Tuesday, December 16

Giacomo & the Beanstalk

I recently read an interesting piece from one of my favorite websites, Life In Italy. Once again, Italy’s intrepid researchers had made a breakthrough discovery:

Italian researchers have made an advance in plant-growth research that promises to stretch roots so more species can grow in arid areas and the fruits of other plants will be healthier without having to use fertilisers.

This discovery was nonetheless more significant as it was made by (a woman), Rome University’s Sabrina Sabatini, incredibly enticed back to Italy from the U.S. to further her plant research on Italian soil (pun totally unintended). But what makes it all the more miraculous was not the modification of the growth hormones they succeeded in isolating so that 'scientists will be able to control the length of roots so that shorter ones aren`t affected by salty water, enabling them to bear more fruit, and longer ones can tap into deep-lying reserves in drought-hit zones.'

It was because this discovery was made by a team of experts who came from a place that does not even have the rudest elementary concept of photosynthesis. Obviously skipped over in 5th grade science class, photosynthesis is right up there in Italy with 'superstition as a cure or cause of maladies' -- except that it's the plant which is causing the harm.

This is why in Italy, one is not allowed to bring flowers to new mothers in hospital. The cut roses, it seems, suck the air right out of the newborns’ lungs. So, most hospitals’ halls are lined with flowers perched outside the doors alongside the bed pans. Contrast that to the florist you’ll find at the entrance to pretty much every non-Italian hospital round the world.

This is why in Italy, my friends made me swear off plants in the bedroom. Again, insisting that they cut my supply of oxygen during the night, to the point that I would have hallucinations. Never mind that I’ve yet to hear a single case of this malady afflicting anyone in any other country.

And so, hats off to Sabatini and her great discovery. Maybe now she can devote her attentions to getting basic CO2 and Sunlight back in the school books. Now that would be a miracle.

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