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Old December 24th, 2013 #1
Alex Linder
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Default Plants and Their Feelings, Thoughts, Fears, Hopes, Dreams, Wishes, Insecurities & Plans for the Future

THE INTELLIGENT PLANT
Scientists debate a new way of understanding flora.

BY MICHAEL POLLAN
DECEMBER 23, 2013

Plants have electrical and chemical signalling systems, may possess memory, and exhibit brainy behavior in the absence of brains.Plants have electrical and chemical signalling systems, may possess memory, and exhibit brainy behavior in the absence of brains. Construction by Stephen Doyle.

In 1973, a book claiming that plants were sentient beings that feel emotions, prefer classical music to rock and roll, and can respond to the unspoken thoughts of humans hundreds of miles away landed on the New York Times best-seller list for nonfiction. “The Secret Life of Plants,” by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird, presented a beguiling mashup of legitimate plant science, quack experiments, and mystical nature worship that captured the public imagination at a time when New Age thinking was seeping into the mainstream. The most memorable passages described the experiments of a former C.I.A. polygraph expert named Cleve Backster, who, in 1966, on a whim, hooked up a galvanometer to the leaf of a dracaena, a houseplant that he kept in his office. To his astonishment, Backster found that simply by imagining the dracaena being set on fire he could make it rouse the needle of the polygraph machine, registering a surge of electrical activity suggesting that the plant felt stress. “Could the plant have been reading his mind?” the authors ask. “Backster felt like running into the street and shouting to the world, ‘Plants can think!’ ”

Backster and his collaborators went on to hook up polygraph machines to dozens of plants, including lettuces, onions, oranges, and bananas. He claimed that plants reacted to the thoughts (good or ill) of humans in close proximity and, in the case of humans familiar to them, over a great distance. In one experiment designed to test plant memory, Backster found that a plant that had witnessed the murder (by stomping) of another plant could pick out the killer from a lineup of six suspects, registering a surge of electrical activity when the murderer was brought before it. Backster’s plants also displayed a strong aversion to interspecies violence. Some had a stressful response when an egg was cracked in their presence, or when live shrimp were dropped into boiling water, an experiment that Backster wrote up for the International Journal of Parapsychology, in 1968.

In the ensuing years, several legitimate plant scientists tried to reproduce the “Backster effect” without success. Much of the science in “The Secret Life of Plants” has been discredited. But the book had made its mark on the culture. Americans began talking to their plants and playing Mozart for them, and no doubt many still do. This might seem harmless enough; there will probably always be a strain of romanticism running through our thinking about plants. (Luther Burbank and George Washington Carver both reputedly talked to, and listened to, the plants they did such brilliant work with.) But in the view of many plant scientists “The Secret Life of Plants” has done lasting damage to their field. According to Daniel Chamovitz, an Israeli biologist who is the author of the recent book “What a Plant Knows,” Tompkins and Bird “stymied important research on plant behavior as scientists became wary of any studies that hinted at parallels between animal senses and plant senses.” Others contend that “The Secret Life of Plants” led to “self-censorship” among researchers seeking to explore the “possible homologies between neurobiology and phytobiology”; that is, the possibility that plants are much more intelligent and much more like us than most people think—capable of cognition, communication, information processing, computation, learning, and memory.

The quotation about self-censorship appeared in a controversial 2006 article in Trends in Plant Science proposing a new field of inquiry that the authors, perhaps somewhat recklessly, elected to call “plant neurobiology.” The six authors—among them Eric D. Brenner, an American plant molecular biologist; Stefano Mancuso, an Italian plant physiologist; František Baluška, a Slovak cell biologist; and Elizabeth Van Volkenburgh, an American plant biologist—argued that the sophisticated behaviors observed in plants cannot at present be completely explained by familiar genetic and biochemical mechanisms. Plants are able to sense and optimally respond to so many environmental variables—light, water, gravity, temperature, soil structure, nutrients, toxins, microbes, herbivores, chemical signals from other plants—that there may exist some brainlike information-processing system to integrate the data and coördinate a plant’s behavioral response. The authors pointed out that electrical and chemical signalling systems have been identified in plants which are homologous to those found in the nervous systems of animals. They also noted that neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, and glutamate have been found in plants, though their role remains unclear.

