Radio Event No. 20: Rhododendron (October 18, 1972)

Early bio-sensing electronics wiz Tom Zahuranec invited an audience to a special radio event situated in the KPFA Music Office. Tom had wired a Rhododendron with liquid electrode sensors which were amplified and fed into the oscillators of a Buchla Synthesizer. The plant itself acted as a conduit between the studio environment and supposedly- the psychology of surrounding participants. Far-out commentary was provided by Tom and curious listeners who dropped in on the happening.

Images of Tim and his 'plant amplifier' can be found at Data Garden.

( via Henry Platt )

Pulsu(m) Plantae

Imagen PulsumPlantae

My acquaintance Leslie Garcia, from Tijuana Mexico, has been working on a plant sonification project analogous to those here at Dragonline Studios.

Develop self-sustaining sound devices, designed as hybrid systems, from the integration of a living organism (plant) and an interface address (biosensors) to create a network-based motif in coded language sound frequencies. Project in process

Her work was recently exhibited and a large amount of documentation is up on the site for the Pulsu(m) Plantae project, original in Español, English translation by Google Translate.

The singing plants of Damanhur

Can plants be conscious? My friend Cleve Backster thought so. Watch this striking short video and it will answer that question. It's a totally remarkable clip, with enormous implications.

Plants can be wired to musical synthesizers and heard actually altering the sounds and creating their own melodies consciously. Here is a video made by the commune of Damanhur.
Listen now to the "sound" of conscious awareness. It's delightful to behold!

( via The Renegade Guru )

ENCODE - New insight into Human DNA

The first wave of papers on a massive research project delving deeper into Human DNA were released on September 5th. The project, started in 2003 and entitled ENCODE, involved 440 scientists from 32 laboratories around the globe.

When the Human Genome Project completed its mapping in 2001, scientists thought that only 2% of Human DNA was used, the rest thought to be evolutionary leftovers. Based on the preliminary reports just released, it appears that 80% or more is active. Most of what had been previously discovered were the genes directly responsible for encoding proteins. The new mappings reveal a much larger set of gene 'switches' used to control the protein encoding genes.

The revelation of gene switches allows for entirely new approaches in research around cancer, genetic disorders and a host of other areas.

An explorer for the papers published is at ENCODE on the Nature site.

An iPad app is also available Nature ENCODE

( via The New York Times )

Electricity from trees

Researchers from Queensland University of Technology (QUT), in Brisbane, Australia have published findings from a study showing ion concentrations in heavily wooded areas to be twice that of grassy areas. The increased ion counts are believed to be caused by the trees transporting watersoluble radon from ground water into the atmosphere as they transpire. The research paper is available from Environmental Science & Technology.

The role of ions in the production of atmospheric particles has gained wide interest due to their profound impact on climate. Away from anthropogenic sources, molecules are ionized by alpha radiation from radon exhaled from the ground and cosmic gamma radiation from space. These molecular ions quickly form into ‘cluster ions’, typically smaller than about 1.5 nm. Using our measurements and the published literature, we present evidence to show that cluster ion concentrations in forest areas are consistently higher than outside. Since alpha radiation cannot penetrate more than a few centimetres of soil, radon present deep in the ground cannot directly contribute to the measured cluster ion concentrations. We propose an additional mechanism whereby radon, which is water soluble, is brought up by trees and plants through the uptake of groundwater and released into the atmosphere by transpiration. We estimate that, in a forest comprising eucalyptus trees spaced 4m apart, approximately 28% of the radon in the air may be released by transpiration. Considering that 24% of the earth’s land area is still covered in forests; these findings have potentially important implications for atmospheric aerosol formation and climate.

( Via PhysOrg )