Sunday, February 18, 2018

New Fabric From Orange Fibre

Producing orange fibre to safe cost of disposal orange's waste. photo by:

Most of modern fabrics are produce by synthetic materials and rarely new materials came from organic materials (as we already stick with few of the traditional materials as we known such as cotton, silk, linen, wool, jute, pineapple leaves, lotus silk and etc.). It shows that many other organic materials consist potential fibre to be use in producing fabric – perhaps need to go through different process.

At least that’s what student Adriana Santanocito and her friend Enrica Arena tried to do and successfully produced what they called Orange Fibre. Adriana was studying textiles at Politecnico of Milan, when she first thought about to produce the fabric from orange fibre. This idea came when she thought about how scientist can produced fabric out of milk and rice. Then she also thought about the problem of the citrus waste back at her home Sicily.

Orange waste. photo by: 

The sample of Orange Fabric. photo by:

We can produce fabric with cellulose produced by plants that generally known as rayon. The fabric that made of bamboo is actually rayon. Still there’s nothing bad about it. In fact rayon can be produced at cheaper price, safe lots of energy and farmland to grow fibre plants such as cotton, flax, hemp, jute, nettles, yucca and many others.

By producing orange fabric, Adriana helps to make sure the orange waste used for something more useful rather than to left it rotten and safe the huge amount of money with the disposal cost. Instead of using new trees to produce pulp, why not using the cellulose from other waste product such as in this case – she did a very good job.

Bamboo fibre, another example of fibre produce by plant. photo by: materia

Rayon allows fabrics price become cheaper as the plants fibre produced by few types of plants are harder to produce. It also allow wider range usage of fabrics for applications from tea bags, to fabrics for high quality dress. The only things that we concern about rayon production is the usage of harmful chemicals and their effects to the workers and environmental effects (when the waste management not been carried properly).

Orange fabric is another example of creative idea on how we can safe resources that before treat as waste. As we know that in ancient times, clothes are afforded only by the riches and they are very hard to produce. With new materials engineering will allow us to explore more possibilities to get better materials that are not just cheaper but also good for the nature.

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Wednesday, February 7, 2018

The Wonderful of Birds Migration

Canadian geese on its flight to migrate to safer breeding places - photo: M. Horath

Some birds flying thousands of miles a year migrating between two places across the continent to find suitable places to breed, feed and rising their chicks. Migration happens in so many ways from short distance, medium distance, long distance or some of the birds will stay at the same place throughout the year.

Studies of birds’ migration had been improved with the advancement of technologies available today. Even though today the studies can be conducted properly with satellites tracking devices, the birds’ populations are getting decreases as their natural stopover areas had been used for development by human. Other threats also caused by plastics pollution that killed many birds and also their main sources of foods.

With the proper studies, action can be taken in order to identify the important areas for migratory birds can be protected in order to help them to complete their journey. Most of these areas are wetlands and coastal areas that become their main feeding grounds during their journey across the globe.

Migrating waders in Roebuck Bay, Western Australia - photo: Mdk572

Birds migrate in order to make sure the availability of the food resources. While during the mating seasons they also need to make sure that the areas they select is safe to raise their young. Many migratory birds migrate in large groups, while the short range migratory birds might migrate in smaller numbers. Since these patterns of migration had been going on for long period of times, the ecosystem in both migratory areas are suitable to support their needs.

Among the long-distance migration, Arctic tern (Sterna paradisaea) known to be the longest migrator by flying from Arctic breeding grounds and the Antarctic each year. Other long-distance migrators include short-tailed shearwater (Puffinus tenuirostris), ruff (Philomachus puganx), northern wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe), Amur falcon (Falco amurensis) and many other birds that migrates in order to find better places with plenty of foods.

Migration pattern few species of birds - by: L.Shyamal
Arctic tern migrate the longest distance - photo: Toivo Toivanen & Tiina Toppila

Some birds might migrating in smaller distance - photo: Ken Thomas

Even though harnessing plenty of food resources in the areas where they stays, migratory birds also will enrich it with their faeces to increase the blooming of algae and fertilized the areas to make it suitable for other life to grows by the time they return the following year. This is why the migrating process keep on continuing for long period of times – until we change the environment.

