1259: "Bee Orchid"

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1259: "Bee Orchid"

Postby rhomboidal » Mon Sep 02, 2013 4:09 am UTC

Image

Title Text: In sixty million years aliens will know humans only by a fuzzy clip of a woman in an Axe commercial.

Is it just me, or does that bee look like a Vegas Smurf Oompa Loompa?

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Re: 1259: "Bee Orchid"

Postby Primis » Mon Sep 02, 2013 4:11 am UTC

That's the saddest thing I've ever seen :(
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Re: 1259: "Bee Orchid"

Postby ruurdjan » Mon Sep 02, 2013 4:11 am UTC

Does this orchid really exist, and if it does, how do we know the bee really existed? It's like a tree falling in the woods when there is no one there to hear it fall...

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Re: 1259: "Bee Orchid"

Postby Caffeine » Mon Sep 02, 2013 4:16 am UTC

ruurdjan wrote:Does this orchid really exist, and if it does, how do we know the bee really existed? It's like a tree falling in the woods when there is no one there to hear it fall...


Wiki thinks so http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ophrys_apifera

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Re: 1259: "Bee Orchid"

Postby Quicksilver » Mon Sep 02, 2013 4:28 am UTC

Reminds me of this scene from the underrated Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of The Moon:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3SdYIWCOsHM

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Re: 1259: "Bee Orchid"

Postby terjung » Mon Sep 02, 2013 4:30 am UTC

Better a fuzzy clip of a woman than a clip of a fuzzy woman, methinks.

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Re: 1259: "Bee Orchid"

Postby Eutychus » Mon Sep 02, 2013 5:11 am UTC

Caffeine wrote:
ruurdjan wrote:Does this orchid really exist, and if it does, how do we know the bee really existed? It's like a tree falling in the woods when there is no one there to hear it fall...


Wiki thinks so http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ophrys_apifera


It doesn't seem to be quite so tragically romantic, though. It says the flowers are still pollinated by at least one species of bee in many areas.

And from the footnotes, I suspect Randall has been reading The Blind Watchmaker by Richard Dawkins.
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Re: 1259: "Bee Orchid"

Postby Antior » Mon Sep 02, 2013 5:46 am UTC

First of all, what do they mean by female bees? As far as I know, males (drones) only try to mate with the queen. Female worker bees aren't able to sexually reproduce.

Secondly, I think this is the first time Randall shows a realistic drawing since the first few dozen comics. And it looks good!

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Re: 1259: "Bee Orchid"

Postby squonk » Mon Sep 02, 2013 5:57 am UTC

So...someone close to Randall that painted that picture is dying?

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Re: 1259: "Bee Orchid"

Postby Jaruzel » Mon Sep 02, 2013 6:54 am UTC

Title Text: In sixty million years aliens will know humans only by a fuzzy clip of a woman in an Axe commercial.


Had to Google this. For those of us in the UK, 'Axe' is 'Lynx' - Smelly Products for Men (with adverts targeted at small boys).

That said, I wear Lynx Africa. Only because I like the smell, and NOT because of the adverts.

Also... Are they running the 'go to space' campaign in the US? It's a complete con - it's very unlikely the winner will go to space as Axe/Lynx have signed a deal with commercial space firm who have yet to even demonstrate a working rocket.

-Jar

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Re: 1259: "Bee Orchid"

Postby AlbertR713 » Mon Sep 02, 2013 7:02 am UTC

squonk wrote:So...someone close to Randall that painted that picture is dying?

Wow... I hadn't thought of it like that.

Although I don't think it would be someone close, since he mentions "the only memory". I think maybe a long lost friend who painted that.

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Re: 1259: "Bee Orchid"

Postby BlitzGirl » Mon Sep 02, 2013 7:08 am UTC

I'm pretty sure we can Occam's razor this: Randall made the picture of the orchid himself. :wink:

(Or else soon the interpretations will turn to a loved one's slow and traumatic death from cancer but wait there was a miscarriage first and maybe some bacon in the semencoffeesea...)
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Re: 1259: "Bee Orchid"

Postby therenaissanceman » Mon Sep 02, 2013 7:09 am UTC

Primis wrote:That's the saddest thing I've ever seen :(

Now, the question of the day: is this sadder than the comic about the Spirit rover?

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Re: 1259: "Bee Orchid"

Postby da Doctah » Mon Sep 02, 2013 7:21 am UTC

Reminds me of the Arthur C Clarke short story "History Lesson", in which space travelers arrive on Earth countless eons after humanity has died out, and are able to find only a single surviving reel of movie film (no fossils, no ruined cities, nothing) to tell them who we were and how we lived.

And at the end of the story, it's
Spoiler:
revealed to be a Mickey Mouse cartoon.
Last edited by Felstaff on Wed Sep 11, 2013 11:32 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: What a great twist! Shame you didn't spoiler it, though.

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Re: 1259: "Bee Orchid"

Postby Thorbard9 » Mon Sep 02, 2013 8:01 am UTC

Antior wrote:First of all, what do they mean by female bees? As far as I know, males (drones) only try to mate with the queen. Female worker bees aren't able to sexually reproduce.


Actually a supposed majority of bees are what are known as solitary bees, where all females are fertile and mating is somewhat more "conventional". Relevant wiki link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bee#Solita ... munal_bees

Honey bees, which are much more well known (I guess due to the food connection) are one of the types that live in the colonies that you describe. But even then there are various different structures to the colonies depending on species.

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Re: 1259: "Bee Orchid"

Postby AdrianChallinor » Mon Sep 02, 2013 8:24 am UTC

Jaruzel wrote:
That said, I wear Lynx Africa. Only because I like the smell, and NOT because of the adverts.
-Jar


Yeah, right! :roll:

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Re: 1259: "Bee Orchid"

Postby Klear » Mon Sep 02, 2013 8:44 am UTC

I don't think reliance on self-pollination spells doom for this species. At worst it should give it enough time to evolve enough to attract a different species of bee (which is already happening according to wiki).

Thus I read it as "...the only memory of the bee is a painting by a flower", which doesn't sound sad to be. It sounds awesome!

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Re: 1259: "Bee Orchid"

Postby dilbert » Mon Sep 02, 2013 9:51 am UTC

So, ...

Randall is publishing bee porn ??


or at least an image of a bee sex toy?

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Re: 1259: "Bee Orchid"

Postby tri-be » Mon Sep 02, 2013 10:59 am UTC

Perhaps the orchid hates bees. Disrupting the reproductive cycle of a species is a pretty powerful weapon.

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Re: 1259: "Bee Orchid"

Postby elej » Mon Sep 02, 2013 11:53 am UTC

can't find a reference to the pollinating species being extinct, but I did like the story; that the only memory left of a species after it is gone is a depiction of it by a blind flower.

avocados evolved to be eaten whole by giant sloths I think, and I remember some kind of tree that was going extinct because dodos weren't around to disperse their seeds anymore.

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Re: 1259: "Bee Orchid"

Postby ThirdParty » Mon Sep 02, 2013 12:26 pm UTC

elej wrote:I did like the story; that the only memory left of a species after it is gone is a depiction of it by a blind flower.
Reminds me a little of the story of Humboldt's Parrot, where the only memory of a culture was mimickry by an uncomprehending bird.

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Re: 1259: "Bee Orchid"

Postby orthogon » Mon Sep 02, 2013 12:52 pm UTC

da Doctah wrote:Reminds me of the Arthur C Clarke short story "History Lesson", in which space travelers arrive on Earth countless eons after humanity has died out, and are able to find only a single surviving reel of movie film (no fossils, no ruined cities, nothing) to tell them who we were and how we lived.

And at the end of the story, it's revealed to be
Spoiler:
a Mickey Mouse cartoon.

FTFY. Great story, but hiding spoilers is so what spoiler tags are for! (Who am I kidding, I would never have resisted the temptation...)
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Jaruzel wrote:
That said, I wear Lynx Africa. Only because I like the smell, and NOT because of the adverts.
-Jar


Yeah, right! :roll:

Coincidentally I was having a conversation about the Lynx adverts at the weekend. I quite like them: all deodorant/after-shave adverts are basically saying "use this and you'll have girls throwing themselves at you", but Lynx played it for laughs by making it so explicit and so ludicrous.
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Re: 1259: "Bee Orchid"

Postby KarenRei » Mon Sep 02, 2013 12:54 pm UTC

It's great sentiment, but not accurate. As was pointed out, the flower still gets visited by bees, and nor is having reproduction predominantly from self-fertilization doom for a species, not by a long shot. There are plenty of higher organisms that *only* reproduce through self-fertilization.

