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Hypnotic machinery in silk making

The Nishiyama Silk company explains their silk production process from reeling silk out of the boiled cocoons through handweaving the final cloth. Their factory video is a three minutes of hypnotic machine motion (along with some adorable socks on the weavers).
posted by janell on Aug 29, 2014 - 9 comments

Transgenic Spidergoats Brief

Spider webs are incredibly strong and flexible. It’s no surprise, then, that spider silk proteins may someday form durable artificial ligaments for people who have injured their knees or shoulders. Six different kinds of silk are produced by orb-web weaving spiders. These silk fibers have very different mechanical properties that are so effective they have changed very little over millions of years. How to synthetically develop these silks is one focus of Lewis’ research. The secret to producing large quantities of spider silk is to use “factories” designed to manufacture spider silk proteins that are easily scale-able and efficient. Lewis uses transgenic goats, E.coli bacteria, transgenic alfalfa and transgenic silk worms to produce the spider silk proteins used to create spider silk. Spider silk is 100 times stronger than natural ligaments and 10 times stronger than natural tendons; it is stronger than Kevlar and more elastic than nylon.
A 6min brief on the work being done in Laramie, WY whereby spider silk is being spun from goat milk. SPIDERGOATS
[more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Nov 24, 2013 - 24 comments

Good night, sweethearts.

What happened to Jim Thompson?
posted by seemoreglass on Jun 14, 2013 - 10 comments

Best of the webbing

MIT Media Lab's Silk Pavilion, a geometric structure machine-woven with silk thread and then reinforced by the efforts of 6500 silkworms. Watch the beautifully-done making-of video.
posted by BlackLeotardFront on Jun 6, 2013 - 16 comments

Spider silk nanostructure one silly nanometer more amorphous

Untangling the mysteries of spider silk
See also Total X-Ray Scattering of Spider Dragline Silk
See also New internal structure of spider dragline silk revealed by atomic force microscopy.
See also Atomistic model of the spider silk nanostructure
posted by y2karl on May 7, 2012 - 10 comments

Top Hat Good

Guide to buying a top hat - Charles Henry Wolfenbloode gives advice on buying a topper.
posted by unliteral on Mar 27, 2012 - 81 comments

Spider silk sounds

Spider silk spun into violin strings "Strands of spider silk have been used to make violin strings that have a unique and thrilling sound, thanks perhaps to the way the strands deform when twisted."
posted by dhruva on Mar 5, 2012 - 35 comments

New Amazon Tablet

Amazon unveils a new full color 7" multi-touch tablet it is calling Kindle Fire. Also announced are a new Kindle Touch and Kindle Touch 3G. [more inside]
posted by Ad hominem on Sep 28, 2011 - 239 comments

the re-invention of silk

The re-invention of silk "For a millennium, traders brought silk fabrics from the Far East along the Silk Road to Europe, where the beautiful yet tough material was fashioned into dazzling clothes. Today bioengineers (video interview)are infusing the natural protein fibers spun by silkworms with enzymes and semiconductors. They are processing the modified strands under varying temperature, shear and acidic conditions to create novel materials with remarkable properties."
posted by dhruva on Mar 8, 2011 - 13 comments

flash fun, Silk

Ooooh, pretty colors. Introducing Silk - a magical interactive artwork. Go ahead, give it a whirl. Some likable Silk wallpaper too.
posted by nickyskye on Jan 10, 2011 - 22 comments

Golden silk from golden orb spiders

Producing the spider silk—the only example of its kind displayed anywhere in the world—involved the efforts of 70 people who collected spiders daily from webs on telephone wires, using long poles. A unique piece of golden yellow silk brocade cloth, woven from spiderwebs, is on display at the Museum of Natural History in New York. To harvest enough silk to make the cloth, more than a million female golden orb spiders were collected in Madagascar, "milked" for silk, and released back into the wild. The golden spider silk was woven by Malagasy artisans into lamba Akotifahana, a type of brocade that is traditionally reserved for the aristocracy; the entire process took 4 years. [more inside]
posted by Quietgal on Oct 5, 2009 - 88 comments

The Guqin Silk String Zither

Pronounced "chin" ("stringed instrument") or "goo chin" ("old stringed instrument"), the qin / guqin throughout its long history has been the musical instrument most prized by China's literati. They categorized it as one of their "four arts", collected it as an art object, praised its beautiful music, and built around it a complex ideology (compare its image in popular culture). No other instrument was described and illustrated in such detail, so often depicted in paintings, or so regularly mentioned in poetry. And its tablature documents the world's oldest detailed written instrumental music tradition, allowing both historically informed performance (requiring silk strings) of the many early melodies, and practical exploration of the relationship between Chinese music theory and music practice. The guqin silk string zither work of John Thompson. [more inside]
posted by netbros on Dec 14, 2008 - 7 comments

Wunderground: Providence, 1995- present

Underground Wonderland The RISD Museum is hosting a retrospective of Providence's DIY marketing approach to underground shows. The exhibit, with every wall plastered from floor to ceiling, feels like a time-capsule. Fort Thunder and its associated bands has been mentioned here on the blue before, but the sense of community that comes through, and which still runs through Providence's subcultures thanks to individuals like Ryan Lesser and his "Lots of Noise" site deserves yet another post. Be sure to check out the Lots of Noise image and photo gallery for more fun stuff. (No direct links, sorry!)
posted by stagewhisper on Oct 9, 2006 - 7 comments

No one ever suspects the butterfly (larvae).

Parts of Sweden are overrun by caterpillars. Interesting photos of a caterpillar swarm, with pictures of trees, buildings and bicycles completely cocooned-over with visually stunning (if icky) results. Swarms aren't that unusual, but the term is more habitually used with flying insects like bees and locusts. Soon enough humans might be joining in the fun too, albeit via surrogates.
posted by clevershark on Aug 4, 2006 - 45 comments

for once, not a human parasites thread

wormspit.com -- all about hand-raising silkworms and processing their spit.
posted by casarkos on Apr 9, 2006 - 14 comments

The Curious Case of Jim Thompson

When American expat, Thai silk king, and former OSS (now CIA) agent James H.W. Thompson disappeared without a trace in the highlands of Malaysia on Easter 1967, he left behind a remarkable house in Bangkok, a major silk exporting company, and a lot of questions. There are many theories about his disappearance, but there's little evidence to support any of them.
posted by goatdog on Feb 2, 2006 - 14 comments

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