Polypompholyx

Author's details

Name: Steve Cook
Date registered: 16/04/2012
URL: http://www.polypompholyx.com

Biography

Nerd of this parish.

Latest posts

  1. Apomorphism — 13/09/2017
  2. Stems all the way down — 07/07/2017
  3. More botanical baggings — 13/04/2017
  4. Modular origami — 04/01/2017
  5. Organism of the week #31 – Tardigrades — 19/05/2016

Most commented posts

  1. Educational RCTs — 17 comments
  2. A brief history of rubbish — 5 comments
  3. The magnolia misunderstanding — 5 comments
  4. The Michaelis-Menten model is not applicable to most enzymes in a cell — 4 comments
  5. Moose objects and roles — 3 comments

Author's posts listings

Sep 13

Apomorphism

Cycas thouarsii and Ginkgo biloba [CC-BY-SA-3.0 Steve Cook]

apomorphism (n) The false belief that evolutionary novelty is good in and of itself, that some novelties are so special that they trump all others, and that the organisms possessing these special novelties are superior in some way to all organisms lacking them. See also: egotism, mammalocentrism, ‘scientific’ racism — “So I was just chatting …

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Jul 07

Stems all the way down

Euphorbia pulcherrima [PD, USDA Scott Bauer]

In the days when potted plants were more than just disposable land-filler, my Nan would try to force her wizened poinsettia to flower by sticking it into a bin-liner with some apples every night from October until December. Sum total of flowers she ever saw: zero. Ho hum. But how many poinsettia flowers can you …

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Apr 13

More botanical baggings

Taiwania cryptomeroides [CC-BY-SA-4.0 Steve Cook]

Previously on Bagging Botanic Gardens: Wisley, Brussels, Down House, Much Else Besides. Eden Project An old clay pit in Cornwall doesn’t sound like the most promising place to find a tropical forest, but the alleged proximity of the entrance to Magrathea might go some way to explaining it. The Eden Project’s bubble-wrap domes are now such …

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Jan 04

Modular origami

270 (sonobe colourchange) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 Steve Cook]

A few months ago, I went to a creative origami lunchtime session organised by some lovely people at $WORK. I’d done origami a bit when I was younger, but mostly just frogs and cranes, which have since helped me while away the hours when invigilating exams. However, at this lunchtime session I was shown how …

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May 19

Organism of the week #31 – Tardigrades

Tardigrades [CC-BY-SA-3.0 Steve Cook]

Tardigrades make me squee. These little relatives of the arthropods and velvet-worms are found in the water around mosses, and they are quite easy to find if you have a cheap microscope and a little patience. Like spiders, they have eight legs, but unlike the legs of a spider, they’re plump and stumpy, and end in the little ‘fingers’ …

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May 19

Organism of the week #30 – Sticky situation

Passiflora foetida bud [CC-BY-3.0 Alex Lomas]

All science is either physics or stamp-collecting. This rather mean-spirited dismissal of chemistry and biology as “stamp-collecting” is attributed to Ernest Rutherford, the physicist usually (not wholly fairly) credited with discovering the atomic nucleus and the proton. Shortly after Rutherford’s death in 1937, particle physicists discovered the muon, pi mesons, kaons, the electron neutrino, the anti-proton, the lambda baryon, xi cascades, and …

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May 05

Adaptations evolve in populations

Pisum sativum (purple) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 Rasbak]

Organisms evolve adaptations to increase their fitness There are few ideas in science that explain as much of the natural world as does natural selection, but there are few ideas in science that are more frequently misunderstood. Often the misunderstandings are deliberate or disingenuous, but I’ve seen quotes like the one above even in undergraduate essays and …

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Jan 08

Recursion

Recursion [CC-BY-SA-3.0 Steve Cook, Andreas Thomson, Frank Vinzent]

Jan 07

Bark

Bark [CC-BY-SA-3.0 Steve Cook]

Jan 06

Wisley in Winter

RHS Wisley heather garden [CC-BY-SA-3.0 Steve Cook]

It’s not really a botanic garden, but the Royal Horticultural Society’s gardens at Wisley is near enough as makes no difference. We visited in what should have been the dead of winter, but which in reality was this weird sprautumn mash-up that is now December in the UK. The heather garden was particularly pretty, despite the wind: At £12, the entry …

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