May 10, 2006

What is it?

Click to enlarge

A big attaboy and the warm glow of victory goes to the first reader to correctly identify the subject of the above shot.
It's nothing exotic, in fact you probably saw it today.
If it proves tough, clues will follow.

Update: Within about 30 seconds of my posting this, YoungDem503, the little whipper-snapper, correctly identified the subject. (heavy sigh) This led me to believe that it may be too easy. (either that or YoungDem503 may be just that sharp.)

At any rate, I decided to crop the shot down a little and hopefully make it a bit more challenging. We'll see.

And the winner is YoungDem... for guessing it instantaneously before I made it harder, and Anonymous (yawn) for first to guess correctly afterwards.

Yes, it is indeed the amazing whirly-bird maple seed. How a tree managed to figure out how to encapsulate it's seeds in a container which happened to form a perfectly aerodynamic wing which gently wafts the seed to the ground and also, since it lands seed down, manages to sort of insert the seed into any suitable surface.

These things are a real pain if you have a tree or trees around which dump them by the millions. They get into EVERYTHING and they are extremely hard to clean up. The cover a yard like miniature lawn darts so hundreds of thousands of little wings are standing straight up in the grass. And they manage to get into every crevice of a car, or anything else that happens to be near them.

Here's the oringinal shot.

The seed is amazingly built. It sends out these tendrils which are tightly packed together and form the leading edge of the wing, but then they each descend like tiny veins to add support to the membrane of the wing without adding much weight. Amazing adaptation.

Note: In some instances, Internet Explorer has a feature which automatically reduces graphics to fit within the browser window. To get around this, in the window that appears after you click on the image above, hover your cursor over the image. A little square might appear in the lower right of the picture with four arrows within it. Clicking on that will expand the picture to it's actual size.


At 5/11/2006 8:20 AM, Blogger youngdem503 said...

I am pretty much amazing.

At 5/11/2006 2:06 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

That you are.

It looks like cropping it did the trick. No more guessers.

Maybe a clue is in order.

Here it is:

The subject of the picture can be a giant headache for some homeowners this time of year.

It's also one of the most truly amazingly objects in nature and a marvel of fuction and design.

At 5/11/2006 2:36 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Hey! Anonymous was our second correct guesser! No big surprise there though. He or she is also our most prolific commenter.

I'll hold out on revealing the answer until later tonight to give anyone else who wants a crack at it to send in their guesses.

Anon also asked what they won. The answer is above. A big "attaboy" and the warm glow of victory. Ample reward in anyone's book.

(and besides, if I had a more fabulouser prize, how would I send it to "anonymous"?)

At 5/11/2006 6:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A ball sac

At 5/11/2006 7:42 PM, Anonymous 2nd grader says said...

the wing of a fly

At 5/11/2006 7:43 PM, Anonymous 2nd grader says said...

changed my mind it is the little helicopter thing from a maple tree

At 5/12/2006 8:48 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Anon 18:53...

No, but the fact you know what one looks like a fraction of an inch away is interesting.

At 5/12/2006 11:48 AM, Blogger diehard said...

I am at the same time comferted by a belief in a higher power.
Complexity in life form signals a strong possibility there is a GOD.
A God that someday will most assuredly deal with us all!


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