Tag Archive: Botany


Flying Pot?

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This is a whole new take on getting high. According to Popular Science, Arizona border patrol found 33 canisters of marijuana about 500 feet away from the Mexican border. Apparently, a pneumatic cannon was used to launch the pot over the fence. Evil Knievel dope, anyone?

drugsmugglingpigeon

At least it beats carrier pigeons. Though really, if they’re going to launch weed over the border, they oughta be trying the Canadian border @ Washington.

Supermagnified images give us a whole new perspective on the world around us. Here are a few of the better ones I found. Take a stab at what these are—answers are at the bottom, but try to guess before you scroll down. Some of these are downright barf-worthy.

1) Looks like ancient Greek ruins, right? This is actually a snowflake. (WhyFiles.org)

2) Not too shocking…this is a butterfly wing. (TheChive.com)

3) You might have a good shot here if you’re an oreo cookie nut. (SuperPunch.net)

4) Well hello there, Mr. E. Coli. This little guy wrecks havoc on our gastro system—well played, E., well played. (WeCreateSuccess.net)

5) This pretty pink flower is a close up of a fallopian tube. (UK MailOnline)

6) And lest the men be the only ones barfing up lunch from #5, this final image is of an eyebrow. Excuse me while I add moisturizer to my shopping list. (UK MailOnline)

Meet our match

In June, 2008, Astrid Joosten took a 10-minute treck through a bat cave in Uganda. A couple of weeks later, she was dead, courtesy of a virus closely related to Ebola. The cave was closed, but the Marburg virus lived on.

Discovered in the 1960s and named after the German town hosting the lab full of infectious green monkeys, Marburg laid low for another 30 years. Then 150 cases popped up in the Congo with a 90% mortality rate. (Dr. Stuart Nichol interview)

Zoonotic RNA Viruses can easily be considered the most dangerous of infections, and will very likely source the Next Big One. They don’t respond to antibiotics, frequently ignore antiviral meds, have high death rates, and adapt quickly. Hollywood’s tapped into the entertainment factor: Contagion, Outbreak, even zombie movies put viruses in center stage. Books abound. Imagination is tapped and exploited.

But the reality is a far cry from a two-hour popcornfest where the biggest threat is hoping your bladder will make it. Not even a week ago, the CDC reported 14 cases in Uganda, a country that claimed to be Ebola-free just a month ago. But financial constraints are a problem—Uganda can’t afford protective gear or pay for more healthcare workers. The best they can do is ask people to self-quarantine away from suspected infectious areas.

So what can we do? Sure, we can hand-wash more, or donate to the WHO. But just as dangerous as the rapid evolutionary pace of viruses, we fall victim to the ‘it won’t happen to me’ mentality. Admit it—you don’t care much what happens in Uganda.

We are a global community, which means we must care. We consume products from around the world: Colombian coffee, fish from China, and Italian sausage (yes, they do come from Italy). The only way you might be safe from an outbreak on the other side of the planet is to grown your own food. Even then, E. coli is a common invader.

Does it sometimes feel like we can’t win this war? Excuse me while I go bury my head in a bucket of popcorn.

Huffington Post has a great slideshow about these top 7 science moments…

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1) Archimedes is best known for discovering the Archimedes’ principle, which “states that a body immersed in fluid loses weight equal to the weight of the amount of fluid it displaces.” (University of Hawaii). In other words, Archimedes explained why we weigh less in water.

2) Copernicus, who proposed the very unpopular idea that we revolve around the sun. The catholic church was quite unhappy with his claim that Earth is not, in fact, the center of the universe.

3) Alexander von Humboldt, known as the ‘greatest scientific traveler who ever lived’, pioneered scientific observation techniques when he reported his geographical and ecological findings in South America. Darwin followed in his footsteps.

4) Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier, known as the founder of modern chemistry, discovered elements (such as oxygen and hydrogen) and formulated many of the chemistry laws we follow today. He is why modern chemistry teachers insist on meticulous documentation, measurements, and formulas. Too bad he lost his head in the French Revolution.

5) Ernest Rutherford discovered the atomic nucleus, transmutation of the elements, and is the early 1900’s version of experimental physicist Leonard Hofstadter.

6) Carl Linneaus, dubbed the ‘father of taxonomy’, not only started our classification system of living organisms (think genus, and canine vs. feline) and zoology, but also pissed off the masses by talking about freaky plant sex.

7) Andreas Vesalius, made famous for his precisely detailed drawings of human anatomy. He was so good, in fact, the local judge set Andreas up with a steady supply of corpses from the gallows. Dunno if I’d want to be standing trial in front of that judge.

Scientific Chicago

But can they catapult their prey to their doom? I think not.

The sundew has long been a very unassuming carnivorous plant. Species that live in the United States are actually quite beautiful, resembling burrs with tiny drops of sparkling dew on each barb. Insects that buzz by are unaware that those drew drops are actually a potent mixture of alluring smell source, powerful adhesive, and protein-dismantling enzymes that eventually liquefy the bug.

But Drosera glanduligera, an Australian sundew, has them all beat for misleading appearances. Rather than a burr atop a slender stem, glanduligera spreads out like a sea anemone, its top leaves sporting the sticky dew drops. But until now, scientists haven’t been able to figure out the function of the plant’s lower, longer ring of leaves.

New research shows those are just one more trap for an unwitting bug to set off. When touched, the thin tentacle-like…

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