5 Replies to “Can Sea Urchins Perform Calculus?

  1. 1
    material.infantacy says:

    Hi Barry, any chance you could fix the italics on this thread: Human Exceptionalism: Italics

    I don’t mean to be a pest, but it looks like italics just threw up on everything after the thirtieth post. The comment at the above link spells out the offending text. My eyes are rebelling.


    P.S. Not to brag, but mine has been known to solve partial differential equations.

  2. 2
    M. Holcumbrink says:

    Dennis Bray talks about e. coli’s ability to do calculus computations in his book ‘Wetware: a Computer in Every Living Cell” (he even goes into some detail on what’s happening at the molecular level). The mobile bugs follow the concentration gradient of whatever they are interested in, which means they must be able to calculate derivatives.  But arriving at some magnitude is one thing, while actually using that value is another, so the calculus machinery must be fully integrated with the algorithmic logic controls and other machinery that ultimately changes the direction of the spin of the flagellum. Otherwise, what good is it? 

    Anyhoo, M.i, how much of a nerd do you have to be if even your sperm does diff. eq.?  I’m not sure I would have admitted that.

    I kid, I kid.  But seriously, that’s some pretty dorky sperm you got there.

  3. 3
    material.infantacy says:

    Yeah it wears a pocket protector, thick glasses, and snorts when it laughs. It also likes Linux, Star Trek, and Dr. Who, so I really can’t argue with anything you’ve said. =D

  4. 4
    M. Holcumbrink says:

    Don’t feel bad.  Mine actually seamlessly and contextually works sci-fi movie quotes into everyday conversation. Like one time I overheard this exchange:

    “Stay on target”.
    “I can’t shake him”!
    “Stay on target”.
    “He’s too close”!

    And 24 hours later, when it was all over one said, “Shaka, when the walls fell”.

    It’s so bad, If it were not for my children, I would worry about them being able to get the job done.

  5. 5
    material.infantacy says:

    MH, I never expected this exchange to go on this long (for obvious reasons) but that was funny.

    “Shaka, when the walls fell” ? That must be the nerdiest TNG reference ever!

    Pretty ballsy though MH, mixing Star Wars and Star Trek references in a single post. Lucky you didn’t tear a hole in space-time, or get the fanboys after you.

    OK enough already! This subject matter is highly inappropriate! xp

    Dalmak and Jalad, at Tanagra.

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