‘Infinitely’ recyclable polymer shows practical properties of plastics

The world fell in love with plastics because they're cheap, convenient, lightweight and long- lasting. For these same reasons, plastics are now trashing the Earth. Chemists have just announced another major step toward waste-free, sustainable materials that could one day compete with conventional plastics.

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Why a robot can’t yet outjump a flea

Smashing mantis shrimp. Snapping trap-jaw ants. Stinging jellyfish. Some of the fastest living things -- at least over short distances -- are also the smallest. A new mathematical model explores how the smallest and speediest things on Earth generate their powerful jumps, snaps, strikes and punches. The model could help explain why robots can't hold a candle to the fastest-moving insects and other tiny-but-powerful creatures, and how they could get closer.

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Genetic roadmap to building an entire organism from a single cell

In three landmark studies,researchers report how they have systematically profiled every cell in developing zebrafish and frog embryos to establish a roadmap revealing how one cell builds an entire organism. The findings represent a catalog of genetic 'recipes' for generating different cell types and provide an unprecedented resource for the study of developmental biology and disease.

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Transparent eel-like soft robot can swim silently underwater

An innovative, eel-like robot developed by engineers and marine biologists can swim silently in salt water without an electric motor. Instead, the robot uses artificial muscles filled with water to propel itself. The foot-long robot, which is connected to an electronics board that remains on the surface, is also virtually transparent.

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Evidence for persistent forest reliance by indigenous peoples in historical Sri Lanka

Working closely with Wanniyalaeto (Vedda) elders in Sri Lanka during the repatriation of skeletal remains, a team of researchers have demonstrated that while some indigenous hunter-gatherers in Sri Lanka made use of agricultural resources and trade connections with farmers and colonial power structures, others continued to subsist primarily on tropical forest resources as late as the 19th century.

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