Three eyes of Pecten Maximus. Photo: Dan-Eric Nilsson / Lund University

Little known fact: Scallops have eyes, and they're made out of crystals. In a new paper, scientists describe the sophisticated structure of the bivalves mirrored eyes, which could offer inspiration for engineering artificial light-collecting materials.We only eat a small part of a scallop so we rarely see their shells, let alone their eyes. But they have up to a hundred laid out like a necklace of tiny, iridescent, blue-black pearls nestled in the tentacles that line their shell.How they work: Those eyes are relatively unique in the animal kingdom. In the same way a radio telescope uses a large, reflective dish to gather light and centers it on a sensor, scallop eyes have a mirror that focuses light on their retina."It's a small, compact visual system. It's hard to form an image in water with such a small eye," says study author Benjamin Palmer of the Weizmann Institute, who reported in the journal Science that the reflective film on scallops' eyes is formed from stacks of semi-rectangular crystals of guanine, one of the four chemicals that make up DNA."It's amazing to look at the control these animals exert over the crystallization process," Palmer tells Axios.Normally, guanine doesn't like to form square crystals. Attempts to build such crystals through traditional chemical means are clumsy, but the scallops accomplish it easily. By studying them, and other similar creatures, scientists might learn better ways to create efficient, light-collecting molecules like these in the lab for materials science applications.

Yes, but: Although their eyes are elegant, scallops are not. If they see a predator they swim rapidly away like underwater Pac-Men.

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13 of Biden's former rivals to appear together at Democratic convention

Democratic presidential candidates at the primary debate in Charleston, SC. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

In a show of unity at the Democratic National Convention, 13 of Joe Biden's former 2020 challengers will appear via video to talk about the party's vision for the country and how they'll work with Biden to get it done.

Why it matters: Coalescing around Biden and his eventual running mate will help Democrats head into the general election against President Trump with a united front — unlike what they did in 2016.

IG report: Saudi arms sales were legal but didn't weigh civilian casualties

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Photo: Gabriel Kuchta/Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo acted legally when he bypassed Congress to approve $8 billion in arms sales to Saudi Arabia, but failed to "fully assess risks and implement mitigation measures to reduce civilian casualties" that resulted from the deal, according to a report by the State Department inspector general.

Why it matters: The 2019 sale drew bipartisan ire among lawmakers, who worried it could lead to a pattern of the administration using "emergency declarations" to circumvent Congress to approve weapons deals. The report comes two months after former Inspector General Steve Linick testified that he was pressured by a top Pompeo aide to drop the investigation.

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Florida reports another daily record for coronavirus deaths

Nurse practitioner Barbara Corral and a research assistant conduct a COVID-19 vaccination study on August 7 in Hollywood, Florida. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Florida's health department on Tuesday reported 276 new coronavirus deaths, surpassing the state's record from July 31.

The big picture: The state also recorded over 5,800 new cases — on the low side for a state that is one of the domestic epicenters for the virus.