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Net Watch...choice selections on the 'net
"Net Watch" aims to report those sites that you, as a grower, propagator or appreciator of Australian plants, might find interesting. Most of them relate to Australian issues of a horticultural, botanical or conservation nature but a few are of more general interest. A couple of other sites are "thrown in" for no other reason than that they redefine the term "bizarre". If you know of a site that fits into these general categories, please let us know.
The Living World
Wayne's World is a compilation of diverse (and sometimes mind-boggling) information on plants. You will find all sorts of facts and trivia here. As an example take a look at Wayne's page of stinking plants. Why do some plants smell like a rotting carcass? Why do some plants smell like flatulence? Why indeed....
Learn about the foul-smelling Starfish Flowers of Africa, the rank and remarkable Arums and the appropriately named Stinking Corpse Lily - the world's largest flower! Wisely, the site publishes the following disclaimer:
"The staff at Wayne's World assumes no responsibility for using any of the following flowers in a bouquet, corsage or floral arrangement...."
And when you've had enough of foul smells take a look around the rest of Wayne's World and be truly thankful that the World Wide Web is restricted to sight and sound!
Australian Association of Bush Regenerators
Bush regeneration has become an important part of caring for the natural environment. But does it involve descending on a piece of degraded bushland with herbicide and bulldozers?? Indeed, it does not!
The Australian Association of Bush Regenerators (AABR) was established in 1986 out of concern for the continuing survival and integrity of bushland and its dependent fauna in or near bushland areas. The Association's aim is to foster and encourage sound ecological practices of bushland management by qualified people, and to promote the study and practice of Bush Regeneration.
The site outlines the benefits of becoming a member of AABR but it also includes useful information on:
- Choosing suitable plants for gardens in near-bushland areas
- Selecting plants for a fauna friendly garden
- The problems of feeding native birds.
- Bushland weeds of the Sydney/Blue Mountains areas
- The Aboriginal people of the Sydney region
Medit-Plants is an internet mailing list which was set up to discuss gardening problems for people in Mediterranean-type climates and for masochists elsewhere who want to grow Mediterranean climate plants.
This is the web site for the list so, if you have a bit of a trawl around the site you can decide whether you want to subscribe to the mailing list itself. The site is not complete but it promises to develop into something special over the next few years.
Of course you all know that there are 5 Mediterranean climate zones, don't you? Well, in case you don't they are:
- The area surrounding the Mediterranean sea (yes...really!)
- The South African Cape
- Southern and Western Australia
- Central Chile
- Much of California
As it develops the site will provide lists of plants for Mediterranean climates (including photos).
So, if dry, hot summers and wet winters sound like your little piece of the earth, you could do a lot worse than bookmark this site.
On Line Biology Book
If you're interested in a serious study of biology, this seems to be a good place to start. It is certainly comprehensive and is copiously illustrated with informative diagrams drawn from numerous other web pages (all acknowledged).
For the plant enthusiast, several chapters are particularly interesting:
- Chapter 13 - Photosynthesis
- Chapter 14 - Introduction to genetics
- Chapters 20 and 21 - Plants and their structure
- Chapter 22 - Flowering plant reproduction; Flower structure
- Chapter 23 - Flowering plant reproduction; Fertilization and fruits
- Chapter 24 - Plant hormones and nutrition
Learn all about sporophytes, gametophytes, micropyles and megaspores...and much (so much) more. You can learn enough here to bore your friends senseless for numerous dinner parties to come.....
No Plants...But Worth Checking!
Internet Public Library
The metaphor here is that of a large public library in a major city. It's essentially a massive collection of internet links although that description trivialises what is an outstanding reference for anyone doing research on almost any conceivable topic.
The "Reference Centre" is the main point of entry. Here you select from the major topic categories:
- Arts & Humanities
- Business & Economics
- Computers & Internet
- Entertainment & Leisure
- Health & Medical Sciences
- Law, Government & Political Science
- Sciences & Technology
- Social Sciences
There are also links to an extensive range of worldwide Newspapers and to online serials and journals.
The Exhibition Hall contains "Current Exhibits" and "Permanent Exhibits" including....
- A Guide to Western Composers and Their Music
- Pueblo Pottery
- Swinging Through Time: The Graystone Museum and the Story of Detroit Jazz
- Dinosaur Floor of the Exhibit Museum
- Lighthouses: A Photographic Journey
- The Art of the Fake: Egyptian Forgeries from the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology
Without doubt....an impressive resource!
Today's Internet Calendar
"Ho, hum".....I hear you sigh. "Not, another Calendar/Personal Information Manager."
Well...yes. But, bear with me; this one's not bad and it's Aussie as well!
Personally, I find the idea of an on line calendar a bit hard to grasp....after all, you have to go on line to use it. But, if you spend a good deal of time on line, you might like to take a look at this. Today's Internet Calendar is intended as " a place to go every day to check out your calendar, holidays, a joke or two, some Australian history and a word for the day."
Your calendar is completely customisable for your own personal use....you can hide certain sections which are of no particular interest, add notes to particular dates and, if you have a web site, you can link the site to your Calendar. This last feature might be useful for community groups which want to have an on line "What's On" calendar for their members.
Even if you have no particular use for an on line Calendar, you might find the "Measure to Measure Conversion Calculator" helpful. Want to know how many British Thermal Units in a Kilojoule? How many Cubic Centimetres in a US Gallon? Hundredweight (Imperial) in a Hundredweight (US)?... the calculator knows all!
After all that, do I use it personally? Well..er....no. I'm addicted to Sidekick.
Over the Top!
The Quackery Hall of Fame
The Museum of Questionable Medical Devices describes itself as follows.....
"Devious Displays of Quackery, Fraud, Deceit and Deception -- the largest collection of medical chicanery and mayhem ever assembled under one roof !!! "
Well....I can't argue with that!
Learn all about "Phrenology" using a machine called a "Psychograph" which measures the bumps on a person's head to determine personality characteristics such as intelligence, chastity, suavity and spirituality. The subject being assessed sat on a stool and the machine's headpiece containing probes was lowered.....33 machines were built in the 1930s.
Then there's devices aimed at facilitating the ancient art of "Phlebotomy" (bloodletting). My favourite of this group goes by the happy name of "the Scarificator" a multi-bladed device which
"released spring-driven rotary blades which caused many shallow cuts". Very nice....
If these aren't bizarre enough for you, there's an assortment of other devices on offer.... the "Shoe-fitting X-ray Device", the "Stimulator" (the ultimate self-abusememt instrument), the "MacGegor Rejuvenator" (not exactly a fountain of youth) and one that is testimony to human ingenuity....the "Foot-operated Breast Enlarger Pump"!
The interesting thing is that the Museum of Questionable Medical Devices actually exists in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA and visitors can get to try out some of the exhibits!. The site gives detailed directions on how to find it if you happen to be visiting that city.
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Australian Plants online - March 1999
The Society for Growing Australian Plants