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188 comments

Don't start with the milk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33904472)

Someone dear to me didn't survive the milk, you see.. the cow tipped over.. and..
*runs*

That's olds! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33904474)

How it's made TV show already mentioned that in the Techno Flash segment, BACK IN SEASON 1!!!

In another universe... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33904492)

...alien beings are harvesting silk from genetically-modified humans.

Re:In another universe... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33904594)

Is it pleasurable for human? It was for me.

Cool (1)

PinkyGigglebrain (730753) | more than 3 years ago | (#33904498)

I am usually very critical of GMO tech but even I have to say this is cool.

Re:Cool (3, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 3 years ago | (#33904522)

Why? It's the most cutting edge technology in the world.. I don't know how you can call yourself a geek and not be at least marginally interested in it.

Re:Cool (2, Interesting)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#33904548)

It's the most cutting edge technology in the world..

For this specific case, I reckon qualifying this as the "best-protection-against-cutting-edges technology" would apply.

Re:Cool (3, Insightful)

Hylandr (813770) | more than 3 years ago | (#33904584)

The Mithril vest could become a reality again! I can't wait. and I am really glad they didn't do the Spider - Goats. Had a hard enough time getting rid of those things with my faithful Sting...

- Dan.

Re:Cool (3, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#33906606)

The Mithril vest could become a reality again!

This reminds me...can anyone explain how spider silk can be made into bullet-proof vests?

When someone starts shooting at my house, I don't immediately think "Let me go find a spider-web to hide behind". At my house. When the shooting starts.

Re:Cool (3, Informative)

imamac (1083405) | more than 3 years ago | (#33906680)

Of course not. And a few fibers of kevlar won't either. Put together tightly makes a bit of difference, though.

Re:Cool (5, Insightful)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 3 years ago | (#33904574)

Why?

For a lot of reasons. It's being pursued without any caution whatsoever. Look at the Nazi scientists at Monsanto. Nearly killed the Monarch butterflies and have actively researched and implemented "death codes" into their projects to protect intellectual property that should have never been granted. Technology aside, they are far more damaging than the entertainment Mafiaa to the world with their lawsuits, strong arm tactics, reduced seed diversity, and just plain extortion of farmers the world over.

Cool technology to be sure, but the people that are involved in it certainly don't seem to have humanity's interests at heart.

Not to mention I feel that not enough research is really conducted to determine if the GMO food they are producing is really healthy in the first place. What are the real affects to humans eating it? Animals eating it? Affect on the environment in which it is grown (Monarch Butterflies again)?

BTW, the poster said critical of the technology, and did not indicate any level of disinterest. I am greatly interested in GMO technology, but pursued correctly and safely and absolutely without any ridiculous BS of the deathcodes being inside it..

You don't have to be crazy or disinterested in GMO to be highly critical of companies like Monsanto. I am sure someone will claim that I am trolling, ignorant, and misinformed of GMO. Perhaps that is true. My statements regarding Monsanto though, stand on well-known facts. Just maybe, maybe, GMO might be more accepted if Monsanto had never been formed as a company.

Re:Cool (-1, Flamebait)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 3 years ago | (#33904696)

uh huh..

Allow me to make an analogy. I'm asking why you're not interested in the latest GPU developments and you're repeating "video games cause teen violence" stories from the mainstream media. Hint: they're morons.

Re:Cool (2, Interesting)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 3 years ago | (#33904764)

No. That is an incorrect analogy. I did not say I was not interested in GMO, in fact, I explicitly stated that I was interested. What I was responding to was a question of why somebody could be critical of GMO technology. There is a difference between criticism and disinterest.

You also seem to be claiming that I am willing to completely write-off and demonize a technology simply because some people have done a bad thing with it. Not true. Once again, my post was clear about that.

GMO is, to me, a clearly abused technology in the hands of dangerous people with questionable motives.

Re:Cool (0, Troll)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 3 years ago | (#33904870)

No.. what I'm implying is that you're too ignorant of the technology to understand why the scare mongering is not only blatantly wrong but also outright stupid.

Re:Cool (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 3 years ago | (#33904948)

The GP clearly hates the way Monstanto abuses GMO technology (and with good reason), equating this to hatred and/or ignorance of GMO technology is blatantly wrong.

Re:Cool (-1, Troll)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 3 years ago | (#33905348)

and with good reason

He didn't provide any good reason.. he provided the nonsense scare mongering bullshit that people have been peddling for years.

Re:Cool (2, Informative)

Jarik C-Bol (894741) | more than 3 years ago | (#33906368)

you must have missed the article we had a few months ago about the farmer that finally won his case against Monstanto. It included links to some *VERY* compelling evidence that GP's stance on Monstanto is not hot air and scare mongering.

Re:Cool (2, Insightful)

ByteSlicer (735276) | more than 3 years ago | (#33906476)

You nead a reason why genetically modified food is bad? Well, let's see:

They genetically altered a major food source (grain) without really knowing the long term consequences (the splicing and insertion of new genes basically occurs in random places of the target DNA).
Because they 'enhanced' it (made it resistant to the weedkiller they sell), they made it very attractive to cultivate.
This, combined with aggressive marketing lead to world-wide use of their altered grain varieties (which they control completely through patents).
The genetically altered grain cross-breads with non-altered grains, so eventually the whole world will have GE grain.

Now imagine that this altered grain turns out to be particulary vulnerable to some new strain of virus.
These things happen, but with sufficient genetic variety, only a small part of the crops are affected.
But since we basically created a grain monoculture, most of the crops will be lost. Sure there are some reserves, but not in sufficient quantities to prevent famine.
And it would take years to turn the limited amount of unaltered grain (which btw people would want to eat) in sufficient starter seed for the whole world.

That's why genetically modified food is a bad thing when controlled by mega corporations.

Re:Cool (-1, Troll)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 3 years ago | (#33906496)

Do you *not* understand that you're just demonstrating that you're a naive moron right now? How can I get this through to you?

Pick a subject you happen to know something about. Now imagine someone saying things that are nonsensical. For example, imagine someone saying that blue computers overheat more because they are full of goldfish. Just think about how stupid you sound.

Re:Cool (4, Informative)

amorsen (7485) | more than 3 years ago | (#33905482)

Danish studies have shown clear correlation between how well informed people are about GMO and how positive their attitude is towards it. The correlation is negative.

Re:Cool (4, Interesting)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 3 years ago | (#33906380)

Studies have also shown a clear correlation between making wild claims and citing sources. The correlation is negative.

Re:Cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33904704)

Cool technology to be sure, but the people that are involved in it certainly don't seem to have humanity's interests at heart.

Greed *is* one of humanity's interests, and if you're going to play the, "Oh noes, bad people!" card, I'm going to have to ask what your opinion is on the space shuttle (military - aka, folks who kill other folks for a living), the Internet (again, military), GPS (yet again, military)...

Re:Cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33904914)

More testing goes into GM food then organic food.

How much research would you be happy with until we confirm GM food is fine? There is currently no empirical evidence to the contrary with extensive studies done.

Your view seems more emotional then rational.

Re:Cool (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 3 years ago | (#33906848)

No shit more testing goes into GM food than organic food. GM food is a freakshow that has unknown long-term effects for humans, animals, and the environment. Organic food on the other hand is food that is simply grown without tampering, the way it has been done for thousands of years.

Re:Cool (4, Informative)

PinkyGigglebrain (730753) | more than 3 years ago | (#33905052)

FYI, the Monarch butterfly report showing harm was discredited due to the concentrations of pollen placed on the milkweed. It was way more than would normally by found in the wild.

And thank your for for the support.

That said, here are some links you might find informative;

Monsanto [sourcewatch.org]
more Monsanto [naturalnews.com]
Yet more Monsanto (busy aren't they) [vanityfair.com]
intersting site [gmwatch.org]
Canola [npr.org]
GM canola in the wild [scientificamerican.com]
Possible wipe out of terrestrial plant life [purefood.org]
another one [biotech-info.net]

Have fun reading.

_

Re:Cool (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33905636)

Wait, you criticize the lack of caution, and complain about death-codes that would act as a fail-safe in case a modified plant started to infest an ecosystem?

Re:Cool (2, Insightful)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#33906154)

Is that what the death codes are there for? I thought they were there so farmers have to keep buying seed from Monsanto even if they treble the price once self-perpetuating varieties have gone the way of the dodo.

Re:Cool (2, Funny)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#33905954)

Look at the Nazi scientists at Monsanto.

