even more elaborate three-dimensional path integration, which the researchers plan to investigate. One way suggested would be by training ants to find food at the end of a ramp, then testing them on terrain with a totally vertical channel, where the horizontal projection is zero, at the end of a completely horizontal channel. If horizontal projection is correct, then they would ignore the vertical channel and search at the end of the horizontal channel corresponding to the ground distance. Only if they are performing 3D integration should they climb up the vertical channel to search for their food.2

Implications

Ramp figure
If ants trained to find food at the end of a ramp (a) also hunted for food at the top rather than the base of an L-shaped section (b) this would show that ants integrate in three dimensions rather than just projecting their position onto a horizontal plane.
Whether the ants are using horizontal path integration or a fully 3D integration, this still involves advanced programming. It’s common sense to believe that a program requires a programmer. However, the religious belief in the sufficiency of naturalistic causes means that evolutionists will reject this common sense view. They might claim that a homing sense could evolve by random mutations causing better and better improvements, which natural selection would accumulate.

But the fallacy in this is assuming that a small change in a program has small changes in effect. Human programmers know that a single step in an algorithm often has far-reaching consequences, and one wrong step can often cause the program to crash. Rather, the path integration program must be fully functional or else it is likely to be totally useless.

References

  1. Wohlgemuth, S., Ronacher, B. and Wehner, R., Ant odometry in the third dimension, Nature 411(6839):795–798, 2001.
  2. Srinivasan, M.V., Homing in on ant navigation [comment on Ref. 1], Nature 411(6839): 752–753, 2001. 

One of Karl's best pages is his constantly updating article which I will excerpt, below:

By Karl C. Priest January 11, 2009 (revised 4-26-2011)


Note: There is likely an abundance of examples of amazing insects of which I am unaware.
There are several examples in my article "Evolutionists Tacitly Admit Creation" and some may be duplicated in that article and this one. 

Also see Does God Think Insects are Good? and Fantastic Flight. Other articles are: Hi-tech Butterflies, Astonishing Acrobatics—Dragonflies, Dragonfly Flight and The Designer, Dragon Flies: Marvelous Flying Machines, Cold Light, The Steady Gaze of Flies: An Engineering Marvel, Ear Now: An Incredible Design in a Tiny Fly is Inspiring Engineers, Scientists Finally Copy Creator’s Super-Rubber, A Sweet Revelation, Science Copies Beetle’s Sprayer, Bombardier Idea, and The Amazing Jewel Beetle.
 
Insects are, in my opinion, God’s choice to demonstrate His omnipotent artistic and engineering abilities. Dr. Joseph Mastropaolo refers to God’s creation as a demonstration of vast originality”. Dr. Mastropaolo points out that, “All reproduced organisms are never identical. Even identical twins are not identical.” 

My presentation (Insects: Incredible and Inspirational) reveals some of the incomprehensible facts about insects that are not on this webpage. Also, the presentation, discloses the importance of insects to the survival of all forms of life (including humans) on the earth. Below, in no particular order, are facts (from real science*) that overwhelming support the statement that we should “Thank God for Insects”. 

"Vast originality represents a vast intelligence, not evolution, because endless originality requires infinite wisdom for the most difficult of intellectual tasks". (Dr. Joseph Mastropaolo)
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Someone asked me if there was any insect that was put here just ot torment mankind. Although some insects (mosquitoes and roaches, for example) are great pests (dangers in the case of mosquitoes) they all have a part in the balance of creation. Roaches recycle and mosquitoes pollinate and are part of the food chain. My questioner asked about bedbugs.
I am not sure what bedbugs did in the original perfect creation that God called “good.”