Hence the need for plant neurobiology, a new field “aimed at understanding how plants perceive their circumstances and respond to environmental input in an integrated fashion.” The article argued that plants exhibit intelligence, defined by the authors as “an intrinsic ability to process information from both abiotic and biotic stimuli that allows optimal decisions about future activities in a given environment.” Shortly before the article’s publication, the Society for Plant Neurobiology held its first meeting, in Florence, in 2005. A new scientific journal, with the less tendentious title Plant Signaling & Behavior, appeared the following year.

Depending on whom you talk to in the plant sciences today, the field of plant neurobiology represents either a radical new paradigm in our understanding of life or a slide back down into the murky scientific waters last stirred up by “The Secret Life of Plants.” Its proponents believe that we must stop regarding plants as passive objects—the mute, immobile furniture of our world—and begin to treat them as protagonists in their own dramas, highly skilled in the ways of contending in nature. They would challenge contemporary biology’s reductive focus on cells and genes and return our attention to the organism and its behavior in the environment. It is only human arrogance, and the fact that the lives of plants unfold in what amounts to a much slower dimension of time, that keep us from appreciating their intelligence and consequent success. Plants dominate every terrestrial environment, composing ninety-nine per cent of the biomass on earth. By comparison, humans and all the other animals are, in the words of one plant neurobiologist, “just traces.”

[more]
http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2...fa_fact_pollan

Last edited by Alex Linder; December 24th, 2013 at 03:41 PM.
 
Old December 24th, 2013 #2
Nate Richards
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Quote:
Cleve Backster, who, in 1966, on a whim, hooked up a galvanometer to the leaf of a dracaena, a houseplant that he kept in his office. To his astonishment, Backster found that simply by imagining the dracaena being set on fire he could make it rouse the needle of the polygraph machine, registering a surge of electrical activity suggesting that the plant felt stress. “Could the plant have been reading his mind?” the authors ask. “Backster felt like running into the street and shouting to the world, ‘Plants can think!’ ”
That was a good decade before my time but I've heard the hippies really ate it up Mothers of Invention(zappa) came out with album the next year that provided jokey soundtrack for the meme.


"Call and they'll come to you, covered in dew...
vegetables dream of responding to you"


I wonder if Cleve was the butt of jokes there in his part of the agency and those zany CIA buddies of his dosed him good with that really clean acid the zog used to hand out.
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Old December 24th, 2013 #3
Alex Linder
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Yeah, it was big back in the day...it was mainstream, even. Stevie Wonder had an album. All kinds of strange stuff back then: Jonathan Livingston Seagull, crap like that was all over the place. It's hard to believe how long ago that was. A lot of the crap we see now was promoted back then - space aliens, ESP. Stuff seems to run in cycles. It's always there but only sometimes flares up.
 
Old December 24th, 2013 #4
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Plants have feelings too. So sad insensitive Cops cut them off..
 
Old December 24th, 2013 #5
M.N. Dalvez
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That's all.
 
Old December 24th, 2013 #6
Bardamu
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Funny this thread is launched now. Me and an old, old friend were just talking about this book. First time I've thought about it since the 70's, and now this thread.

What would be the evolutionary purpose in a dracaena palm being able to feel stress? It's not like it can move out of the way of the source of that stress.
 
Old December 24th, 2013 #7
M.N. Dalvez
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Quote:
What would be the evolutionary purpose in a dracaena palm being able to feel stress?
And how does it work? By which mechanism does the dracaena palm feel stress, or for that matter, perceive stress and pain in other organisms?
 
Old December 25th, 2013 #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M.N. Dalvez View Post


That's all.
Cleve wanted to stare at goats but his test scores just weren't high enough
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Old December 25th, 2013 #9
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http://newswatch.nationalgeographic....-old-memories/

Quote:
In French Revolution-style, researchers decapitated flatworms—then did something that would give even Madam Defarge the creeps.

The scientists let the worms’ heads grow back and found that their memories returned along with the new noggins, according to a new study in the Journal of Experimental Biology.

Michael Levin and Tal Shomrat, biologists at Tufts University, have been studying how animals store and process information, whether it’s memories in the brain or the blueprint for developing organs in the body.

After the team verified that the worms had memorized where to find food, they chopped off the worms’ heads and let them regrow, which took two weeks.

