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Novel material brings ‘invisibility cloak’ closer to reality

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PARIS — Physicists in Scotland said on Thursday they had devised a flexible material that manipulates light, marking a small step towards “invisibility” clothing beloved of science fiction writers and Harry Potter.

The work is in the domain of metamaterials, or compounds with a surface that interacts with light thanks to a tiny, nano-level structure.

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As a result, light flows around the object — rather like water that bends around a rock in a stream — as opposed to being absorbed by it.

Metamaterials are still in the prototype stage and enact their apparent shielding effect in specific wavelengths, or colors, of the light spectrum.

They have traditionally been made from rigid substances, not flexible materials, and this is a limiter on their potential use.

The research team, led by Andrea di Falco of the University of St. Andrews, made the novel material using an elaborate technique based on a commercially available polymer and a silicon support.

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The invention, dubbed Metaflex, interacts with light at wavelengths of around 620 nanometers, according to the research, published in Britain’s New Journal of Physics.

Visible light, for humans, has wavelengths ranging from 400 nanometers, where the perceived colors are violet and purple, to 700 nanometers, which is deep red.

In a demonstration of the substance’s flexibility, the scientists placed a layer of Metaflex onto ordinary contact lenses. Just a tiny amount of the substance has been made, in order to prove the theory that a flexible metamaterial can be made.

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“Metamaterials give us the ultimate handle on manipulating the behavior of light,” Di Falco said.

Metaflex could have a wide use in optics as well as smart clothing, he added.

Previous work in flexible metamaterials has yielded success in the terahertz and near-infrared parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, but this is is not light that is visible to humans.

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Trump announces new sanctions on Iran — and deploys US troops to the Middle East

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The United States announced Friday that it was sending military reinforcements to the Gulf region following attacks on Saudi oil facilities that it attributes to Iran, just hours after President Donald Trump ordered new sanctions on Tehran.

Trump said the sanctions were the toughest-ever against another country, but indicated he did not plan a military strike, calling restraint a sign of strength.

The Treasury Department renewed action against Iran's central bank after US officials said Tehran carried out weekend attacks on rival Saudi Arabia's oil infrastructure, which triggered a spike in global crude prices.

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‘Do a lot of stupid sh*t as quickly as possible’: Ambassador Power breaks down ’The Trump Doctrine’

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The former ambassador to the United Nations explained "The Trump Doctrine" during a Friday evening interview with comedian Bill Maher on HBO's "Real Time."

Samantha Power, the author of the new book, The Education of an Idealist, was asked by Maher about the foreign policy mantra of the Obama administration.

"Obama's foreign policy doctrine was famously summarized as 'don't do stupid sh*t," Maher noted. "Trump's, of course, is 'Do stupid sh*t.'"

"Do stupid sh*t as quickly as possible," Power clarified.

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‘Brett Kavanaugh’s penis is back in the news’: Bill Maher breaks down the latest Supreme Court scandal

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HBO "Real Time" host Bill Maher broke down the latest scandal facing the United States Supreme Court.

"Brett Kavanaugh's penis is back in the news," Maher said. "The New York Times kind of tripped over his dick on this one."

Maher suggested the report reflects poorly on Kavanaugh's manhood.

"The problem is the woman, the victim, has no recollection of it happening -- which isn't really a ringing endorsement of his penis," Maher said.

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