Alan Weisman's 2007 The World Without Us is a lushly bleak non-fiction vision of apocalyptic utopia—a scientific extrapolation of what would happen if all the people on earth disappeared, all at once. Our parasites and dependents would die; carnivores would thrive; trees would push their way up through the asphalt; bridges would fall; nuclear power plants would fail, spilling radiation into the countryside, poisoning the land for millennia; plastics would be everywhere, virtually forever; and the earth would go on.
I asked Otrebor, the one-man force behind the black metal, green freak band Botanist, if he'd ever read Weisman's book. He said he hadn't, but that hasn't stopped him [...]
Your wireless router could be murdering your houseplants, but I guess that is better than developing houseplants that have evolved to not only survive but thrive on the radiation from your wireless router until they gain some kind of sentient physicality and strangle you to death in your sleep because they are sick of watching everything you use your wireless router to see. I mean, that is going to happen eventually anyway, but it would be nice if we had a few more years before it did. [Via]
Enjoy the flowers while you can.
As we head into the late days of November, at least here in the region around New York City, most of the ferns have turned sallow and dry, so that it’s difficult to believe that only a few months ago, they formed a lush, dense carpet of shadowy green on forest floors everywhere. While it’s tempting to be taken in by these superficial signs of frailty and expiration, do not be deceived: those of us who spend time with ferns understand that they are plotting, and one day soon will again rule the world.
Okay, Science: you got us into this mess. (Well, not really. You just made the discoveries. But what was Industrialism gonna do? Not exploit them to the detriment of the planet?) It's up to you to get us out of it. Make us some of those carbon-eating plants.
"Plants are not static or silly. They respond to tactile cues, they recognize different wavelengths of light, they listen to chemical signals, they can even talk." That's Monika Hilker, of the Institute of Biology at the Free University of Berlin, to Natalie Angier in today's Science Times. Like Stevie Wonder, and Michael Pollan, Angier shows how plants demonstrate a sort of will to live that she thinks might give ethical vegetarians pause. (Which is really just kind of mean. Those people are already so hung-up. And the poor Jains.) But the interesting stuff is in the evidence.