Then the team showed the worms with the regrown heads where to find food, essentially a refresher course of their light training before decapitation.

Subsequent experiments showed that the worms remembered where the light spot was, that it was safe, and that food could be found there. The worms’ memories were just as accurate as those worms who had never lost their heads. (Test your memory with a National Geographic game.)
 
Old February 16th, 2014 #10
Alex Linder
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BBC has a good documentary on plants, hosted by Richard Attenborough, a series.

Plants are green straws.

Plants are extreme slow-motion green animals.

Only time-lapse photography reveals plants' true nature - as competitive and hostile as every other species.

I have only watched one of these shows so far, but two memorable things:

1) a heroic white guy saving a rare orchid found only in some water hole local niggers are using to bathe their elephantine selves. The white guy, who I think is a Spaniard, figures out how to breed these orchids

2) per plants real nature, their film shows one of these creeper vines trying and trying and trying to land it's hook on a plant leaf and then finally catching it so it can climb aboard, just like a gangplank for a pirate ship. Competition is indeed nature's guiding principle, it seems.

Last edited by Alex Linder; February 16th, 2014 at 11:04 AM.
 
Old February 16th, 2014 #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by muslimsareathreat View Post
Plants have feelings too. So sad insensitive Cops cut them off..
I hear that colored plants have it the worst.
 
Old April 6th, 2014 #12
Alex Linder
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Bananageddon: Millions face hunger as deadly fungus Panama disease decimates global banana crop

Disease spreads from Asia to Africa and may already have jumped to crucial plantations in Latin America

CAHAL MILMO
Friday 04 April 2014

Scientists have warned that the world’s banana crop, worth £26 billion and a crucial part of the diet of more than 400 million people, is facing “disaster” from virulent diseases immune to pesticides or other forms of control.

Alarm at the most potent threat – a fungus known as Panama disease tropical race 4 (TR4) – has risen dramatically after it was announced in recent weeks that it has jumped from South-east Asia, where it has already devastated export crops, to Mozambique and Jordan.

A United Nations agency told The Independent that the spread of TR4 represents an “expanded threat to global banana production”. Experts said there is a risk that the fungus, for which there is currently no effective treatment, has also already made the leap to the world’s most important banana growing areas in Latin America, where the disease threatens to destroy vast plantations of the Cavendish variety. The variety accounts for 95 per cent of the bananas shipped to export markets including the United Kingdom, in a trade worth £5.4bn.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) will warn in the coming days that the presence of TR4 in the Middle East and Africa means “virtually all export banana plantations” are vulnerable unless its spread can be stopped and new resistant strains developed.

In a briefing document obtained by The Independent, the FAO warns: “In view of the challenges associated with control of the disease and the risk posed to the global banana supply, it is evident that a concerted effort is required from industry, research institutions, government and international organisations to prevent spread of the disease.”

Scientists are particularly concerned about the impact of TR4 across the developing world, where an estimated 410 million people rely on the fruit for up to a third of their daily calories.

According to one estimate, TR4 could destroy up to 85 per cent of the world’s banana crop by volume.

Since it emerged in the 1950s as the replacement for another banana variety ravaged by an earlier form of Panama disease, Cavendish has helped make bananas the most valuable fruit crop in the world, dominated by large multinational growing companies such as Fyffes, Chiquita and Dole.

But the crop – and many other banana varieties – have no defence against TR4, which can live for 30 years or more in the soil and reduces the core of the banana plant to a blackened mush.

It can wipe out plantations within two or three years and despite measures to try to prevent its spread from the original outbreak in Indonesia, it is now on the move. Such is the virulence of soil-based fungus, it can be spread in water droplets or tiny amounts of earth on machinery or shoes.

Professor Rony Swennen, a leading banana expert based at Leuven University in Belgium, said: “If [TR4] is in Latin America, it is going to be a disaster, whatever the multinationals do. Teams of workers move across different countries. The risk is it is going to spread like a bush fire.”

Another senior scientist, who asked not to be named because of his links with the banana industry, said: “There are good grounds for believing that TR4 is already in Latin America.”

The Panama fungus is just one of several diseases which also threaten banana production, in particular among smallholders and subsistence farmers.

