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Winner of the 2016 PNBA Book AwardA finalist for the 2016 AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books, Young Adult Science Book categoryWe live in a world of seeds. From our morning toast to the cotton in our clothes, they are quite literally the stuff and staff of life, supporting diets, economies, and civilizations around the globe. Just as the search forWinner of the 2016 PNBA Book AwardA finalist for the 2016 AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books, Young Adult Science Book categoryWe live in a world of seeds. From our morning toast to the cotton in our clothes, they are quite literally the stuff and staff of life, supporting diets, economies, and civilizations around the globe. Just as the search for nutmeg and the humble peppercorn drove the Age of Discovery, so did coffee beans help fuel the Enlightenment, and cottonseed help spark the Industrial Revolution. And from the Fall of Rome to the Arab Spring, the fate of nations continues to hinge on the seeds of a Middle Eastern grass known as wheat.In nature and in culture, seeds are fundamental—objects of beauty, evolutionary wonder, and simple fascination. How many times has a child dropped the winged pip of a maple, marveling as it spirals its way down to the ground, or relished the way a gust of wind(or a stout breath) can send a dandelion's feathery flotilla skyward? Yet despite their importance, seeds are often seen as a commonplace, their extraordinary natural and human histories overlooked. Thanks to Thor Hanson and this stunning new book, they can be overlooked no more.What makes The Triumph of Seeds remarkable is not just that it is informative, humane, hilarious, and even moving, just as what makes seeds remarkable is not simply their fundamental importance to life. In both cases, it is their sheer vitality and the delight that we can take in their existence—the opportunity to experience, as Hanson puts it, “the simple joy of seeing something beautiful, doing what it is meant to do.” Spanning the globe from the Raccoon Shack—Hanson's backyard writing hideout-cum-laboratory—to the coffee shops of Seattle, from gardens and flower patches to the spice routes of Kerala, this is a book of knowledge, adventure, and wonder, spun by an award-winning writer with both the charm of a fireside story-teller and the hard-won expertise of a field biologist. A worthy heir to the grand tradition of Aldo Leopold and Bernd Heinrich, The Triumph of Seeds takes us on a fascinating scientific adventure through the wild and beautiful world of seeds. It is essential reading for anyone who loves to see a plant grow....

Title : The Triumph of Seeds: How Grains, Nuts, Kernels, Pulses, and Pips Conquered the Plant Kingdom and Shaped Human History
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ISBN : 9780465055999
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 277 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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The Triumph of Seeds: How Grains, Nuts, Kernels, Pulses, and Pips Conquered the Plant Kingdom and Shaped Human History Reviews

  • Melissa
    2019-04-25 15:25

    This is a nice overview of the importance of seeds throughout history and around the world. The best part about this book is that it never gets too bogged down in scientific lingo- thus someone (like me) with very little knowledge on seeds can not only understand everything the author is saying, but also really enjoy it. The book is also set up in a way that if you wanted, you could read the book out of order or just read the sections that appeal to you- the chapter on coffee for instance, if you love coffee. As a lover of all things spicy, my favorite chapter was the one focused on capsicum peppers. I had no idea that so many varieties of pepper all originated from the same region. It was fascinating to read.

  • Jeanette
    2019-04-14 20:17

    Excellent in tone and in open-mindedness. Superlative in scientific description!This first half might be more depth into plant and seed evolution than the common reader for fauna might respond to/with- but oh yes, stick with it. There is much more beyond the coal fields' evidence in this wonderful mix of reality and uses for that "a baby in a box with a lunch" that is a seed.The chapters on seed shell thickness, their parallels to seed eaters and the flesh eaters who eat the seed eaters- all of the types. Just marvelous!I especially enjoyed the tale of the chilies and capsaicin. Thank you, fungi! Without you, capsaicin would not have arrived. Columbus searching for his spicy seeds and always finding the "wrong" kind. Seeds as fliers. Seeds as poisons. Seeds as inventive changing miracles!And of course the studies with the almendro that intrigue. That baby sure has a lunch.Thor Hanson has written one worth reading. I especially love some of his own asides to knowing the "truth" and all we don't know. Highly rec this one before spring planting.

