Ritratto, premiere of opera on Luisa Casati


This March 2020 video from the Netherlands says about itself:

World premiere Ritratto (Full) – Dutch National Opera

Due to the measures against the spread of the Coronavirus, Ritratto never got its world premiere. Until now. You can enjoy this extravagant and beautiful opera from the comfort of your home. We hope you enjoy it. In case you want to support our house and the artists through these uncertain times you can make a donation via this ‘Tikkie’-link.

If you have bought a ticket for one of the cancelled performances, we will contact you with more information on this as soon as possible.

The libretto has been published and is availably by mailing info@franksiera.nl

Can’t get enough of this production? Journalist Stef Visjager followed the creation process of this opera and the singers for a year and a half and made a podcast-series about it. You can find the series and more information about this production here.

TEAM
Musical Director: Geoffrey Paterson
Stage Director: Marcel Sijm
Libretto: Frank Siera
Set Designer: Marc Warning
Costume Designer: Jan Taminiau
Lighting Designer: Alex Brok
Dramaturgy: Klaus Bertisch
Choreography: Zino Ainsly Schat

CAST
Luisa C.S. di Soncino: Verity Wingate – De Nationale Opera Studio
Romaine Brooks: Polly Leech – De Nationale Opera Studio
Gabriele D’Annunzio: Paride Cataldo – De Nationale Opera Studio
Garbi: Martin Mkhize – De Nationale Opera Studio
Sergei Diaghilev: Cameron Shahbazi – De Nationale Opera Studio
Man Ray: Lucas van Lierop – De Nationale Opera Studio
Jacob Epstein: Frederik Bergman – De Nationale Opera Studio
Kees van Dongen: Dominic Kraemer
Filippo Marinetti: Sam Carl – De Nationale Opera Studio

Choir
Soprano: Silvia Brizuela Meza, Stephanie Desjardins, Irene Hoogveld
Alto: Cameron Shahbazi, Joël Vuik, Maria Warenberg
Tenor: Lucas van Lierop, Zachery Vandermeulen, Milan de Korte
Bass: Frederik Bergman, Dominic Kraemer, Sam Carl

Orchestra
Amsterdam Sinfonietta

RITRATTO
Ritratto – the Italian word for ‘portrait’ is the title of a new opera by Willem Jeths, first Nederlandse Componist des Vaderlands (2014-2016), who was fascinated by a painting depicting Luisa Casati.

LUISA CASATI
The young orphaned and married, excessively wealthy Italian Marquesa Casati strove to be seen throughout her life. She was famous for the exuberant parties she organized. She allowed herself to be portrayed or photographed by numerous artists. With her black-rimmed eyes, her flaming red hair and eccentric behaviour she tried to gain a place in the art world.

Against the background of the war, librettist Frank Siera questions the importance of art. At a feast of Casati, Siera brings together all sorts of artists from the time of Casati. At the time, it was the Futurists who paved the way for fascism with their art. Casati does not engage with secular problems and focuses on her passion. In opera she goes even further than in real life; by not seeing, she tries to be seen herself.

This 20 March 2020 video from the Netherlands says about itself:

Verity Wingate announces online world premiere Ritratto

Soprano Verity Wingate invites you to the start of our online program: Ritratto!🎉 Tomorrow at 2pm (CET) we will stream the entire opera Ritratto, which was supposed to have its world premiere on the 13th of March, on our Youtube-channel Nationale Opera & Ballet. This way you can still enjoy all the labour, love and attention that has been put into this production by cast and crew. Will you tune in?

Zoo flamingos, penguins and coronavirus crisis


This 8 April 2020 says about itself:

Coronavirus aka COVID 19 has affected the life of humans, but it has also affected the lives of animals. We are seeing many videos on YouTube where wild animals are on streets, roads. But have you thought of what happened to animals in the zoo So I have created a zoo in lockdown animal video for you to have a glimpse in the life of these zoo animals.

Including penguins and flamingos.

United States coronavirus crisis for Navajo Nation


This 15 April 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

How Navajo Nation’s water and health crisis is amplified by COVID-19

For the Navajo Nation, the COVID-19 crisis is compounding systemic issues on the reservation like lack of water and healthcare access that existed long before the outbreak.