Black sigatoka, another fungus to have spread from Asia, has decimated production in parts of the Caribbean since it arrived in the 1990s, reducing exports by 90 to 100 per cent in five countries.

Researchers say they are struggling to secure funding to discover new banana varieties or develop disease-resistant GM strains.

Professor Randy Ploetz, of the University of Florida, said: “The Jordan and Mozambique TR4 outbreaks are alarming but have helped increase awareness about this problem.”

But the large producers insist the problem can be controlled. Dublin-based Fyffes, which last month announced a merger with America’s Chiquita to form the world’s largest banana company, said: “While we continue to monitor the situation, as of yet we do not foresee any serious impact for UK banana supplies.”

A lab holding the World Banana Collection at the University of Leuven A lab holding the World Banana Collection at the University of Leuven

When the world banana industry found itself in crisis in the 1950s, it was saved by a fruit cultivated in Derbyshire and named after a duke.

The Cavendish banana was grown by the gardener and architect Joseph Paxton while he was working for the Duke of Devonshire at Chatsworth House.

Paxton managed to acquire one of two banana plants sent to England in around 1830 and began growing the fruit in the stately home’s glasshouses. He named his banana Musa cavendishii after the 6th Duke of Devonshire, William Cavendish.

The Chatsworth bananas were later sent to Samoa and the Canary Islands, providing forerunners for the variety which emerged in the 1950s to succeed the Gros Michel or Big Mike – the banana sub-species wiped out by an early version of Panama disease between 1903 and 1960.

Cavendish is now the world’s single most successful – and valuable – banana, accounting for 47 per cent of all cultivated bananas and nearly the entire export trade, worth £5.3 billion.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/wo...p-9239464.html
 
Old April 6th, 2014 #13
N.B. Forrest
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Now itz banana kikes....
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Old January 14th, 2015 #15
Alex Linder
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Scientists May Have Discovered A New Species Of Marijuana In Australia
Posted by Johnny Green at 10:00 AM on January 13, 2015

New strains of marijuana pop up almost daily anymore. How many of them are actually new strains, versus old strains given a new name for marketing purposes, is tough to say. It’s not everyday that a new species of marijuana is discovered, but that appears to potentially be the case in Australia, where scientists believe they have discovered an entirely new species of marijuana. Per Culture:

Scientists at the University of Sydney believe they have found a fourth species of cannabis. The finding took place in 201 (sic), when a group of people were hiking in the Blue Mountains of Australia and discovered a single plant that resembled cannabis. The shrub was later donated to a research laboratory at the University of Sydney where a series of tests were conducted on the plant – proving that it was indeed cannabis. “When we first received the plant we were very skeptical about its relation to cannabis. It has somewhat similar growth structure, but the leaves look nothing like cannabis leaves,” according to researcher Christopher Pool.

The test results show that the species is resistant to freezing temperatures and the plant grows more like a shrub, without the archetypal candelabra shape of most cannabis strains. Countless cannabis breeders the world over have offered to pay upwards of $2,000 per seed, but Pool stated “The only problem is that we don’t have any seeds, we only have one plant,” adding, “We’ve exhausted our funding trying to find another like it.”

From what it sounds like, we may never get to taste the new strain of marijuana, unless scientists (or seed breeders) can find some more of it. What a tease, right? It begs the question of ‘are there any other species of marijuana out there?’ This is a fantastic development, and is certainly worth monitoring.

http://www.theweedblog.com/scientist...-in-australia/
 
Old January 14th, 2015 #16
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Intelligent plants? And we thought the situation was hopeless when Uncle was pronounced a vegetable.

Pot: you get more of what you subsidize/grow. It's boom times for ganja and it's expanding its business. One day pot may be like kudzu, mountainous and all-ensnarling.
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Old July 10th, 2015 #17
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Default An article about picturesque El Hierro. Looks worth a visit, for those interested in exotic fauna:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Linder View Post
...The Chatsworth bananas were later sent to Samoa and the Canary Islands, providing forerunners for the variety which emerged in the 1950s to succeed the Gros Michel or Big Mike...
Here, a juniper tree whose growth was wind-influenced:

https://www.badische-zeitung.de/ausl...-98075873.html

https://www.google.nl/search?q=badis...tmUg47RCkKM%3A

https://www.google.nl/search?q=badis...3L75gn8CcmM%3A

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