07 NOV 2017 by ideonexus

 Fall of Atlantis

"But the divine revenge overtook not long after those proud enterprises. For within less than the space of one hundred years, the great Atlantis was utterly lost and destroyed: not by a great earthquake, as your man saith; (for that whole tract is little subject to earthquakes;) but by a particular' deluge or inundation; those countries having, at this day, far greater rivers and far higher mountains to pour down waters, than any part of the old world. But it is true that the same inundation ...
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Memed for the speculation of flood in America.

31 MAY 2015 by ideonexus

 The Universality of Analogy

This reversibility and this polyvalency endow analogy with a universal field of application. Through it, all the figures in the whole universe can be drawn together. There does exist, however, in this space, furrowed in every direction, one particularly privileged point: it is saturated with analogies (all analogies can find one of their necessary terms there), and as they pass through it, their relations may be inverted without losing any of their force. This point is man: he stands in propo...
Folksonomies: similarity analogy
Folksonomies: similarity analogy
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07 MAR 2015 by ideonexus

 Biocides

These sprays, dusts, and aerosols are now applied almost universally to farms, gardens, forests, and homes—non-selective chemicals that have the power to kill every insect, the "good" and the "bad," to still the song of birds and the leaping of fish in the streams, to coat the leaves with a deadly film, and to linger on in the soil—all this though the intended target may be only a few weeds or insects. Can anyone believe it is possible to lay down such a barrage of poisons on the surface ...
Folksonomies: environmentalism
Folksonomies: environmentalism
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03 OCT 2013 by ideonexus

 Specialization is the Way to Extinction

Now let us examine more closely what we know scientifically about extinction. At the annual Congress of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, as held approximately ten years ago in Philadelphia, two papers were presented in widely-separated parts of the Congress. One was presented in anthropology and the other in biology, and though the two author-scientists knew nothing of each other's efforts they were closely related. The one in anthropology examined the case histories o...
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Specialization comes at the cost of general adaptability. So when the environment changes, the highly-specialized go extinct.

08 JAN 2013 by ideonexus

 Definition of a Naturalist

If people ask me about my worldview, I say that I am a naturalist. When most people hear that word, they think of someone who spends a lot of time outdoors watching birds and admiring landscapes—and I suppose that description applies to me. But I think of naturalism as a philosophy rather than a lifestyle. F a philosophical perspective, naturalists believe that the physical universe is the universe. In other words, there are no supernatural entities or forces acting on nature, because there...
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It is a philosophical state of mind, grounded in empiricism, in addition to being one who appreciates nature.

17 MAR 2012 by ideonexus

 Shattered Glass as a Metaphor for Taxonomy

Let us suppose that we have laid on the table... [a] piece of glass... and let us homologize this glass to a whole order of plants or birds. Let us hit this glass a blow in such a manner as but to crack it up. The sectors circumscribed by cracks following the first blow may here be understood to represent families. Continuing, we may crack the glass into genera, species and subspecies to the point of finally having the upper right hand corner a piece about 4 inches square representing a sub-s...
Folksonomies: metaphor taxonomy
Folksonomies: metaphor taxonomy
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The smaller pieces you smash it into, the more specific the classification. TODO: I don't understand the "4 inches" part at the end concerning sub-species.

01 JAN 2012 by ideonexus

 The Arctic Tern's Migration

The difference between night and day is dramatic - so dramatic that most species of animal can thrive either in the day or in the night but not both. They usually sleep during their 'off' period. Humans and most birds sleep by night and work at the business of living during the day. Hedgehogs and jaguars and many other mammals work by night and sleep by day. In the same way, animals have different ways f coping with the change between winter anc summer. Lots of mammals grow a thick, shaggy ...
Folksonomies: migration bird arctic tern
Folksonomies: migration bird arctic tern
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The bird migrates back and forth from North and South poles so that it always enjoys the arctic and antarctic summers.

14 DEC 2011 by ideonexus

 If Birds Studied Man

Let us only imagine that birds had studied their own development and that it was they in turn who investigated the structure of the adult mammal and of man. Wouldn't their physiological textbooks teach the following? 'Those four and two-legged animals bear many resemblances to embryos, for their cranial bones are separated, and they have no beak, just as we do in the first live or six days of incubation; their extremities are all very much alike, as ours are for about the same period; there i...
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An insightful way of looking at our prejudices.

20 SEP 2011 by ideonexus

 The Species Missing from Islands

Native Missing Plants Land mammals Birds Reptiles Insects and other Amphibians arthropods (e.g., spiders)    Freshwater fish [...] Further, when you look at the type of insects and plants native to oceanic islands, they are from groups that are the best colonizers. Most of the insects are small, precisely those that would be easily picked up by wind. Compared to weedy plants, trees are relatively rare on oceanic islands, almost certainly because many trees have heavy seeds that neither fl...
Folksonomies: evolution species islands
Folksonomies: evolution species islands
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The fact that the species that exist on islands could only have migrated there versus the ones that do not exist are evidence of evolution.

16 SEP 2011 by ideonexus

 Hen's Teeth

Some atavisms can be produced in the laboratory. The most amazing of these is that paragon of rarity, hen’s teeth. In 1980, E. J. Kollar and C. Fisher at the University of Connecticut combined the tissues of two species, grafting the tissue lining the mouth of a chicken embryo on top of tissue from the jaw of a developing mouse. Amazingly, the chicken tissue eventually produced tooth-like structures, some with distinct roots and crowns! Since the underlying mouse tissue alone could not prod...
Folksonomies: evolution vestigial atavism
Folksonomies: evolution vestigial atavism
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An experiment from 1980 that stimulated hens to grow teeth by triggering a gene holdover from their ancient reptilian ancestors.