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Once upon a time when a lot of us played Runequest, a party bought and took up residence in the local haunted house. All the comforts of home; slay gargoyles in the living room, find the treasure, count it, go back to bed. Go dragon snail* hunting in the basement, clean out the shells and display them on the front lawn. Never, ever, ever have to worry about burglars... Well, anyway I was reminded of that when I found the following article (usual source):
Unusual Snail Shell Could Be a Model for Better Armor

ScienceDaily (Jan. 20, 2010) — Deep within the Kairei Indian hydrothermal vent field, two-and-one-half miles below the central Indian Ocean, scientists have discovered a gastropod mollusk, whose armor could improve load-bearing and protective materials in everything from aircraft hulls to sports equipment.

Researchers at the National Science Foundation-supported Materials Research Science and Engineering Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are studying the mollusk's physical and mechanical properties. A report, "Protection mechanisms of the iron-plated armor of a deep sea hydrothermal vent gastropod," appears this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The so-called "scaly-foot gastropod," has a unique tri-layered shell that may hold insights for future mechanical design principles. Specifically, it has a highly calcified inner layer, a thick organic middle layer. But, it's the extraordinary outer layer fused with granular iron sulfide that excites researchers.

(click the link for the whole article)

Back to the list I go for more interesting stuff.

*what it sounds like - full sized dragons with really BIG snail-like shells.