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'[OT] World's most influential plant / Read this bo'
2006\03\08@014316 by Russell McMahon

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Possible interest for :        Gardeners    Engineers    Children, 5
to     105.

1.    I was intrigued by this quote by Tim Smit, founder of "Eden"
(the second one). Google will tell you about Eden, and Tim, but
not about the quote.

       "Without doubt this is the plant that has done
           most to shape world history"

                               Tim Smit

What plant do you think he is referring to?
List members: If you *KNOW* please don't spoil it for others, as it is
a most interesting choice. If you don't, by all means make a
suggestion. It's not one that I would ever have picked, even given
dozens of choices. But he still may be correct :-)

2.     Read this book !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

"Eden" by Tim Smit, [Corgi books 2001]
275 A5 pages.
Easy to read.
Utterly stunning photos. (Better than any I could find on the net).

   http://www.edenproject.com/

"Eden" is one of the *great* books that all engineers and many plant
lovers must read. It is consumingly interesting, highly informative
and rather entertaining. It tells how one man plus a growing group of
enthusiasts (and bankers, architects, engineers, quantity surveyors,
financers, philanthropists, lords, businessmen, politicians,
celebrities and many more) came to conceive of a grand scheme and
bring it to completion and along the way create one of the wonders of
the modern world. (Cost around GBP100 million). It just happens to
reside in Cornwall. All of which I was unaware of when I visited
England in 2003 or I would certainly have visited Eden.

Apart from its entertainment value the book gives great insight into
how to, and how not to, manage a large project. While most of us will
never become involved at high level in projects of this magnitude the
lessons are of great value at all levels.

In the same class as (names may be a bit mangled but you get the
idea):

''The soul of a new machine', [[Data General Nova birthing]]
IBM 360 story,
'The sun, the Stirling engine and the drive to save the world',
The Boeing 747 story,
Brylcream/Macleans story.

All the above, while apparently boring subjects to most, would
actually be fascinating and interesting to many people with enquiring
minds, and to most engineers (with or without enquiring minds :-) ).

Eden alone is different in that it was written by the projects founder
rather than a fly on the wall observer.

Back to work ...


       Russell McMahon


2006\03\08@040303 by Lindy Mayfield

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Hemp?

-----Original Message-----
From: spam_OUTpiclist-bouncesTakeThisOuTspammit.edu [.....piclist-bouncesKILLspamspam@spam@mit.edu] On Behalf Of Russell McMahon
Sent: Wednesday, March 08, 2006 8:41 AM
To: PIC List
Subject: [OT] World's most influential plant / Read this book!

Possible interest for :        Gardeners    Engineers    Children, 5
to     105.

1.    I was intrigued by this quote by Tim Smit, founder of "Eden"
(the second one). Google will tell you about Eden, and Tim, but
not about the quote.

       "Without doubt this is the plant that has done
           most to shape world history"

                               Tim Smit



2006\03\08@055310 by Michael Rigby-Jones

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>-----Original Message-----
>From: piclist-bouncesspamKILLspamMIT.EDU [.....piclist-bouncesKILLspamspam.....MIT.EDU]
>Sent: 08 March 2006 06:41
>To: PIC List
>Subject: [OT] World's most influential plant / Read this book!
>
It just happens to reside
>in Cornwall. All of which I was unaware of when I visited
>England in 2003 or I would certainly have visited Eden.

That's a shame, it is a very interesting place to visit (I live only 36 miles away).  The structure is amazing, anyone with an engineering bent will undoubtedly spent as much or more time looking at the building than the plants.

Don't have a clue what the most important plant is, but the obvious ones would be wheat or rice etc. which are staple foods of many cultures.

I guess hemp was responsible for high quality ropes that must have had some influence on the advancement of maritime travel, and therefore the colonisation of many countries.

Regards

Mike

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2006\03\08@061630 by Lindy Mayfield

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Maybe it is quinoa.  

>-----Original Message-----
>From: EraseMEpiclist-bouncesspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTMIT.EDU [piclist-bouncesspamspam_OUTMIT.EDU]
>Sent: 08 March 2006 06:41
>To: PIC List
>Subject: [OT] World's most influential plant / Read this book!
>
It just happens to reside
>in Cornwall. All of which I was unaware of when I visited
>England in 2003 or I would certainly have visited Eden.

That's a shame, it is a very interesting place to visit (I live only 36 miles away).  The structure is amazing, anyone with an engineering bent will undoubtedly spent as much or more time looking at the building than the plants.

