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The Forest Floor / Fungi break acceleration record to escape dung
« on: September 16, 2008, 10:34:03 PM » ... news_rss20

Fungi break acceleration record to escape dung

    * 00:01 17 September 2008
    * news service
    * Catherine Brahic

They're tiny, gooey and they grow on dung. But that does not stop fungi spores from being the fastest flyers in nature.

Using high-speed cameras, researchers have for the first time accurately measured the speed at which some fungi propel their spores. The images show in detail how microscopic dung-loving, or coprophilous, fungi use a squirt-gun action to propel their spores.

The fungi degrade the millions of tons of dung produced by cows and other herbivores each year. To reproduce, their spores must be eaten by herbivores, yet few animals will graze on the grass next to their own dung.

To overcome this obstacle, dung-dwelling fungi have evolved tiny catapults, trampolines and squirt guns that propel spores and spore packets up to 2.5 meters away.

Goodbye, cow pie

Nicholas Money at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and colleagues filmed the squirt gun action of four species at 250,000 frames per second.

They found that the spores, measuring between 10 micrometres and half a millimetre, are launched at up to 25 metres per second. Although impressive, that makes them slower than had been estimated by mathematical models.

But the acceleration of the spores still puts them in a class of their own. "One minute they're standing still on a cow pie, and a millionth of a second later they are travelling at 25 metres per second," says Money.

His colleagues measured accelerations up to 180,000 g – the fastest airborne acceleration seen in the living world. In comparison, a jumping antelope accelerates at 1.6 g, astronauts experience maximum acceleration of less than 4 g during a Space Shuttle launch, and fleas accelerate at 200 g. Jellyfish stingers are fired at 40,000 g in water.

"The fastest spores travelled more than 1 million times their own 'body' length in one second," says Money. "A 1.8-metre human travelling at 1 million times his or her body length in one second would be travelling at a velocity of 1.8 million meters per second, which is more than 5000 times the speed of sound."

Sap squirters

To understand why mathematical estimates based on the distances travelled by the spores had been wrong, Money's colleague Diana Davis looked at the droplets of liquid expelled with them

The squirt guns expel their contents by osmotic pressure. So from the composition of the sap, Davis was able to calculate the pressures that would develop inside. The mathematical calculations had suggested that these pressures must be very high in order for them to spit the spores metres away.

Instead, Davis found that the squirt cells are under no greater pressure than other kinds of fungal cells. The researchers say the models must have over estimated the drag that air exerts on the tiny droplet.

Journal reference: PLoS ONE (DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0003237)

The Kitchen / Mok's Peanuts Sauce - Full Disclosure
« on: August 26, 2008, 11:17:10 PM »
After a very long period of deliberation, the Group has agreed to release this information to the general public, in this forum, in this post, and nowhere else.  This recipe is the result of countless hours of devotion, sacrifice, and expense by the thousands of hands that make up the Group.  You would do well to pay attention.

250ml peanut butter
125ml coconut milk
30ml fermented soybean liquid (tamari, shoyu.. or "soy sauce")
15ml "sweet chili sauce" consumer food product, any grade
15ml strong citrus juice
2-10g cilantro leaves
2g garlic, finely divided
2g ginger root, finely divided
.5g NaCl, food grade

I suggest grating the vegetable roots with a microplane.

Mix all together, adding cilantro to your taste. I don't like it, I think it tastes like soap.  But that's a very common variation, so I included it.

This peanut sauce is extremely tasty.


Be very careful, I suggest dosing with a scale of microgram accuracy or better.

This recipe is simple and in the wrong hands, could cause a world of trouble.  I trust you'll do the right thing.


The Kitchen /
« on: May 06, 2008, 01:42:23 AM »
Noooooo, waffles are supposed to be thicker and heartier.  You might make that case for belgian waffles, but those aren't really waffles (IMHO).

The Forest Floor /
« on: May 06, 2008, 01:04:10 AM »
Here's the final setup:

I found out that the thermostat can't switch two 120v lines.  Faced with 120v across the fan contacts it just lets it all through, so I had to add more wires (and wirenuts) so it only switches one 120v and one 12v.  

Now I just need to find a blanket big enough for this rubbermaid...

Questions?  Comments?

The Kitchen /
« on: May 04, 2008, 03:25:01 AM »
Oooh, I threw in a big hunk of chunky peanut butter.

Peanut butter waffles.... mmmm....

I also added in 2T of sugar.

