Summary of “Why Are There Palm Trees in Los Angeles?”

Here’s something weirder: there are no palm trees.
Over the next 50 years, palm trees would become a major transformative force in the development of Los Angeles.
Los Angeles, lined with palm trees, on a postcard from the 1930s.
Two tall palm trees at the San Fernando Mission, showing a horse and carriage, ca.1886.
The young city, wanting to attract people to a world of sunshine and cars, planted tens of thousands of palm trees.
Palm trees weren’t the only non-natives that the early planners of Los Angeles planted.
Every awards show, every red carpet, every movie and show shot in Southern California included palm trees.
Says Farmer, Los Angeles is not likely to ever let palms completely vanish.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Toward a Theory of the New Weird”

By learning to read weird fictions on a literal level it may be possible to see how weird reality already is.
The Atwood story is a perfect example of The Weird, according to the definition of weirdness provided by the late Mark Fisher in his 2016 book, The Weird and the Eerie.
Taken together, Fisher’s notions of the weird and the eerie are ways of describing what he calls “That which does not belong.” The reason it does not belong is not that it is artificial or supernatural as opposed to natural.
“Natural” is exactly what is displaced, or made to not belong, in a weird story.
There’s a potential name for this kind of fiction: the New Weird.
The term itself isn’t new at all by now; it’s been floating around since the early 2000s, and even then, the type of writing it described was not necessarily a novel departure from types of writing that came before, such as the New Wave of the 1960s or the horror fiction of the 80s. Like all “New” and “Post-” terminology, the New is an adjective used to distinguish from and connect to a past genre-in this case what might be called the “Old Weird.” Old Weird is a name retroactively given to certain writing from the late 19th and early 20th century.
What feels weird or eerie depends on who you are, and is therefore a political question.
Through perceptual flips, New Weird could relocate the weird other from the outside to within.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Stunning Grounds, and Tragic History, of the Lost Gardens of Heligan”

Wholly by accident, I found myself in the Lost Gardens of Heligan.
How do you lose a garden? We’ve all read Forster, Woolf, and Galsworthy; at least, we’ve watched “Downton Abbey.” We understand the tribulations of the great British country houses as the country creaked into the twentieth century: thieving footmen, deranged ladies’-maids, and troublesome romances between under-butlers.
In 1914, a staff of twenty-three tended the grounds of the Heligan estate, an unremarkable stately home in Cornwall, at the southwestern tip of England.
By the end of the war, nine Heligan men-gardeners and laborers-were dead. Who now had time to look after any garden, particularly one on the scale of Heligan? It grew unkempt, then neglected, and, when the property’s childless squire moved to Italy, in 1923, abandoning his monkey puzzles, tree ferns, and magnolias to a series of uninterested tenants, the Georgian Ride, the Mushroom House, and Grotto were quickly forgotten.
Within weeks, the paths would have been entangled with bramble and honeysuckle, the herb garden strangled with bindweed.
In the nineteen-nineties, a new owner, a distant Tremayne, was exploring the jungle when he discovered a door in a wall and gradually uncovered not only a sophisticated and beautiful garden beneath the wilderness but the remnants of a world frozen on the edge of terrible change.
After an intensive restoration process, involving plant uncovering, well rejuvenation, and debates about the authenticity of electrical heating, the gardens were opened to the public: not as another impressive estate but as a First World War “Living memorial” recognized by the Imperial War Museum, in London.
The point of Heligan is archeology, not nostalgia; in some ways, it is the perfect antidote to garden envy.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The California Sunday Magazine”

