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81
Food for thought? French bean plants show signs of intent, say scientists

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...Together with Vicente Raja at the Rotman Institute of Philosophy in London, Canada, they used time-lapse photography to document the behaviour of 20 potted bean plants, grown either in the vicinity of a support pole or without one, until the tip of the shoot made contact with the pole. Using this footage, they analysed the dynamics of the shoots’ growth, finding that their approach was more controlled and predictable when a pole was present. The difference was analogous to sending a blindfolded person into a room containing an obstacle, and either telling them about it or letting them stumble into it.

“We see these signatures of complex behaviour, the one and only difference being is that it’s not neural-based, as it is in humans,” Calvo said. “This isn’t just adaptive behaviour, it’s anticipatory, goal-directed, flexible behaviour.”

The research was published in Scientific Reports. “Although the research seems sound, it is not clear that it teaches us much new about plant sentience or intelligence,” said Rick Karban, who studies plant communication at the University of California, Davis. “For more than a century, scientists have been aware that plants sense aspects of their environments and respond, and understanding how plants [do this] is an active area of current research. Whether you choose to consider these processes sentience or intelligence depends entirely on how to choose to define these terms.”

Calvo acknowledges that this experiment alone doesn’t prove intent, much less consciousness. However, if plants really do possess intent, it would make sense. All biological organisms require the means to cope with uncertainty and adapt their behaviour to pass on their genes, but the timescale on which they operate makes this particularly imperative for plants: “They do things so slowly, that they can’t afford to try again if they miss,” Calvo said.

One possibility is that this “consciousness” arises out of the connections between plants’ vascular systems and their meristems – regions of undifferentiated dividing cells in their root and shoot tips, and at the base of leaves.

In a separate paper, Calvo and his colleagues set out a theory of plant consciousness based on integrated information theory (IIT) – a leading theory of consciousness – which posits that we can identify a person’s (or any system’s) level of consciousness from the complexity of the interactions between its individual parts.

Others rebut such claims. IIT is based on an assumption that everything material has an element of consciousness, even nonliving complex systems: “It cannot have any special significance for plants,” said Jon Mallatt at the University of Washington, US. He believes claims about sentient plants are misleading, and risk misdirecting scientific funding and government policy decisions.

Calvo said he was happy to be disproved, but experimentally, rather than on theoretical grounds. In another paper scheduled to appear in the Journal of Consciousness Studies, he proposes a set of experiments which may settle the matter once and for all. “If successful, these experiments could position plants as the next frontier in consciousness science, and urge us to rethink our perspectives on consciousness, how to measure it, and its prevalence amongst living beings,” he said. The gardening gloves are off.
82
General Misc. / Re: What are you watching?
« Last post by TaoHorror on January 15, 2021, 04:11:49 pm »
TH, fixed that..

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Right - has it happened to us? We wouldn't know it.
83
Literature / Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2021
« Last post by MSJ on January 15, 2021, 12:28:56 am »
Quote from:  The P
Another book coming out this year, which will probably be a prioritized read: The Witness for the Dead by Katherine Addison

I remember seeing The Goblin Emperor/King(?) a few years ago, but not knowing if it was worth the grab. Did you like it?
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Literature / Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2021
« Last post by The P on January 15, 2021, 12:04:01 am »
Another book coming out this year, which will probably be a prioritized read: The Witness for the Dead by Katherine Addison
85
Can Self-Replicating Species Flourish in the Interior of a Star?

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The existing view of biological life is that it evolves under suitable conditions in the low-temperature world of atoms and molecules on the surface of a planet. It is believed that any plausible extraterrestrial form of life must resemble the life on Earth that is ruled by biochemistry of nucleic acids, proteins, and sugars. Going against this dogma, we argue that an advanced form of life based upon short-lived species can exist inside main-sequence stars like our Sun.

PBS Space Time throws a bit of cold water onto this idea of sidereal ecosystems, bringing us back down to Earth.
86
General Misc. / Re: What are you watching?
« Last post by MSJ on January 14, 2021, 07:06:17 pm »
TH, fixed that..

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87
Literature / Re: Yearly Reading Targets 2021
« Last post by H on January 14, 2021, 03:59:27 pm »
H, how have you been? Still delving into the deeps, I see. I have never started that series, and have continually heard good things. I'll add that to the list.

Alright, hanging on, doing what we can, haha.

I honestly haven't been reading much fiction at all.  In fact, I am not even sure I read a fiction book all of last year (although I probably did and just can't recall).  Pretty much all I read now is philosophy.  I think Red Wolf, Black Leopard is really good but it is nontraditional in several key ways that probably make it not appeal to most readers (both in it's depiction of sexuality and in the structure of the narrative).

Hope you been well yourself!
88
General Misc. / Re: What are you watching?
« Last post by TaoHorror on January 14, 2021, 02:31:41 pm »
Yeah, Dark is really good.  I think the only criticism is that it probably could have been a bit better in the end, but certainly well worth watching and it was certainly interesting/entertaining.

ENDING SPOILER
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89
General Misc. / Re: What are you watching?
« Last post by H on January 14, 2021, 02:20:54 pm »
Yeah, Dark is really good.  I think the only criticism is that it probably could have been a bit better in the end, but certainly well worth watching and it was certainly interesting/entertaining.

I think the same writers have another show in the works, but I can't recall what it is at the moment.
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General Misc. / Re: What are you watching?
« Last post by TaoHorror on January 14, 2021, 01:30:19 pm »
Its been awhile and I'm not reading the thread atm. But, have any of you watched Dark on Netflix? The time-traveling one, there a couple different "Dark's" on Netflix....

Its probably...no, definitely top 3 all-time TV series I've watched. Its finished and if you haven't watched, GO WATCH IT!!!

xxx removed my spoiler response xxx

Yes, we've discussed Dark, but it's so good, it's worth talking more about it.

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