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[28 Feb 2011 | No Comment | 4,697 views]
Better Living through Zinc Selenide: Making More Efficient Optical Fibers

Yesterday I was trying to accomplish something of vital importance on the Internet when I was stopped short in my digital tracks, having discovered to my shock and horror that I would be compelled to give my email address in order to cast a vote for some friends attempting to win a Crate & Barrell “ultimate dream wedding” competition.
Worried that I would become the recipient of incessant emails extolling the merit of elegant crystal decanters and pithy advice on how to choose the perfect shrimp fork, I decided to give out my fifteen-year old aol email address (which I have pretty much completely surrendered to …

FIRE, WOOD »

[14 Dec 2010 | One Comment | 7,161 views]
FIX IT! A Self-healing Polymer Material Embedded with a Fiber Optic Network

Stairs are challenging enough for adults at times, but I distinctly remember how hard it was to climb them when I was little.  When you are small in stature, 7″ high risers hit at mid-thigh and most of the time you have to take each stair on all fours.  Many of the epic, all-out “Alli versus the Stairs” battles ended with a small, defiant child celebrating wildly on the second floor, but sometimes things didn’t go my way.  On the days that the straight run, open tread, carpeted monster was …

FIRE, WATER »

[14 Jul 2010 | No Comment | 1,212 views]
Singing Acoustic Fibers can Hear their Environment

Every once in a while in the course of my quest to discover materials with architectural potential, I stumble across something so interesting that I emit an audible yelp akin to the bellow of an excited elephant seal, drop whatever I’m doing, and write a post about it.  Unfortunately this tendency has resulted in the accidental smashing of several objects, including one unfortunate incident where I dropped an ancient and rather valuable Ming vase on an unforgiving tile floor with predictably catastrophic consequences. 
Yesterday I learned that researchers at MIT have developed functional plastic fibers that can detect …

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