Don't have a clue what the most important plant is, but the obvious ones would be wheat or rice etc. which are staple foods of many cultures.

I guess hemp was responsible for high quality ropes that must have had some influence on the advancement of maritime travel, and therefore the colonisation of many countries.

Regards

Mike


2006\03\08@062914 by Dave King

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Try cotton. wars, slavery, industrial revolution, tie dyed tee shirts etc
etc

{Quote hidden}

> -

2006\03\08@070435 by Lindy Mayfield

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Yes!  That didn't even cross my mind.

I'll be pissed off at Russell if he doesn't give us the answer.  

http://www.archive.org/audio/etreelisting-browse.php?cat=Grateful%20Dead



-----Original Message-----
From: TakeThisOuTpiclist-bouncesEraseMEspamspam_OUTMIT.EDU [RemoveMEpiclist-bouncesspamTakeThisOuTMIT.EDU] On Behalf Of Dave King
Sent: Wednesday, March 08, 2006 1:29 PM
To: Microcontroller discussion list - Public.
Subject: RE: [OT] World's most influential plant / Read this book!

Try cotton. wars, slavery, industrial revolution, tie dyed tee shirts etc
etc



2006\03\08@071741 by Peter Todd

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On Wed, Mar 08, 2006 at 07:41:08PM +1300, Russell McMahon wrote:
> Possible interest for :        Gardeners    Engineers    Children, 5
> to     105.
>
> 1.    I was intrigued by this quote by Tim Smit, founder of "Eden"
> (the second one). Google will tell you about Eden, and Tim, but
> not about the quote.
>
>         "Without doubt this is the plant that has done
>             most to shape world history"
>
>                                 Tim Smit
>
> What plant do you think he is referring to?
> List members: If you *KNOW* please don't spoil it for others, as it is
> a most interesting choice. If you don't, by all means make a
> suggestion. It's not one that I would ever have picked, even given
> dozens of choices. But he still may be correct :-)

Something to do with quinine? Anti-malaria?

Lemons? Preventing scurvy?

--
peteEraseMEspam.....petertodd.ca http://www.petertodd.ca

2006\03\08@074058 by Michael Rigby-Jones

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>-----Original Message-----
>From: EraseMEpiclist-bouncesspammit.edu [RemoveMEpiclist-bouncesEraseMEspamEraseMEmit.edu]
>Sent: 08 March 2006 12:34
>To: Microcontroller discussion list - Public.
>Subject: Re: [OT] World's most influential plant / Read this book!
>
>
>Something to do with quinine? Anti-malaria?
>
>Lemons? Preventing scurvy?

On a simmilar tangent how about the Willow, the bark of which was first used for pain relief about 2500 years ago.  The active ingredient is salicylic acid which is what we now call Aspirin.

Regards

Mike

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2006\03\08@075457 by Lindy Mayfield

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Going along that path one might nominate the poppy.


-----Original Message-----
From: RemoveMEpiclist-bouncesspam_OUTspamKILLspammit.edu [RemoveMEpiclist-bouncesTakeThisOuTspamspammit.edu] On Behalf Of Michael Rigby-Jones
Sent: Wednesday, March 08, 2006 2:41 PM
To: Microcontroller discussion list - Public.
Subject: RE: [OT] World's most influential plant / Read this book!



{Quote hidden}

On a simmilar tangent how about the Willow, the bark of which was first used for pain relief about 2500 years ago.  The active ingredient is salicylic acid which is what we now call Aspirin.

Regards

Mike


2006\03\08@080918 by olin piclist

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Russell McMahon wrote:
> 1.    I was intrigued by this quote by Tim Smit, founder of "Eden"
> (the second one). Google will tell you about Eden, and Tim, but
> not about the quote.
>
>        "Without doubt this is the plant that has done
>            most to shape world history"
>
>                                Tim Smit
>
> What plant do you think he is referring to?

I've never heard of Tim Smit or this quote.  As with all these general
questions, there is way to much missing context.

If you narrow it to shaping the world in terms of human civilization, I
would say the grass family.  This includes rice, wheat, and other grains.
These ultimately account for something like 80% of everything we eat.

In terms of a global and geological scale, I'd say the first prokaryotes.
These and their descendents produced the free oxygen in the atmosphere that
so much of life on this planet depends on.  They also caused major changes
to the chemistry and as a result to the geology of the planet.  All the iron
ore (iron oxide) deposits we mine today are due to metalic iron having been
oxidized in the oceans when oxygen started to be produced.  This caused it
to precipitate out as iron oxide over a relatively short geologic window,
making nicely concentrated deposits or iron ore available today.