  • Scot
    2019-04-15 13:59

    My wife often makes fun of me when she sees the titles of books I read. Such was the case with this book. And, in her defense, a younger version of me would have rather stabbed himself in the neck rather than pick up a book with this title.But, good gravy, this was one of the most fascinating books I've read a long time. The author not only conveyed his admiration of seeds but told a story so compelling that I now share that admiration. I'm a fan of both the author and the subject.

  • Megz
    2019-04-08 19:26

    I love micro-histories – books that delve into the history and specifics of one small specific thing. One of my favourites is The Big Necessity by Rose George, about human waste (and the toilet). Just for balance, my least favourite is Stiff by Mary Roach.The Triumph of Seeds: How Grains, Nuts, Kernels, Pulses, and Pips Conquered the Plant Kingdom and Shaped Human History by Thor Hanson is about, well: seeds. I requested the book because the cover looked pretty cool and because, as I already said, I enjoy finding out really random and extensive things about one focused object.In nature and in culture, seeds are fundamental—objects of beauty, evolutionary wonder, and simple fascination. How many times has a child dropped the winged pip of a maple, marveling as it spirals its way down to the ground, or relished the way a gust of wind(or a stout breath) can send a dandelion’s feathery flotilla skyward? Yet despite their importance, seeds are often seen as a commonplace, their extraordinary natural and human histories overlooked.Hanson has a fabulous relationship with his subject. He speaks of them in the same breath as his family, and he writes fondly about them. He exalts their qualities: seeds nourish, they unite, they endure, they defend and they travel.His sense of humour is rather enjoyable. For example, when he compares the reproduction of seed-bearing plants to that of spore-bearing plants, he writes,When spore plants have sex, they usually do it in dark, wet places, and quite often with themselves.Most enjoyable is the placement of seeds we know – or their products. Coffee beans, cocoa, chilies, ricin, coumarin – the latter both derived in one way or another from seeds, believe it or not – become altogether relatable. He interweaves their histories with human histories: wars, assassinations, economic booms and collapses.Things I loved learning:how climate influences the heat of chilieshow caffeine influences the growth of the coffee plant and its competitorshow coumarin was developedthe evolutionary impetus for the development of fruitsOf course, this book has a big dose of science as well. And I liked the way Hanson elaborates on his science. He does not dumb it down so much that the reader feels patronized, but he does not fill it to the brim with hard-to-understand jargon, either.So basically, Thor Hanson has written a pretty awesome micro-history of seeds, and I loved it. It didn’t read fast, but it sure read well, and I fully intend to get a physical copy of my own.Disclaimer: I received a digital galley of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  • Nicole
    2019-04-18 16:15

    A really enjoyable and educational microhistory about seeds that I picked up at the library based on the cover. I'm glad I did! The author did an excellent job of presenting scientific information in ways that are enriching and educational. The science is there, but a PhD is not necessary to parse through it. Nor is it dumbed down! I didn't feel patronized at all. Instead, the author taught in the best way there is - conversationally, using real-life examples, including stories about his family and friends and his own experiences, in order to make the science more readily comprehensible. I thought my favorite chapter would be the one on coffee/caffeine, as an acknowledged coffee superfan. And it was a wonderful chapter, but surprisingly, my favorite was the chapter on chili peppers! As anyone can tell you, I have zero tolerance for spice and go out of my way to avoid it at all costs, but apparently reading about them is a different story. ^_^

  • Atila Iamarino
    2019-03-30 15:15

    Gostei muito. Bem humorado, bem explicado e com curiosidades intrigantes. Hanson também é autor do Feathers: The Evolution of a Natural Miracle, que segue a mesma linha (e também gostei). Me lembrou de como boa parte do que comemos (pelo menos de origem vegetal) são sementes, como até um doce de chocolate com amêndoas ou avelãs ou amendoim é feito basicamente de semente. Vale pelas curiosidades biológicas, para quem tem uma inclinação por botânica.

  • Tuck
    2019-04-18 12:57

    spanning globe, and time (pre-pre-history to gmo) hansen tells readers about seeds and how their evolution uniquely exploited life on earth to fill most every niche, and too, humans' and all other critters' reliance and uses of seed (tobacco, cotton, mango, chili....) with fast, super (over?) informative, entertaining science writing. has useful and fun illustrations, fun endnotes, glossary, exciting bibliography, and index.

  • Mandy
    2019-04-18 20:16

    4.5* Very well written story of seeds, easy to read even for the non-horticulturist and full of interesting facts and anecdotes

  • Bria
    2019-04-18 16:58

    The only two things I could possibly complain about are not even complaints about this book, but just about pop sci in general:1. Not in depth enough. I need to stop expecting pop science books to substitute for university courses. I appreciate why authors move details to notes and list references, but really I just want to understand all of biology, ecology, and evolutionary history just after reading this one book - it would be easier than having to go hunt out more books.2. A bit more focus on human interest than I prefer - as in, personal narratives of the author, or other supposedly engaging stories. Somehow I don't seem to understand that I get bored without something that's entertainingly written, full of anecdotes, character descriptions, and other interesting, educational tidbits. So those aren't even complaints - those are really just telling me that Thor did a great job (really, some very clever sentences in there), and it's not his fault that I didn't come away a botanical genius. Now I guess I have to go read more books... I guess that's how pop science books reproduce.

  • Daphne
    2019-04-11 18:20

    A really well done pop-sci nature book. Each chapter done well, and had lots of interesting information each page. It had the perfect amount (for me at least) of personal interjections and experiences within the science writing. He didn't make the book about himself, but he put himself into it just enough to get me vested in both the science and his journey to discover, understand, and then communicate what he learned.One of the best pop-sci books I've read in the last few years.

  • Sara Van Dyck
    2019-04-12 21:04

    Charming , instructive, blending science and story – Hanson has the reader accompany him on a meandering mental (and sometimes physical) road trip, exploring the many worlds of seeds. He joins a dig in New Mexico, where researchers think the Carboniferous era may have had drier periods than was previously thought, enabling seed plants to evolve. Later he tastes coffees in a Seattle coffee house as he discusses the social and neurological aspects of drinking that beverage. Along the way he also considers the relationships that Columbus, Mendel, Eli Whitney, and Darwin had with seeds. I certainly looked at my meals – from morning coffee to an apple crisp dessert - differently while reading this! It was enjoyable to read, and worth reviewing later

  • Amanda Sie
    2019-04-18 13:12

    dopey scientist academic writes about his dopey science, does a pretty good job considering how insanely boring my plant biology professor was when talking about the same things

  • Kaine Korzekwa
    2019-04-10 13:03

    A great conversational discussion of the biology of seeds and how they have impacted our society through culture and commerce.

  • Raven
    2019-04-20 19:16

    (4.5 stars)+ the author is very enthusiastic about seeds, and his accessible style means you will be too+ great breadth, and covers different types of seeds though more on edible varieties + genuinely funny. “Mama cook food, Papa cook poop” cracks me up days after I read that bit - occasionally a little longwinded - despite the subtitle, it’s more about seeds themselves rather than their impact on human history

  • นรินทร์ โอฬารกิจอนันต์
    2019-04-12 13:12

    สนใจเล่มนี้เพราะอยากรู้ว่าคนเราจะเขียนหนังสือเป็นเล่มเกี่ยวกับเมล็ดได้ยังไง พบว่าหายสงสัย เพราะเนื้อหาค่อนข้างยืดยาว สรุปได้จริงๆ ไม่น่าจะเกิน 5 หน้า

  • Vicki Gibson
    2019-04-23 17:06

    Well written and engaging for non-botanists like me. I listened to the Audible version and the narration was very good.

  • Joann
    2019-04-23 17:18

    Excellent book. Well researched and well written. Full of interesting information. Love when I can learn and be entertained at the same time. Appreciated extensive resources at the end.

  • Mackie Welch
    2019-04-15 14:09

    This one surprisingly grabbed me. Who knew seeds played so many roles in history! PS everyone in my book club thought it was boring for what it's worth. I did not!

  • Rachel Simone
    2019-04-20 19:16

    Delightful and informative.

  • Lydia Gorrell
    2019-04-18 14:13

    I appreciated the topic material more than the average person probably would, and as one of those people (categorize us as you wish, I have ten plants in my apartment bedroom so that's probably a good heading to start with), I imagine that he did the best job that he could have writing a book about seeds while trying to make it engaging. I would have maybe liked to know more about how they impacted humans (although there was plenty in there already). Actually...hm. Maybe it was the organization that threw me a bit (he had a system, but it wasn't intuitive to me...which doesn't super matter, because it's hard information to classify AND it could be intuitive to someone else), and also his writing style is a little predictable. But he was passionate! And his personal anecdotes about his lil' kiddo gave the book a lot of life, and I appreciated all the information he included on the cellular and chemical structure of particular seeds, and I'm just rambling at this point because no one I know is going to read this book about plant babies–my college's biology department couldn't get enough interest to schedule an upper div botany class, let alone my followers on Goodreads. I'm still bitter about that, actually, but whatever. I'll just read books and learn it all FO FREE.

  • Gendou
    2019-04-04 12:57

    This is an artfully written, fascinating, and highly informative book all about seeds. The writing is personal at times, but not to the point of coming off self-centered. The author talks about his own experiences studying plants. But he also goes down many informative avenues.* Chemical pesticides e.g. caffeine and capsaicin found in seeds.* Germination and how seeds can stay dormant until the conditions are right.* Seed dispersal techniques e.g. being carried by the wind or in the stomach of animals.* Seed anatomy and the origin and spread of flowering plants.He gives passing mention to GMOs. And does so with disdainful gullibility. It's surprising to me that a scientist like Thor Hanson would be suckered into repeating such unscientific and false concerns as these.* He seems to imply that seed patents are unique to GMOs. This is false. Seed lineages have been patented for over 100 years. The introduction of genetic techniques hasn't changed the relevant laws. The up-front expense in producing new varieties using GM traits is made tolerable because of the patent system. This is the system working to allow science to happen. Only profound ignorance and extremely biased thinking could lead someone to conclude that GMOs are bad *because* their seeds are patented. This is a moronic idea and is popular because (thanks to human nature and the Internet) lazy, half-baked fear-mongering works astonishingly well.* He says there are valid environmental and health worries. But this isn't a problem unique to GMOs. Concerns have been raised about environmental and health impacts. And the science has consistently shown them to be unfounded. That GMOs are safe to eat is one of the most well established facts in science. GM technology is a tool. It's neutral. It can be used to help the environment. And health. It should be so used! Pest tolerant crops use less land and can use fewer (in tonnage) less-harsh chemicals than the non-GM alternative. Golden Rice can help prevent blindness in millions of children.* He even claims creating transgenic organisms is a "moral issue". This is ridiculous. Especially considering transgenic organisms occur in nature all the time. Where does he think we got the technology to introduce genes from one organism into another? Nature.

  • Todd Martin
    2019-04-25 17:24

    A seed has been described as a baby plant in a box with its lunch. The box (or testa) protects the plant from harm, while the lunch (or endosperm) provides food for the baby plant in the form of starches, oils or proteins. The transition of early plants from spores as the method of propagation to seeds represents an important evolutionary step for plants. Spores must fall on soil suited for their growth in order to survive. However seeds, with their internal source of nutrition, protective shell and clever methods for transport can survive for years or even decades until conditions or locations are right for their germination. Not only is this feature key to the plant’s survival, but for human survival as well. Thus agriculture is founded on the principle that seeds can be harvested and stored for future use when conditions are ideal for sowing. The Triumph of Seeds is all about the natural history of seeds as well as the uses to which humans have put them. Seeds are incredibly important. Grains provide more than half of all calories in the human diet and include three of the top five global agricultural commodities (corn, rice and wheat are #2, 3 and 4 respectively). Without seeds we wouldn’t have coffee or cocoa, so even if humans managed to survive without seeds, life would barely be worth living. Since they can’t run away from potential predators, seeds have developed sophisticated chemical defenses to ward off attacks. Capsaicin, the alkaloid in chili peppers that makes them hot, evolved as a defense against fungus and small predators. While caffeine acts as a natural pesticide: it can paralyze and kill predator insects feeding on the plant. Some seeds are toxic to discourage consumption, while others are encased within a sweet fruit to encourage dispersal. Hanson has an pleasant writing style that mixes personal anecdote with history and natural history to create an interesting story. His book Feathers is also quite good.