I'd also like to add that the "portrait" is somewhat varied:
http://images.google.is/search?q=ophrys ... rt=80&sa=N

I think the cited avocado example is a good one. Here's a paper that posits 103 separate likely megafauna-evolved fruits:

http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi ... ne.0001745

And there are plenty of examples in modern time - for example, extinct giant tortoises on Madagascar were coevolved with the local baobabs:

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/ext ... bab-trees/

And of course it goes the other way - for example, Pseudopanax crassifolius is believed to have evolved its leaf patterning as a defense against being grazed by now-extinct Moa. The plant evolved differently in Moa-occupied lands than on places with no Moas - in Moa-occupied areas, the species has its leaves camouflaged browned and mottled (at the cost of hindring their photosynthetic capability) and with big bright spines all over the plant as a warning, up until they get over 3 meters high, wherein the spines go away and the leaves become the normal dark green.

http://www.cosmosmagazine.com/news/new- ... tinct-moa/

More familiar to people in North America is the Honey Locust, whose massive spines clearly have nothing to do with any currently extant North American species, but would be nicely sized to ward off the old megafauna. The large, sweet seed pods with their large seeds also seem quite designed for consumption by megafauna.

Of course, none of that is as poetic as a literal image of an extinct species. :)
Last edited by KarenRei on Mon Sep 02, 2013 1:00 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1259: "Bee Orchid"

Postby jc » Mon Sep 02, 2013 12:58 pm UTC

Eutychus wrote:
Caffeine wrote:
ruurdjan wrote:Does this orchid really exist, and if it does, how do we know the bee really existed? It's like a tree falling in the woods when there is no one there to hear it fall...

Wiki thinks so http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ophrys_apifera


It doesn't seem to be quite so tragically romantic, though. It says the flowers are still pollinated by at least one species of bee in many areas.

It also mentions human cultivation. So there is the likelihood that it will survive as a domesticated flower, pollinated by breeders who are looking for more decorative flowers. In a few species, e.g. roses, this has led to fantastic "evolutionary success". As long as humans (and our descendant species) survive, that is, and continue to like flowers.

So the memory of the bee will survive in the form of human horitcultural/artistic reinterpretation of a blind plant's attempts at bee porn.

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Re: 1259: "Bee Orchid"

Postby cellocgw » Mon Sep 02, 2013 1:04 pm UTC

There's a SciFi short story out there somewhere in which humans land on some new planet and the first explorer (it's one of those planets which happens to have breathable air) finds a really really hot woman resting in some shrubbery. He has his way with her, but when he comes back for more, she's curled up and refuses any advances.

Turns out after a little, ahem, research, that it's a flower. And so on.

Anyone remember the title or author?
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Re: 1259: "Bee Orchid"

Postby project2051 » Mon Sep 02, 2013 1:52 pm UTC

therenaissanceman wrote:
Primis wrote:That's the saddest thing I've ever seen :(

Now, the question of the day: is this sadder than the comic about the Spirit rover?


Not for me.


KarenRei wrote:
More familiar to people in North America is the Honey Locust, whose massive spines clearly have nothing to do with any currently extant North American species, but would be nicely sized to ward off the old megafauna. The large, sweet seed pods with their large seeds also seem quite designed for consumption by megafauna.


Yeah, but the honey locust don't care.

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Re: 1259: "Bee Orchid"

Postby da Doctah » Mon Sep 02, 2013 5:18 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:
da Doctah wrote:Reminds me of the Arthur C Clarke short story "History Lesson", in which space travelers arrive on Earth countless eons after humanity has died out, and are able to find only a single surviving reel of movie film (no fossils, no ruined cities, nothing) to tell them who we were and how we lived.

And at the end of the story, it's revealed to be
Spoiler:
a Mickey Mouse cartoon.

FTFY. Great story, but hiding spoilers is so what spoiler tags are for! (Who am I kidding, I would never have resisted the temptation...)
If you've managed to resist for the 64 years since the story was published, you don't deserve spoiler tags.

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Re: 1259: "Bee Orchid"

Postby rmsgrey » Mon Sep 02, 2013 5:32 pm UTC

Antior wrote:Secondly, I think this is the first time Randall shows a realistic drawing since the first few dozen comics. And it looks good!


Counter-example: #1024: Error Code

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Re: 1259: "Bee Orchid"

Postby Mikeski » Mon Sep 02, 2013 6:25 pm UTC

da Doctah wrote:If you've managed to resist for the 64 years since the story was published, you don't deserve spoiler tags.

Arrogance.

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Re: 1259: "Bee Orchid"

Postby willpellmn » Mon Sep 02, 2013 7:07 pm UTC

A flower can't figure out how to escape its evolutionary dead end? This looks like a job for...SENTIENCE!

