I Am That I Am

Suburbia burns silentlyWhite candles burst inChoreographed conflagrationGraceful limbs engulfed inFleeting crowns of pastel flameAblaze yet not consumed Sophisticated minds swear blindSuch subtle orchestrations are butSkittering showers of sparksAccidentals struck loose by theWild, chaotic wheels ofDogged chance But is it so? Are we determined byMechanical necessitySome poverty of spirit toImpute poetic grace sublimeEach painstaking designTo mute, …

Hope in a Time of Plague

[A shorter version of this article was published at The Gospel Coalition.] We are about to live through some unsought social experiments. Among them may be the following: “What happens when a radically individualistic culture collides head-on with a scenario requiring unprecedented obedience to authority and self-sacrifice for something bigger than our own personal flourishing?” …

Determination of Macro-Scale Soil Properties from Pore Scale Structures – Image Based Modelling

Link to paper We show how a combination of X-ray computed tomography (X-CT) and image-based modelling can be used to calculate the effect of moisture content and compaction on the macroscopic structural properties of soil. Our method is based on the equations derived in Daly & Roose (2018 Proc. R. Soc. A474, 20170141), which we have …

A Multi Image-Based Approach for Modelling Plant-Fertiliser Interaction

Link to paper Phosphorus fertilisation is crucial for crop yields. However, traditional phosphate resources are dwindling, thus a more efficient use of phosphorus fertilisers is required for sustainable farming. This study demonstrates the scope of image-based models parameterised by elemental maps by assessing how a dynamic root system architecture may improve phosphorus root uptake from …

Stabilizing Gold Nanoparticles for use in X-ray CT Imaging of Soil Systems

Link to paper This investigation establishes a system of gold nanoparticles that show good colloidal stability as an X-ray computed tomography (XCT) contrast agent under soil conditions. Gold nanoparticles offer numerous beneficial traits for experiments in biology including: comparatively minimal phytotoxicity, X-ray attenuation of the material and the capacity for functionalization. However, soil salinity, acidity …

Soil Carbon Dioxide Venting Through Rice Roots

Link to paper The growth of rice in submerged soils depends on its ability to form continuous gas channels—aerenchyma—through which oxygen (O2) diffuses from the shoots to aerate the roots. Less well understood is the extent to which aerenchyma permits venting of respiratory carbon dioxide (CO2) in the opposite direction. Large, potentially toxic concentrations of …

Shortest Day

The year is on the ebb The pendulum is low All is in retreat A few last leaves hang Unloosed by snatching gales Limp as sodden leather  Languishing lifelessly Allies of dead summer Flapping on the gibbet To set an example   The once-emboldened sun Slides dreary through the motions Shuffling low in bleary skies …