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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

"Sapphire of the Sea:" A Hexagonal Chitinous Invisibility Cloak on This Critter

     The hexagonal chitinous invisibility cloak of the Sapphirina or "Sapphire of the Sea" 

allows it to change from deep violet-indigo colors to blue-green to

 all colors of the spectrum to nearly completely invisible.

        This exquisite ability is due, in part, to the hexagonal plates on its surface (here seen under a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM)):

      The male of this parasitic copepod species shine their colors while the females are mostly translucent all the time. This structural coloration, first described by Isaac Newton and Robert Hooks, allows the intense and varied bright colors (as seen in peacock feathers).

     The Sapphirina reminds me a bit of our old friend the water bear or Tardigrade. 

        How could one not be enchanted by this beautiful aquatic creature, first described in the early 1800's, that looks like a gem and has ties to  hexagonal packing ?

       It's the perfect ambassador to ring in 2016! Happy Hexagonal New Year!


Looking forward to the power of 6 in the coming year; how about you?!

2016 blowing in via a Bernoulli Blower!


  1. Here's the link that explains the next to last image on this week's post.

  2. Happy New Year, fellow PEOTSers!

    If that little guy in the red cap went hiking in the Great Sand Dunes National Park (from a few weeks ago), he'd have sandy claws.

    I'm not grokking hexagonal grid coordinates, but that's OK.

    1. Happy New Year, too. . .

      Sandy Claus indeed. Too cute to pass up!

      Grokking hexagonal coordinates may need to wait until later in January. Today, we 3 pups and I are venturing out for a walk in our first day over 32 degrees since before Christmas. The medium-sized (40#) pup, Missy, has decided she wants to be a lap dog too. This is not "sitting" too well with Maizie.

  3. Hmmm, there's a (00,00,00), but no (01,01,01) or (02,02,02).

    Gestalt rhymes with asphalt, cobalt, and rock salt, for whatever that's worth.

    1. Hmmmmm, still pondering, Paul.

      Along a fault, perhaps?

  4. Replies
    1. Impressive looking, but less so when I read how it was done. There was an armature of wire and aluminum, filled with gunpowder, and hoisted by a hot air balloon.

      In other science (?) news from Asia, Japanese scientists are about to get their first crack at naming an element, number 113. Speculation points to Japonium or Rikenium (for the RIKEN Institute). Currently, it's just Ununtrium, which suggests to me an opportunity to name it Unobtanium. It's also known as eka-thallium, which sounds almost like a London orchestra conductor. Apparently, Mendeleev used Sanskrit numbers to name unknown but predicted elements.

    2. Yes, I read about the "Uuu" elements completing the 7th row of the periodic table. I like Unobtanium!

  5. New post on "Boudinage, Cactolith, Crozzle, and Slickensides: Say that Three Times Fast and with a Lith" is now up!