“The Navajo Nation experiences some of the highest rates of water poverty in the United States,” which makes it difficult to take basic precautionary measures like washing your hands, says Navajo artist and activist Emma Robbins. Robbins is also director of the Navajo Water Project, a community-managed utility alternative that brings running water to homes without access to water or sewer lines. She says mutual aid efforts like these are crucial for community survival during this crisis, but adds that the government needs to step up.

“I’ve seen many Navajo women step up and fight for communities. … We are the caretakers of our communities. This is nothing new for us,” says Robbins. “We are able to help ourselves, but it is also important to have our treaties honored and have that funding from the federal government.”

‘Bosses made construction worker die by coronavirus’


Turkish trade union Dev Yapi-Is national president Ozgur Karabulut speaks at the funeral of Hasan Öguz

By Steve Sweeney:

Turkish unions accuse bosses of murder after construction worker’s death

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

TURKISH trade unions have accused the government and construction bosses of murder after a worker died on a major building project associated with authoritarian President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Strike action closed down the multimillion-dollar Galataport site after the death of Dev Yapi-Is union representative Hasan Oguz last week.

He was reported to have died of a heart attack, but the cause of death was officially recorded as “infectious disease”, believed by many to have been Covid-19.

Addressing striking workers on Tuesday, Dev Yapi-Is national president Ozgur Karabulut said: “We are mourning him [Mr Oguz]. But we are angry as well. This anger will make our struggle bigger.

“While capitalism is promoting its ‘stay at home campaign’, we are working to death on sites. Hasan was murdered. His killer is the greedy company.”

He confirmed that a criminal complaint would be filed.

Turkey is one of the world’s worst countries for workplace deaths, with at least 1,739 recorded in 2019, according to the Workers Health and Work Safety Assembly.

One of the deadliest incidents was the 2014 Soma mining disaster, in which more than 300 people lost their lives. Just weeks before, the government had refused to hold an inquiry into safety at the site.

Construction is notorious for its poor safety record and exploitation of workers.

The $1.7 billion Galataport development is one of Turkey’s most controversial and corrupt projects, according to trade unionists.

It is owned by Dogus Holdings, a pro-Erdogan conglomerate which also controls large swathes of the Turkish media, owning seven television stations, four radio stations and three magazines.

In January, protests were held at the Istanbul site after the company withheld wages for three months, owing each worker an average of 15,000 Turkish lira.

Mr Oguz was a well-known trade unionist and lost a lung due to working as a drill operator on a dusty construction site.

He set up union committees, organising workers to protest against unsafe conditions.

But this made him a target for bosses. He was sacked from a World Bank construction project, the Istanbul Urban Hospital, for campaigning on health and safety.

After a lengthy period of unemployment, he found work at the Galataport site. Conditions there were poor and have deteriorated during the coronavirus outbreak, with no protective equipment available for workers.

Mr Oguz organised a strike on March 20, leading bosses to promise new protective measures.

But nothing changed — workers remained exposed to the risk of Covid-19 and basic health and safety concerns were ignored.

They downed tools again on Tuesday after Mr Oguz’s funeral, which was attended by around 20 trade unionists and his family and friends.

Following the latest strike, bosses agreed to shut down the Galataport site until May 3.

Triassic-Jurassic mass extinction, new research


This March 2019 video is called End-of-Triassic Extinction, by Megan Doyle & Leah Gordon.

From McGill University in Canada:

Volcanic carbon dioxide emissions helped trigger Triassic climate change

Study offers sobering warning on the impact of rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere

April 14, 2020

A new study finds volcanic activity played a direct role in triggering extreme climate change at the end of the Triassic period 201 million year ago, wiping out almost half of all existing species. The amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere from these volcanic eruptions is comparable to the amount of CO2 expected to be produced by all human activity in the 21st century.

The end-Triassic extinction has long been thought to have been caused by dramatic climate change and rising sea levels. While there was large-scale volcanic activity at the time, known as the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province eruptions, the role it played in directly contributing to the extinction event is debated. In a study for Nature Communications, an international team of researchers, including McGill professor Don Baker, found evidence of bubbles of carbon dioxide trapped in volcanic rocks dating to the end of the Triassic, supporting the theory that volcanic activity contributed to the devastating climate change believed to cause the mass extinction.

