March 2013 archive

Mar 30

Vegetable empire 2013

Gnetum gnemon [CC-BY-2.0 Alex Lomas]

By popular demand, I have resurrected this phylogeny from my old website for Easter 2013. I have added a number of extra groups, updated the angiosperms according to APG-III, and repositioned the Gnetales according the apparently ascendent gnetifer hypothesis. The rotated titles in the table appear to work in IE9, Chrome and Safari, but YMMV.   Classification …

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Mar 21

Organism of the week #10 – The shapeless cock-of-the-gods

Arum maculatum [CC-BY-SA-3.0 Sannse@Wikipedia]

I missed last week, so this week’s is a biggun, to make up for my tardiness. Bow down before The Shapeless Cock-of-the-Gods: Apparently, when this plant was filmed for The Private Life of Plants in 1995, David Attenborough decided to invent the term “titan arum” to avoid using the plant’s Latin (well, Greek, really) name on prime-time …

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Mar 20

Educational RCTs

Practice makes perfect [CC-BY-SA-3.0 Steve Cook]

Around a decade ago I did a PGCE. Part of that PGCE involved a small-scale investigative study, from which I learnt a great deal about educational research, but not – I suspect – any of the intended learning outcomes. I was teaching a year-7 class, whose graphing skills needed improvement. Students would often forget to …

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Mar 07

Organism of the week #9 – Not even what it doesn’t seem to be

Pameridea roridulae [CC-BY-SA-.3.0 Denis Barthel]

See Roridula‘s glistening leaves. See the fly suffocating in her sticky embrace. Quake at her insecticidal prowess. Or not. Things are not quite what they seem with Roridula. For sure, she can catch flies, but her carnivory is impotent. She cannot make the enzymes she needs to break down her prey, so they remain stuck to her leaves, and …

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