MySci Daily Round-Up, July 12: Dymaxionmania

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Today is the 115 anniversary of the birth of Buckminster Fuller (1895-1993), the visionary American architect, author, designer, inventor, futurist, and the first ever to bowl a perfect 300 game on live television in 1953. We’re just joking about the last distinction, which actually belongs to Bowling Hall of Famer Grazio Castellano. But nevertheless, Fuller was indeed a remarkable figure. Oddly, he’s most commonly associated with the geodesic domea structure that he popularized, but did not actually invent. His real brainchild was a concept called Dymaxion, a blend of the words dynamic, maximum and tension, which basically means anything that employs the most advanced technology possible to achieve the maximum efficient overall performance per unit of input. You may have seen Fuller’s Dymaxion car, built in the 1930’s, which had an aerodynamic body that looks a bit like a pickle, with three wheels, two in the front and one in the rear. Unlike conventional cars of the time, the front wheels were attached to the drive train and the rear wheel was used to steer. But he also designed a maximum efficiency Dymaxion bathroom, which featured a composing toilet and a “Fog Gun” hot water vapor shower that used only a cup of water to clean hygienically without soap. And while you’re contemplating that, here are the stories of the day:

Android unveils build-your-own-app app. App personalization should be a huge hit with app-crazy smartphone users. And if M.C. Escher were around, he’d build a cam app showing him building his own app, in which he builds his own app, and so on.

Scientists have found a secret ingredient in honey that kills bacteria. Eventually this may lead to development of new treatments for antibiotic-resistant bacterial maladies.

Startling photos show new evidence of rapid effects of climate change. These pictures show a glacier in Greenland shrinking–overnight.

Eight million ways to die? For cells, there are just two. New study of apoptosis–i.e., cell death–in worms shows there are two pathways to death, but only one has been identified so far.

Gene alteration switches sexual preference of female mice. Korean scientists add additional evidence that homosexuality is genetically based, not a choice

Penguin males’ singing gives females indication of ability as parents. A steady pitch indicates that a male has a lot of body fat, which enables him to incubate eggs more effectively.

Total Solar Eclipse pictures from all over! See how the celestial event looked in Norway, Iran, the Azores and elsewhere.