Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Intelligent Plants for Intelligent Gardens

First there were courses for maximizing your child's IQ. Then came workshops for utilizing emotional intelligence. Now the latest fad sweeping New York and California is Intelligent Gardens - Gardens with a high VQ.

"People are no longer satisfied with a standard run of the mill  garden with dull plants. My customers demand that ionly the most intelligent plants populate their gardens" said Al Binet, the founder of IP - Intelligent Plants, Inc.

"We've developed a new scale called the Vegetal Quotient, or VQ for short, which measures the intelligence of individual plants on a scale of 50 - 150. A plant with a VQ of 150 would be considered highly intelligent (and thus highly sought after by our customers) while a plant with a VQ of 50 would not be found in a an advanced garden."

The VQ considers a number of independent parameters such as the time needed for a plant to differentiate
Dionaea muscipula, has a high VQ due
to its ability to count, remember, and move.
between wave lengths of light, its sensitivity to tactile stimulation, and its ability to communicate with its neighbors. A highly intelligent plant would also have the ability to communicate not only with neighboring plants, but with other species as well, such as insects.

"I've invested hundred's of thousands of dollars in classes for my children to make sure that they test high in academic, social and emotional intelligence. " says Raymond Cattell, "So of course I would want the surrounded only by the most intelligent plants. Mediocre and dim-witted plants have no place in my garden."

Thursday, November 21, 2013

I did NOT write this pseudoscience mumbo-jumbo

What would you do when find that an article you had published was unlawfully copied by another website as if you were a guest writer, and then given free permission to republish by that same site?

What do you do if not only had one of your articles has been unlawfully redistributed, but that its been altered with a paragraph you never wrote?

And what would you do if this ghost-written paragraph made you seem like a pseudo-scientific nut?

Well, if you have answers, please let me know - I need them.

In the past 3 weeks, over 1000 web hits have attributed the following paragraph to me:
“Plants have scientifically been show[n] to draw alternative sources of energy from other plants. Plants influence each other in many ways and they communicate through "nanomechanical oscillations" vibrations on the tiniest atomic or molecular scale or as close as you can get to telepathic communication. However, their sense and communication are measureable in very much the ways as are humans.”
In case its not clear, I DID NOT WRITE THIS!!

There is NO SCIENTIFIC PROOF for any of this.There is no such thing as alternative sources of energy from plants (unless you are talking about biofuels, which I doubt was the intent here); there is no such thing as plant communication through nanomechanical oscilations or telepathic communication. This is pseudoscience new-age mumbo-jumbo at its worse. And I am mortified that it was attributed to me.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

How to preserve leaves

This may be useful. I've taken it from the Forum section of my Coursera class:

Charles (a student): 
Does anybody knows what's the best procedure to preserve leaves?
One of my hobbies is collecting leaves, (yeah I know, It sounds sort of strange), sometimes I let the leaves in a book, but sometimes they lose their color, is there any other way to preserve their color?

Homo Neanderthal (another student):
Yes - microwave them - it dries them out and stops breakdown and release/mixing/degradation of colours. 

Take some paper towels, put the leaves between them and then give them 30s or more in the microwave. This will depend on the power of your microwave and the thickness/size of the leaves - don't use already dry fallen ones - take them from the tree while they are moist and microwave them until dry.

The main risk is over microwaving - they can catch fire if you overdo it - so keep an eye on them. If they curl when you take them out - that is not long enough..