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 -
Mushroom Eats Plastic, Saves Planet
Fungus Amongus, SaveUs!
Is There Extraterrestrial Life Here In The Solar System
'How fast is it moving? ...one meter per minute.' - Arthur C. Clarke, 1982.
Chinese Fern Helps Remediate Arsenic Soil
'Bioengeering had put out a spec report on the long crawly things five months back.' - Gregory Benford, 1983.
New Lifelike Material Powered By Artificial Metabolism
'... The biological robots were not living creatures.' - Arthur C. Clarke, 1972.
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.
Zephyr Solar-Electric Stratospheric Drone
'The planes flew continuously, twenty-four hours a day...'
Robot Hummingbird Hovers Biomimetically
'With a buzz... it started out on its journey.'
Harvest Water From Air With Sunlight
'The atmosphere yielded its moisture with reluctance.'
Capitalist Big Brother Co-Opts Regular Big Brother
'It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time.'
A Floating Cosmodrome
'...a single perfectly level platform, which rose so high above the water that it was not splashed by the waves.'
First Artificial Memory Formed In Animals
'Is an extra-factual memory that convincing?' Quail asked.
Maintain Your Megastructure
Megastructures have repair robots, which have repair robots, ad infinitum.
Venezuelans Teaching Your Self-Driving Car
‘She wouldn't stop until Antar had told her everything he knew...’
Robothread Robotic Worms Crawling Through Your Brain
Perfect for clot-busting in the human brain. No Raquel Welch and no lasers, though.
Vantablack BMW X6 Is Douglas Adams Approved
'It's so... black!' said Ford Prefect.
Humanoid Robot's Muscles Biomimic Ours
'It is remarkable that the long leverages of their machines are in most cases actuated by a sort of sham musculature...'
Animatronic Robotic Baby Exposed
'The birth of Machine, my robot child...'
Beijing HaiDiLao Robotic Hotpot Restaurant Now Flavored By Artificial Intelligence
'Kantos Kan led me to one of these gorgeous eating places where we were served entirely by mechanical apparatus.'
Plants of the Future - What Should They Be Like
'He almost choked in his astonishment. Mashed potatoes and brown gravy!'
China Deploys Robot Traffic Police
'The robot came up smooth and fast as a rocket...'
Better Than Dune Chromoplastic? This Guy Might Have Done It
'But when Old Father Sun departs, the chromoplastic reverts to transparency in the dark.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories