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<   No. 5137   2024-02-20   >

Comic #5137

1 Quercus: Yes, we can’t manipulate physical objects to fix the hyperdive. But we can manipuate electrical circuits.
2 Quercus: Serron, is the mass spectrometer plugged in?
2 Serron: Well of course.
3 Spanners: Quercus, brilliant! You’ve got a fantastic brain!
4 Quercus: It’s actually a wasp gall, but thanks.

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Galls are swollen growths that occur on some plant species in response to parasitic organisms infecting the plant tissue. Galls can be caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi, and animals such as insects. One group of insects in particular, the gall wasps lay their eggs inside plant tissue, most often oak trees. The trees respond by producing a swollen growth around the developing larvae, which can reach significant sizes. One common type is known as oak apples.

One major historical use for oak galls was in the production of iron gall ink, for writing manuscripts. It was the major source of ink in Europe from the 5th to the 19th centuries. Oak galls are a concentrated source of tannic acid, to which is added a solution of iron sulphate. This produced a dark purplish-black ink which held fast to paper, parchment, and vellum, resisting smudging and washing unlike other types of ink available at the time. (Such as India ink, which is basically just black soot suspended in water.)

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My comics: Irregular Webcomic! | Darths & Droids | Eavesdropper | Planet of Hats | The Dinosaur Whiteboard | mezzacotta
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