Why bees soared and slime flopped as inspirations for systems engineering

Honeybees gathering nectar inspired an algorithm that eased the burden of host servers handling unpredictable traffic by about 25 percent. Nature can inspire some great engineering, but it can also lead to some flops. Take slime mold: Standard algorithms beat it hands down to model connectivity.

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Studying mitosis’ structure to understand the inside of cancer cells

Cell division is an intricately choreographed ballet of proteins and molecules that divide the cell. During mitosis, microtubule-organizing centers assemble the spindle fibers that separate the copying chromosomes of DNA. While scientists are familiar with MTOCs’ existence and the role they play in cell division, their actual physical structure remains poorly understood. Researchers are now trying to decipher their molecular architecture.

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What makes circadian clocks tick?

Circadian clocks arose as an adaptation to dramatic swings in daylight hours and temperature caused by the Earth’s rotation, but we still don’t fully understand how they work. Scientists studying the circadian clock of blue-green colored cyanobacteria. The group discovered that how the proteins move hour by hour is central to cyanobacteria’s circadian clock function.

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Ras protein’s role in spreading cancer

Protein systems make up the complex signaling pathways that control whether a cell divides or, in some cases, metastasizes. Ras proteins have long been the focus of cancer research because of their role as ‘on/off switch’ signaling pathways that control cell division and failure to die like healthy cells do. Now, a team of researchers has been able to study precisely how Ras proteins interact with cell membrane surfaces.

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Unprecedented study of Picasso’s bronzes uncovers new details

Scientists have completed the first major material survey and study of the Musee national Picasso-Paris’ Pablo Picasso bronzes using portable instruments. They used the instruments and a database of alloy ‘fingerprints’ to non-invasively analyze a group of 39 bronzes and 11 painted sheet metal sculptures, revealing new details about the modern master’s art.

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Research team uncovers hidden details in Picasso Blue Period painting

Scientists have used multiple modes of light to uncover details hidden beneath the visible surface of Pablo Picasso’s painting ‘La Miséreuse accroupie’, a major work from the artist’s Blue Period. The researchers found images connected to other works by Picasso as well as a landscape — likely by another Barcelona painter — underneath Picasso’s painting.

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