Tentacled, Carnivorous Plants Catapult Prey Into Traps

September 28, 2012

Drosera glanduligera, a rare type of sundew, has long been a puzzle to scientists because, it has two types of leaf protrusions that radiate outward. Both these leaves have different functions. one of the leaves, the sticky, bug-ensnaring tentacle, is a common evolutionary aspect in carnivorous plants. But the second type of leaf, a sort of snapping tentacle, has no glue and makes jerky movements when touched–which for a long time couldn’t be explained.

An experiment was done to find out the function of this strange leaf, and scientists then realized that it acted as a sort of catapult, flinging the insects directly into the glue tentacles around the plant’s center, where the bug can be digested. 

What interested the scientists even more about this phenomena, is that this catapult system is actually very effective. The insect hardly ever escapes once its been catapulted.   

A carnivorous plant.



Mars and Water

September 27, 2012

Its happened! Curiosity  found what looks like an old riverbed on mar’s surface. They say that the water was there from anywhere to one thousand to one million years and was anywhere from ankle to hip deep. I find this very interesting and am curious to what else the rover might find on its two year journey.

Project progress

September 26, 2012

So my Paper project is going ok.

I am currently on the process of researching the different Universities that have transferred to recycled paper.

Once I feel I have a good basis of research I hope to talk to Sean to see what else he suggests I do in order to finally propose the change to the university.

I want to have as much research as possible to that any problems the University has with it can be answered with a simple solution!


September 26, 2012

Peter Coates brings interesting questions on his book “Nature”.

We have already discussed in class, Nature has been redefined over generations. Nature was originally described as dangerous and wild, this nature is a place where humans are not present and do  not coexist with nature. Humans have attempted to conquer nature yet it comes back unable of being conquered.

The author discusses the four main ways in which nature can be used.  Nature can be used to describe a place where human have not/do not utilize,  to describe to whole of the universe and it’s living things, to describe  “higher being” than humans and therefore perhaps has control over humans and Nature can describe the “wild” where nothing can be controlled and “the opposite of culture”.

Coates discusses how Nature has been an inspiration in art, even though art produces an “imperfect nature”, and how Romantic poets viewed nature as as a higher power than any law put on man:

“The Romantics Chose wild nature not only over its tamer aspects but also above the finest charms and accomplishments in the human mind.”(pg127)


project update

September 26, 2012

trying to do the solar power thing with Sean he as a meeting Oct 10, waiting to hear back from him

still think it would be really cool to do a living wall or a tree in the middle of the science center. maybe a senior gift?


First Fluorine Gas Found in Nature

September 26, 2012

Researchers in Munich have evidence to prove that fluorine gas (F2) which is so reactive that chemists have assumed it does not exist in nature exists naturally, found trapped inside a dark purple fluorite mineral called antozonite. F2, along with Cl2, I2 and ozone have been suspected as the smelly components in antozonie which made miners in Bavaria sick to their stomachs. Flourian Kraus and collaborators at the Technical University of Munich, after analyzing pea-sized chunks with solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometry, were able to detect fluorine gas inside the rock. Researchers propose that natural uranium deposited in the mineral reacts with fluorite as it decays, generating species that combine to form fluorine gas, which is trapped in the mineral matrix.

Source: http://cen.acs.org/articles/90/i29/First-Fluorine-Gas-Found-Nature.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+cen_latestnews+%28Chemical+%26+Engineering+News%3A+Latest+News%29


September 26, 2012

First google result for ‘nature’

Reflections, thoughts, and questions on Peter Coates Nature :

  • Why is nature deemed good? How do we as an American society define good and decide what is or isn’t good for us…and do we ever know if we’re right?
  • The way we define nature as a people is shaped through our American history and experiences. Our personal definition and relationship with nature differs greatly from people living in other places around the world, much due to our different settings and past interactions with the environment.
  • The chapter of The Greeks and Romans was interesting- it’s easy to fantasize about the harmonious interactions of humans with nature in history when they were having a lot of problems coexisting without major impact.
  • Europeans looked upon Native Americans as savages who lived as a part of the landscape- this romanticized view of the natives is a big part of what I feel is the American attitude toward nature.
  • A scientific approach to the ‘natural world’ allows us to learn more and be able to interact in better ways with nature. But this also furthers the nature/ civilization binary as nature being something we study.