SPF Chat /
« on: April 28, 2008, 01:43:07 AM »
A cult of one!

Yeah, Mok in forum = Mok in chat.

The Forest Floor /
« on: April 26, 2008, 02:19:09 AM »
Tried a few solutions, peltier couldn't make enough of a temperature difference (uninsulated), so a potpourrie heater, a 120v AC ceramic briquette about the size of half of a 9-volt battery wedged against a metal disk by a screw/bracket thing, the other half of which is screwed into a thin wooden board screwed to the bottom of the lid.  Heatsink on the other face of the metal disk, it's wired to the "fan" circuit on the thermostat along with a gamecube power supply.  It couldn't hack it either, until I wrapped the thing in a blanket.  The digital meat thermometer stuck into the top through a hole in the board reads 81.5F, and I can hear it cycling.  Tied the thermistor to the tip of the meat thermometer.

Maybe the peltier would work if I insulated it, then I could cool too.  I could also add the peltier as a cooling device, but I'd need another heatsink.

The Kitchen / Easier waffle recipe
« on: April 19, 2008, 04:59:19 PM »
Egg replacer sucks.  This recipe requires 2 measuring cups and a mixing bowl, which is easier for me in the morning.

1c soymilk
1c flour (wheat bread flour, in my case)
1T baking powder
1T Oil (safflower)
1T Maple Syrup, Grade B

I add chunks of veggie sausage, but you could add walnuts, blueberries, raspberries, bananas, lingonberries, gooseberries, schnozzberries, or any other such item.

The Trade Winds /
« on: April 19, 2008, 01:27:00 PM »
I'm sure it'll come back to you one way or the other, it always does for me.

The Forest Floor /
« on: April 17, 2008, 01:51:50 AM »
Wow, I just looked up Ohm's law, that little relay will handle 120 watts!
I wonder if the rest of the circuit will...

I need some nichrome wire.

The Forest Floor / Thermostat
« on: April 17, 2008, 01:39:29 AM »

I put a wire between the thermostat and the sensor.

I have this thing switching a 12v 1.5a wallwart.  At first I had a fan and a bulb  in parallel, but it wasn't heating enough.  I think I'm gonna pick up some nichrome wire and see if I can make my own element and put it in a tube vwith the fan pointing at it.

I think I'm gonna mount it to the inside of the lid.

This thermostat is very simple, a single relay that's marked 2a 30 VDC or 1a 120VAC, a pair of batteries, a thermistor, and a variable resistor.

What kind of AC heat source could I get under 1a?

The Cave /
« on: March 30, 2008, 02:49:57 AM »
Someone somewhere suggested that the intoxicating effect could be the result of industrial waste being dumped into the "municipal sewage system" (or whatever they have there).

The Long House /
« on: March 30, 2008, 02:46:18 AM »
What bugs me is that Krisna was the eighth son of a woman who was most definitely not a virgin.  Also, he was born in July.

Fudge the facts to fit the theory?  That's my game!

The Long House / roach?
« on: March 30, 2008, 02:42:42 AM »
You out there buddy?

Let us know how you are, haven't heard from you for a while.

At least, I haven't.

The Kitchen / Masht PuTater Nuggits
« on: January 03, 2008, 11:11:27 PM »
A few days ago I made chickpea cutlets (chickpeas, gluten, breadcrumbs) and mashed potatoes for dinner.  A significant percentage of the mashed potatoes remained afterwards, so tonight I fried up a passel of mashed potato nuggets.  

Mashed potatoes:

2lbs russet potatoes, peeled, chopped, and boiled with 2tsp salt
1/3c soymilk (unsweetened)
2T margarine
2tsp garlic powder or other spice (I like Spike)

Mash everything up together  They will be a little thick, but that's OK.

1c soymilk
1tsp mustard powder or mustard
1tbsp balsamic vinegar (for luck)

2-3 slices whole wheat bread crumbled
1T spike seasoning
1tsp garlic powder

Make little patties with the mashed taters (about 2T worth apiece), wash them in the wash, dredge them in the dredge.  Be sure to cover them completely with crumbs and press them in.  Otherwise the mashed tater will be "carried away" by the oil and make big crunchy cavities.

I have no idea what temperature my fryer gets to.  It's one of those little frydaddies with the magnetic power cord.  It's totally awesome.  I imagine it gets to around 300 or 325, but I haven't measured it yet.

Fry those suckers up, drain and serve with ketchup.  Very, very, very tasty.

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