To be fair, Monsanto has changed recently: wearing SS uniforms in the lab is no longer strictly mandatory.

ignorant and misinformed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33906040)

good god, the noun you want is effect.
maybe you know as little about plant chromosomes as you do about english spelling?
i won't even touch the godwin invocation
shame on you, mods. if Monsanto is evil, wee need more than FUD for insight
r.i.p. rational discussion on slashdot, it was good knowing you

Re:Cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33906498)

But - and I am only saying this because I care - there are a lot of decaffeinated brands on the market today that are just as tasty as the real thing.

Re:Cool (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#33906660)

You make some good points.

It also occurs to me that there's been genetically modified products in the food supply in the US for years now. The "high-fructose corn syrup" that's in everything you can buy at a 7-11 is almost always from genetically modified corn (because that's the best way to sell it into the US food supply). And it's interesting that right about the time this started obesity went out of fucking control in America.

I'm not saying there's a correlation, but I would not be surprised to find that there's a correlation. Whenever I think of the companies that control our food supply, I think of the companies that control our energy supply. And the companies that control our health care supply. And the companies that control our bandwidth supply. Have they proven they can be trusted with more responsibility?

Re:Cool (1)

soupforare (542403) | more than 3 years ago | (#33907148)

I'm completely indifferent about GMO food, but even before GMO corn, they were using cultivars that you would never use to eat for HFCS. It's not anything new and if there is a correlation I'd wager it with the HFCS, not the fact that it was sourced from GMO corn. Look at the refining process, the "corn" becomes not very quickly.

Brainless Scientists ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33904648)

They are doing the thing in reverse !!!

Instead of inventing silkworms spitting out spider silk they should invent spiders that spitting out SILKWORM SILK that are very useful in making silk fabric !!

Re:Cool (1, Troll)

PinkyGigglebrain (730753) | more than 3 years ago | (#33904992)

Actually I'm very interested in GM and as a result I have done quite a bit of research on the subject.

My criticism of it usually is in regards to how it is being applied with little, if any, real regard to its impact on the environment. Also a concern is the moral, legal and cultural ramifications of the technology. Particularly in situations where profit is being placed above responsible use. I mean come on, patents on a string of amino acids?

And there are too many questions, to many inconclusive or questionable reports into the effects (good and bad) of the tech when introduced into the environment, for me to be the enthusiastic supporter I once was.

I really don't think we know enough about it to use it safely and effectively, with continued research one day we will. Until then we need to be very, very, careful.

Here is a near miss [purefood.org] that didn't get much press. The modified K. Planticola would be considered a bio weapon if a terrorist had been found with it. And keep in mind the modified organism had been cleared through the "proper channels" for release into the wild. That and many other stories have made me advocate caution, next time we may not be so lucky.

Indeed, our luck may already have run out, we just don't know it yet.

_

Re:Cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33905236)

Interested, sure. Terrified of what large amoral vested interested will do with certain varieties of GM technology? Also yes.

Re:Cool (2, Insightful)

YaHooL (1745114) | more than 3 years ago | (#33905078)

I am usually very critical of GMO tech but even I have to say this is cool.

With great GMO tech, comes great responsibility.

Re:Cool (1)

PinkyGigglebrain (730753) | more than 3 years ago | (#33905326)

Indeed, hence my usual caution in regards to GMO.

When you have the power to destroy something you have responsibility for it. Like it or not.

I'm just glade this is not the sort of GMO that they would want to release into general environment. Considering the near wipe out of terrestrial plants [biotech-info.net] back in 1992 I think letting this tech out of the lab is generally a very bed idea right now.

Re:Cool (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 3 years ago | (#33906058)

When I'm cleaning the house it's hard for me to believe that there's not enough spider silk in the world already.

A few more techs to go for Silksteel (3, Interesting)

rsborg (111459) | more than 3 years ago | (#33904504)

From the Alpha Centauri [wikimedia.org] archives:

"Until quite recently, spider silk had the highest tensile strength of any substance known to man, and the name Silksteel pays homage to the arachnid for good reason."

Commissioner Pravin Lal
"U.N. Scientific Survey"

Some of the best (sometimes prophetic) fictional quotes ever.

Re:A few more techs to go for Silksteel (1)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 3 years ago | (#33904560)

Alpha Centauri was great and it was the small things that made it so great.

Re:A few more techs to go for Silksteel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33905038)

what do you mean was .. ;-)

Re:A few more techs to go for Silksteel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33905462)

I've just shot straight through a spider web with a pellet gun. The fucking pellet didn't even slow down!

