Mark Kane

groundskeeper, www.yourgardenshow.com
Des Moines, IA, United States

About Mark

Bio

Stanford, U of CA, Peace Corps Morocco, grapegrowing, farming, horticultural journalism and photography, new ventures (Hypertat, Fine Gardening, Garden Gate, Learn2Grow.com, YourGardenShow.com), art photography.

Languages

Arabic, English, French

Areas of Expertise

Horticulture/earth safety/garden design, Delta blues

An idea worth spreading

A free website (call it Conjecture Haven) where scientifically-minded and observant people can post their conjectures about why a phenomena exists or came to be and what it is doing. Idea #2: a Google Wiki for the connections people make between disparate items but rarely express, a sort of meta Google search feature. For example, when I think of tyranny, in the abstract or in current events, I almost always think of Nabokov's novel Bend Sinister, the supreme immersion in the nightmare. In its current form Google doesn't know that connection but it could.

I'm passionate about

Energy efficiency, science and science reporting, sustainable living.

Talk to me about

the natural world

People don't know I'm good at

relishing literature

My TED story

Hans Rosling's presentations have inspired me to gather collaborators and resources to build a statistical history of Iowa as a tool for spotting trends and their direction, partly as a way of adding facts to political life, partly to help people see where they live.

Comments & conversations

119140
Mark Kane
Posted about 2 years ago
Richard Preston: The mysterious lives of giant trees
What's known about the apical meristems of redwoods. As they renew themselves and rise hundreds of feet over hundreds of years exposed to solar radiation, how do they safeguard their DNA and avoid mutations that would distort their nature?
119140
Mark Kane
Posted over 2 years ago
Science is developing the tools towards de-extinction of species on the planet that have become extinct. The question becomes; Should we?
I recommend, to broaden our view, the book 1493. A long, cautionary look at how we transformed what was here, for the most part without a hope of guiding the consequences. In half a century we have left untouched mere traces of a former natural world. Resurrecting the carrier pigeon still seems to me a self-indulgence. Devote the same resources to ending hunger and ending the carnage it wreaks via epigenetics on young minds, perhaps even future generations.
119140
Mark Kane
Posted over 2 years ago
Stewart Brand: The dawn of de-extinction. Are you ready?
True for the general argument, but please note that I gave two specific examples. A certain degree of informed speculation allows me to question reviving another specific example, the passenger pigeon. As Stewart Brand says, it was tremendously prolific. What would it eat in our devolved ecology (compared to the vast forests of chestnuts and oaks in its time)? Imagine if you will hundreds of millions of the birds in North America.
119140
Mark Kane
Posted over 2 years ago
Stewart Brand: The dawn of de-extinction. Are you ready?
I m very skeptical about the wisdom of the human race. Can we meddle with anything on a vast scale without doing more harm than good? To list a few big ideas that scare me: remediate global warming by launching giant parasols into orbit to shade the earth or aerosolized you name it, changing the pH of the oceans, bringing back the passenger pigeon or almost any other extinct species. The ancient Greeks warned us about hubris but who was listening?
119140
Mark Kane
Posted almost 4 years ago
Jonathan Drori: The beautiful tricks of flowers
The distinctions between plants and animals blur in light of certain particulars. Motile sperm? Both kingdoms have it. Heat production? Ditto. Mobility (at widely different speeds) ditto. I like to muse about these remote similarities because they remind me how much more we have to learn about plants.