Thursday, September 27, 2007

Why Do Plants Cry?

I came to work this morning to find that one of my plants had missed me.

I did not have my camera, but was able to find this picture of another plant that did the same thing.

Very interesting.
Perhaps some of you may understand why this occurs.
As I was searching for answers on my plant, I came accross the study below which
strangely enough ties in with my Changing Stations Blog but for plants.
It is a bit long, but worth the read.

About Positive Music
by Don Robertson

The Plant Experiments

In 1973, a woman named Dorothy Retallack published a small book called The Sound of Music and Plants. Her book detailed experiments that she had been conducting at the Colorado Woman’s College in Denver using the school’s three Biotronic Control Chambers. Mrs. Retallack placed plants in each chamber and speakers through which she played sounds and particular styles of music. She watched the plants and recorded their progress daily. She was astounded at what she discovered.

Her first experiment was to simply play a constant tone. In the first of the three chambers, she played a steady tone continuously for eight hours. In the second, she played the tone for three hours intermittently, and in the third chamber, she played no tone at all. The plants in the first chamber, with the constant tone, died within fourteen days. The plants in the second chamber grew abundantly and were extremely healthy, even more so than the plants in the third chamber. This was a very interesting outcome, very similar to the results that were obtained from experiments performed by the Muzak Corporation in the early 1940s to determine the effect of "background music" on factory workers. When music was played continuously, the workers were more fatigued and less productive, when played for several hours only, several times a day, the workers were more productive, and more alert and attentive than when no music was played.

Dorothy Retallack and Professor Broman working with the plants used in music experiments.

For her next experiment, Mrs. Retallack used two chambers (and fresh plants). She placed radios in each chamber. In one chamber, the radio was tuned to a local rock station, and in the other the radio played a station that featured soothing "middle-of-the-road" music. Only three hours of music was played in each chamber. On the fifth day, she began noticing drastic changes. In the chamber with the soothing music, the plants were growing healthily and their stems were starting to bend towards the radio! In the rock chamber, half the plants had small leaves and had grown gangly, while the others were stunted. After two weeks, the plants in the soothing-music chamber were uniform in size, lush and green, and were leaning between 15 and 20 degrees toward the radio. The plants in the rock chamber had grown extremely tall and were drooping, the blooms had faded and the stems were bending away from the radio. On the sixteenth day, all but a few plants in the rock chamber were in the last stages of dying. In the other chamber, the plants were alive, beautiful, and growing abundantly.

"Chaos, pure chaos": plants subjected to Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix didn't survive

Mrs. Retallack’s next experiment was to create a tape of rock music by Jimi Hendrix, Vanilla Fudge, and Led Zeppelin. Again, the plants turned away from the music. Thinking maybe it was the percussion in the rock music that was causing the plants to lean away from the speakers, she performed an experiment playing a song that was performed on steel drums. The plants in this experiment leaned just slightly away from the speaker; however not as extremely as did the plants in the rock chambers. When she performed the experiment again, this time with the same song played by strings, the plants bent towards the speaker.

Next Mrs. Retallack tried another experiment again using the three chambers. In one chamber she played North Indian classical music performed by sitar and tabla, in another she played Bach organ music, and in the third, no music was played. The plants "liked" the North Indian classical music the best. In both the Bach and sitar chambers, the plants leaned toward the speakers, but he plants in the Indian music chamber leaned toward the speakers the most.

She went on to experiment with other types of music. The plants showed no reaction at all to country and western music, similarly to those in silent chambers. However, the plants "liked" the jazz that she played them. She tried an experiment using rock in one chamber, and "modern" (dischordant) classical music of negative composers Arnold Schönberg and Anton Webern in another. The plants in the rock chamber leaned 30 to 70 degrees away from the speakers and the plants in the modern classical chamber leaned 10 to 15 degrees away.

