Color

‘Neon signs’ made with bacteria

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: December 20, 2011   View Article

The bar of the future may have all-organic brews on tap and blinking neon signs in the window made with millions of bacterial cells that periodically glow in unison.

The same “living neon sign” technology could also be used to help brewers and other folks monitor environmental pollutants in water such as arsenic, according to research published online Sunday in the journal Nature.

Glowing bacteria encrypt codes

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: September 28, 2011   View Article

Scientists are tweaking bacteria to send encrypted messages that can be shipped via snail mail on sheets of paper-like material called nitrocellulose.

The recipient grows the bacteria with a select cocktail of nutrients and other chemicals. Once grown, each microbe glows one of seven colors when exposed to the right kind of light. Different colored microbes are arranged to represent different letters and symbols. If you know the nutrient and chemical cocktail as well as the keys to the code, you can decipher the message.

Why a red shirt helped Tiger Woods

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: June 8, 2011   View Article

Back in the noughties, Tiger Woods, dressed in a red shirt, hoisted a trophy on the 18th green on almost every Sunday that he started out with at least a share of the lead. Science is helping explain how the red shirt helped him — and why it won’t do much for the golfer now.

“It made him feel more confident and powerful and made others shrink in fear of this alpha male among us,” Andrew Elliot, a professor of psychology at the University of Rochester, told me Tuesday.

Military studies squid camouflage

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: April 25, 2011   View Article

The ability of octopuses, squid, and cuttlefish to instantaneously change the color and pattern of their skin to blend in with their surroundings has caught the eye of the U.S. military. Its goal is a new generation of high-tech camouflage.

The Office of Naval Research has awarded $6 million to a team of U.S. scientists to conduct the basic research required to make the squid-like camo. Precisely how the military will use the technology is classified, noted Roger Hanlon, a senior scientist at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.

A glowing snail? Now that’s scary!

Publication: Cosmic Log on MSNBC.com   Date: December 15, 2010   View Article

A tiny marine snail that looks as if it could be at home dangling from a Christmas tree emits its green glow to scare off would be predators, according to a new study.

The snail, Hinea brasiliana, is a type of clusterwink snail that is typically found bunched up in groups along rocky shorelines. The green glow results from a phenomenon known as bioluminescence — that is, light made by living animals.

First Proof: Ancient Birds Had Iridescent Feathers

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: August 26, 2009   View Article

Just like modern-day starlings, some ancient birds had glossy black feathers with a metallic, glimmering sheen, scientists report in a new study.

The discovery is based on 40-million-year-old fossils of an unidentified bird species that were stored at the Senckenburg Museum in Frankfurt, Germany for up to 30 years. The fossils represent the first evidence of ancient iridescence in feathers.

PHOTOS: New “Green Bomber” Sea Worms Fire Glowing Blobs

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: August 20, 2009   View Article

Researchers announced the discovery of at least five new “green bombers”-deep-sea, swimming worm species armed with “bombs” that glow a brilliant green when dropped.

The glowing bombs are thought to distract predators such as fish, allowing the worms to escape.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach