University of Illinois researchers have built a better plant, one that produces more leaves and fruit without needing extra fertilizer. The researchers accomplished the feat using a computer model that mimics the process of evolution. Theirs is the first model to simulate every step of the photosynthetic process.
This is one of those situations where you can invest your time more wisely programming and leveraging a supercomputer to work through all the possible experiments much much faster than working through the permutations in the lab.
By rearranging the investment of nitrogen, we could almost double efficiency. An obvious question that stems from the research is why plant productivity can be increased so much. Why haven’t plants already evolved to be as efficient as possible?
Hierakonpolis was one of the largest urban settings in Egypt along the Nile over 5000 years ago. Hierakonopols also claims the title to the earliest recorded zombie attack in history.
In 1892, a British dig there unearthed a tomb containing a decomposed body, whose brain had been infected with the ‘zombie’ virus, Solanum. In addition, thousands of scratch marks adorned every surface of the tomb as if the corpse had tried to claw it’s way out.
Link to the archeology report.
Just in case you haven’t been following gadget news lately, Amazon released the ‘Kindle‘ which is kinda sorta like an e-book. At US$399 it better be one helluva good electronic reader.
It’s not known how many they made in their first run of devices from the factory but it sold out in the first 24 hours so that should help generate a little more buzz.
What might sour that buzz some would be honest reviews like this one by Doug Kaye: Kindle, Day One. Doug was one of the first recipients of the device and is able to put together a very fair though unfavorable review. Part of it is based on his experiences with the Sony Reader (PRS-505) which costs $100 less than the Kindle.
Blizzard is resorting to Mr.T and William Shatner to pitch for World of Warcraft. This is either really funny and effective to get us old farts engaged with WoW that haven’t been bitten by the bug yet. Or they’re not funny because the viewer is too young to have a clue as to who Mr. T is and thinks Shatner’s claim to fame is Boston Legal.
Link to the World of Warcraft adverts.
Here are two videos of submarines, the British sub HMS Tireless and a US sub the USS Alexandria, participating in an ‘Ice Ex’ *together* in the Arctic.
I did a lot of time on subs but never had the pleasure of doing ice ops. Those exercises always intrigued me, partly because it’s a little more dangerous and interesting and very few sailors get to partake each year.
This one is the USS Alexandria surfacing:
This one is the HMS Tireless surfacing. Skip ahead to 1:20 to see the good stuff: