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 -
Monkey Gets A Bigger Brain, Thanks To Human Gene
'It's a madhouse! a madhouse!' - Planet of the Apes, 1968.
Mushroom Coffin Returns You To Nature, Naturally
'She touched the leaf. She was wanted.' - Philip K Dick, 1954.
Mechanical Milking Of Microalgae For Fuel Production
'They call 'em culture tanks. They have bugs -- germs -- growing in them.' - Hal Clement, 1950.
Fetal Lamb Rests In Artificial Womb
'... stewing warm on their cushion of peritoneum and gorged with blood-surrogate and hormones, the foetuses grew and grew...' - Aldous Huxley, 1932.
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.
Looking Glass Display Good Enough For Science Fiction, Fantasy
'The figure seemed to be swimming toward the surface.'
Do You Need The Entire Fembot? Maybe Just The Hand
'...Men don't want real women anymore. You and I are behind the times...'
3D Printing With Sunlight And Sand
'We made a crude, small cell and were delighted...'
Samsung Gets Transparent Smartphone Patent
The Transparency of Things to Come
Monkey Gets A Bigger Brain, Thanks To Human Gene
'It's a madhouse! a madhouse!'
Solar Power Beamed From Space Studied By Brit Boffins
'Our beams feed these worlds energy drawn from... the Sun.'
Pandemic Entrepreneurs! Consider Robo Esso Robot Barista
'... the perpetual beam carved in the robot face of the bartender, the classic Irish grin.'
Shape-Shifting Robot From MIT
'... the structure of that shape is retained down to the molecules.'
Tesla's 20,000 Superchargers
'To recharge the batteries, which can be done in almost every town and village...'
Smallest Rogue Planet Discovered In Milky Way
'...a swarm of rogue planets chanced by.'
New Technology For Interplanetary Communication
'... sweating, heat-blistered engineers at every interplanetary radiograph station on three planets, stood by their generators.'
First Lunar Water, Then... Monolith?
'It looks brand new, doesn't it?'
Flying Robot Inspired By Hawks
'The dark birdforms dotted the mountaintops...'
Jet-Powered Flying Suits Tested By Navy
'With his motor in operation, he moves like a diver, head foremost...'
Pub Installs Electrified Fence Around Bar
'I start twelve immensely strong wires--naked, not insulated --from a big dynamo...'
What Does A Tesla Full Self-Driving Car See?
'All objects within my panoramic gaze trembled and vibrated like quick motion pictures...'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories