Wednesday, June 02, 2010

shop, chance, wings

Posted by PicasaShop on the seafront at St Leonards-on-Sea.

Two separate operations in the last couple of months:  sowing the seeds of French and runner beans in pots so that they  can sprout in the shelter of the greenhouse; erecting two separate  bamboo frameworks, one for the French beans, one for the runner beans,  for the plants to clamber up when the weather is warm enough and the seedlings are big enough. |When I think about it I like to guess how many  bamboo poles I will need or how many seedlings to match the number of poles used. I am too busy or idle to count the poles or seeds earlier, and seeds and poles are randomly selected. When I set out the plants today, I find, with the runner beans, that I am about 10 plants short (never mind, there is plenty of time to bring on spares) but with the French beans, of which I reckon there must be 30 poles to climb, I find that the number of seeds and the poles match perfectly. I feel a silly surge of pleasure at the deftness of chance.

I read that bank notes and credit cards are being designed, using nano fabrication techniques, to follow the patterns of  iridescent scales on butterfly wings and, by creating identical structures, defeat counterfeiters. Banking and butterflies seem to be at opposite ends of a long spectrum, but it is good to think that the one can help the other.


Barrett Bonden said...

Surely the prefix nano- has been picked up by someone in the PR department and misused. Nano is a billionth or, more satisfyingly (even though Blogger cannot render it numerically), one times ten to the minus nine. That is very small indeed. An example of a very precise word getting blurred by casual usage. Dear me, how elderly I'm writing these days.

Plutarch said...

Perhaps I should have put "nano2 in inverted commas. I understood it to mean that the pattern of scales on the buterfly wing had been minutely analysed and copied to the extent that "nano" signifies. The degree of minuteness should I am sure have been subject to scrutiny, but on whole The Independent's science reporting seems to be reasonably accurate.