Monday, June 24, 2013
  Leaf common denominator

Interesting article about plant senses:
During the night, mechanisms inside the leaf measure the size of the starch store. Information about time comes from an internal clock, similar to the human body clock.

The researchers proposed that the process is mediated by the concentrations of two kinds of molecules called "S" for starch and "T" for time.

If the S molecules stimulate starch breakdown, while the T molecules prevent this from happening, then the rate of starch consumption is set by the ratio of S molecules to T molecules. In other words, S divided by T.

Commenting on the research, Dr Richard Buggs of Queen Mary, University of London, said: "This is not evidence for plant intelligence. It simply suggests that plants have a mechanism designed to automatically regulate how fast they burn carbohydrates at night. Plants don't do maths voluntarily and with a purpose in mind like we do."
Garbanzo is demonstrating his talents.


Actually this shouldn't be remotely surprising. In animal nervous systems, EVERYTHING is done by ratios. NOTHING is simply linear. All sensory inputs go through a ratio comparison process at some stage.

Plant senses work differently at the chemical level, but Nature doesn't really care much about details. Design is based on purpose, and the purpose of senses is always defined by logarithms and ratios.

The last sentence is especially amusing:
"Plants don't do maths voluntarily and with a purpose in mind like we do."

What you mean WE, academic man? You're talking about symbolic math, which is not a basic feature of humans. A very small number of humans have been doing symbolic math for a very short period of time. Also, you don't know what's in the plant's mind. You simply assume that the plant has less awareness than you do, which is totally unfounded and insulting.

Here's the timeline of good old H. Sapiens in bar chart form, showing the number of humans engaging in symbolic math. 400,000 years of humans as a species, and roughly 4000 years since Babylonians invented written math ops. Long before math, humans were estimating ratios both consciously and internally.


You didn't need symbolic math to understand the chart, did you? You picked up the ratio visually.

QED.

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Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.

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