The researchers suggest that the end-Triassic environmental changes driven by volcanic carbon dioxide emissions may have been similar to those predicted for the near future. By analysing tiny gas exsolution bubbles preserved within the rocks, the team estimates that the amount of carbon emissions released in a single eruption — comparable to 100,000 km3 of lava spewed over 500 years — is likely equivalent to the total produced by all human activity during the 21st century, assuming a 2C rise in global temperature above pre-industrial levels.

“Although we cannot precisely determine the total amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere when these volcanoes erupted, the correlation between this natural injection of carbon dioxide and the end-Triassic extinction should be a warning to us. Even a slight possibility that the carbon dioxide we are now putting into the atmosphere could cause a major extinction event is enough to make me worried,” says professor of earth and planetary sciences Don Baker.

10 years after BP disaster, still oil pollution


This 2015 video from the USA says about itself:

The Gulf Oil Spill Disintegrated This Island | National Geographic

Cat Island was once one of the four largest bird-nesting grounds in Louisiana. But the Deepwater Horizon oil spill killed the mangroves growing there, destroying the root system that held the island’s sediment in place. Since 2010, the 5.5 acre island has been washing away into the Gulf of Mexico, and migratory birds find their home disappearing before their eyes.

From the University of South Florida (USF Innovation) in the USA:

First Gulf of Mexico-wide survey of oil pollution completed 10 years after Deepwater Horizon

April 15, 2020

Since the 2010 BP oil spill, marine scientists at the University of South Florida (USF) have sampled more than 2,500 individual fish representing 91 species from 359 locations across the Gulf of Mexico and found evidence of oil exposure in all of them, including some of the most popular types of seafood. The highest levels were detected in yellowfin tuna, golden tilefish and red drum.

The study, just published in Nature Scientific Reports, represents the first comprehensive, Gulf-wide survey of oil pollution launched in response to the Deepwater Horizon spill. It was funded by a nearly $37 million grant from the independent Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) to establish the Center for Integrated Modeling and Analysis of Gulf Ecosystems (C-IMAGE), an international consortium of professors, post-doctoral scholars and students from 19 collaborating institutions.

Over the last decade, USF scientists conducted a dozen research expeditions to locations off the United States, Mexico and Cuba examining levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), the most toxic chemical component of crude oil, in the bile of the fish. Bile is produced by the liver to aid in digestion, but it also acts as storage for waste products.

“We were quite surprised that among the most contaminated species was the fast-swimming yellowfin tuna as they are not found at the bottom of the ocean where most oil pollution in the Gulf occurs,” said lead author Erin Pulster, a researcher in USF’s College of Marine Science. “Although water concentrations of PAHs can vary considerably, they are generally found at trace levels or below detection limits in the water column. So where is the oil pollution we detected in tunas coming from?”

Pulster says it makes sense that tilefish have higher concentrations of PAH because they live their entire adult lives in and around burrows they excavate on the seafloor and PAHs are routinely found in Gulf sediment. However, their exposure has been increasing over time, as well as in other species, including groupers, some of Florida’s most economically important fish. In a separate USF-led study, her team measured the concentration of PAHs in the liver tissue and bile of 10 popular grouper species. The yellowedge grouper had a concentration that increased more than 800 percent from 2011 to 2017.

Fish with the highest concentrations of PAH were found in the northern Gulf of Mexico, a region of increased oil and gas activity and in the vicinity of the Deepwater Horizon spill that gushed nearly four million barrels of oil over the course of three months in 2010. Oil-rich sediments at the bottom where much of the oil settled are resuspended by storms and currents, re-exposing bottom-dwelling fish.

Oil pollution hot spots were also found off major population centers, such as Tampa Bay, suggesting that runoff from urbanized coasts may play a role in the higher concentrations of PAHs. Other sources include chornic low-level releases from oil and gas platforms, fuel from boats and airplanes and even natural oil seeps — fractures on the seafloor that can ooze the equivalent of millions of barrels of oil per year.

“This was the first baseline study of its kind, and it’s shocking that we haven’t done this before given the economic value of fisheries and petroleum extraction in the Gulf of Mexico,” said Steven Murawksi, professor of fisheries biology at USF, who led the international research effort.

