Sunday Best – October 29, 2017

What do you see?

If you’re a bee, you mostly see black and white. So what’s the point of all those colorful flowers?  Recent research confirms that bees follow ultraviolet patterns on flowers.  The bright yellows and reds don’t matter so much, but the tiny brown markings near the center can glow like neon to a bee.

Moreover, much of this color is structural color. Rather than pigment that’s blue, the “eat here” signs for bees are often made up of tiny surface structures that reflect light. Without those structures, the markings are pretty plain, even to a bee.

Structural color is one of the most innovative arenas in biomimicry research, too. Lexus has just used it to make a “bluer than blue” car, for example, inspired by the morpho butterfly.

Can you picture a world where vibrance and shimmer comes from structure, instead of from toxic dyes and dug-up minerals?

Of course you can, ’cause we’re already living in that world. We just can’t always see it yet.

Dear Honeybees, is there something you see that others can’t?

Imagine what you might do with that vision.

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