Plants that count and statues that move

Two mysterious stories again which I’ve combined as in a point/counterpoint view – almost like two readers – coming together in the final stanza with the contention of how little we actually know.

Diatoms in Space

Plants can calculate  …..
Saxifrage subtract  …..
Antirrhinums add  …..
Marigolds multiply  …..
Dandelions divide  …..
Stoneworts do square roots  …..
Peonies do powers  …..
Primrose count in primes  …..
Daisies dally with imaginary sums  …..
Camellias love calculus  …..
Dahlias differentiate  …..


An ancient statue does rotate.
Is Osiris’s soul intact?
Is the spirit good or bad?
Does science know the reason why?
What strangeness do you hide?
Is it hokum, is it truth?
Will the secret soon be ours?
Is this a rite transcending time?
Will the answer ever come?
What does it mean to us?
Is it to do with quantum state?


we know
now, today.
Fibonacci knew
that nature always has a way,
that nature’s done it all before, as his numbers showed.
We’re infinitesimal, scratching at the surface of knowledge, diatoms in space.


23rd June 2013 – headlines from The Independent and Daily Mail

Notes:  It’s the day (and night) of the Triffids! Research reveals that plants use complicated calculations to regulate their energy reserves.”  Plants feed in the day using a process called photosynthesis which harnesses energy from the sun to convert carbon dioxide into sugars and starch.  But once the sun sets, they must depend on a store of starch to make it to the morning.  The precision with which plants adjust their use of starch shows they are performing a mathematical calculation. Instead of a level of use set at the onset of darkness, plants continuously compute the food they need during the night to save themselves from starvation almost precisely until dawn.  Spooky! Egyptian statuette spins untouched inside glass case.”  A 10-inch tall relic, an offering to the Egyptian God Osiris, was found in a mummy’s tomb and has been at the Manchester Museum for 80 years.  In recent weeks, curators have been left scratching their heads after they kept finding it facing the wrong way.  It was photographed using time-lapse photography which showed it mysteriously starting to spin round in its display case.  They now believe there could be a ‘spiritual explanation’ for the turning statue.  The scientific explanation is that the vibration of passing visitors causes it to shift very slowly – though why it’s only just started and why in a circle is unexplained.


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