Cosmos reports on a type of eel (the gray bichir, Senegal bichir, or dinosaur eel) whose scales could lead researchers to a design for improved body armor:
. . . the 40-centimetre-long predator has multiple layers of scales that first dissipate the energy of a strike, then protect against any penetration to the soft tissues below and finally limit any damage to the shield to the immediate area surrounding the assault.
Experts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), in Boston, U.S., used nano-scale measurements to look at several scales that were harmlessly removed from a living fish. They found the scales – about 500 millionths of a metre thick – have four layers. The tiny shield was then put to the test, in a simulation of a biting attack.
Major John of Miserable Donuts is now posting from a hopefully secure location in Iraq. He has been hanging with General Petraeus and the man with the world's hardest job, as well as visiting something called a "bombardier station" (shown above). Interesting stuff from a completely honest, intelligent, and trustworthy person who actually knows what he's talking about as opposed to others one could mention in a snooty way if one so chose.