Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Benefits of Fast Food

"The more frequently you walk under the Golden Arches... the sooner you will reach the pearly gates."

-Quoted in class on 04/01/10

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Distractions in Research

In my research for a paper on Ginger for my medical botany class I found an interesting book in our library. It is a reprint of an Herbal that was originally published in 1633. The letters are interesting in that, in most places where we would put a lower case "s" they have what appears to be an "f" that only has the back part of the cross stroke on it and they also seem to have switched their "v" and "u". Here is part of the section on ginger:

"Ginger, as Difcorides reporteth, is right good with meate in fauces, or otherwife, in conditures: for it is of an heating and digefting qualitie; it gently loofeth the belly, and is profitable for the ftomacke, and effectually oppofeth it felfe againft all darkneffe of the fight; anfwering the qualities and effects of Pepper. It is to be confidered, That canded, greene or condited Ginger is hot and moift in qualitie, prouoking Venerie: and being dried, it heateth and drieth in the third degree."

I also found it interesting that the author made a note of how he had put the corals (which we now know to be the homes of colonial animals) next to the mosses even though there were some corals that the "old writers" had not described which grew with branching more like a shrub or tree. Also sea fans (a different type of cnidarian) were included as a type of "shrub."

The author also described the "Goose-barnacle" tree which I have heard about on several occasions as a ridiculous myth that was widely believed long ago. However the myth makes sense after having read his description. On our trip to Florida I was able to observe barnacles attached to the roots of mangrove trees - these barnacles are filter feeders that stick out feathery projections to filter the water which, with a small measure of imagination, could look like the wings of a young bird... thus the tree must "grow" the barnacles and the little birds inside must grow up into geese. The author backs up this story with his personal observations of seeing the young downy birds in their shells growing on trees.