The state apple commission advertised its wares with a poster of a stoplight: one apple each in red, green, and yellow.
Still, the latter’s large cells gave it a texture, juicy and explosive, unlike any other apple on the market; before long, consumers’ demand, and the prices they were willing to pay, was so high that growers were planting the damn thing all over the place in spite of themselves - and also starting to think differently about apples in general.
The apple’s taglines, to be paired with images of starry skies, are Imagine the Possibilities and The Apple of Big Dreams.
Launch activities include branding partnerships with a nationally touring children’s theater production of Johnny Appleseed and with a group of what Grandy assured me were important social media influencers, including someone called “The Produce Mom.” Actually shooting an apple into space has already been done as a marketing stunt for an apple called Autumn Glory, which is marketed, accurately, as tasting like cinnamon and caramel.
The apple tested so well that WSU, in collaboration with commercial nurseries, began producing apple saplings as fast as possible; the plan was to start with 300,000 trees, but growers requested 4 million, leading to a lottery for divvying up the first available trees.
How do you sell something without a name? A company called Apple King grew WA 2 and sold it as Crimson Delight; later, when WA 2 was officially re-released and re-branded as Sunrise Magic, Apple King sued.
Even though apples store well, premium, smaller-volume varieties struggle to achieve year-round availability, and how do you effectively market a product that isn’t on the shelf every time a shopper returns to look for it? “We call it critical mass,” said Grandy: The Cosmic Crisp goal is to grow enough fruit to create the impression that the apple is as reliable and consistent a product as a granola bar.
At the Washington Apple Commission, which markets Washington apples internationally, I met Toni Lynn Adams, who told me about a recent marketing campaign meant to educate consumers in Mexico about Galas: People weren’t buying them because they thought the apples, less red than the familiar Red Delicious, were unripe.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Massive Forest Restoration Could Greatly Slow Global Warming”

We have heard for years that planting trees can help save the world from global warming.
Now the data finally exist to show that if the right species of trees are planted in the right soil types across the planet, the emerging forests could capture 205 gigatons of carbon dioxide in the next 40 to 100 years.
“Forest restoration is by far our most powerful planetary solution today,” says Tom Crowther, a professor of global ecosystem ecology at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, and an author of a study published Thursday in Science that generated the eye-opening number.
The study team analyzed almost 80,000 satellite photo measurements of tree cover worldwide and combined them with enormous global databases about soil and climate conditions, evaluating one hectare at a time.
The exercise generated a detailed map of how many trees the earth could naturally support-where forests grow now and where they could grow, outside of areas such as deserts and savannahs that support very few or no trees.
After 40 to 100 years, of course, the storage rate would flatten as forest growth levels off-but the researchers say the 205 gigatons would be maintained as old trees die and new ones grow.
Crowther has not studied other carbon sequestration techniques that have been discussed a lot lately, such as ocean fertilization or direct air capture, but he thinks they would be much more expensive than growing trees.
All the new tree work, Chazdon says, signals that “We’re entering into the practicality stage” of smart reforestation.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Tree planting ‘has mind-blowing potential’ to tackle climate crisis”

Planting billions of trees across the world is by far the biggest and cheapest way to tackle the climate crisis, according to scientists, who have made the first calculation of how many more trees could be planted without encroaching on crop land or urban areas.
Tropical areas could have 100% tree cover, while others would be more sparsely covered, meaning that on average about half the area would be under tree canopy.
Tree planting is “a climate change solution that doesn’t require President Trump to immediately start believing in climate change, or scientists to come up with technological solutions to draw carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere”, Crowther said.
Trees draw carbon dioxide back out of the atmosphere as they grow, and planting trees will need to play an important part in ending the climate emergency.
The study, published in the journal Science, determines the potential for tree planting but does not address how a global tree planting programme would be paid for and delivered.
Crowther said: “The most effective projects are doing restoration for 30 US cents a tree. That means we could restore the 1tn trees for $300bn , though obviously that means immense efficiency and effectiveness. But it is by far the cheapest solution that has ever been proposed.” He said financial incentives to land owners for tree planting are the only way he sees it happening, but he thinks $300bn would be within reach of a coalition of billionaire philanthropists and the public.
Tree planting initiatives already exist, including the Bonn Challenge, backed by 48 nations, aimed at restoring 350m hectares of forest by 2030.
Prof Simon Lewis, at University College London, said the carbon already in the land before tree planting was not accounted for and that it takes hundreds of years to achieve maximum storage.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Matchmaking Tree and the Lonely Postman”

