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Spider Silk

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SCIENCE
September 11, 2013 | By Amina Khan
Here are two things you might not expect to see together: spider silk coated in carbon nanotubes. This hybrid material is stretchy, super strong and can shrink and grow with humidity, making it potentially very useful for sensors and flexible electronics - and scientists made it by rubbing it between their fingers. This nanotube-coated spider silk, described in the journal Nature Communications, could be useful for devices such as heart monitors inside the body and might even act like synthetic muscle.
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SCIENCE
September 11, 2013 | By Amina Khan
Here are two things you might not expect to see together: spider silk coated in carbon nanotubes. This hybrid material is stretchy, super strong and can shrink and grow with humidity, making it potentially very useful for sensors and flexible electronics - and scientists made it by rubbing it between their fingers. This nanotube-coated spider silk, described in the journal Nature Communications, could be useful for devices such as heart monitors inside the body and might even act like synthetic muscle.
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SCIENCE
April 25, 2009 | Times Staff and Wire Reports
Spider silk is already tougher and lighter than steel, and now scientists have made it three times stronger by adding small amounts of metal. The technique may be useful for manufacturing super-tough textiles and high-tech medical materials, including artificial bones and tendons. The finding, by Seung-Mo Lee of the Max Planck Institute of Microstructure Physics in Halle, Germany, and colleagues, was published in the journal Science. The idea was inspired by studies showing traces of metals in the toughest parts of insect body parts, such as the jaws of leaf-cutter ants and locusts.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 21, 2013 | By Karen R. Long
Spider webs combine a strength and elasticity unmatched by anything we humans can make. They don't trigger much of an immune response in us and are "insoluble in water, two facts that the classical Greeks exploited when they used cobwebs to patch bleeding wounds," notes science writer Adam Rutherford. These days, spider silk has inspired another innovative use. Utah State University researchers have spliced DNA from the golden orb-weaver spider into the genome of a goat named Freckles, adjacent to her own coded base pairs for prompting the production of milk.
SCIENCE
June 21, 2008 | Wendy Hansen, Times Staff Writer
Cheryl Hayashi is not afraid of spiders. She keeps black widows, tarantulas and jumping spiders, to name a few, at her lab at UC Riverside. Last fall, the associate biology professor's promising work on spider silk helped her win a coveted $500,000, no-strings-attached John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant. In between experiments, Hayashi took a few minutes to explain how her love of spider biodiversity could lead to the next Kevlar.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 9, 1995 | From Times staff and wire reports
The delicate yet tough strands of silk spun by ordinary spiders may provide surgeons with a new material for stitching up wounds, according to a researcher at the University of Wyoming. "Spider silk is very resistant to climate changes, bacteria, enzymes and fungal growth," M. Delwar Hussain told a meeting of the American Assn. of Pharmaceutical Scientists. "We think it could be a good substitute for sutures in tendon and ligament wounds, or with artificial prostheses." Hussain reported that spider silk was not toxic to the cells of mice and that it proved stable and strong when inserted under the skin and inside muscle.
NEWS
February 19, 1995 | JON SARCHE, ASSOCIATED PRESS
An athlete with a torn ligament receives an artificial ligament in an operation that leaves no scar. Several weeks later, the athlete is back on the field with a knee as strong as before. Such an operation could be routine one day, according to Randy Lewis, University of Wyoming professor of molecular biology, who says the creature that could make this medical miracle possible is a spider. Lewis, described by others as a pioneer in the field, has spent six years studying spider silk.
NEWS
October 1, 1997 | RICK WEISS, THE WASHINGTON POST
Few creatures are as widely reviled as spiders. So perhaps it's not surprising that the arachnophobic Little Miss Muffet is remembered with sympathy while her father, the 16th-century entomologist and physician Thomas Muffet, who adored the eight-legged creatures, is long forgotten. But Thomas Muffet might be vindicated yet.
SCIENCE
January 29, 2013 | By Joseph Serna
Scientists have found a new way to study spider webs that literally shines a light on arachnid technology like never before. Using light-scattering technology previously used for studying proteins, collagens and muscle fibers, researchers at Arizona State University measured the strength, elasticity and stiffness of spider webs. Scientists hope what they learn can help them develop new technologies for everyday life. Researchers collected silk from a garden spider, western black widow, orb-weaver spider and green lynx spider.
