Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The latest science news - humongous palms, dinosaur killing insects, and google brains

A few hand-picked favorites by LS:

Death by flowers: giant, suicidal palm has botanists stumped
"tree grows some six sto­ries tall be­fore sprout­ing hun­dreds of suc­cu­lent flow­ers"
"is so huge it can be seen in Google Earth"
Extra points for silly headline. Stumped, haha!

Google’s kinship with the mind
Our brains think just like a Google search. Maybe. Maybe it was just Google imitating our brains to begin with?

Did insects take down T. rex?
"The rise and evo­lu­tion of these bugs—the bit­ing dis­ease-carriers,in par­ti­cu­lar—co­in­cided fate­fully with the mighty rep­tiles’lat­er days
“In di­no­saur fe­ces, we found ne­ma­todes, trema­todes and even pro­to­zoa that could have caused dys­en­tery and oth­er ab­dom­i­nal dis­tur­bances. The in­fective stages of these in­tes­ti­nal par­a­sites are car­ried by filth-visiting in­sects.”

All from World Science.


EH said...

I really like the palm tree discovery!

It´s so huge, and all the botanist go with their eyes on the ground, right?

No wonder nobody seen it, or as we say in Sweden ...." Jag kunde inte se träden för all skog var i vägen"

LS said...

"All the botanists go with the eyes to the ground.."

Exactly. Unless you are a palm specialist, and there are not many of those. Most botanists avoid things that have leaves several meters long, inflorescences ten meters tall, and long sharp spikes and needles on their trunks. Palm botany are not for the faint hearted.

In this case I think it is also that there are only 100 trees of this species, and they don't flower very often, maybe not even one individual per year. Just shows you home much left there is to discover. If you really want to discover new species then you should become a mycologist or microbiologist or entomologist of course. There there are more work to do than anywhere else. And you get to pick your own species names!

EH said...

Like naming something after Harry Potters spells I suppose....

I would choose the name for something spiky dangerous after the hippogriffs

" Palmus hippogriffus"

LS said...

I was just thinking, if you think botanists go with there eyes on the ground, then what do mycologists do? They must dig in the ground! And not move at all.

EH said...

Thats why the giant mushrooms never has been discovered!

LS said...

Very funny and so correct, EH!