Re:A few more techs to go for Silksteel (1)

SunTzuWarmaster (930093) | more than 3 years ago | (#33906112)

"Remember, genes are NOT blueprints. This means you can't, for example, insert "the genes for an elephant's trunk" into a giraffe and get a giraffe with a trunk. There are no genes for trunks. What you CAN do with genes is chemistry, since DNA codes for chemicals. For instance, we can in theory splice the native plants' talent for nitrogen fixation into a terran plant."

Academician Prokhor Zakharov
"Nonlinear Genetics"

Re:A few more techs to go for Silksteel (1)

mike2R (721965) | more than 3 years ago | (#33907130)

"We hold life to be sacred, but we also know the foundation of life consists in a stream of codes not so different from the successive frames of a watchvid. Why then cannot we cut one code short here, and start another there? Is life so fragile that it can withstand no tampering? Does the sacred brook no improvement?"

Chairman Sheng-ji Yang
Dynamics of Mind

Re:A few more techs to go for Silksteel (1)

BobisOnlyBob (1438553) | more than 3 years ago | (#33906412)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultimate_tensile_strength#Typical_tensile_strengths [wikipedia.org]

Note on spider silk strength: The strength of spider silk is highly variable. It depends on many factors including type of silk (every spider can produce several different types for different purposes), the particular species, the age of the silk, the temperature, the humidity, the rate at which stress is applied during testing, the length of time the stress is applied and the way the silk is collected (forced silking or natural spinning). The value shown in the table, 1000 MPa, is roughly representative of the results from a few studies involving several different species of spider however specific results varied greatly.

Of course, the Darwin's Bark Spider has silk with an ultimate tensile strength of 27,600 MPa, contested only by Carbon Nanotubes...

Also, respect to Alpha Centauri. I love that game and all its beautiful little quotes. I especially like the already-posted "Nonlinear Genetics" one.

Almost there (4, Informative)

Entropy98 (1340659) | more than 3 years ago | (#33904508)

"Compared to normal spider silk, it's not as strong," said Malcolm Fraser, a scientist from the University of Notre Dame. "But we are confident that, this being our first attempt, that we will be able to tweak the system to bring the system closer to the strength of true spider silk."
--
windows media codec pack [softpedia.com]

Re:Almost there (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#33904576)

"Compared to normal spider silk, it's not as strong," said Malcolm Fraser, a scientist from the University of Notre Dame. "But we are confident that, this being our first attempt, that we will be able to tweak the system to bring the system closer to the strength of true spider silk.">

Double the points if the silk worms will start catching flies instead of eating 104 kg of mulberry leaves for each kilo of silk.

Re:Almost there (5, Funny)

ultranova (717540) | more than 3 years ago | (#33906054)

Double the points if the silk worms will start catching flies instead of eating 104 kg of mulberry leaves for each kilo of silk.

Triple the points if the worms escape, block the doors to the laboratory with unbreakable spider silk sheet, then eat the scientists.

Quadruple them if they somehow mutate into an army of Shelobs and terrorize the general population.

Re:Almost there (2, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | more than 3 years ago | (#33904664)

What I'm wondering is how long it will be before they can get something working that is *stronger* than spider silk.

Re:Almost there (1)

KingFrog (1888802) | more than 3 years ago | (#33904930)

Right now, I'd settle for "As strong" as spider silk. Cross-sectional wise, it's one of the strongest materials out there. If we could cable bridges with the stuff, we'd need a LOT less cable than we do with steel.

Stronger.. soon.. but stronger isnt the only point (2, Interesting)

tempest69 (572798) | more than 3 years ago | (#33905022)

Spectra cable is right on par strengthwise, but it's a chemical nightmare to make compared to silk. You don't have to truck away thousands of gallons of spent sulfuric acid. Silk isn't rejected by the body. And if it can be made in the right organisms it can be pretty cheap. Goats or plants would make the fiber at a very reasonable price point, silkworms are still orders of magnitude better than spiders. As spiders eat the silk and each other.

Opening cocoons (4, Interesting)

LongearedBat (1665481) | more than 3 years ago | (#33905214)

So, when silk worms finally do make silk as strong as spiders' silk, then will those silk moths be able to open their own cocoons?