Dead Deer

September 25, 2012

There has been an outbreak of Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) in the midwest, a viral infection that affects and suddenly kills predominantly White Tailed Deer. This disease has been identified since 1955 and is present throughout the United States. It is a virus transmitted by midges to the deer. Once infected, deer are not contagious to humans or other deer but they do die within 36 hours. Once they have contracted the disease deer exhibit strange behaviors such as a loss of fear of humans and foaming from the mouth. On the bright side, there is no risk associated with consuming meat of an infected deer (although it is not advised).

The disease has also spread to livestock in southern Ohio, likely transmitted by gnats and flies. There is no vaccination for this disease, but it is not lethal to livestock.

More than 4,000 deer have died in Michigan due to the virus. EHD has been so bad this season due to the warm summer and drought. Once the first frost hits the region the midges will be killed off and the virus will cease for the season. This is not expected to have a big effect on the upcoming hunting season- Ohio’s deer population is currently around 750,000.

“Building a Bat Cave to Battle a Killer”

September 25, 2012

I just read in the New York Times today that an artificial cave has been built in hopes of studying the fungus that causes the deadly white nose syndrome that is killing bats by the millions. The builders are hoping for bat tenants to migrate from Bellamy Cave (some 100 yards away) to hibernate in the new dwelling to, not only study, but in order to clean the area after hibernation to attempt to kill spreading fungus. The disease-causing fungus has been found in Europe and it is believed that it was brought over by fellow international cavers and/or carried and transferred by bats. If this man-made cave works, complete with temperature controls and air flow regulation, experts will hopefully be able to make a break through in solving this fungus crisis and potentially installing more artificial caves to save bat populations.

The bats are a vital player in their ecosystem due to all the insects and pests they keep at bay and if the mortality rates continue to increase, the pest populations will boom. Losing the bats in general is terrible, but to put it in perspective of human gain (since that always seems to be the deciding factor) this news could result in millions of dollars being spent by farmers on pesticides and other harmful chemicals to protect their crops.

Some cool, inside photos <–click here!


September 25, 2012

The Nature of animals: Lorenz and Skinner set up a physiological basis shared between humans and animals. This is a topic  that is heavily debated on weather or not animals have “emotions”. Personally I believe they do. Many scientists say they do not but how does one descide? Even if you look at in a behavioral aspect, emotions do exist. Some will say that they are less intense than ours if they do admit to animals having feelings but I would have to disagree. If you watch a mother cheetah protect her cub she will do all that she can. The same goes for a human, but the cheetah has more at stake. This is her gentic line, her way of passing on her genes. If her cubs do not live and she cannot find a mate again her genes are forever lost. Where in a human we can easily have another child with our spouse or find another. We also have much longer to do so. So overall a cheetah will have more of a protective urge for her children then us humans. I believe this is true for any emotion. There is a lot more at risk for animals than humans. We humans have access to things like medicine, doctors, surgery and many other life saving techniques, animals do not hence higher emotions. “When Elephants Weep” is a really good book that talk more about this.

Mortality of the earth and the end of nature: This title in its own is self explanatory. The way we live know is sure to kill the earth and all that lives on it. I don’t feel there is much else to say expect that if we don’t change how we live earth will die much sooner than it should but die it will when our sun dies. But that is still a long ways off being that our sun is still fairly new

I realize we were suppose to post on 10-12 things but I will have to admit that this week and last have been very crazy for me and I never had the chance to really get into the book. The two topics above are topics that I feel very strongly about. The second one I did not post on a whole lot because I have talked about it in another post already.