I set about examining some roots that my friend had cut off a tuber plant that she was cooking. I had to cut samples of the roots thin and crush them down to make them flat for the microscope. To see anything I tried staining with food coloring (not too successful) and using vegetable oil as a mountant (that worked). I was confronted with a lot of uneven structures and some orderly structures. The question arose--what, in the mess that I'm looking at, is real and meaningful and what is mere flim-flam. This is an important question for the study of life--especially as we begin examining extra-terrestrial samples.
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