SCIENCE
June 18, 2013 | By Brad Balukjian
Cool things are found in caves: stalagmites, Christian Bale , Goonies and now a new species of assassin bug that snipes spiders, according to a new study . The labyrinth bug, named for its cave habitat ( and not the David Bowie movie ), was formally described last week in the journal Zootaxa. These spindly killers use their spiny front legs to seize small insects and other prey, and then pierce their catch with a sword-like snout in order to suck up its juices.   The new species ( Phasmatocoris labyrinthicus )
SCIENCE
January 29, 2013 | By Joseph Serna
Scientists have found a new way to study spider webs that literally shines a light on arachnid technology like never before. Using light-scattering technology previously used for studying proteins, collagens and muscle fibers, researchers at Arizona State University measured the strength, elasticity and stiffness of spider webs. Scientists hope what they learn can help them develop new technologies for everyday life. Researchers collected silk from a garden spider, western black widow, orb-weaver spider and green lynx spider.
SCIENCE
October 2, 2012 | By Monte Morin
Think that cobweb in the corner looks like a haphazard collection of silk threads? Take a closer look -- preferably with a scanning electron microscope. It's long been known that spiders use a variety of tailor-made silks to cover their eggs, construct nets and maneuver around on. Now, a team of biologists and polymer scientists say spiders also use specialized techniques to secure cobweb strands depending on the prey they hope to catch. In a paper published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications , scientists described two very different anchors, or discs, that cobweb spinning spiders like the western black widow use to ensnare dinner.
SCIENCE
April 25, 2009 | Times Staff and Wire Reports
Spider silk is already tougher and lighter than steel, and now scientists have made it three times stronger by adding small amounts of metal. The technique may be useful for manufacturing super-tough textiles and high-tech medical materials, including artificial bones and tendons. The finding, by Seung-Mo Lee of the Max Planck Institute of Microstructure Physics in Halle, Germany, and colleagues, was published in the journal Science. The idea was inspired by studies showing traces of metals in the toughest parts of insect body parts, such as the jaws of leaf-cutter ants and locusts.
SCIENCE
June 21, 2008 | Wendy Hansen, Times Staff Writer
Cheryl Hayashi is not afraid of spiders. She keeps black widows, tarantulas and jumping spiders, to name a few, at her lab at UC Riverside. Last fall, the associate biology professor's promising work on spider silk helped her win a coveted $500,000, no-strings-attached John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant. In between experiments, Hayashi took a few minutes to explain how her love of spider biodiversity could lead to the next Kevlar.
NEWS
September 27, 2005 | Emily Green
HERE'S one way to clear out the Butterfly Pavilion at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County: Fill it with spiders. For the first time, Insect Zoo coordinator Brent Karner has organized a living exhibit of the family Araneidae, or orb-weaving spiders. Visitors will be led in groups by "gallery interpreters," people who know where the spiders are. The insects should not be hard to find. Not all spiders weave webs; some hunt. Karner has gathered only the most elegant spinners.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 21, 2013 | By Karen R. Long
Spider webs combine a strength and elasticity unmatched by anything we humans can make. They don't trigger much of an immune response in us and are "insoluble in water, two facts that the classical Greeks exploited when they used cobwebs to patch bleeding wounds," notes science writer Adam Rutherford. These days, spider silk has inspired another innovative use. Utah State University researchers have spliced DNA from the golden orb-weaver spider into the genome of a goat named Freckles, adjacent to her own coded base pairs for prompting the production of milk.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 17, 2001
Whether they are sneaking around dusty attics, swimming underwater or roaming the Earth from Amazon jungles and the snows of Mount Everest, spiders play an important role in the web of life. These creepy-crawly creatures eat harmful insects, either through hunting or by trapping them through amazingly crafted webs. Find out the facts about these ingenious, useful and sometimes dangerous creatures through these direct links on the Times' Launch Point Web site: http://www.latimes.com/launchpoint/.
HEALTH
November 1, 1999 | ROSIE MESTEL
This week, we've gathered some tidbits from biomedical research. It's hard, we admit, not to get sidetracked while perusing the latest scientific reports: Who wouldn't be enthralled by the news that University of Florida entomologists are making strides in their studies of homosexuality in beetles, or that time is running out for Abigail the rare white abalone, the only one of her kind in captivity, who needs a male partner if she's to breed? But we digress.
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