Talking to plants

From Science Daily. Is this for real? Anybody try the experiment and report to the NG? (My tomatoes are already so tall, I'm afraid to chat with them <g>.)
Persephone
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Do women's voices make tomatoes grow faster? 03:59 PM PT, Jun 25 2009
The Telegraph reports this week that a new study by Britain’s Royal Horticultural Society has found that tomato plants grew up to two inches taller when women gardeners talked to them regularly. The men apparently were so bad at communicating with their tomatoes -- hard to believe -- their plants actually grew less than a plant that was left completely alone.
In the April experiment, the public was invited to record excerpts from John Wyndham’s "The Day of the Triffids," William Shakespeare's "A Midsummer's Night Dream" and Charles Darwin's "On the Origin of Species." A selection of voices was then played to 10 plants via headphones connected to the plant pot.
Not surprisingly, the best results came from Sarah Darwin, great-great granddaughter of the legendary botanist. After reading a passage from "On the Origin of Species," Darwin saw her plant grow nearly two inches taller than the best performing male.
Note to self: Time to start reading Michael Pollan to the Better Boys.
--Lisa
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On Sat, 27 Jun 2009 03:30:58 -0700 (PDT), against all advice,

They were trying to get away.
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In article

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/5602419/Womens-voices-make-pla nts-grow-faster-finds-Royal-Horticultural-Society.html
An amusing fluff piece of infotainment for the daily "fish-wrap". It is appropriate, here as well, since we are about plants. It would have been a bit more informative though, if we could have known if it was a double blind study, why only 10 plants were talked to, was there only one plant for control, and has this experiment passed peer review? I would have thought having Prince Charles talk to a plant, would have been it's death sentence.
Personally, I prefer stories that explain, rather than just amuse. http://www.projectcensored.org/top-stories/articles/22-care-rejects-us-fo od-aid/
CARE Rejects US Food Aid
In August 2007, one of the biggest and best-known American charity organizations, CARE, announced that it was turning down $45 million a year in food aid from the United States government. CARE claims that the way US aid is structured causes rather than reduces hunger in the countries where it is received. The US budgets $2 billion a year for food aid, which buys US crops to feed populations facing starvation amidst crisis or enduring chronic hunger. The organization¹s announcement prompted argument about the forms and objectives of the aid given by the US and other big powers to third world countries and the role that most charity organizations are playing. The reasoning behind CARE¹s decision is part of a years-long debate that has influenced everything from US trade and domestic legislation to the Doha Round of the World Trade Organization talks. CARE¹s 2006 report, ³White Paper on Food Aid Policy,² points out that the current food aid program is motivated by profit rather than altruism. The policy, which dictates that donated money be used to purchase food in the home country, results in a program driven by ³the export and surplus disposal objectives of the exporting country² and not the needs of people in hunger. The US policy implements the practice of monetization, a food aid policy in which the US government buys surplus food from American agribusinesses that have already been heavily subsidized, and ships it via US shipping lines (generating transport costs that eat up much of the $2 billion annual food aid provided by the US government) to aid organizations working around the world. The aid organizations then sell the US-grown crops to local populations, at a dramatically reduced cost. The aid organizations use proceeds from these sales to fund their development and anti-poverty programs. But several groups, with CARE at the forefront, have pointed out that this policy has the effect of undermining local farmers and destabilizing the very food production systems that aid organizations are working to strengthen. A policy that puts local farmers out of commission and undermines agriculture in developing countries becomes part of a process by which those countries lose the means to develop‹and thus grow more dependent on the stronger and more dominant nations. These countries become more vulnerable in every sphere, not only economically but politically as well. The result is likely to be more hunger and less sovereignty as countries are tied ever more tightly to the world market. ³We are not against emergency food aid for things like drought and famine,² CARE spokeswoman Alina Labrada said, ³but local farmers are being hurt instead of helped by this mechanism.² The European Union has also been critical of the US food aid program. European countries all but phased out the practice of monetization in the 1990s. Only 10 percent of their budgeted food aid is reserved for crops grown in Europe. Suspicions remain that the US uses monitized food aid programs to avoid limits on its universally contested farm subsidies. The UN World Food Programme, the largest distributor of food aid in the world, has rejected the practice of monetization and does not allow its grain to be sold by NGOs. The past two US congressional farm bills presented proposals to shift portions of the food aid budget from grain to cash donations, to be made available for people in need to buy locally grown crops. Both attempts were voted down.
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- Billy

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