Friday, February 27, 2015

Blue-rayed limpet

Blue-rayed limpet sounds like a Shakespearian insult.

However scientists at Harvard and MIT this week have -- and I quote -- "examined the 3D nano-architecture of the photonic structures embedded in the limpet's translucent shell" (I won't even pretend to know what that means) to find out how these tiny, fingernail-sized North Atlantic limpets glow so gorgeously blue.

Maybe I wanted to know, and maybe I didn't. Maybe I wanted them to be lines of wish-granting electric aquamarine drawn on by some diminutive shellfish fairy. Can't a middle-aged suburban mother of two have some magic?

It has to do with the zig-zag way the shell's calcium carbonate has formed. But I was happy. "Zig-zag" appeared as an adjective in a peer-reviewed scientific journal and I have never seen that before.

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