Seeing things differently - an invitationWritten by Andy Smith MCLC
I was walking back home with my dog (he still eats newspapers by way) this weekend and re-emerging from woods on hill that over looks valley I live in, I stopped, and took time to stand and stare.
Below me was village, nestled deep in a cleft. The surrounding hills were lavishly adorned with sprawling woodlands, skirting and dividing many farm fields in which wheat was beginning to ripen, hedgerows subdividing these further. The sky was a cloudless blue and a cooling breeze pleasantly tempered sun's heat.
It was a view I'd seen many times and I thought back to very first time I'd gazed upon it; to how beautiful it had looked and how breathtaking. Only by now I had grown accustomed to scene, seldom stopping to look at it. So I stood, and stared. And tried to see it in same way that I had seen it before, that first time.
My eyes watered with effort, but to no avail. So I stood and thought about how I might re-awaken my former appreciation of this vista and then set off in opposite direction to my normal route home down into village, walking along top of a fallow field and down along a seldom trodden path by an overgrown hedge row.
Have Bananas Lost Their Mojo?Written by Aimee Cremasco
Though their sexy shape may resemble a "GoldMember," modern-day bananas simply aren't shagadellic. According to Belgian and French scientists, bananas may become extinct within next 10 years due to their lack of genetic diversity, which makes them prone to attacks by diseases.
There are two primary fungal diseases attacking banana plantation, Panama disease and black Sigatoka. Biotechnology and genetic manipulation may be only way to save fruit. Scientists hope to find disease-resistant genes from a non-edible variation of banana, and then inject them in edible ones. Unfortunately, it's difficult to develop genetic variance in asexually reproducing plants. Cross-pollination with these wild plants is possible, but scientists claim it won't be easy.
Almost all bananas, as we know them today, are clones of naturally mutant wild bananas, which were discovered as many as 10,000 years ago. This rare mutation caused wild bananas to grow sterile. To keep fruit alive, ancient farmers took cuttings of mutants, then cuttings of cuttings, and so on. According to a recent article published in The Guardian, "Plants use reproduction to continuously shuffle their gene pool, building up variety so that part of species will survive an otherwise deadly disease. Because sterile mutant bananas cannot breed, they do not have that protection."