Statewide: March 9, 2012 Archive
An Iowa State University researcher recently made an interesting and unexpected discovery about spider webs. Xinwei Wang discovered the silk spiders use to make their webs conducts heat better than commonly used materials like silicon and aluminum.
It's unusual for biological materials to be good thermal conductors.
In a recently published paper on his research Xinwei Wang wrote, "Our discoveries will revolutionize the conventional thought on the low thermal conductivity of biological materials."
Wang also found that unlike most materials, spider silk transfers even more heat when it's stretched.
The spider silk is much thinner than a human hair, and very strong.
Wang said his research could lead to the creation of flexible, heat-dissipating parts for electronics. It could have applications in other everyday materials like hot weather clothing.
Practical applications might take awhile to develop.
Wang said there's still a lot to be learned about why spider silk is so good at conducting heat, but he thinks it has something to do with proteins that contain nanocrystals and create a molecular structure that's remarkably free of defects.
Posted at 7:45 AM on March 9, 2012
by Michael Olson
Filed under: Around MN
A battle brews over beer laws
Star Tribune: "Craft beers are hugely popular, but brew pubs' market is limited by age-old Minnesota rules."
Good mining times predicted on the Range
Duluth News Tribune: "Top officials of Ohio-based Cliffs Natural Resources held their annual community forum Thursday and said their three taconite plants will continue to churn out pellets at near record clips with stable work forces and solid demand from steelmakers."
Franson refuses demands to resign: 'I have great support'
Capitol Chat: "Protesters' chants for Rep. Mary Franson to resign Thursday only strengthened her resolve to remain on the job. She offered her third apology for a video that some found offensive to Minnesota's poor. But the Alexandria Republican said 'I have gotten great support.'"
Mankato hosts national curling competition, finals on Saturday
Mankato Free Press: "Ten women's and 10 men's teams have been competing for the past week at Caledonia Community Center with finals matches slated for Saturday."
Grand Forks Herald restaurant critic Marilyn Haggerty's review of the new Olive Garden in Grand Forks became Internet-gold as Fark, Reddit, Gawker and other meme-generating sites picked up the 85 year old's assessment of the new culinary offering. When Haggerty's daughter encouraged her to log onto Facebook and read the comments about her review Haggerty replied: "I'm working on my Sunday column and I'm going to play bridge this afternoon, so I don't have time to read all this crap," reports the Grand Forks Herald.
Vikings stadium: North suburbs' Chamber of Commerce calls process 'unfair'
Pioneer Press: "For days, Ramsey County commissioners Tony Bennett and Rafael Ortega have accused key state leaders of holding their proposal for a Vikings stadium in Arden Hills to a tougher standard than the plan for a site just east of the Metrodome, which has gained the governor's blessing."
Wilf likely to make money off new stadium
MPR News: "It's hard to know exactly how much the Vikings owners will benefit from a stadium, in part because the NFL doesn't disclose football's financial secrets, and because the Vikings won't discuss it."
Former N.D. newspaper owner resigns at Minnesota weekly over plagiarism allegations
Grand Forks Herald: "Jon Flatland, a past North Dakota Newspaper Association president and past owner of Finley, N.D.'s Steele County Press, is accused of copying other writers' work during his 28-year career."
A brew fest raises its frothy head in Winnebago
Mankato Free Press: "The city of Winnebago will become Sudsville for a day this summer.The Faribault County community aims to bolster its visitor traffic with its first-ever Craft Brew Fest featuring more than 20 brewers and upward of 50 beers."
Northern lights put on great show in Northland skies overnight (with video)
Duluth News Tribune: "Good things came for those who waited to see the northern lights in Northland skies overnight."
Justin Bieber's snake finds a home in Owatonna
Faribault Daily News: "The yellow and brown reptile that goes by the name Johnson, you see, had already reached stardom after he joined teen singing sensation Justin Bieber on the red carpet for the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards. Now, after a fortunate chain of events, the famous pet has moved to the Owatonna-based zoo."
By the numbers
Annual value of animal agriculture to Minnesota: $8 billion
A new report puts the number of animal agriculture jobs in the state at nearly 35,000.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation has narrowed down its options to relocate a mile-long section of Highway 53 between Virginia and Eveleth, including a route costing upwards of $60 million that would steer motorists over a new bridge spanning high across an abandoned mining pit.
MnDOT has released a large scoping document laying out four alternative options for the new highway route. The public has until April 4 to comment on the document. A public meeting will be held March 27 from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Mountain Iron Community Center.
For over fifty years, the state has operated a short stretch of highway just south of Virginia on an easement granted by US Steel (now RGGS Land and Minerals Co.). But nearly two years ago, United Taconite, which is owned by the giant mining company Cliffs Natural Resources, told the state it intended to mine iron ore located underneath the highway that it owns the rights to, near the Mineview in the Sky overlook.
Minnesota does have the option to purchase the rights to the iron ore underneath the highway. But with an estimated price tag of $400 to $600 million dollars, that's a longshot. More likely is one of two proposed realignments: one that would traverse part of the Auburn Pit, an area that's been mined out of iron ore; or another that would travel around an old water-filled mine called the Rouchleau Pit. That option is estimated to cost up to $85 million.
Several Iron Range lawmakers like DFL Rep. Tom Rukavina of Virginia have long favored the route over the Auburn Pit. Last year Rukavina said if that route's approved "people are going to be driving right through our own Grand Canyon of the north."
It will stil be several years before drivers enjoy a new view, wherever it is. MnDOT isn't required to have the new highway finished until the spring of 2017.