Earth Skunk Cabbage And Martian Desert Cabbage
According to research published this month in Physical Review, skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus)is able to maintain an internal temperature of about twenty degrees centigrade even when the ambient air temperature drops below freezing.
However, it is not clear whether a unique algorithm controls the homeothermic behavior of S. foetidus, or whether such an algorithm might exhibit linear or nonlinear thermoregulatory dynamics. Here we report the underlying dynamics of temperature control in S. foetidus using nonlinear forecasting, attractor and correlation dimension analyses. It was shown that thermoregulation in S. foetidus was governed by low-dimensional chaotic dynamics, the geometry of which showed a strange attractor named the "Zazen attractor." Our data suggest that the chaotic thermoregulation in S. foetidus is inherent and that it is an adaptive response to the natural environment.
In his novel Red Planet, Robert Heinlein writes about an enormous desert cabbage that also has internal temperature regulation properties. And how might travelers about Mars take advantage of a huge plant that stays warm inside even in the cold of the Martian night?
"Jim boy come here. Frank come here. Cold there. Warm here."
"...we can't go inside a cabbage It would crush us."
"Do as you like, Jim. I can't skate any farther." He set one foot on a broad leaf - which flinched under the contact - and strode steadily..."
Willis greeted them ecstatically. "Good boy, Frank! Good boy, Jim! Stay nice and warm all night."
The Sun was slipping behind a distant dune; the sunset wind whipped coldly at them. The far edges of the plant lifted and began to curl toward them... The inner leaves were beginning to curl faster than the outer leaves. Such a leaf, four feet wide at its widest and at least ten feet long, raised up in back of Jim and curved in until it touched his shoulder...
With elbows and knees and hands the two managed to occupy a roughly spherical space about five feet across and a little less than that high. The leaves closed down on them, seemed to feel them out, then settled firmly against them... Soon the last open space was covered and they were in total darkness.
Read the abstract; thanks to Fred Kiesche at
The Eternal Golden Braid for suggesting this item.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 11/9/2005)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )
Related News Stories -
China Melts Tibetan Permafrost To Plant Forest
'Can you give us a microwave spotlight?' - Niven, Pournelle, Flynn, 1995.
Hackers Insert Malware Into DNA
'They tied the memory to the bloodline and that was their record!' -
Worms Eat Plastic Now
'Slowly and inexorably, the rate of dissolution increased...' - Davis/Pedlar, 1971.
Mini-Brains In A Dish
'Cultured brains on a slab.' - Peter Watts, 1999.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
A 'Genuine Nanorobotic Production Factory'
'Microscopic machinery, smaller than ants, smaller than pins, working energetically, purposefully - constructing something...'
Neuromorphic Computer Offers Non-von Neumann Architecture
Fires faster than brain at 1/10K energy.
Evorus Your Crowd-Powered Conversational Assistant
'...the DS [Daily Schedule] was suddenly transformed into a valued confidante.'
Mealworms Food Of The Future
Get your grubs on.
Alibaba's AI May Read Better Than You
'Mike ... could accept other languages and was doing technical translating - and reading endlessly.'
Musk's Boring Flamethrower
'Skeletons in tatters. Burned by a flesh gun'
Humanity Star LEO Advertisement?
'Everyone has noticed those enormous advertisements...'
Nissan ProPILOT Slippers Are Self-Parking, Autonomous
Beyond science and fiction.
Atomristors - Atomic Memristors - Using Thin Nanomaterials
'I could almost feel those little tunnel junction neuristors working, forming their own interconnections as I operated it.'
Bigelow Prepares Inflatable Lunar Hotel
'Suddenly, hitherto unheard-of sums of money became available for investment in civilian orbital stations.'
Drunk Driver Of Tesla Claims Autopilot Was In Charge
'Mr. Garden, you are in no condition to drive.'
Medical Exoskeleton From Cyberdyne Gets FDA Approval
It's been a long road for HAL-5; I started writing about it in 2005.
Fungi-Infused Concrete Repairs Itself
'I noticed that curious mottled knots were forming, indicating where the room had been strained and healed faultily.'
Shiftwear Display Shoes
'He unlaced her shoe and glanced at its readout.'
NASA SEXTANT First With X-Ray Nav In Space
'You need at least four beacons for an accurate fix.'
GM Introduces Cruise AV With No Steering Wheel
'How about the steering wheel?' ... 'I do not need one.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories