The peacock mantis shrimp lives in southern seas, growing from one to seven inches long. It is a colorful animal, yet fearsome to its prey. The shrimp’s club-like appendages readily crack and break open shells for food. The striking movement has been clocked at an impressive 50 miles/hour. The shrimp easily can break glass, and therefore is sometimes kept in an acrylic aquarium.
Along with its breaking ability, the shrimp’s eyesight is also very special. Its eyes are found to be sensitive to polarized light. Such light displays a complex alignment of vibrating waves. Many animals are found to utilize polarized light, unlike our own eyes. Electronic DVD and CD players also make use of polarized light, and this is where the mantis shrimp may provide help. Digital electronics typically is limited to certain portions of the light spectrum, often infrared wavelengths. Meanwhile, the mantis shrimp is sensitive to polarized light from all the colors of visible spectrum. Further understanding of the shrimp’s advanced optics may greatly improve our ability to store and process digital data. Scientists at Bristol University, England are probing the unusual eyesight of the peacock mantis shrimp.
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The razor clam has a long narrow shell, somewhat resembling an old-fashioned straight razor. The shells also have a sharp edge. The clam is hunted for food in exposed mudflats along the ocean shoreline. Its defense against people and predators is an impressive ability to burrow underground rapidly. They can dig downward at about one centimeter per second to a depth of 70 centimeters, or about 28 inches.
anchoring vessels, seafloor monitoring equipment, and underwater cables
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Sound is always produced and heard as a vibration, whether a violin string, vocal chords, or an ear drum. Sound vibrations in our hearing range vary between 20 and 20,000 cycles per second. Sound waves travel in air as vibrating air molecules, and also through water as pressure waves. Underwater microphones, or hydrophones, have long been used to track whale migrations, fish populations and submarines. The devices also service undersea oil wells and map the seafloor.
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A researcher at Caltech is developing new ways to power submarines and windmills using the lowly jellyfish. Jellyfish have a unique method of swimming through ocean water. Rather than using fins and flippers, they “pump” their body to produce ring-shaped pulses of water called vortex rings. These vortex rings are spinning, donut-shaped masses of water that the jellyfish uses as a launch pad to propel itself forward through the water. This type of swimming is much more efficient than pushing water backward in a single stream.
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Chameleons display many design features including changing skin color and stereoscopic eyesight. Another feature is their ability to capture insects with an extended tongue. Upon sighting fresh prey, the chameleon quickly extends its tongue to twice its body length. The tongue moves outward at ten meters per second (33 ft/sec). Once released, the tongue is in free flight and unguided, so it must be launched with precision. In addition, the tongue must exert very little force to make a sticky capture without pushing the target insect away.
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The eardrum is a marvel of engineering. As thin as tissue paper, it vibrates in response to the slightest changes in air pressure. If the eardrum surface moves inward a distance equal to the diameter of a single atom, one hundred millionth of a centimeter, a distinct sound is perceived. Clearly, a healthy eardrum is very sensitive. Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922) was a professor of vocal physiology at Boston University. At this time, electronic communication was limited to the dots and dashes of Morse Code. In his research, Bell looked for ways to transmit the various frequencies or vibrations of the human voice.
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A tsunami is an ocean disturbance resulting from seismic movement of the sea floor. A wave results and moves across the ocean surface at hundreds of miles per hour. In deep water the passing wave may be only a foot or less in height. Approaching the shallow shoreline, however, the wave becomes large with resulting flood danger and destruction.
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At first, we strenuously observed crystals of tap water, river water, and lake water. From the tap water we could not get any beautiful crystals. We could not get any beautiful ones from rivers and lakes near big cities, either.
memory storage, health care applications
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