“People used to memorize my route and wait for me to arrive because they couldn’t believe that a postman would deliver letters to a tree,” Martens told the press, who called the now-retired mailman the “Messenger of love.” The Bräutigamseiche, or Bridegroom’s Oak, is the only tree in Europe with its own mailing address.
The only rule, Martens told me sternly, is that if you open a letter and don’t respond, you must place it back in the tree for someone else to find.
Though public speaking was difficult at first, with daily practice Martens started to relish sharing the story of the tree.
A new program for the sorting of letters reduced the service’s number of letter centers from 3,600 to just 350, and in 1967 Martens was relocated from his job in Kappeln to another in Kiel.
Martens always felt destined for a job in the public sector, and believed that delivering love letters was his civic duty.
In 1988, Martens delivered a letter to the tree bearing the postmark of Bad Salzungen, one of East Germany’s oldest saltwater spa towns.
As Martens climbed the wooden steps for maybe the thousandth time, he reached into his mailbag and noticed an unusual letter.
“I still come here often.,” Martens told me as we circled the tree together last year.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How Almonds Went From Deadly To Delicious”

How Almonds Went From Deadly To Delicious : The Salt In a new study, researchers pinpoint the genetic mutation that transformed almonds from toxic and bitter to tasty and sweet.
Even today, consuming 50 – or fewer – wild, bitter almonds could potentially kill an adult, and just a handful contain enough cyanide to be lethal to a child.
Wild almonds helped us out – and now we know just how they went from deadly to delicious.
A study published this week in the journal Science sequenced the almond genome and shows that a single genetic mutation “Turned off” the ability to make the toxic compound thousands of years ago – a key step before humans could domesticate almonds.
Archaeological evidence of cultivated almonds dates back to 3,000 B.C. But some geneticists think that humans probably started cultivating sweet mutated almonds much earlier than that, around 12,000 years ago.
Today, many people have never even heard of poisonous almonds, much less come across one in the wild – though some folks still eat bitter almonds in small doses.
In Tunisia people still make orgeat syrup with bitter almonds.
Dianne Velasco, a postdoctoral researcher in plant genetics at the University of California, Davis, whose work focuses on almonds and peaches, says that the research could potentially be put to use “Very quickly” in helping plant breeders raise almonds more efficiently.

The orginal article.

Summary of “An Inconvenient Truth”

California’s cap-and-trade program allows companies to offset a small percentage of their carbon output with forest preservation projects in North America.
While some areas, like Phaav, gained forest, most lost a significant number of trees, and one lost all of its forest.
In Madagascar, deforestation in the reference area was already twice as high as in the project forest, so the project could claim to cut deforestation in half without doing a thing.
“Everyone who lives in the forest, who lives from the forest, needs a livelihood.”
These kinds of frustrations have undone forest offset projects across the world.
To estimate the amount of forest left in the protected areas in the Cambodia project, ProPublica asked Descartes Labs to look at the official project documents filed with Verra, the nonprofit that set the standards for the credits generated.
The project developers used Landsat satellite data with 30 meter resolution to define forested areas “Containing at least 10% canopy cover, a tree height of 5 m, and a minimal area of 0.5 ha, for at least 10 years before the project start date.”
Descartes Labs then used the Global PALSAR Forest map, created by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, to examine the extent of forest in these areas as of 2017 using the geographic boundaries available in the project documents.

The orginal article.

Summary of “California scientists unravel genetic mysteries of world’s tallest trees”

Scientists have unlocked the genetic codes of California’s most distinguished, longest-lasting residents – coast redwood and giant sequoia trees – in what is a major breakthrough in the quest to protect the magnificent forests from the ravages of climate change, researchers announced Tuesday.
The sequencing of the towering conifers’ genomes is being presented as a transformational moment for the ancient groves because it will allow scientists to figure out which trees are best suited for a warmer, more volatile future.
“The justification of this whole research program is discovering the genetic basis – how trees are adapted to their environment and how they might adapt to a changing environment,” he said.
Unlocking the genetic code for the gargantuan trees was no easy task.
The effort to identify flaws and fight sickness in trees is the same scientific process that led to cures for diseases like sickle cell anemia after the human genome was sequenced in 2000, the scientists said.
The work is important because old-growth trees once covered mountainous regions in the Sierra Nevada range and along the California coast all the way to the Oregon border.
Since the 1850s, loggers have been cutting them down, including a massive stand in Oakland that researchers say might have contained the largest trees in the world.
Save the Redwoods League was formed in 1918 to protect the imperiled trees, but the trees kept falling to the ax until environmental activists stopped the logging over the past few decades.

The orginal article.