A Little Light Marine Biology Reading for you Cheshire Cat Fans…

So did you know that biologists use characters from Carroll to describe biological phenomena?  I didn’t.  The Red Queen has been in use for some time, but now the Cheshire Cat has his turn, describing a phenomenon whereby a particular species of marine life ‘escapes’ from a hazardous environment – in this case one with a virus.  If you understand it all, please enlighten me 😉  From the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

…These “Cheshire Cat” ecological dynamics release host evolution from pathogen pressure and thus can be seen as an opposite force to a classic “Red Queen” coevolutionary arms race. In E. huxleyi, this phenomenon can account for the fact that the selective balance is tilted toward the boom-and-bust scenario of optimization of both growth rates of calcifying E. huxleyi cells and infectivity of EhVs

Communicated by Paul G. Falkowski, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick, NJ, August 6, 2008 (received for review June 9, 2008)


Quantum Cheshire Cat

The physicist in me is just giggling over this article.  How cool that two of my very favorite subjects have collided, and non-destructively too I might add.  Basically they’ve separated a particle from one of its properties.  How very Carrollian.

Scientific American Blog Post Considers Euclid and His Modern Rivals

Lewis Carroll with BookIf you’re a fan of geometry, math, or just Lewis Carroll, you might be interested in this blog post from Scientific American. It considers the importance and relevance of Mr. Dodsgon’s highly theatrical treatise Euclid and His Modern Rivals.  While it ultimately finds limitations in Dodgson’s conclusions, it applauds his sheer creativity in addressing a difficult and contentious topic.

To read the article, click me.

Another Person Diagnosed With Rare Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

Tenniel Alice Long NeckOur thanks to a mimsy minion for this link to an article in the UK’s Daily Mail about another person who has been diagnosed with the rare disorder known as “Alice in Wonderland Syndrome,” in which the person experiences episodes where body parts and objects in the room appear to shrink and grow.

For the article, which includes many photos of the young woman in Alice costumes and a video of her purportedly experiencing the syndrome, click me.

Scientists Discover a Real-Life Smoking Caterpillar

Disney CaterpillarFrom the ever-popular “Almost Stranger Than Fiction” Department comes news that scientists have discovered a species of tobacco plant-eating caterpillar that “smokes” to ward off potential predators.  No, really.

To read this curiouser and curiouser story, click me.