Posts Tagged: ‘plants’

As flowers go, this one smells like rotting flesh. It also sometimes gives off heat — the way a recently-deceased mammal would. In other words, it’s built to attract flies, which wind up doing the service of pollinating the flower. If you came across this bloom in the jungle, you’d hear the flies swarming, and you’d smell that smell, and then you’d see what you wouldn’t expect: a gigantic red bloom, 3 feet in diameter …

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The Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast has some pretty awesome fans, including graphic artist Robert McLaren, who took it on himself to create this amazing interpretation of a cubical planet Earth after listening to our episode on the topic (which you can grab off iTunes, Zune and the RSS feed).

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According to this article, there is a corpse flower blooming right now in Switzerland. It’s a big deal because it is a rare event: What a stinker! World’s smelliest flower opens for the first time in 75 YEARS For botanists, it doesn’t get more exciting than this – after 75 years, the Titan Arum plant […]

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You Asked: Are there plants on board the International Space Station? — Mark, Corona, Calif. Marshall Brain Answers: There are some plants on the ISS, as part of different experiment packages. Here is a description of the APEX-Cambium experiment, which grew tree seedlings on the space station: Why aren’t there more plants on the ISS, […]

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You Asked:

Does salt stop crops from growing? — Rayna, Sacramento, Calif.

Marshall Brain Answers…

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My relationships with plants are often a bit strained. I manage to drown tomatoes. I wind up mistaking hibiscuses for weeds year after year and either hack them to death myself or pay the neighborhood kid to do it. If you’re a member of the vegetable kingdom, then I’m afraid you and me simply weren’t meant to be.

But it all comes down to communication, right? Why can’t you plants, say, just tell me when you need watering instead of passive aggressively withering on me when you’re thirsty?

Am I being unreasonable? Well, not according to the makers of Botanicalls, the new telecommunications system that enables your plant to send you texts, e-mails or tweets when they need watering.

Of course, your plant’s not actually going to send out tweets — though I can’t imagine their messages would be any more mundane than the average human Twitter user. Botanicalls makes use of an Ethernet-enabled soil probe. According to Science Daily, the probe sends out electrical waves through the soil and the amount of moisture in the soil affects the overall voltage level. TreeHugger has a good graphic of the system here.

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In order for a plant to grow and thrive, it needs a number of different chemical elements. Check out this podcast from HowStuffWorks to learn more about fertilizer.

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