The same thing with medium-distance and short-distance migrators. They also balancing the amount of their food resources. Spreading the seeds, improve the soils, increase the drainage (when they scratching the ground to find food), controlling pest and many other things that birds do.

Mass flocking of bird will enrich the areas - photo: Times of India

Equipped with wings, birds are the animals that can travels further in order to shapes the world compared with fish that can only travel to areas covered with water (and either they are salt-water fish or fresh-water fish). For millions of years birds the only travellers that can go from end to end of the world in order to balance their ecosystem.

Birds’ migrations are one of the best things to observe in nature. From there, there are many things interconnected together with other lives wherever they stop. As the time goes by, everything will keep on flourishing until they come again the following year.

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Monday, January 29, 2018

Birds With Beautiful Crown

Cockatoo has beautiful crest/crown on top of its head. 

Birds have many beautiful features and some of them also have elaborate crown or crest while other have less or none at all. These crown not only to give those birds beautiful features to attract mates but also to show the bird’s emotions. So their crown is very important for communication.

They are few types of crowns for birds. Most of the bird's crown are formed by different colours and shapes of feathers. It can be small or sometimes very different from their head’s feathers such as for crowned crane or cockatoo. There are many other birds have the same type of crown and they use it for different purposes.

Crown craned crest made up of totally different feathers.

Malachite Kingfisher has more prominent crest of feathers.

While some other birds crown are formed by fleshy upright structure known as comb. Their comb can be vary in size, colour and shape that located at the top of the bird’s head. The easiest example for birds that have this type of comb are jungle fowl, and domestic roosters.

They are various types of chicken combs.

Casque is little bit different as it is built from keratin (more like cow’s horn). There are also different types of shapes, colours and sizes of casque in birds that showing signs of wear over time. Few example of birds with casque are cassowary and hornbill.

Casque on cassowary's can be part of their weapon too.
Rhinoceros hornbill is another type of bird with casque on its head. 

Little bit different than comb, wattles is formed by fleshy growths on a bird’s head, face and neck. So this structure not only formed on the head that make it different than comb. The easiest example for this type of crown are Muscovy ducks and wild turkeys.

Wattle on these wild turkeys will expand and turn redder when they get excited.

It is wonderful to see the different types of these crowns on birds as it also the easiest way to identify the bird species in the field. While for the birds itself, it shows how unique they are from any other species of animals (mammals) that mostly use their horns for protection or fighting.

No matter what are the reasons birds have such elaborate crown on their head, all we need to do is to properly observe this feature on birds. Hopefully this is another interesting thing for us to learn more about birds in order to protect them for the future.

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Saturday, January 27, 2018

How to Start Bird Watching?

Bird-watching can be relaxing activity.

Bird-watching also known as birding can be wonderful activity individually, in group or as a family activity. Bird-watching usually just for recreational purposes, however birdwatchers can provide their findings to help serious organizations with valuable data before serious findings can be conducted. Nowadays more birdwatchers contribute to these purposes with the advancement of gadgets and internet technologies.

Here we want to talk about the basic tools for birdwatcher. With these basic tools we can start this new wonderful hobby to identify birds that available in our areas or maybe nearby. Even though in order to observe the birds you just can do it without any tools, but we need to learn how to collect data so the activity will be more organized.

Notebook for bird-watcher - photo from wildbirdonthefly.

Notebook - notebook is very important for this activity. Yes, you need to keep some details about your observation. Date, weather, location, bird types and location can give more information about the bird behaviour. Well, some birds are migratory and you will never see it in the same location every day. While their behaviour will help you to identify them more accurately (check the video below).

Always make sure you have some guides.

Local field guide - as a beginner always bring together some references to make sure the identification process will be much easier. So make sure you have the right reference for local areas because the birds are different according to geographical of the areas.

Digital resources make it simpler.

