Thursday, 10 May 2012

Attalea (palm)

Attalea is a large genus of palms native to Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America. This pinnately leaved, non-spiny genus includes both small palms lacking an aboveground stem and large trees. The genus has a complicated taxonomic history, and has often been split into four or five genera based on differences in the male flowers. Since the genera can only be distinguished on the basis of their male flowers, the existence of intermediate flower types and the existence of hybrids between different genera has been used as an argument for keeping them all in the same genus. This has been supported by a recent molecular phylogeny.

Somewhere between 29 and 67 species are recognised in the genus, with estimates of as many as 100. Incomplete herbarium collections make it difficult to determine whether certain groups represent single species, or groups of similar species. Attalea species have a long history of human use, and include economically important sources of palm oil and fibre. Many species are fire tolerant and thrive in disturbed habitats. Their seeds are animal dispersed, including some which are thought to have been adapted for dispersal by now-extinct Pleistocene megafauna.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

The School Year Has Begun + Just a Thought...

About School:

I'm still here, but am getting increasingly busy, which means that I will be tight on time. Being in school, however, will give me some things to talk about.

Just a thought:

I attended a conference on teaching and learning in the university environment. A session I sat in on about writing left me with something valuable. The facilitator presented the perspective that writing is much more than presenting one's stance or view - it is actually more of a tool in which we use to think. So rather than having writing as the end product only, it is also part of the process.

I've fallen into the trap of requiring too much of the 'end product' part, and not enough of the 'process' part.

In my increasing knowledge of race and gender and how that fits into my experience as a person, I hope to use this vehicle of blogging to work out some of those difficult concepts, interact with the discourse in more participatory ways, and take my thoughts beyond the 'thought' stage and into a tangible stance.

With that being said, I plan on posting a lot less pop and a lot more of my sociological perspective on topics that interest me. I hope that you will follow me along for the ride and participate.

In the meantime, enjoy the beginning of the school year!