Despite the detected trends of oil contamination in fish bile and liver, fish from the Gulf of Mexico are rigorously tested for contaminants to ensure public safety and are safe to eat because oil contaminants in fish flesh are well below public health advisory levels. Chronic PAH exposure, however, can prevent the liver from functioning properly, resulting in the decline of overall fish health.

These studies were made possible by BP’s 10-year, $500 million commitment to fund independent research on the long-term effects of the Deepwater Horizon spill administered by the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative. This year marks the end of that funding.

“Long-term monitoring studies such as these are important for early warning of oil pollution leaks and are vital for determining impacts to the environment in the case of future oil spills,” Pulster said.

BP’S TOXIC LEGACY Ten years ago, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 men and spilling 200 million gallons of Louisiana crude. HuffPost spoke with people who are still suffering from the health and economic fallout of cleaning up the toxic spill. [HuffPost]

How insect colours evolved, new research


This 2017 video is called Amazingly Colourful Insects and Snails 🐞.

From Yale-NUS College in Singapore:

Fossil record analysis hints at evolutionary origins of insects’ structural colors

April 14, 2020

Researchers from Yale-NUS College in Singapore and University College Cork (UCC) in Ireland have analysed preserved scales from wing cases of two fossil weevils from the Late Pleistocene era (approx. 13,000 years ago) to better understand the origin of light-scattering nanostructures present in present-day insects.

The researchers, led by Yale-NUS Assistant Professor of Science (Life Sciences) Vinod Kumar Saranathan and UCC paleobiologists Drs Luke McDonald and Maria McNamara, found that the wing cases of the fossil weevils contained preserved photonic ‘diamonds’, one of the many types of crystal-like nanoscopic structure that interacts with light to produce some of the brightest and purest colours in nature.

The outer coverings of many insects comprise repeating units arranged in a crystalline formation that interact with visible light to produce structural colours, which typically have a metallic, iridescent appearance. For many of these insects, the iridescent colours perform a variety of functions including camouflage, signalling potential mates, and warning off predators. To date, the evolutionary history of these complex tissue structures has not been clearly defined. This study highlights the great potential of the fossil record as a means to unearth the evolutionary history of structural colours, not only in weevils but also in other insects, and paves the way for further research on the development of these light-scattering nanostructures and the vibrant colours they give rise to.

The researchers used powerful electron microscopes and state-of-the-art synchrotron X-ray scattering and optical modelling techniques to identify and characterise a rare 3D photonic crystal nanostructure in the fossil weevil scales — whose blue and green hues are very similar to those of modern weevils from the same genus — revealing a diamond-like arrangement. Instances of 3D nanostructures are extremely rare in the fossil record. This study marks the second time such nanostructures have been found. The only other instance of such nanostructures found in the fossil record of another weevil was also discovered by Asst Prof Saranathan and Dr McNamara.

The fact that very similar substrate-matching green colours have been maintained over hundreds of thousands of generations suggest that the same selective pressures for camouflage have been acting on these weevils. This is consistent with a recent study by Asst Prof Saranathan and weevil systematist Dr Ainsley Seago that suggests the weevils’ colours evolved initially for camouflage amongst their leafy background, before diversifying for other functions such as to signal potential mates or deter predators.

Asst Prof Saranathan, who holds a concurrent appointment at the National University of Singapore’s Department of Biological Sciences, said, “It is very interesting to discover that insects first seem to evolve complex 3D nanoscale architectures in order to escape predators by blending in with their background (usually brown or green). Only later do these colours diverge for other uses, such as signalling potential mates or as a warning to predators that the insect is not worth eating.”

Privatisation means more Australian air pollution


This video from Australia is called BOLT MAN Vales Point shutdown concert 2014,

By Martin Scott in Australia:

Massive increase in toxic emissions at Australian coal power plant

15 April 2020

Data released this month by the National Pollutant Inventory revealed that the Vales Point coal-fired power plant on the New South Wales (NSW) Central Coast released 130,000 kilograms of fine particulate matter in 2018-19, an increase of 181 percent over the previous year.

Australians became all too familiar with toxic PM2.5 pollution in recent months, as smoke from the summer’s catastrophic bushfires enveloped large sections of the country for weeks on end.

The World Health Organisation estimates that 4.2 million premature deaths each year are caused by air pollution. Exposure to PM2.5 has been shown to increase the incidence of heart, lung and kidney disease.

