(n) the messy process by which basically irrational hyper-cephalic primates attempt to ask and answer questions about the world in a way that overcomes their own biases and foibles and simultaneously make a living, build a reputation and do the other things highly social primates need to do.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
On my way to work today (Yes, I go to work on Sundays. Thus are the requirements of lab work.)I pulled up a few square centimeters of moss from a crack in the parking lot. I put it in a petri dish, sprayed some water over it and plunked it on the microscope to see what was floating around. So much! The sinusoidal thrashing of nematodes is unmistakable, and immediately jumped out at me. Several kinds of ciliates wobbled and spun through the water. I have spent far too much time looking at rotifers, so I quickly registered three kinds; two of these swam and third crawled. The crawler would move to a spot on the base of the dish, anchor its back, then do an excellent imitation of a vacuum cleaner, extend and contracting itself in each direction to pass its cilia over the whole surface of a small circle. There was something I think was a tiny annelid, maybe some kind of earthworm. There were tardigrades, so many tardigrades. I was able to get better pictures this time, as there were so many to choose from, it wasn't hard to find them in photogenic poses. I found myself wondering if every scrap of moss around here has so many tardigrades, and if so how many trillions there must be per square kilometer. Anyway, here, by popular demand, are a couple more pictures.
Note the long curved claws at the ends of the toes, much like a bear has.
Blog of science isn't one of those science blogs about cool scientific results. It's about the experience of being a scientist doing science. It's about science the process, not science the outcome, or science the list of facts.