Re:Opening cocoons (2, Insightful)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 3 years ago | (#33906602)

So, when silk worms finally do make silk as strong as spiders' silk, then will those silk moths be able to open their own cocoons?

That's a good thing. It's literally embedding a natural limiter for a genetic experiment. The stronger the silk, the less probable the organism will be able to escape and reproduce outside. If the thing does reproduce, I expect the offspring that will make it will be the ones with weaker silk, bringing balance to nature again. Unless, of course, stronger silk gives them an unknown reproductive advantage, which I really hope doesn't happen. (Crap, now I really got scared).

anyone got an Athlon II X4, please test it! (-1, Offtopic)

Blue Shifted (1078715) | more than 3 years ago | (#33904516)

testing for singlethreaded performance.....

if you have an Athlon II X4 of any speed, please run:

cpumark99 on it (if you can find it), and you might get the fastest score in safe mode...

the java benchmark from NIST on it http://math.nist.gov/scimark2/run.html [nist.gov]

and if you can get calc.exe from windows XP, time a factorial of 100,000!

(the factorial function in the new calculator that comes with win7 chokes on big factorials, and all the scores i've accumulated are using calc.exe from xp)

Re:anyone got an Athlon II X4, please test it! (2, Funny)

some_guy_88 (1306769) | more than 3 years ago | (#33904612)

I agree, genetically engineered silkworms *are* cool.

Re:anyone got an Athlon II X4, please test it! (1)

The_mad_linguist (1019680) | more than 3 years ago | (#33905566)

I think they even meet the criteria as well if you're careful when unwrapping the cocoons.

Rough handling may cause them to go multi-threaded.

Spider Worms? (4, Funny)

nofx_3 (40519) | more than 3 years ago | (#33904558)

"They're takin our jerbs!"

-The Spider Goats

Re:Spider Worms? (1)

aiht (1017790) | more than 3 years ago | (#33904874)

Visualize Whirled Peas

*imagines green legumes in pods being spun around*
... I don't get it.
Is that another way of making the spider silk?

Re:Spider Worms? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33906074)

that's his sig, not part of the comment

Just one client, but... (2, Funny)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 3 years ago | (#33904572)

Using that silk should produce extra-sharp scytes...maybe you could even skip a lot of the required steps and sharpen them next directly with moonlight.

Re:Just one client, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33905198)

But there's nothing like the light of dawn for sharpening scythes, or at least a certain Bill Door tells me so.

Relief (2, Funny)

dark grep (766587) | more than 3 years ago | (#33904644)

Well that's a relief. I much prefer the idea of a Really Big Silk Worm than a Really Big Spider to spin the cable for the space elevator. I for one welcome our new silk moth overlords.

Re:Relief (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33905530)

The Silk Must Flow.

Oh Great .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33904778)

Kimono Robes made with Spider silk, now you'll never get away from her, scary.

Just wait until... (2, Funny)

poly_pusher (1004145) | more than 3 years ago | (#33904790)

somebody tries to tape these things to their wrists and jump out of a window in a leotard...

Re:Just wait until... (1)

Keerok (870468) | more than 3 years ago | (#33906808)

silk worms are quite plump, If said individual does try this, and tapes enough of them on, perhaps the worms could break the persons fall. if each Silkworm (Sw) has a force absorption of ..........( lots of pseudo math and physics and bogus assumptions)... then approximately 64k of them should be enough for anyone to safely try it :)

Meanwhile in China (1)

PatPending (953482) | more than 3 years ago | (#33904810)

Somewhere in China, a general is pleading, "Mr. President, we must not allow a silkworm spider silk gap! "

Spider Worm, Spider Worm, does whatever a... (1)

jappleng (1805148) | more than 3 years ago | (#33904842)

Spider Worm, Spider Worm, does whatever a Spider Worm does, can it swing, from a web, yes it can, because its a Spider Silk Worm, look out, here comes the Spider Wuuuuurm~~~

That's amazing! (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 3 years ago | (#33904902)

Hats off to the people who made this happen. I can't wait to buy shirts made out of spider silk.

-jcr

Re:That's amazing! (1)

tempest69 (572798) | more than 3 years ago | (#33905046)

I cant wait to buy ligaments and tendons at wholesale prices. Though spider-meniscus might be a while in making it through FDA trials.
But it's Wyoming, so the real goal was to make something super expensive in the fly-fishing isle, because tourists love to equip with the expensive stuff.

