Category Archives: Low-hanging Fruit

Lost and Found

Marcus Terentius Varro  was called the most learned of the Romans.  But what did he know, and how did he know it? I ask because of this quote, from Rerum rusticarum libri III  (Agricultural Topics in Three Books): “Especial care … Continue reading

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Low-Hanging Poop

Clostridium difficile causes a potentially serious kind of diarrhea triggered by antibiotic treatments. When the normal bacterial flora of the colon are hammered by a broad-spectrum antibiotic, C. difficile often takes over and causes real trouble.  Mild cases are treated by … Continue reading


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Low-Hanging Fruit: Consider the Ant

But first, arachnids.  Some spiders somehow fly by using silken threads.  They’ve been detected at altitudes over 4 km, and more than a thousand miles from land.  The usual notion is that these threads catch air currents, but that may … Continue reading

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Battle for the Planet of Low-Hanging Fruit

One fairly obvious, little-discussed variety of low-hanging technological fruit are those ideas and devices that are already known – to but a few.  Secrets. Sometimes important secrets are deliberately kept for a long time.  Consider the Chamberlen family. Peter Chamberlen … Continue reading

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Beneath Low-Hanging Fruit

In yet another example of long-delayed discovery, it turns out that you can treat a number of filarial diseases, such as elephantiasis or onchocerciasis (river blindness) with tetracycline or doxycycline. Heedless of the evolutionary imperative to do no unnecessary harm, … Continue reading

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Son of low-hanging fruit

In yet another example of  long-delayed discovery, forms of high-altitude lightning were observed for at least a century before becoming officially real (as opposed to really real). Some thunderstorms manage to generate blue jets shooting out of their thunderheads, or  … Continue reading

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Low-hanging fruit

In The Great Stagnation, Tyler Cowen discusses a real problem – a slowdown in technical innovation,  with slow economic growth as a consequence..   I think his perspective is limited, since he doesn’t know much about the inward nature of … Continue reading

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