Tuesday, August 22, 2006

In which I weep for my profession ...

Some of my readers have probably already heard about that tree down in Texas that was "burbling water." Religious nuts, of course, swarmed the thing and declared it to be a miracle. Long story short, it sounds like the tree's roots grew into a water line, which caused water to flow up the xylem (the cells that transport water in a plant) and exit through a wound in the trunk.

I was about to close the browser and move on, when I came across this:
Linda Cortinas, 56, soaked her hands in the streaming water after hearing the disclaimer, hoping for a miracle. Cortinas is legally blind, a result of leukemia that damaged her optic nerve.

She hugged Velia Garza, 59, like a long lost sister in the driveway before her sister Trini Ramon, 55, drove her back to the Northwest Side of town. It was the first time that the women had met. They prayed side by side under the sprawling branches of the great red oak.

"I pray it's from God," Garza said. "And nothing will be false here. How can water go up a tree?"
Let's see, first the water enters the root from the soil because the root tissues have a more negative water potential than the soil, and then it eventually enters the xylem and flows up to the leaves, again driven by differences in ...

Oh, never mind.

How we have failed.

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