  • Jafar
    2019-04-01 13:20

    A seed, as botanists put it, is a baby plant with its lunch packed in a box. That's the best way to think of seeds. The necessary nutrients are inside a shell, ready to be used by the seed when the time is right for germination.There's a lot of really interesting information in this book: history (how seeds gave us agriculture and therefore civilization), biology (how plants evolved reproduction using seeds and how seeds operate), genetics (Mendel's experiments with beans), commerce (cotton and spices), gastronomy (how chili seeds and coffee beans evolved their properties not for our joy but as a form of pesticide), etc.

  • Phil
    2019-04-20 20:26

    Seeds, tales of a small child and the power of plants in general.... the plant nerd in me is very happy.

  • Delta
    2019-04-06 20:05

    I have really gotten into microhistories lately. Learning so much about these topics makes me feel so happy! I have never been particularly interested in seeds. I have a black thumb, so I can't grow or keep anything alive. But I was surprised by how interesting this book was. So many things I never knew and never knew I wanted to know. Now, I need to find a book on coffee, because that was a great section in this book.

  • Jim Graham
    2019-03-29 18:21

    Hanson brings non-scientists to understand an important topic that they know more about than they had thought. He introduces you to some other engaging fellow-scientists, as well as to his 3-year-old son and his own experience. This, I think, is a model of what popular science-writing should be.

  • Sue
    2019-03-26 13:07

    If you find the first half of the book a bit slow as I did, stick with it. The best "Honey, listen to this!" moments come in chapters 9 (spice trade), 10 (coffee), and 11 (ricin). These three chapters catapulted a 3-star book easily into 4-star territory.

  • Darryl Hall
    2019-03-30 21:26

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Anyone who gardens, who is interested in the environment or just curious about something we take for granted I recommend this book.

  • Charlene
    2019-04-12 15:22

    Thor Hanson loves his seeds! Seen through his eyes, you will love them too.

