01 November 2005

Swimming with the big sharks

Ran across two interesting tidbits from the world of biology. The first is a new startup from Georgia Tech named The Center for Biologically Inspired Design, which is “capitalizing on the rich source of design solutions present in biological processes”.

Can anyone else see this noble ambition colliding head-on with the many other patent-farmers lurking in IP-space?

Not to mention getting slapped about both by the ID zealots for failing to acknowledge that design implies a Designer and by zealots for the cause of evolution for sailing too close to the terminological wind, using the word “design” where they’re supposed to say “accumulated statistical minima” or something like that.

The second item is a warm-blooded shark. Yup, serious! Apparently, the north Pacific salmon shark is warm-blooded or at least warm-muscled. It’s able to maintain a body temperature of roughly 20°C above the cold water it swims in, which amongst other things roughly quadruples the power output of the muscles in question. The sharks never stop swimming, because they’d sink and then suffocate otherwise.

Who’d a thunk it? Sharks have been so long described as “cold-blooded killers” but once again convention has been stood on its ear by an inconvenient observation.

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