October 4, 2013 |
When it comes to zeroing in on nectar-rich flowers, worker honeybees rely heavily on their expert sense of smell. But new research suggests pollution from diesel exhaust may fool the honeybee's "nose," making their search for staple flowers all the more difficult. In a paper published recently in Scientific Reports , English scientists concluded that two components of diesel exhaust -- nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide -- could alter the odor of the many chemicals that combine to give a flower its signature smell.
October 3, 2013 |
It's been a point of heated debate among scientists for years: Just when in Earth's history did flowering plants first appear? In a paper published recently in the journal Frontiers in Plant Science , researchers say they have discovered fossilized pollen grains that date back 243 million years -- more than 100 million years earlier than previously thought. If true, that would suggest that flowering plants, or angiosperms, appeared at roughly the same time as dinosaurs, in the Middle Triassic period.
October 3, 2013 |
“Flowers for Algernon” certainly has traction. Daniel Keyes' 1959 short story about Charlie Gordon, a mentally disabled man transformed into a genius by a scientific experiment, has been subsequently adapted into a novel, a film and even a musical. Now, David Rogers' 1969 play has been mounted by the Deaf West company at the Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks. The highly sentimentalized drama seems an unusual choice for Deaf West, and the production, which in typical Deaf West fashion utilizes both signing and voiced actors, does not always avoid bathos. Matthew McCray, a hearing director and the veteran of dozens of professional productions, helms the hugely ambitious proceedings, but despite the fact that the play has been pared down from a cast of nearly 30 to an even dozen or so, the sheer scope of this undertaking sometimes exceeds McCray's usually authoritative grasp. CHEAT SHEET: Fall arts preview A chief culprit is Sarah Krainin's scenic design, which consists primarily of clear screens on metal poles that are shoved on a system of runners into various configurations.
September 28, 2013 |
Dan Clements reached into his bag for a roll of a blue duct tape. Dodger blue. Then he pulled out a pack of baseball cards, so shiny that the glare blinded you for a moment. He flipped through the cards, one Dodgers star after another. He had room for only one card, so it needed to be just right. Mike Piazza? Never won a postseason game with the Dodgers. Eric Karros? Same thing. Jackie Robinson? On the one hand, who can go wrong with Jackie Robinson? On the other hand, he never knew of something called a "postseason.
September 17, 2013 |
In summer, when the camomile is in full bloom and harvesting has begun, the gardeners at Stanford Avalon Community Garden in South L.A. let a portion of the field go to seed, ensuring a harvest down the line. Most of the gardeners here are from Mexico, where té de manzanilla (camomile tea) is about as common as Coke on restaurant menus. In Europe, where camomile originated, the apple-scented flowers go back to the Middle Ages. It is the European ginseng, say some, extensively researched and included in the pharmacological record.
September 3, 2013 |
One of the enduring lessons of gardening life is to remember the recommendations of other gardeners. More than a year ago, musician and edible gardening consultant Lauri Krantz told me that she was stunned by a harvest of Jerusalem artichokes from only eight plants. Krantz, whom I profiled last year , had put them in a garden for chefs Suzanne Goin and David Lentz, mostly for the pretty yellow blooms that appear in August and last for a month. While transitioning the garden to fall, Krantz found more than 400 edible tubers in the soil, so many she needed help carrying them out of the garden.