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When it comes to watering, there’s nothing stopping you from simply dumping a bottle of H2O onto the plants on your balcony, as long as you’re cool with possibly damaging them and splashing wet dirt all over the place. A gentler approach is a better idea, and Animi Causa’s new Rainmaker — which emulates a gentle summer rain — requires minimal additional effort on your part.
New research from a team of scientists at the University of Western Australia will change the way you think about the difference between plants and animals. Mimosa pundica plants, they found, can learn and remember, despite not having a brain. Those active little fern-like things always did seem sort of smart, though, didn’t they?
A particular detail has always stuck with me from The BFG, Roald Dahl’s dark-as-hell children’s book that’s actually about giants snatching kids from their bedrooms. The one good, non-kid-eating giant tells his friend about superhuman hearing: “if I is twisting the stem of the flower till it breaks, then the plant is screaming. I can hear it screaming and screaming very clear.”
While everyone else is interested in harvesting the Moon’s scrumptious supply of Helium-3 to solve all our energy needs, NASA’s pursing the answer to a more pressing question — can we grow plants there? Come 2015, after it’s sent a bunch of self-contained enclosures full of green stuff into the sky, the organisation should have the information it needs to put the issue to bed.
We’ve been using nitrogen fertilisers to bolter crop growth since the neolithic era. But producing enough food for nearly seven billion mouths requires intensive farming farming practices that demand heavy applications of fertilisers. And their overuse is taking a heavy toll on the environment — an estimated $US91 billion to $US428 billion worth of damage in Europe alone.