30 JAN 2015 by ideonexus

 Squid Skin is Like an LED Screen

Television images are sometimes displayed on giant LED (Light Emitting Diode) hoardings. Instead of a fluorescent screen with an electron beam scanning side to side over it, the LED screen is a large array of tiny glowing lights, independently controllable. The lights are individually brightened or dimmed so that, from a distance, the whole matrix shimmers with moving pictures. The skin of a squid behaves like an LED screen. Instead of lights, squid skin is packed with thousands of tiny bags ...
Folksonomies: biology explanations
Folksonomies: biology explanations
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12 JAN 2015 by ideonexus

 The Evolution of the Eye

To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree. When it was first said that the sun stood still and the world turned round, the common sense of mankind declared the doctrine false; but the old saying of Vox populi, vox Dei, as every...
Folksonomies: eye evolution
Folksonomies: eye evolution
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"Absurd," Darwin admits, but entirely possible.
30 JAN 2012 by ideonexus

 Homeostasis

The constant conditions which are maintained in the body might be termed equilibria. That word, however, has come to have fairly exact meaning as applied to relatively simple physico-chemical states, in closed systems, where known forces are balanced. The coordinated physiological processes which maintain most of the steady states in the organism are so complex and so peculiar to living beings- involving, as they may, the brain and nerves, the heart, lungs, kidneys and spleen, all working coo...
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Origin of the word, meaning the tendency of animal life to maintain an internal equilibrium.

02 JAN 2012 by ideonexus

 Consciousness of the Fallibility of Our Senses is a Resul...

A consciousness of the fallacy of our senses is one of the most important consequences of the study of nature. This study teaches us that no object is seen by us in its true place, owing to aberration; that the colours of substances are solely the effects of the action of matter upon light; and that light itself, as well as heat and sound, are not real beings, but modes of action communicated to our perceptions by the nerves. The human frame may therefore be regarded as an elastic system, the...
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When you understand the underlying reality of what we see in the world around us, you understand that our perceptions deceive us. Sounds vaguely post-modern.

02 JAN 2012 by ideonexus

 Davy Poem on Growing Old

Davy was now forty, and like every man of science and every poet, he hoped against hope that original work and ‘powers of inspiration’ still lay ahead in his maturity. His description of these longings was nakedly Romantic, and surely recalled his moonlit walks along the banks of the Avon some twenty years before. Though many chequered years have passed away Since first the sense of Beauty thrilled my nerves, Yet still my heart is sensible to Thee, As when it first received the flood of ...
Folksonomies: discovery aging growing old
Folksonomies: discovery aging growing old
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And hoping he still had discoveries ahead of him.

29 MAY 2011 by ideonexus

 Evolution Versus Engineering

What's the difference between evolution and engineering? Engineering is the designing of a whole out of parts suited to their individual purposes. Evolution is the process of tiny incremental changes, each making some small or large improvement in the ability of the thing to survive and reproduce. A good engineer avoids the kluge-jargon for the use of a part not particularly suited to its purpose. But evolution favors, even cherishes, the kluge. Suddenly finding a new purpose for a part witho...
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Evolution is all about kludges.

21 MAY 2011 by ideonexus

 Get Babies Used to Strangers

Grandmother says, "You had them and you should never leave them." Such martyrdom is selfish and harmful to both you and the child. Someday such clinging, dependent children will have to be torn from their mothers and get the rude shock that there are other people m the world—on the first day at school, for instance. This shock will be far less and the adjustment to the presence of other residents of this planet far better if they get a sneak preview in advance that there are others. There i...
Folksonomies: child rearing
Folksonomies: child rearing
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To prevent them from being to clingy later in life.

19 MAY 2011 by ideonexus

 We Recapitulate Evolution in Nine Months

Evolution sceptic: Professor Haldane, even given the billions of years that you say were available for evolution, I simply cannot believe it is possible to go from a single cell to a complicated human body, with its trillions of cells organized into bones and muscles and nerves, a heart that pumps without ceasing for decades, miles and miles of blood vessels and kidney tubules, and a brain capable of thinking and talking and feeling. JBS: But madam, you did it yourself. And it only took you ...
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...to build a complete human being.

29 MAR 2011 by ideonexus

 Civilization is a Work of Art, Creating an Artificial Man

NATURE (the art whereby God hath made and governs the world) is by the art of man, as in many other things, so in this also imitated, that it can make an artificial animal. For seeing life is but a motion of limbs, the beginning whereof is in some principal part within, why may we not say that all automata (engines that move themselves by springs and wheels as doth a watch) have an artificial life? For what is the heart, but a spring; and the nerves, but so many strings; and the joints, but s...
Folksonomies: politics philosophy
Folksonomies: politics philosophy
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Hobbes' poetic description of humans gathered into society to form a larger human.

08 JAN 2011 by ideonexus

 The Regimen of the Voluntary Nobility

of the things that the samurai are obliged to do. There would be many precise directions regarding his health, and rules that would aim at once at health and that constant exercise of will that makes life good. Save in specified exceptional circumstances, the samurai must bathe in cold water, and the men must shave every day; they have the precisest directions in such matters; the body must be in health, the skin and muscles and nerves in perfect tone, or the samurai must go to the doctors o...
Folksonomies: voluntary nobility
Folksonomies: voluntary nobility
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The samurai must speak with other Samurai to fend off "unsocial preoccupations" and "intellectual sluggishness" among other duties.