Grapevine: Animal Antibiotics, New Taxonomy, Plant Sentience, Spiral Patterns, Carnivorous Leaves, Free Smarts, Hawking

Karl Blossfeldt, Fraxinus ornus

– FDA Won’t Act Against Agricultural Antibiotic Use
With no notice other than a holiday-eve posting in the Federal Register, the US Food and Drug Administration has reneged on its long-stated intention to compel large-scale agriculture to curb over-use of agricultural antibiotics, which it had planned to do by reversing its approval for putting penicillin and tetracyclines in feed. The FDA first announced its intention to withdraw those approvals in 1977.     Wired

– The New Universal Language of Plants
When Linnaeus standardized the system of species description in the 18th century, Latin was the language of science. So it has remained, if only in a highly technical sense. … But no more. As of Jan. 1, diagnostic botanical descriptions may be written in Latin or English, and the electronic publication of new names is accepted.   New York Times

– If You Pick Us, Do We Not Bleed?
Around 1900, Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose began his investigations into the secret world of plants. He found that all plants, and all parts of plants, have a sensitive nervous system not unlike that of animals, and that their responses to external stimuli could be measured and recorded. All around us, Bose realized, the plants are communicating. We just don’t notice it.   Smart Set

– The Mathematical Lives of Plants
A surprising number of plants have spiral patterns in which each leaf, seed, or other structure follows the next at a particular angle called the golden angle. Plants with spiral patterns related to the golden angle also display another curious mathematical property. The seeds of a flower head form interlocking spirals in both clockwise and counterclockwise directions.   Science News

– ‘Worm-Eating’ Underground Leaves Discovered in Carnivorous Plant
Sticky underground leaves help a Brazilian plant to capture and digest worms, a hitherto unknown way for carnivorous plants to catch victims, scientists find.   Live Science

– M.I.T. Game-Changer: Free Online Education For All
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) will announce on Monday [January 9, 2012] that they intend to launch an online learning initiative called M.I.T.x, which will offer the online teaching of M.I.T. courses free of charge to anyone in the world. …The program will not allow students to earn an M.I.T. degree. Instead, those who are able to exhibit a mastery of the subjects taught on the platform will receive an official certificate of completion.   Forbes

– Why Stephen Hawking is Cool
Hawking is a member of that rare club – the celebrity scientist. Brilliance is one aspect of his fame, but probably not enough on its own to explain it. The second contributor is possibly his medical illness. … It’s almost cliche – the massive brain inside the failing small body.   Neurologica

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