I spoke with Mrs. Retallack about her experiments a few years after her book was published, and at that time I began performing my own experiments with plants using a wood-frame and clear-plastic-covered structure that I had built in my back yard. For one month, I played three-hours-a-day of music from Arnold Schönberg’s negative opera Moses and Aaron, and for another month I played three-hours-a-day of the positive music of Palestrina. The effects were clear. The plants subjected to Schönberg died. The plants that listened to Palestrina flourished.

In these experiments, albeit basic and not fully scientific, we have the genesis of a theory of positive and negative music. What is it that causes the plants to thrive or die, to grow bending toward a source of sound or away from it? This brings us to many great qustions....

What is Positive Music?
The Effects of Music
The Science of Sound
Musical Scales
The Positive and Negative in Music
The Plant Experiments
Negative Music
Positive Music
How Can I Tell the Difference Between Positive
and Negative Music?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Let’s Face It

It Is Not The Journey That Is Wierd..

People, all people, are just weird.
My husband and I were discussing the fact that all our friends are a bit weird.
Some more than others, but there is a level of weird to all.
We then looked at each other and began to dissect how weird we must be.
After all, you are what you attract.
We of course think we are not as weird as some of our friends.
Likely, if you know about this site, you are one of our friends and you probably think we are weirder than you.
We can debate that over dinner and a good lemon drop martini at some point.
Really though…all people are weird.
Let me list just a few examples.
We like to go to scary movies where we eat comfort food.
We like our gifts to be surprises, but we want holidays to feel just like when we were kids.
Or perhaps if holidays were not great, we want them to feel like we imagined all the “normal” kids holidays were.
We want to create things no one has ever seen, and then we care more about mass appeal of people recognizing that creation as worthy than celebrating the uniqueness.
It would seem nearly impossible to create a first with the goal of mass appeal in mind.
And yet we try, as we are social creatures.
Even anti-social people look alike. How does that happen without paying attention to what others think and feel?

So, humans who are sometimes humane, and at other times very basic in nature are just plain weird..
Or perhaps vibrantly so.
Either way, for all our weird friends, you are loved and accepted not despite your break from the norm, but because of it.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Changing Stations

I am the worst at listening to one maybe two different radio stations.
Lately, I have not even turned on my radio at all during my one hour commute in.

Part of the reason I stopped listening to the radio on my drive was to help create an insulated space where inspiration might occur.

Lately, I have had several short deadlines where solutions were needed and trial and error has been discouraged.

In short, I needed ideas that would work the first time.

No Pressure.

Most ideas that don’t seem to come just from me...
but instead are more supernatural in nature....
seem to come while I am working out.

Ummmm...I seem to remember that when a boxer is fully engaged in an intense battle,
a lot of the blood has moved away from the brain.
Thus, a hit to the head can cause a knock-out more easily the more tired the boxer becomes.

I think that may be why some ideas come to me better when working out.
My brain is less engaged in a robotic mode and the body and spirit may be getting more of the receptors.

Back to changing stations.
Whether it is no station or a different station, I change as a result.

At work, I have been listening to a lot of Country Music….
mostly because my office is very insulated and there seemed to be only one station that would come in clearly.

Lots of good stories in Country Music…but there is a mood to this music that can seep into me.

Not a bad mood, just maybe more of a passive or less confident mood than what might be a good idea given the challenges of the day.

Today, my station did not come in clearly.
I had not moved my radio or my antenna and yet my faithful ballads were shadowed with static.

At first I thought, just turn off the radio, enjoy the quiet.
I had tested my radio many times in the past and it only came in clearly on the one station that was now losing strength.

Instead, I tried changing stations.
To my surprise a station that never came in clearly before, is playing soundly now.

This station is more upbeat, intense, and relentless in nature.

Hence this blog….
Just as Rocky needed his theme song before he could run up those stairs in Philly without being winded.
We all need a theme song. Ally was big on this back in the 90’s with her show.

And so here is my ah- ha moment….

If the one you are listening to, is not working for you any longer.
If you have some stairs to climb, that seems to take the wind out of you…..

It might be time to change stations.

These observations may seem like such simple truths for a Friday…

I guess that is one part of life, observing and then acting on simple truths.