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Did You Ever See a Yellow Shark?

Did you ever hear a fireside chat?

I’ve heard them crackle, but I couldn’t make out the words.

Did you ever see a baseball bat?

Probably not, they don’t have any hands to hold it.

Did you ever catch a train?

I hope not, you could get hurt.

And of course, no one has ever seen an elephant fly, except of course for Dumbo.

But did you ever see a yellow shark?

No. Never. And you never will. Because there’s something special about their skin. They have tooth like scales that make them feel silky smooth when you stroke them in one direction (which I also don’t recommend), and sharp as sandpaper in the other direction. The shape of those scales reduces drag and gives sharks unbelievable speed to catch their prey underwater.

But the advantage is greater than that. Scientists have found that the small, triangular shape actually prevents the buildup of algae and that’s why you’ll never see a yellow shark. But far more importantly, scientists realized that if shark scales could prevent the spread of algae, they could also use it to prevent the spread of bacteria.

The world of medicine has been able to kill 99% of bacteria that is harmful to humans. But with the increased use of pesticides and antibiotics, the remaining 1% represents the strongest strains and could prove deadly.

So scientists began experimenting with strips of plastic called “sharklets” engineered with minute replicas of shark scale patterns. Amazingly, they have virtually eliminated the spread of bacteria under real life conditions in hospitals and other high-contact areas.

They tried other shapes and other configurations but only the patterns that exactly matched those of the shark were successful in preventing the colony-like breeding of bacteria.

Miracle of science? No.

Miracle of Nature? Yes.

Whoever That Is.

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Comments icon February 28, 2012


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