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Re: 1259: "Bee Orchid"

Postby ashspring » Mon Sep 02, 2013 7:18 pm UTC

That is the *saddest* thing I too have seen in a while. Even though I have the constant reminder of a night blooming gourd from India in my garden: no pollinator moth here in North America :-( .

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Re: 1259: "Bee Orchid"

Postby Mike Rore » Mon Sep 02, 2013 7:25 pm UTC

jc wrote:So the memory of the bee will survive in the form of human horitcultural/artistic reinterpretation of a blind plant's attempts at bee porn.


LOL!

I was thinking that maybe it would be the reinterpretation of a blind plant's successful incursions at bee porn because, you know, the evidence suggests that pollination by insects is a very successful strategy [citation needed].

It's mind boggling to think that, through an evolutionary process, the plants began to reproduce (in a easier/more effective fashion) by building upon the successes of previous generations until they successfully create the best bee sex toy possible.

Also, we are thinking bees but we should really leave the possibility open for any kind of insect or animal that lived during the orchid's existence.

Fascinating.

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Re: 1259: "Bee Orchid"

Postby Angelastic » Mon Sep 02, 2013 8:05 pm UTC

bEEEEEEEEE! They have those bee orchids at CERN! I saw some! and then they were mowed but I saw some others afterwards and alerted the appropriate people so the place I saw them could be turned into a late mowing zone! They're a protected species. So at least they won't die out, or if they do, we'll have photos of the portrait of the bees.
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Re: 1259: "Bee Orchid"

Postby meh » Mon Sep 02, 2013 11:48 pm UTC

cellocgw wrote:Anyone remember the title or author?


No, but there's an Iain Banks story of a somewhat similar exchange from the plant's point of view.

"Odd Appendage" in "The State of the Art."

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Re: 1259: "Bee Orchid"

Postby zjxs » Tue Sep 03, 2013 12:25 am UTC

And yet all I can think is, "this will make for a great Livejournal entry Facebook post."

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Re: 1259: "Bee Orchid"

Postby humanalien » Tue Sep 03, 2013 1:45 am UTC

The orchid deserves to go extinct, since it obviously killed the bees by causing them to waste their mating season screwing flowers.
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Re: 1259: "Bee Orchid"

Postby drovek » Tue Sep 03, 2013 1:50 am UTC

So that orchid is the Speaker of those bees?

(That reference just somehow hit me :P )

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Re: 1259: "Bee Orchid"

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Sep 03, 2013 2:20 am UTC

da Doctah wrote:
orthogon wrote:
da Doctah wrote:Reminds me of the Arthur C Clarke short story "History Lesson", in which space travelers arrive on Earth countless eons after humanity has died out, and are able to find only a single surviving reel of movie film (no fossils, no ruined cities, nothing) to tell them who we were and how we lived.

And at the end of the story, it's revealed to be
Spoiler:
a Mickey Mouse cartoon.

FTFY. Great story, but hiding spoilers is so what spoiler tags are for! (Who am I kidding, I would never have resisted the temptation...)
If you've managed to resist for the 64 years since the story was published, you don't deserve spoiler tags.
Managing to resist and just now learning the story even existed are two very different things.
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Re: 1259: "Bee Orchid"

Postby Pxtl » Tue Sep 03, 2013 2:54 am UTC

So, is the title a Killer Instinct reference? Or are they really just called bee orchids?

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Re: 1259: "Bee Orchid"

Postby Fire Brns » Tue Sep 03, 2013 3:10 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
da Doctah wrote:
orthogon wrote:
da Doctah wrote:Reminds me of the Arthur C Clarke short story "History Lesson", in which space travelers arrive on Earth countless eons after humanity has died out, and are able to find only a single surviving reel of movie film (no fossils, no ruined cities, nothing) to tell them who we were and how we lived.

And at the end of the story, it's revealed to be
Spoiler:
a Mickey Mouse cartoon.

FTFY. Great story, but hiding spoilers is so what spoiler tags are for! (Who am I kidding, I would never have resisted the temptation...)
If you've managed to resist for the 64 years since the story was published, you don't deserve spoiler tags.
Managing to resist and just now learning the story even existed are two very different things.

Yes, you don't get to omit a spoiler tag for the ending of any literary classic because it was written between 200 and 2000 years ago because no one alive today was born far enough back to read it when it first came out.
Last edited by Fire Brns on Tue Sep 03, 2013 5:01 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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