Author Archives: gymnosperm

Aerobic and Anaerobic Metabolism: A Symmetry

The symmetry between aerobic carbohydrate respiration and photosynthesis is widely appreciated. In the presence of Oxygen, many living things (including photosynthesizers) burn carbohydrates, producing useful energy and CO2. Photosynthesizing creatures, using the energy of sunlight, manufacture carbohydrates from CO2 for … Continue reading

Posted in Microbial Dark Matter | Leave a comment

Cold Smoke

Santa Rosa is comfortably away from the fires this year. Last year’s baptism cleaned out the tinder around here. Yet the Camp Fire has given us the peculiar combination of dense smoke and hard frost. A lot of the particles … Continue reading

Posted in Climate | Leave a comment

The Flat Universe Society

While it is clear that the earth is sort of round, rather like a baseball that has absorbed too many home runs, to the best of our understanding, the universe is flat. By flat, we do not mean that you … Continue reading

Posted in Climate | Leave a comment

Energy and Matter

An interesting upshot of Mr. Einstein’s famous equation is that in units of the speed of light, energy and mass are equal. Mr. Poincare once observed that mathematics is the exercise of making different things the same (equal), and sophistry … Continue reading

Posted in Climate | Leave a comment

Entropy and Watermelons

What is the entropy of a watermelon? This question is not entirely fair, because living things are singularities swimming upstream against the tide of entropy. We can’t merely count the ways the invisible molecules in a watermelon can be rearranged … Continue reading

Posted in God and Dice | Leave a comment

God and Dice

We don’t spend much time thinking about what God does for recreation these days, but the great scientists from Newton to Einstein who have framed our Western cosmology were often deeply religious men. It is understandable that when they found … Continue reading

Posted in God and Dice | Leave a comment

Entropy and the Grand Canyon II

We left off in the last post having boated 78 miles, about five days on a typical trip, and having encountered the last of the suite of three books that comprise the geological story revealed in the Grand Canyon. We … Continue reading

Posted in Geological Evolution of the Western United States, Paleogeography | Leave a comment