[From an engineer friend of mine–what’s the evolutionary explanation for the synthesis of perfect magnetite crystals in bacteria?] I’m in Houston at a custom short course (all week long) in nanotechnology for [snip] given by a group of profs at Rice Univ. It’s been a very intensive course, but very informative. One interesting thing that came up was the description of a bacteria that is able to synthesize an approximately linear array of the most perfect crystals of magnetite (better than any that experts have been able to do thus far) internally, which it uses to align itself with the earth’s magnetic field so that it can navigate with respect to the oxygen gradient in the mud in which it lives. See Blakemore and Frankel, “Magnetic Navigation in Bacteria” Scientific American, 245(6), pp. 58-65, 1981. If this ain’t design, I haven’t seen it.