Digital resources - your digital equipment can be so helpful for bird-watching activities. They not only provide references, but you also can tag the location, upload the information or ask for help from other birders or get professional help for identification. You also can join larger birder groups locally or internationally.

There will be extra benefits when you do it in group.

Local group - get involve with other groups locally so you can join with their activities. Such kind of activities will make sure you gain more experiences while contribute something more valuable to the community.

Binoculars make sure you enjoy the activity without disturbing the birds.

Binoculars - always make sure you have one when doing your observation so you can enjoy more of bird-watching activity. Start with something simple (but good quality) until you find out what suitable for you bird-watching activities. Binoculars allow you to make the observation without disturbing the birds and make them fly away.

Always learn more from the experts as bird-watching can be interesting when you gain more knowledge about it. Some bird-watchers also combine their hobby with photography that will create more public awareness and add another source of income too (if you sell it). They are many possibilities when you truly enjoy what you do.

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Friday, January 26, 2018

Why Birds Have Different Feathers?

White peacock has totally white feathers.

Feathers play important roles for birds other than become their main characteristics for recognition. Even though their beautiful plumage act as part of the attractions for mates and camouflage, there are many other functions provide by their feathers. This article will looking to the special functions of birds feathers.

The main purposes of bird feathers are to provide insulation and to provide suitable functions for their living habits. All of birds have feathers weather it’s thick or thin. Their feathers not always colourful or look vibrant – but they always work to suite the birds need.

Ostrich feathers are coarse but still fluffy.

Ostrich has less feathers and much coarse compare to any other birds with smaller size especially the birds with ability to fly. This because, the ostrich need their feathers to protect them from the daily heat while provide them the warm of their own body temperature during the night.

Owl have good night vision and special silent flight.

Extra feature on owl's feather to make it's flight more silent.

The owl have special feathers to make their flight become silent during the night. These feathers dampened the sound when they flap their wings. This characteristic is so important to avoid their prey from noticing that the owl almost near them - second before they being zapped by the nocturnal owl.

For flying birds the feathers help to shapes their wings according to their flight styles. Most birds that flying low have their wing shapes and size just suitable for their frequent flapping styles. This types of flying is suitable for short to medium range of flight but allow high controllability.

For high altitude fliers such as condors, cranes, eagles and few other migratory birds has their wing tip feathers bend to reduce drag. By reducing drag, it will save the birds lots of energy to allow them to fly further to search for foods or during the long migration.

Compared to any other birds, penguin’s feathers are so important in order to avoid them from die freezing. Their feathers are so tight and also waterproof. These allow penguins to stay warm even when they’re diving into the frigid water. Their special feathers also aid their swimming to catch fish in the water.

Other than their structures, bird feathers also provide colouration that allow them to blend in with their surroundings. Other than to avoid detection by their predators it also help them to be detected by their prey – what a brilliant ideas! Ptarmigan in the other hand change their plumage according to the seasons so they don’t have to migrate to other places during winter.

Ptarmigan during summer - photo by Gary Kramer

Ptarmigan during winter - photo by Gary Kramer
Collections of bird feathers.

Stunning iridescent colours of hummingbird - photo by Jess Findlay

Then there’s the best part of all of the bird feathers – to make it looks stunning. Birds have beautiful colours of plumage mostly to attract their mates. Unfortunately it also attract human to keep them as pet. Their colours either produce by pigments or by light diffractions (for the iridescent colours). Besides colours their feathers shapes also play a big roles in their grand display.

Birds inspires human in many ways especially in flight technology. Even after the invention of an aeroplane, human still studying in order to improve the technology. By studying the wing tip of birds, nowadays we have most of the aeroplane wing tips come with bend at the end of it. We don’t have to tell more when the planes name itself come after birds such as – blackbird and nighthawk. This also encourage the Festo the robot inventor to produce robot fliers that truly assembled as bird.

High altitude fliers need to reduce the drag.

Robot flier resembled bird by Festo.

There are so many things to learn just by observing bird feathers telling how important for us to make sure they survival. By understanding their behaviour we can understand how to provide them with right environment. Human have the capabilities to provide development without causing other species to extinction.

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