Tomorrow’s World: Botanical Technoluminescence

Fascinating.

This video explores an idea which is already a reality – in which synthetic biology techniques combine bioluminescence from fireflies or jellyfish with plants – such as trees. These trees of tomorrow could become our future world’s streetlights which would be both energy neutral and “poetic”, according to Daan Roosegaarde. In his artistic vision, he sees us getting away from our technology screens towards a world in which we experience technology in the daily things around us – in things like living plants.

Reactions to his idea are various… What about the birds at night? It would be beautiful and eloquent! It could be natural lighting sans coal burning… We need to stop playing God with DNA…

NASA, too, has already used luminescence in plant stressor genes to study plant growth under no gravity conditions on the ISS and found the experimental method very helpful.

In nature, more than twenty bioluminescent versions exist that have evolved in living things including fireflies, jellyfish, bacteria, anglerfish, squids, and glow worms.

Whatever your opinion about using Nature’s codes may be, this technology is already real and is here to stay.

We Need to Focus on the Globe’s Young Populations (Demography)

Unless the people making projections about how to feed the world decades down the road understand “demography”, their ideas may be futile. Projected regional population growths will dictate much in the way of food consumption needs, as well as politics and international conflicts and global securities of many kinds.

My own expectation is mass migrations and the resulting conflicts they will bring.

This info graphic from the Wilson Center contains some sobering statistics.

Historically, democratic governments are much less likely in countries with young populations.

222 Million women, most in fast-growing, youthful countries, want access to modern contraception but do not have it.


source: http://www.newsecuritybeat.org/2014/08/missing-link-understanding-global-trends-demography/ (This link will provide a larger version of the info graphic, too.)

Wheat Genome Science Fiction by Dworkin: The Commons

If you enjoy Sci-Fi and agriculture, too, and you think the current dominant system just might be sitting on the precipice of a dangerous fate, this book might be for you. Prolific book author, Susan Dworkin, has a special interest in agricultural topics, in addition to Hollywood, and war. Since I am an artist at heart, I can appreciate that diverse variety of human interest subjects.

“The Commons” is the clever Dworkin’s latest book, and its plot is built upon a series of things that went wrong in agriculture, science, and politics over a couple hundred years leading up to 2165. The world and all living beings are in sad shape.

A changing climate and seed monopoly powers converge to threaten the global wheat supply. Her writing is quick, playful, and vibrant. I might even call it “wild”. The book is chock-full of surprising descriptive embellishments that guarantee to keep the reader entertained… a spaniel puppy, a Willa Cather quote, and a wheat gene savior which hailed from Tibet due to its location closer to the sun, are a few examples.

Here’s a quote from a dream of the main character towards the end of the book:

…if only the kids in Grandmas time had risen up, if only they had gathered together and risen up and demanded a change in the way the world was being used.

Personally, I think this world could use a little more agricultural science fiction, to get people thinking, rather than the ongoing and repetitive punditry that we all grow weary of. Kudos to the author, who is a friend of this site.