Saturday, December 19, 2009

Weird Science II

A bit from Avatar reminds me of Ursula K. LeGuin's "Vaster Than Empires and More Slow", a short story republished in her collection The Wind's Twelve Quarters (1975). LeGuin postulates a world in which nodes in tree roots act like synapses. The plant life is one sentience. Maybe even vines and spores partake in it. As before, a cultural work reminds me of some science:
  • The longest lived thing is arguably Pando, a grove of aspens in Utah that seems to be one plant, connected at the roots and propagating through runners like strawberries or mrytle.
  • Or maybe it is an instance of the fungus Armillaria bulbosa in Oregon.
A Wikipedia article lists other such organisms, for what it's worth. (The references in this post are reminders for me to look up sometime.)

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