However, bedbugs have some benefits. Pedanius Dioscorides a famous Greek physician, botanist, pharmacologist and surgeon attributed at least 11 medicinal virtues to bed bugs! Such as applying bed bugs mixed with tortoise blood to wounds. She also wrote that In Chinese medicine, the 1789 book entitled “Recipes for Restoring Life” and the 1590 book “A system of Pharmacopoeia” called for the following bed bug concoctions: “Bedbugs used for the treatment of lip-turning furuncle. Pound seven bedbugs thoroughly with some cooked rice and apply the paste on the lesion. It will effect a quick cure.” “For Stinking and gangrenous ulcers, pound some bedbugs with Shui Lung Ku ( a mixture of oil and lime used for filling cracks in a boat), mix with sesame oil and apply locally. “In case of chronic ulceration with a gaping wound, apply locally some bedbugs, the heads of which should be removed.” Bugs in the System: Insects and Their Impact on HumanAffairs by May R. Berenbaum, 1996 by Addison Wesley, Cambridge, MA Note: Bedbugs are basicly harmless, but an infestation is irritating. They were under control until liberals banned certain insecticides.
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Ant Rafts Repel Water Like Gore-Tex 

In the first serious study of the physics of fire-ant rafts, researchers have described how the insects form floating, waterproof islands.

In nature, the rafts allow fire ants to survive epic rainstorms in their native Brazil. In the lab, they could help inspire designs for small, swarming robots that might someday be used to explore inaccessible areas or even clean up oil spills.

“We were coming at it from an engineering perspective.”


Fruit fly nervous system provides new solution to fundamental computer network problem

The fruit fly has evolved (NOTE: See BWAH HAH HAH HAAAA!--Karl) a method for arranging the tiny, hair-like structures it uses to feel and hear the world that's so efficient a team of scientists in Israel and at Carnegie Mellon University says it could be used to more effectively deploy wireless sensor networks and other distributed computing applications.

With a minimum of communication and without advance knowledge of how they are connected with each other, the cells in the fly's developing nervous system manage to organize themselves so that a small number of cells serve as leaders that provide direct connections with every other nerve cell, said author Ziv Bar-Joseph, associate professor of machine learning at Carnegie Mellon University. The result, the researchers report in the Jan. 14 edition of the journal Science, is the same sort of scheme used to manage the distributed computer networks that perform such everyday tasks as searching the Web or controlling an airplane in flight. But the method used by the fly's nervous system to organize itself is much simpler and more robust than anything humans have concocted. They found it has qualities that make it particularly well suited for networks in which the number and position of the nodes is not completely certain. These include wireless sensor networks, such as environmental monitoring, where sensors are dispersed in a lake or waterway, or systems for controlling swarms of robots. The researchers created a computer algorithm based on the fly's approach and proved that it provides a fast solution to the MIS problem. (In the computing world, one step toward creating this distributive system is to find a small set of processors that can be used to rapidly communicate with the rest of the processors in the network — what graph theorists call a maximal independent set (MIS).) 



Butterfly wings behind anti-counterfeiting technology 
 
The technology is first being applied to banknotes but it also has many more practical applications, such as authenticating legal documents, retail merchandise, concert tickets, stock certificates, visas, passports, and pharmaceuticals. Landrock and Kaminska both continue their work as part of Nanotech’s scientific team. The company’s Nano-Optic Technology for enhanced Security (NOtES) product stems from an idea originating in the purest form of nature – insects using colorful markings to identify themselves. How this works is microscopic gratings composed of nanostructures interact with light to produce the shimmering iridescence seen on the Costa Rican morpho butterfly. The nanostructures act to reflect and refract light waves to produce the morpho’s signature blue wings and absorb other unwanted light. The highly advanced wing structures are the result of many millennia of evolution ( NOTE: See BWAH HAH HAH HAAAA!-- Karl) and only recently have Nanotech's scientists discovered how to reproduce these structures reliably. While others have talked about the possibility of re-creating it, Nanotech has made this a reality. 



Leader-less ants make super efficient networks

Ants are able to connect multiple sites in the shortest possible way, and in doing so, create efficient transport networks, according to a University of Sydney study published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface . After two hours, the ants had created networks that closely resembled both efficient solutions. They frequently created difficult Steiner Networks, adding a central hub in the three-nest treatment and two central hubs in the four-nest treatment. Dr. Latty said: "It's interesting that the ants were able to create, on a blank slate, the mathematically shortest network between multiple points. Understanding how simple organisms like ants build efficient networks can inform the design of human transportation networks."