Of course questions like who/what did the "most" like this are silly and
unfair to begin with, but I'm playing along for the entertainment value.

2006\03\08@081811 by Rolf

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If he was a Christian, and you could group Trees in with plants, then
the answer would be "Apple Tree" with the whole Adam and Eve story
(especially given this "Eden" theme).

On the other hand, considering the possibility that the word
"Influential" is most commonly used in the context "Driving under the
influence...", I would suggest the grapevine (or maybe "Rye"  ;-)

Perhaps, on a more earth-bound nature, and one-off process, I would say
the simple grass, used for millennia as the basic influencing factor in
the domestication of animals by early man, and the "hunter gatherer" types.

Thinking scientifically, and a little outside the box, which I am sure
this question requires, I would have to go with algae:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algae
this life-form provides a significant amount of the world's oxygen, it
is the base of the food chain, and so many more reasons. It's
substantial presence in the world's oceans is huge (seaweed), and I
believe that algae constitutes a very significant portion of the world's
biomass.

Rolf

Russell McMahon wrote:
{Quote hidden}

2006\03\08@092207 by Russell McMahon

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Good to see Olin participating actively in the OTest of OT :-).
Good mind expanding stuff.

> I've never heard of Tim Smit or this quote.

Google, as I said, knows about Tim.
Almost worth Googling.
Or click on the link I supplied.
He was a sound recording man who got a(nother) life
And got to spend around $100 million GBP of other people's money.
And expects to bring in 1.1 Billion GBP to Cornwall in the next 10
years.

> As with all these general
> questions, there is way to much missing context.

I, as you might expect, disagree.
Given a tighter spec we wouldn't have got all your good suggestions or
half the others either. A significant part of the reason for my post
was to see what other people could think of.

Note, although it doesn't matter, that he said "history". While that
could validly be taken in a very wide sense (as some (including you)
have done) he was referring to history relating to people. In that
context your 'grass' answer qualifies and your iron-ore answer
doesn't. That doesn't make them wrong as asked - just not what he had
in mind.

I've been impressed by the perspicacity of some answers. Some (not
yoursm which were well explained) could bear better explanation as the
reasons for them may not be evident to all..

> Of course questions like who/what did the "most" like this are silly
> and
> unfair to begin with, but I'm playing along for the entertainment
> value.

Only unfair if there's a penalty for being wrong, or, indeed, a
possibility of being wrong. In this context there's not really either.

As for "silly" - that rather depends on what you consider to be
"sensible". Given that for the majority of people there's no
defensible rhyme or reason in anything whatsoever, these terms tend to
translate roughly as "things I like and things I don't like".  eg "A
grown man spending all his spare time making dolls houses is just
plain silly". One could (and some do) replace "making dolls houses"
with eg 'watching tv', 'shooting defenceless animals', 'collecting
stamps'. 'surfing the net' etc.



       RM

2006\03\08@092943 by Michael Rigby-Jones

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>-----Original Message-----
>From: piclist-bouncesSTOPspamspamspam_OUTmit.edu [spamBeGonepiclist-bouncesSTOPspamspamEraseMEmit.edu]
>Sent: 08 March 2006 14:19
>To: Microcontroller discussion list - Public.
>Subject: Re: [OT] World's most influential plant / Read this book!
>>
>I, as you might expect, disagree.
>Given a tighter spec we wouldn't have got all your good suggestions or
>half the others either. A significant part of the reason for my post
>was to see what other people could think of.

So when will I hvae to tune in to get the answer? ;)

Regards

Mike

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2006\03\08@094621 by Alan B. Pearce

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>Google, as I said, knows about Tim.
>Almost worth Googling.
>Or click on the link I supplied.

try the official home page at http://www.edenproject.com/

2006\03\08@150833 by James Newtons Massmind

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> Google, as I said, knows about Tim.
> Almost worth Googling.

Your search - "Tim Smit" "shape world history" - did not match any
documents.

> Or click on the link I supplied.


There is absolutly no mention of the word "book" at this web page
http://www.edenproject.com/

---
James.


