Plants appear to lose consciousness when sedated

February 14, 2018 by  
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Are plants conscious? Based on a new study, our anesthetics work on flora – but just what are they working on? University of Bonn plant cell biologist Frantisek Baluska told The New York Times , “Plants are not just robotic, stimulus-response devices. They’re living organisms which have their own problems, maybe something like humans feeling pain or joy. In order to navigate this complex life, they must have some compass.” Plants can be frozen with anesthetics, researchers discovered, including the medicines used on humans during surgery. The researchers’ findings could help us learn more about anesthesia – and plants. A team of scientists from institutions in Germany, Japan, the Czech Republic, and Italy exposed several different plants to substances like ether and lidocaine. They found, for example, that pea plants exposed to diethyl ether vapor stop moving and their tendrils curl. A Venus flytrap didn’t respond to stimulus similar to an insect that moved across it – its cells actually stopped firing, according to The New York Times. Related: German forester says trees are social beings with friends and personalities The plants seemed to return to life when the anesthesia wore off – almost as if they had regained consciousness. Baluska told The New York Times, “How organisms are perceiving the environment or responding or adapting are based on some very similar principles.” Cell membranes change under anesthesia, growing more flexible. Membranes of some of the plant root cells under anesthesia had difficulty performing tasks they normally would. Membranes are also key for transferring messages from one cell to another via electricity , and some scientists think electrical activity across neurons contributes to consciousness in humans. But when asked if plants are indeed conscious or not, Baluska said, “No one can answer this because you cannot ask them.” The journal Annals of Botany published the research in December. Via The New York Times Images via Sushobhan Badhai on Unsplash and Jeffery Wong on Unsplash

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Plants appear to lose consciousness when sedated

Energy-neutral luxury houseboat floats in Haarlem waters

February 14, 2018 by  
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Filled with light and stunning views, modern houseboats in the Netherlands are things of envy—especially this new gem by VanOmmeren-architects . The Amsterdam-based studio recently completed Houseboat Haarlem Shuffle, an energy-neutral floating villa powered by solar energy and two heat pumps. The gorgeous home balances the need for privacy with maximizing landscape views. Located in the Spaarne River, Houseboat Haarlem Shuffle is a spacious 210-square-meter build spread out across two floors. Timber cladding wraps around the home and is bordered by aluminum roof trim for a clean and minimalist appearance. Clerestory windows punctuate the street-facing facade while large, nearly full-height windows in the southwest open the home up to an abundance of natural light and views. Inside on the first floor, a spacious open-plan living room, dining area, and kitchen soak up the sun and views, and also step out to a sheltered outdoor terrace with room for seating and a grill. The first floor also houses the master ensuite, storage, and office. A light material palette and whitewashed walls reinforce the interior’s bright and airy appearance. Related: Incredible net-zero floating home cleans the water around it A stairway leads down to a second floor below where two guest bedrooms and bathrooms are located in addition to a large music room, storage, laundry room, and mechanical room. “The design plays with the perception of the dynamics around the Spaarne, the relationship with Haarlem and the bright open living spaces,” wrote the architects about the energy-neutral design. “The ark gets its expression by a strong orthogonal composition of open and closed facade elements. The large vide near the southwest windows opens up the floor for light to reach the lower music and sleeping spaces.” + VanOmmeren-architects Via ArchDaily Images via VanOmmeren-architects , by Eva Janssens

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Energy-neutral luxury houseboat floats in Haarlem waters

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