Next generation of algorithms inspired by problem-solving ants

University of Sydney researchers have shown that the humble ant is capable of solving difficult mathematical problems. These findings, published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, deepen our understanding of how even simple animals can overcome complex and dynamic problems in nature, and will help computer scientists develop even better software to solve logistical problems and maximise efficiency in many human industries. Finding the most efficient path through a busy network is a common challenge faced by delivery drivers, telephone routers and engineers. To solve these optimisation problems using software, computer scientists have often sought inspiration from ant colonies… Discovering how ants are able to solve dynamic problems can provide new inspiration for optimisation algorithms, which in turn can lead to better problem-solving software and hence more efficiency for human industries."



Honey bee search strategy: Robot swarms to search Mars caves 
 
In a recent paper published in Acta Astronautica, Aron Kisdi, a University of Southampton engineer, proposes an idea of utilizing a swarm of robots to search large areas of Mars and the caves which current robots have been unable to explore. The theory behind Kisdi’s robots incorporates the idea of quorum sensing, similar to that used by honey bees. Quorum sensing is a type of decision-making process used by groups to coordinate behavior and can be seen with honey bees when worker bees scout for new nest areas. Bees will leave the nest, gather information, and determine the best new location. Kisdi’s theory works on this same principle. A computer program has been created that functions in a similar way to the honey bees. This concept would be cheaper to build than the large rovers and allow for much more initial exploration, leaving the in-depth exploration for the rovers.



Beetle defence inspires University of Leeds research 

The deadly defence system of a tiny African beetle has inspired award-winning research into a new generation of technology. A team of scientists from the University of Leeds have developed a technology which is based on the beetle's spray mechanism. They say it may lead to improvements in the automotive and health industries. The project took five years to develop from first concept to prototype. It said it could inspire new types of nebulisers, needle-free injections, fire extinguishers and powerful fuel injection systems. The university's professor of thermodynamics and combustion theory, Andy McIntosh, who led the research team, said: "Nobody had studied the beetle from a physics and engineering perspective as we did, and we didn't appreciate how much we would learn from it." 


Butterfly-Inspired Patch May Alert Soldiers to Brain Injury  

A color-changing patch modeled after the iridescent wings of butterflies could give soldiers a heads-up on the severity of injuries sustained on the battlefield. About the size of a binder hole in loose-leaf paper, the patch is made of 3D photonic crystals — tiny structures whose geometry can be manipulated to control the way it interacts with light. Like butterfly wings, these crystals get their color from light bouncing off of the nanoscale lattice. The patches could be worn on a soldier’s helmet to provide medical personnel with blast-exposure information to help them diagnose brain injury — a typical injury sustained in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, which are difficult to diagnose with today’s imaging technology , the researchers say. Yang also envisions uses for the patch beyond the battlefield. For example, it could also help gauge injury in football players and cyclists, or help diagnose damage to cell phones, computers , and other electronics.


Firefly Glow: Scientists Develop a Hydrogen Peroxide Probe Based on Firefly Luciferin 
 
A unique new probe based on luciferase, the enzyme that gives fireflies their glow, enables researchers to monitor hydrogen peroxide levels in mice and thereby track the progression of infectious diseases or cancerous tumors without harming the animals or even having to shave their fur. "The fact that in nature fireflies use the luciferin enzyme to communicate by light inspired us to adapt this same strategy for pre-clinical diagnostics," Chang says. 

Air Force flight control improvements

Flying insects' altitude control mechanisms are the focus of research being conducted in a Caltech laboratory under an Air Force Office of Scientific Research grant that may lead to technology that controls altitude in a variety of aircraft for the Air Force. "This work investigates sensory-motor feedback mechanisms in the insect brain that could inspire new approaches to flight stabilization and navigation in future insect-sized vehicles for the military," said Dr. Willard Larkin, AFOSR program manager who's supporting the work of lead researcher, Dr. Andrew Straw of Caltech. 

The research is being conducted in a laboratory where scientists are studying how flies use visual information to guide flight in natural environments. Straw noted that the flies don't have access to GPS or other radio signals that may also be unavailable in, for example, indoor environments. "However, with a tiny brain they are able to perform a variety of tasks such as finding food and mates despite changing light levels, wind gusts, wing damage, and so on," he said. "Flies rely heavily on vision." 

