From “Spider Web’s Strength Lies in More Than Its Silk” (ScienceDaily, Feb. 1, 2012), we learn,
While researchers have long known of the incredible strength of spider silk, the robust nature of the tiny filaments cannot alone explain how webs survive multiple tears and winds that exceed hurricane strength.
You can learn a lot about spider webs reading this, but also note the following:
Now, a study that combines experimental observations of spider webs with complex computer simulations shows that web durability depends not only on silk strength, but on how the overall web design compensates for damage and the response of individual strands to continuously varying stresses.
… a spider’s web is organized to sacrifice local areas so that failure will not prevent the remaining web from functioning, even if in a diminished capacity, says Carter. “This is a clever strategy when the alternative is having to make an entire, new web,” he adds. “As Buehler suggests, engineers can learn from nature and adapt the design strategies that are most appropriate for specific applications.”
The word “design” is used four times in the article.
Question: If design in nature is an illusion, why are engineers so anxious to learn from it? Darwin’s men can ban the term, not the reality.
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