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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Beware of The Bug-Belle! (Weirdest Lois Lane Story Ever!)

This story is so wrong on so many levels. Kafka anyone?


Where is my mini-series of Scorpion-Lois? Hello DC web comics!

Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #69 (Oct. 1966). © DC Comics
Script: E. Nelson Bridwell; Art: Kurt Schaffenberger

“The oriental hornet has built-in "solar cells" that generate electricity from sunlight—a first in the animal kingdom, according to a new study.
Scientists already knew that the hornet species, for unknown reasons, produced electricity inside its exoskeleton. Researchers recently went a step further by examining the structure of the hornet's exoskeleton to find out how the electricity is produced.

Their research revealed that pigments in the hornet's yellow tissues trap light, while its brown tissues generate electricity. Exactly how the hornets use this electricity is still not entirely understood.”

Read the rest of the story at National Geographic News.

Abstract: The Oriental hornet worker correlates its digging activity with solar insolation. Solar radiation passes through the epicuticle, which exhibits a grating-like structure, and continues to pass through layers of the exo-endocuticle until it is absorbed by the pigment melanin in the brown-colored cuticle or xanthopterin in the yellow-colored cuticle. The correlation between digging activity and the ability of the cuticle to absorb part of the solar radiation implies that the Oriental hornet may harvest parts of the solar radiation. In this study, we explore this intriguing possibility by analyzing the biophysical properties of the cuticle. We use rigorous coupled wave analysis simulations to show that the cuticle surfaces are structured to reduced reflectance and act as diffraction gratings to trap light and increase the amount absorbed in the cuticle. A dye-sensitized solar cell (DSSC) was constructed in order to show the ability of xanthopterin to serve as a light-harvesting molecule.
Ref.: Solar energy harvesting in the epicuticle of the oriental hornet (Vespa orientalis). 2010. Marian Plotkin, et al. Naturwissenschaften 97:1067–1076.