In their next phase, the scientists will study more sophisticated flight behaviors, asking if the fly creates a long-lasting neural representation of its visual surroundings or whether flight is only controlled by fast-acting reflexes.


Insect eyes inspire improved solar cells

The eyes of moths, which allow them to see well at night, are also covered with a water-repellent, antireflective coating that makes their eyes among the least reflective surfaces in nature and helps them hide from predators in the dark. Mimicking the moth eye's microstructure, a team of researchers in Japan has created a new film, suitable for mass-production, for covering solar cells that can cut down on the amount of reflected light and help capture more power from the sun. They estimate that the films would improve the annual efficiency of solar cells by 6 percent in Phoenix and by 5 percent in Tokyo. Yamada and his colleagues found the inspiration for this new technology a few years ago after they began looking for a broad-wavelength and omnidirectional antireflective structure in nature. The eyes of the moth were the best they found. 



Researchers use the common cockroach to fine-tune robots of the future 
 
Prof. Amir Ayali of Tel Aviv University's Department of Zoology says the study of cockroaches has already inspired advanced robotics. Robots have long been based on these six-legged houseguests, whose nervous system is relatively straightforward and easy to study. But until now, walking machines based on the cockroach's movement have been influenced by outside observations and mainly imitate the insect's appearance, not its internal mechanics. He and his fellow researchers are delving deeper into the neurological functioning of the cockroach. This, he says, will give engineers the information they need to design robots with a more compact build and greater efficiency in terms of energy, time, robustness and rigidity. Such superior robotics can be even used to explore new terrain in outer space. 



An army of robotic insects

Cockroaches are not the only insects that have captured the scientific imagination. Projects that highlight both the flight of the locust and the crawling of the soft-bodied caterpillar are also underway. Locusts are amazing flyers, Prof. Ayali notes. Scientists are studying both their aerodynamic build and their energy metabolism for long-distance flights. Recordings of their nervous systems and simultaneous video tracking to observe the movement of their wings during flight can be expected to lead to better technology for miniscule flying robots. As for caterpillars, engineers are trying to recreate in soft-bodied robots what they call the creatures' "endless degrees of freedom of movement." "Caterpillars are not confined by a stiff structure — they have no rigid skeletons," says Prof. Ayali. "This is exactly what makes them unique."

Robots imitate honey bees for aircraft aerobatics

Australian scientists have developed a novel autopilot that guides aircraft through complex aerobatic manoeuvres by watching the horizon like a honey bee. Allowing aircraft to quickly sense which way is "up" by imitating how honeybees see, engineers and researchers at The Vision Centre, Queensland Brain Institute and the School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering at The University of Queensland have made it possible for planes to guide themselves through extreme manoeuvres, including the loop, the barrel roll and the Immelmann turn, with speed, deftness and precision. “Our system, which takes 1000ths of a second to directly measure the position of the horizon, is much faster (than gyroscopes) at calculating position, and more accurate.” “We have created an autopilot that overcomes the errors generated from gyroscopes by imitating a biological system – the honeybees,” says Professor Mandyam Srinivasan. “Although we don't fully understand how these insects work, we know that they are good at stabilising themselves while making complicated flight manoeuvres by watching the horizon.”

Dragonfly wings inspire micro wind turbine design 
 
THE way a dragonfly remains stable in flight is being mimicked to develop micro wind turbines that can withstand gale-force winds. Obata and his colleagues have used this finding to develop a low-cost model of a micro wind turbine whose 25-centimetre-long paper blades incorporate bumps like a dragonfly's wing...

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There are more reasons found every day to admire the remarkable design features of creation and more reasons found every day to debunk Darwinism.   Darwinists claim to present answers to the formation of existence, life and information and of course design by suggesting that "it just happened" given enough time.   This blog has posted odds against such nonsense before.   Darwinism depends on *Poof* in that it cannot explain anything but simply presupposes and guesses and/or simply lies.  There has been no confirmed observation of Darwinist evolution happening ever, as Richard Dawkins so eloquently remarked:

‘Evolution has been observed. It’s just that it hasn’t been observed while it’s happening.’

Reference

‘Battle over evolution’ Bill Moyers interviews Richard Dawkins, Now, 3 December 2004, PBS network