Category Archive: Nature

Jul 24

Swarm Intelligence: I

I’ve been meaning for some time to write about swarm intelligence. The basic insights have been around for at least 30 years, and,¬†since then, the ideas have percolated into awareness and are now appreciated outside the scientific community. One excellent summary can be found in Len Fisher’s 2009 book, The Perfect Swarm. I read this …

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Jan 16

Let’s See if I Can Tape This All Together

What do cupcakes and chocolate have in common? I guess that’s pretty obvious, but Scotch Tape? In September 2009 Scientific American devoted an entire issue to “Origins” and I’ve chosen three of my favorites to link together here. First up: cupcakes: where and when were they invented, and whence the name? ¬† If you click …

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Jan 14

Birds Did Not Evolve from Dinosaurs; They *Are* Dinosaurs

The January 2017 issue of Scientific American contains a fascinating article (behind a paywall) on the evolution of birds. Using birds as an example, the author makes several interesting points about evolution. Some are quite specific to feathers and such; others are more general, such as Evolution has no foresight; it acts only on what …

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Jan 12

What Do Plants See?

The latest (January 2017) issue of Scientific American has a short blurb entitled “Veggies with Vision” that harks back to speculation and studies of over 100 years ago.   In 1907 Francis Darwin, Charles’s son, hypothesized that leaves have organs that are a combination of lens-like cells and light-sensitive cells.   For some reason, research …

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