A study released earlier this week at Harvard University in the United States found that a small increase in long-term exposure to PM2.5 also is associated with a 15 percent increase in the COVID-19 death rate.

An Australian federal government review board recently ruled against a bid to use $14 million of the federal Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) to upgrade the privately-owned Vales Point plant.

The Independent Emissions Reduction Assurance Committee found that the proposed turbine blade replacement project would cut the power station’s carbon emissions by a mere 1.3 percent, not enough to bring the plant’s emissions below the grid average.

The bid for funding had been rejected in 2018 by the government’s Clean Energy Regulator for the same reason, but the plant’s multi-millionaire co-owner, Trevor St Baker, sought an “urgent meeting” to appeal the decision. Melissa Price, the then environment minister in the federal Liberal-National government, called for the review.

While this proposal was turned down, nothing in the ruling contradicts Price’s 2018 insistence that the ERF was “technology neutral”, and therefore could be used to fund supposed upgrades to polluting coal-fired power stations.

In the first five years of its operation, the government’s $2.55 billion ERF reportedly reduced Australia’s carbon pollution by 44.8 million tonnes, a mere 8 percent of the country’s annual emissions, and less than one-fifth of the emissions caused by the recent bushfires.

More than half of that reduction came from reforestation projects, suggesting a significant portion of projected future gains may have literally gone up in smoke.

Like the earlier Emissions Trading Scheme introduced by the last Labor government of 2007 to 2013, the ERF is aimed at bolstering the very capitalist market responsible for global warming and the environmental crisis.

Rather than forcing big polluters to forgo any of their profits to reduce, or at least pay the true cost of, their carbon emissions, they are rewarded with additional public funds for even the smallest effort to improve their environmental performance.

Vales Point, which has a 1,320 MW generating capacity, is the twelfth-largest power plant in Australia. It was sold to Sunset Power International by the NSW Liberal-National state government in 2015 for just $1 million, the price of an average house in Sydney.

Company documents released in 2017 valued the power station at $730 million. Since 2017, Sunset Power International shareholders have been paid dividends of almost $72 million.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, who was the state treasurer at the time of the sale, claimed that $130 million of government money earmarked for future liabilities—mostly staff entitlements—at the site would be “returned” to the government.

Berejiklian said: “With the sale of Vales Point, NSW is no longer exposed to significant liabilities, such as costs associated with decommissioning, estimated to be in the tens of millions.”

It was later revealed that Sunset Power would be responsible only for $10 million of the cleanup costs when the site is shut down, leaving the NSW public responsible for a bill likely to be in the tens, if not hundreds, of millions.

The plant was previously expected to shut down by 2025, but the company now suggests it could run until 2049. Even if the proposed turbine upgrade went ahead, the 24-year extension would result in the emission of more than 160 million tonnes of carbon dioxide.

Vales Point was not the first NSW power station to be handed over to the corporate sector at a bargain price.

In 2013, Eraring Energy, valued at more than $1 billion, was sold to Origin Energy by the NSW Liberal-National government for just $50 million. Its assets included Australia’s second-largest energy plant, the 2,880-megawatt Eraring power station in nearby Dora Creek, Lake Macquarie. Sweetening the deal even further, Origin Energy was awarded $300 million in compensation for the termination of a future coal supply contract.

The NSW Environmental Protection Agency last month handed down a $15,000 fine for excessive dust emissions from the Eraring station’s ash dam, the third such penalty imposed on the plant in the past three years.

Privatisation of electricity has been promoted on the false promise that it would result in reduced power bills. In fact, average household electricity bills have increased by more than 35 percent in real terms since 2007-08, when this privatisation began. This is despite a reduction of more than 13 percent in average household energy consumption.

At the same time, electricity companies have sought to increase their profits by slashing thousands of jobs. Energy distributor Ausgrid alone has sacked more than 2,000 workers since 2014. That recently resulted in more than 15,000 of their customers in NSW waiting over a week for power to be restored after major storms and flooding battered the east coast of Australia in February.

While the full privatisation of the electricity industry in NSW has been carried out by Liberal-National governments, it was the previous state Labor government that kickstarted the process in 2008. Despite broad public opposition, then Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd backed the plan to sell off the retail side of the state’s power industry.

