Spirals in the News

An eclectic assortment of current  news items about spirals

'Kinky' bacteria motion could propel micromachines
12:31 14 September 2007
NewScientist.com news service
Belle Dumé

The "kinky" motion of a primitive spiral-shaped bacterium swimming could help design efficient micromachines, suggests a new modelling study.
The motion of Spiroplasma swimming through fluid by sending kinks down its body has been described perfectly by a new computer model by physicists in Germany. They believe their results could be important for one day designing micromachines that might be used for microscale manufacturing or for medical procedures.
"Our results could provide fresh ideas for developing artificial micromachines that work efficiently on the nano- and micro-scales," Roland Netz of the Technical University Munich told New Scientist. "This is currently a hot topic in nanotechnology."
(except - see New Scientist for full text)

Nature Magazine Article on Reconstruction of Spoken Language from Grooves on Cretan Spiral Pots

Landry and M’batu, scientist-archeologists, have reverse-engineered ancient Cretan pottery to recover samples of speech as practiced by those prehistoric potters.
We are all familiar with Thomas A Edison’s discovery of the phonograph, where he scratched a rotating drum with a needle that was set vibrating by sound striking a diaphragm attached to the needle. Now, when the drum was rotated again, with a needle with a diaphragm attached touching the groove which was made the first time, that same, first sound was heard.
Cretan pots, dated  about 3,800 years ago, are decorated with a spiral groove that goes many times around, as if made by spinning the pots when still soft, with a metal stylus sliding down the side.
Landry and M’batu said that if the Cretan potters had been speaking while they did their work, then the stylus would have vibrated with the speech, and would have recorded the sounds in the patterns on the pottery!


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