Spider Silk Carpets (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 3 years ago | (#33905334)

Spider silk is already on the world market. I got a nice carpet on the living room floor - made in Belgium.

Re:Spider Silk Carpets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33905370)

Nice, you stole the only rug ever made out of spider silk? Shouldn't you have posted AC though?

FEH (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33905560)

I am tired of the ridiculous "ten times stronger than Kevlar" or "ten times stronger than steel" and such garbage.

For the record: Kevlar is not particularly strong, compared to other high-end materials. What it is though, is ductile - that is, absorbs a nice amount of energy while being plastically deformed. Spider silk does this even better.

Steel can be had in strengths that vary between as low as 200 MPa (bad cast iron) to 3000 MPa (piano wire).
Kevlar is somewhere at 800 MPa or so - stronger than regular construction steel (235-420 MPa) but weaker than hardened sheet steel (900-1300 MPa).
The strongest material you may encounter outside of a laboratory is glass fiber, which can reach strengths of up to 5000 MPa.
Carbon fiber is weaker (~2000 MPa) than glass fiber, but it is more rigid - which is the sought after property most of the time.
Titanium, while having some nice properties, isn't incredibly strong either - around 1000 MPa at best.

Even when considering density, steel usually holds its own quite well - especially when designing things that are supposed to have a certain rigidity, where steel really shines - and while exotic materials may have advantages they are never along the line of "ten times", more like "two times" at best.

I'm a mechanical design engineer and I am really not amused when people show me their titanium golf clubs and claim that it is ten times stronger than steel an cost a hundred times more than gold, or other preposterous claims like that. Titanium is $100/kg, tops.

Re:FEH (2, Informative)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 3 years ago | (#33905680)

Another good example of this is aluminium or titanium bike frames vs steel bike frames. Because rigidity is rather important in bikes, steel frames hold their own extremely well against the more exotic materials. The weight benefits of aluminium and titanium are offset by the fact that they have to make the tubes far thicker.

Re:FEH (4, Interesting)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 3 years ago | (#33906216)

Similar thing with compressed gas cylinders (specifically scuba tanks). The wall thickness is *much* thinner for a steel tank than an aluminum one of similar pressures, so for the same mass of air and you can get away with a smaller tank and/or lower pressure. The resulting vessels end up being very close to the same mass despite aluminum's on-paper advantage in strength-to-weight ratio, which is killed by the maximum outer diameter that people are comfortable with handling.

I'm still trying to figure out why steel scuba tanks cost *more* than aluminum ones, though, looking at the spot prices for each of those metals.

Re:FEH (2, Interesting)

Churnits (1922258) | more than 3 years ago | (#33906600)

But to make a steel frame lighter than those made out of aluminium, titanium and carbon fibre the tube walls need to be so thin that they can be crushed between two fingers.

Re:FEH (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33906918)

actually steel makes for a more forgiving ride. too much rigidity isnt a good thing.

Re:FEH (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33906090)

a lot of people don't understand how important elastic modulus is to a material, hell most people probably don't know what it is.

a nice material to look out for is TWIP steel. It has some very very interesting properties basically very high strength and also very high ductility. It sits way out on it's own on a ductility v strength curve for steels.

Re:FEH (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33906544)

Not to mention that spider silk is so elastic that, yes, it might catch a bullet if you made a vest. But not until after it is stretched enough that the bullet (and vest) are deep in your chest.

pl0s 4, TrOll) (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33905776)

Chaanel #GNAA on Kreskain

Electrospinning = automatic spider (1)

fonske (1224340) | more than 3 years ago | (#33906308)

Electrospinning is another way to obtain small fibers (nanometer order).
In our lab experiments are setup around spinning polycaprolactone (proteins (spider silk) are also amides). The choice was made in function of the surface modification possibilities for medical purposes.
Look up electrospinning in wikipedia.
They are very brief on the applications but they got the theory right.
It's a great way of testing basic knowledge of electricity.

Goats aren't the same (1)

Woogiemonger (628172) | more than 3 years ago | (#33907146)

Silkworms are looking more promising than goats because they have the body parts to actually spin the silk. With goats, the silk gets filtered from the milk (which hopefully is disposed of) and then has to be spun via some post-processing technology. The best this has resulted in are threads that are around an order of magnitude thicker than spiders can manage, according to the highly-esteemed Wikipedia.
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