The selling off of utilities and major public companies was initiated by the Hawke and Keating federal Labor governments, which offloaded the Commonwealth Bank in 1991, followed by Qantas in 1993.

Keating boasted in 2008: “From the day the National Electricity Market, established by the Keating government, went into operation in 1995, there was no economic or commercial reason why any state would retain state ownership of power generating capacity.”

Far from a serious effort to reduce carbon emissions and build a reliable, modern electricity network based on renewable energy, the climate policy of successive Australian governments, federal and state, has served to further the profit interests of the corporate and financial elite.

The author also recommends:

Lack of action on climate change leads to warmest decade ever recorded
[20 January 2020]

Australia’s energy crisis exposes market failure
[21 March 2017]

The irrationality of capitalism: Millions cut off from electricity, lives endangered by California utility PG&E
[11 October 2019]

A new UCLA study in zebrafish identified the process by which air pollution can damage brain cells, potentially contributing to Parkinson’s disease: here.

Cicada wings are unique


This 2013 video from the USA is called Magicicada cassini cicadas molt (shed their skin) + Slow Motion & Fast Motion.

From the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, News Bureau in the USA:

Unique physical, chemical properties of cicada wings

April 14, 2020

Biological structures sometimes have unique features that engineers would like to copy. For example, many types of insect wings shed water, kill microbes, reflect light in unusual ways and are self-cleaning. While researchers have dissected the physical characteristics that likely contribute to such traits, a new study reveals that the chemical compounds that coat cicada wings also contribute to their ability to repel water and kill microbes.

The scientists report their findings in the journal Advanced Materials Interfaces.

The researchers looked at the physical traits and chemical characteristics of the wings of two cicada species, Neotibicen pruinosus and Magicicada casinnii. N. pruinosus is an annual cicada; M. casinnii emerges from the soil once every 17 years. Previous studies have shown that both species have a highly ordered pattern of tiny pillars, called nanopillars, on their wings. The nanopillars contribute to the wings’ hydrophobicity — they shed water better than a raincoat — and likely play a role in killing microbes that try to attach to the wings.

“We knew a lot about the surface structure of cicada wings before this study, but we knew very little about the chemistry of those structures,” said Marianne Alleyne, an entomology professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who led the study with analytical chemist Jessica Román-Kustas, of the Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico; Donald Cropek, of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Construction Engineering Research Laboratory; and Nenad Miljkovic, a professor of mechanical science and engineering at Illinois.

To study nanopillar chemistry, Román-Kustas developed a method to gradually extract the compounds on the surface without damaging the overall structure of the wings. She placed each wing in solvent in an enclosed chamber and slowly microwaved each one.

“We extracted all these different compounds over different time periods, and then we analyzed what came off,” Román-Kustas said. “And we also looked at the corresponding changes in the nanopillar structure.”

The effort revealed that cicada wings are coated in a stew of hydrocarbons, fatty acids and oxygen-containing molecules like sterols, alcohols and esters. The oxygen-containing molecules were most abundant deeper in the nanopillars, while hydrocarbons and fatty acids made up more of the outermost nanopillar layers.

“Finding these particular molecules on the surface is not a surprise,” Alleyne said. “Hydrocarbons and fatty acids on insect cuticle is fairly common.”

The ratio of surface chemicals differed between the two cicada species, as did their nanopillar structures.

The study revealed that altering the surface chemicals also changed the nanopillar structure. In the N. pruinosis cicadas, the nanopillars began to shift in relation to one another as the chemicals were extracted, and later shifted back to a more parallel configuration. This also changed the wings’ wettability and anti-microbial characteristics.

The wings of the M. cassinni cicadas had shorter nanopillars and a higher proportion of hydrophobic compounds on their surface. Their nanopillar configuration orientation did not change as a result of extracting their surface chemicals.

While preliminary, the new findings offer insight into the interplay of structure and chemistry in determining function, Alleyne said. By dissecting these characteristics, the researchers hope to one day design artificial structures with some of the same surface traits. Finding materials that shed water and kill microbes, for example, would be useful in many applications, from agriculture to medicine, she said.

Alleyne is also an affiliate of the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at Illinois.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Construction Engineering Research Laboratory, National Science Foundation and the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology supported this research.