2006\03\08@154505 by Danny Sauer

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James wrote regarding 'RE: [OT] World's most influential plant / Read
this book!' on Wed, Mar 08 at 14:11:
> > Or click on the link I supplied.
>
> There is absolutly no mention of the word "book" at this web page
> http://www.edenproject.com/

Why, there's "about 118" mentions of "book" on that site:
http://www.google.com/search?q=book+site%3Ahttp://www.edenproject.com

:)

--Danny, guessing "Marijuana"

2006\03\08@173058 by Russell McMahon

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> So when will I have to tune in to get the answer? ;)

When the opinion flow ebbs to a trickle. Too worthwhile so far to
pre-empt further replies.


       RM

2006\03\08@173644 by Danny Sauer

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Russell wrote regarding 'Re: [OT] World's most influential plant /
Read this book!' on Wed, Mar 08 at 16:34:
> > So when will I have to tune in to get the answer? ;)
>
> When the opinion flow ebbs to a trickle. Too worthwhile so far to
> pre-empt further replies.

Thus proving it's pot - what else would cause such a "hey man, be
cool, it'll happen when it happens" response?

--Danny, pointing at the hippie biodome utopia project as further
evidence that pot's somehow involved...

2006\03\08@174030 by Alex Harford

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On 3/8/06, Olin Lathrop wrote:
> Russell McMahon wrote:
> >
> >        "Without doubt this is the plant that has done
> >            most to shape world history"
> >
> >                                Tim Smit
> >
> > What plant do you think he is referring to?
>
>
> If you narrow it to shaping the world in terms of human civilization, I
> would say the grass family.  This includes rice, wheat, and other grains.
> These ultimately account for something like 80% of everything we eat.

I'd have to agree with Olin on this.  It is detailed in the Jarod
Diamond book, 'Guns, Germs, and Steel' that theorizes that human
civilization came out of the middle east because that's where the
first grains were grown and selected for long term storage.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guns_Germs_and_Steel

Alex

2006\03\08@181453 by Russell McMahon

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> Your search - "Tim Smit" "shape world history" - did not match any
> documents.

That's what I said :-)

ie I said it knows about Tim but specifically doesn't know about the
quote.



       RM

2006\03\08@181453 by Russell McMahon

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part 1 1183 bytes content-type:text/plain; format=flowed; charset="iso-8859-1"; (decoded 7bit)

The attached map has some relevance.
For various reasons this is a guide only.

The black areas (apart from those in the far north above Canada due to
line width issues) are areas of relevance. (The sharp boundary at the
USA border is also relevant). This is a modern map and historically
the areas would have been larger. eg long before the plant was known
about the Romans in Britain would have liked to have had it as it
would have saved them substantial effort. The plant is of less direct
relevance today than it was historically due to modern alternatives
and derivatives of its product, but the area it has relevance to is
still and extremely major one.

Note the white area behind Chile and black line down the coast. While
this could be an attribute of my having changed the map from colour to
B&W, it's not. ie the white area is real with the coastal regions of
Chile (probably) being included as 'black". I doubt that the line
nicely following the borders of the old USSR represents reality,
whereas the Tibet/Nepal exclusion does. Northern Australia is
relevant. NZ definitely doesn't feature.




       RM





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part 3 35 bytes content-type:text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
(decoded 7bit)

2006\03\08@185128 by Alex Harford

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On 3/8/06, Russell McMahon <KILLspamapptechspamBeGonespamparadise.net.nz> wrote:
> This is a modern map and historically
> the areas would have been larger. eg long before the plant was known
> about the Romans in Britain would have liked to have had it as it
> would have saved them substantial effort. The plant is of less direct
> relevance today than it was historically due to modern alternatives
> and derivatives of its product, but the area it has relevance to is
> still and extremely major one.

The soapberry and related plants:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saponin

Alex

2006\03\09@101442 by olin \(Innovatia\)

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Yeast.  No wait, that was the first domesticated animal.

-----Original Message-----
From: EraseMEpiclist-bouncesspamEraseMEmit.edu [@spam@piclist-bounces@spam@spamspam_OUTmit.edu] On Behalf
Of Danny Sauer
Sent: March 8, 2006 4:45 PM
To: Microcontroller discussion list - Public.
Subject: Re: [OT] World's most influential plant / Read this book!

James wrote regarding 'RE: [OT] World's most influential plant / Read
this book!' on Wed, Mar 08 at 14:11:
> > Or click on the link I supplied.
>
> There is absolutly no mention of the word "book" at this web page
> http://www.edenproject.com/

Why, there's "about 118" mentions of "book" on that site:
http://www.google.com/search?q=book+site%3Ahttp://www.edenproject.com

:)

--Danny, guessing "Marijuana"

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