Spider webs are already strong enough to restrain small insects unlucky enough to fly into them, and soon, they may be capable of carrying the weight of a person.


In a new study published in 2D Materials, Nicola Pugno at the University of Trento in Italy and his team detail how they cranked arachnids’ already impressive metabolic process up to 11 by adding graphene and carbon nanotubes to a spider’s drinking water. Afterward, the spider produced silk as it normally would, but the silk was five times stronger, putting it on par with the likes of pure carbon fibers and Kevlar — the strongest materials on Earth.

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  • The reality we perceive is not a direct reflection of the external objective world.
  • Instead it is the product of the brain’s predictions about the causes of incoming sensory signals.
  • The property of realness that accompanies our perceptions may serve to guide our behavior so that we respond appropriately to the sources of sensory signals.


The Neuroscience of Reality

Anil Seth

Scientific American

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Mathematical model suggests dark matter may have been produced before the big bang during cosmic inflation, when space was expanding rapidly


Researchers believe dark matter makes up about 80% of the universe’s mass, but its origins and composition remain among the most elusive mysteries in modern physics. A new Johns Hopkins University study suggests dark matter may have existed before the big bang. The study, published in Physical Review Letters, presents a new idea of how dark matter was created and how it might be identified during astronomical observations.


"The study revealed a new connection between particle physics and astronomy," says Tommi Tenkanen, a postdoctoral fellow in JHU’sDepartment of Physics and Astronomy and the study’s author. "If dark matter consists of new particles that were born before the big bang, they affect the way galaxies are distributed in the sky in a unique way. This connection may be used to reveal their identity and make conclusions about the times before the big bang, too."



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An international research team in which Uppsala University and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) are participating has for the first time reconstructed the tree of life for all the world’s approximately 140 passerine families. The passerines include more than 6,000 species, making it the largest bird group by far. The family includes all small birds, such as chickadees, thrushes and finches as well as corvids.


The study is based on a large amount of DNA data from one to four species per family and has used these DNA sequences in combination with fossil data to estimate the age of the different branches of the tree. The tree confirms many of the relationships between the families obtained in previous studies, but it also reveals a number of new forks in branches of the tree.



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Taking at least one or two economics or business courses should be mandatory. That way I’d hear fewer business ideas that start with, “It’s like Facebook, only better.” One of the first lessons of economics is the importance of competition. Specifically, that if you try to do what everyone else is doing, you’ll probably fail. …

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