Field of Science

Bidens - What's all the fuss?

TPP finds it hard to understand why everyone is so interested in Bidens.  This genus of flowering plants is in the Aster family, and it's most generally known common name is beggerticks.  The fruits sport a pair of bristles at one end that are very good at hitching a ride upon animal pelts or their artificial equivalents worn by humans.  Hard to know how many times TPP has returned home from the field and had to pull dozens of these hitchhiking fruits from his clothing.  Although the flowers are largely yellow, breeders have selected for larger blooms and more colors including reds, oranges, and white.  And unless you are quite diligent about picking off the spent flowers you may find yourself lugging around fruits from your own flower garden.
Actually TPP was pretty sure the Bidens in question were of the human variety, and not nearly as interesting as the plants. At any rate this seemed like a good idea to get a volume of traffic to read this blog.  

Ohio's Student Religious Freedom bill - nothing good will come of this.

The Ohio House has approved by an overwhelming vote the Student Religious Freedom bill and now it awaits their Senate's action.  It allows students to provide answers consistent with their religious beliefs and they cannot lose any points or have their grade reduced for such answers.  So yes they can answer science questions with religious beliefs, i.e., saying that the Earth is only 6000 yrs old would suffice and be counted as equally correct with a geological answer.  TPP has long held the opinion that you may believe what you will religiously, but you are not constitutionally protected from discomforting ideas.  This Ohio Bill runs directly counter to this.  And of course no evidence is needed for the religious answer.  
This reminds TPP of an event around 400 years ago when the Inquisition force Galileo to recant his views on a heliocentric solar system, and it was claimed he muttered under his breath "And yet it moves."  There is no evidence Galileo did this, but the Ohio bill shows how little we've learned.  And apparently the idea that the Earth is a flat-disk rather than a globe is growing in popularity.  TPP blames social media, where people can find like-minded postings that refute those stuffy old experts who claim to actually know something.  This is a pathetic situation and a law designed to oppose evidence based scientific knowledge of all sorts.  Welcome to our new Dark Ages, legislated ignorance.  

Day-light savings time - Gardeners like it.

A Lincolnland politician has introduced a bill that would keep the state on daylight savings time, and as a gardener TPP is all for it.  A lot of good gardening gets done in the evening when the state is on daylight savings time.  Of course the switch to standard time just happened accompanied by the usual whining about what a waste this all is.  Frankly it matters not to TPP if it's dark in the early AM during the winter months. And this from a guy whose watch and car clock are almost impossible to reset, as is the alarm cat. Indiana the state next door stays on standard time (god's time?).  And you can just shift whatever you are doing to best optimize the available daylight.  Too complicated for some employers, but when you retire such strict time schedules can be ignored (yea!).  

Friday Fabulous Fruit

Ripe fruit is of course a flower at the stage of seed dispersal.  And one of the nicest "flowering" shrubs in our gardens are the winterberries, which is a holly, (Ilex verticillata).  Now hollies do not have large attractive flowers, but the fruit display can be very vivid especially when contrasted against the green leaves.  Except winterberry is a deciduous native holly, so it drops its leaves leaving the brilliant red berries on display, where they will remain until discovered by migrating cedar waxwings or robins.  Like all hollies winterberry is also dioecious (2- houses), so you need "males" to pollinate the females.  TPP likes to plant a pollinator plant for every 3-4 fruiting plants.  Obviously the winterberries have not dropped their leaves yet, but you can see how bright the red berry display is anyways.  Unfortunately the berries are not edible for the basic human GI tract.  But they look great in a boarder planting.  The shrubs can grow to 3-4 meters tall in wet areas, but seldom get more than a meter or two in drier places.  They are not a finicky about soils as some hollies either.