That’s great that they’ve managed to make it stronger, but I thought the problem with spider silk was producing it in large enough quantities to be useful.
I’m not sure that this is a trick we want to be teaching spiders…
That’s why the spider farm will be situated so close to the nuclear power plant.
While I suspect that the silk produced is very spiffy, this research seems to have a couple of disconcerting implications.
The threat of nano-augmented spiders is the obvious one.
Less obvious; but probably more serious, is the suggestion that these novel carbon structures(which are at least modestly persistent) are quite capable of penetrating biological barrier membranes. When this involves soaking into a spider, no big deal. When it involves crossing your blood/brain barrier and doing who-knows-what to the development of your synapses? Maybe super powers; probably not. That’s the trouble with cool nano materials: it’s hard to predict their properties and effects by comparison with bulk forms of the same element.
The next test should be to see what happens when a spider is bitten by a radioactive human.
You joke, but in comics the Spectacular Spider-Ham was a spider bitten by a radioactive pig.
This reminds me of a YouTube video about the Wood Spider. If you haven’t seen it it is pretty funny.
Much more useful than crack spiders.
I imagine the Italian team spraying various spider samples with a series of substances to see which ones they will somehow absorb and secrete in their silk. “Teflon… let’s try teflon, see if they secrete non-stick webs… No, that didn’t work… how about food colouring?”
“Let’s try hair-spray, perhaps their webs will be all bouncy and volumnised.”
UPDATE: The other possibility is that Italian academia has been reduced to a “spider gladiatorial combat” model for apportioning funds, with grants going to the laboratory whose spiders defeat the other laboratories’… so this particular group of researchers were originally trying to give their spiders an unfair advantage by spraying nano-carbon armour onto their exoskeletons.
Catching falling aircraft? Is this from the Onion?
Six times as strong and only hundreds of times as carcinogenic!
But… Those poor fruit flies never stood a chance…
Haiku du jour:
Time flies like arrow
Fruit flies like banana
But fear nano silk
From a Bob Calvert album.
That was the guy’s first thought for an application?
I like the way this Pugno thinks.