  • Robin Tierney
    2019-04-12 17:24

    Really interesting and packed with facts + cool details. Here are my notes: The Triumph of Seeds: How Grains, Nuts, Kernels, Pulses, and Pips Conquered the Plant Kingdom and Shaped Human Historyby Thor Hanson, conservation biologistthe stuff and staff of life, supporting diets, economies, and civilizations around the globe. Just as the search for nutmeg and the humble peppercorn drove the Age of Discovery, so did coffee beans help fuel the Enlightenment, and cottonseed help spark the Industrial Revolution. And from the Fall of Rome to the Arab Spring, the fate of nations continues to hinge on the seeds of a Middle Eastern grass known as wheat.experience, as Hanson puts it, “the simple joy of seeing something beautiful, doing what it is meant to do.” Spanning the globe from the Raccoon Shack—Hanson’s backyard writing hideout-cum-laboratory—to the coffee shops of Seattle, from gardens and flower patches to the spice routes of Kerala, award-winning writer with both the charm of a fireside story-teller and the hard-won expertise of a field biologist. A worthy heir to the grand tradition of Aldo Leopold and Bernd Heinrich.========Charles Darwin HMS Beagle 5 years, devoted 8 to anatomy of barnacles and spent most of adult life ruminating on the implications of natural selection.Naturalist monk Gregor Mendel hand-pollinated 10,000 pea plants over 8 Moravian springtimes.Seeds vital to trees, bats, monkeys dispersing them, parrots rodents peccaries ate them, higher-up predators.Before this tale travels another paragraphI shouldn’t be able to clone myself in a one-credit class. (mix his DNA with seeds...splice our DNA into that of a bacterial cell, copied infinitum, cloning.Familiar crops, from corn and soybeans to lettuce and tomatoes, have been experimentally altered with genes borrowed from arctic fish (for frost resistance, soil bacteria (to make their own pesticide and even Homo sapiens (to produce human insulin). Seeds can now be patented as intellectual property, and designed to include terminator genes that prevent the ancient practice of saving seed for future plantings. Genetic modification is a pivotal new technology (but he doesn’t address it much).Fierce energy concentrated in an acornAlmendro tree central american rainforest, clear cut, fruit keystone feed monkeys to macaw to people. Rodents like squirrels fang-toothed scatter-hoard. Specialists, co-evolved. Beak shapes (Darwin’s Galapagos finches)Patches essentially the living dead nonfunctional, relationships with other species unravel)Perfected cleaving technique to open, extract nutmeat.Molars we position to crack nuts with premolars - evolutionary instinct. Avocadoseed, root and shoot , water chambers like balloons, to saplingSeed shapes and sizes adapt to habitat (big avocado due to shaded long dormancy in rainforests).“Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit: You shall have them for food.” - Genesis 1:29Palouse grass idaho/washGrasses inc corn wheat sorghum barley oats rye millet riceStaff of life ezekielRichard Wrangham, prof of biological anthropology: primate sci, no qty of meat or other raw foods could adequately nourish modern hominids, let alone spur their evolution. He noted chimps seek out roasted beans of Afzelia trees after forest fires, as well as the common indigenous practice of abandoning hunting during seasonal bonanzas of prime fruit, nuts, or honey. And seeds, then became ag staple.Rome allotments of wheat, bread and circuses.Fertile Crescent - grasses/grain and legumes complete proteinshipping corridors Snake River dams grow, transportCacao - gourd-like multicolor fruit attracted Mayans, Aztecs, and other early Ams who dev stim energy drink from the beans, called Theobroma food of the gods.Coconut thrived all over, uses oil to skin care sunscreen, set design, tropical bra cups tree of life dispersed by currents seafarerfat most energy concentrated..., copra flesh solid endospermSeed-based oils flooring, paint, diceDarwin cartoon parody Man is But A WormCarboniferous Period 360-286 yrs ago seeds appeared when most plants reproduced by spores. Sports swamp forests that fossilized as a shiny black rock called coal. Penns., coael deposits lie in younger rocks directly on top of the shale, forming layer so thick that it helped to fuel America’s Industrial Revolution and inspired geologists to name the Pennsylvanian period. Fracking hydraulic fracturing.Michael Pollan: human desires for sweetness, nourishment, beauty and intoxication have become encoded in the genetics of our crops. Selecting for these traits both pleases us and benefits the plants as we dutifully disperse them from their original habitats to gardens and farm fields across the globe.Common pea made a perfect study species for Gregor Mendel because it shows a range of easily manipulated features, including two forms of seeds, smooth and wrinkled. His paper didn’t make waves or even thud before monk died 1884.Assyrians hand-pollinated date palms more than 4,000 years ago.Sierra Leone’s Mende people: verb for experiment” comes from the phrase “trying out new rice.”“Where, for one seed you get a whole wilderness?” Rumi, The Seed Market c 1273Date palm Judean - circa 78 ad Masada fortress Jewish tribe Sacarii. Sheckels and seeds recovered 1960s. Cultivated since ancient times for their sweet fruits, date palms also hold the record for longevity in seeds. A date seed recovered from the ruins of Masada Fortress germinated after lying dormant for nearly 2,000 years. Before mass suicide to avoid conquering by Romans, Ancient healers used dates from the Judean palm to treat everything from depression and tuberculosis to common aches and pains.Methuselah woke up to his own private garden. (The ultimate sleeper.)Seed banks began with ancient store houses.Germination prompted by damp moment.A mother plant’s entire investment in nurturing and dispersing her seeds means nothing if they sprout in the wrong season and immediately perish from thirst, cold, heat or shade. These high evolutionary stakes have led to the highly specific cues needed for dormant seeds to wake up. Some of the most elaborate examples come from fire-prone areas, where young plants grow best after a blaze opens up the habitat and releases a flush of ashy nutrients. Seeds adapted to this system include acacias, sumac, rock rose, gorse.Extreme heat of flames cracks or unplugs tiny stoppers to let moisture in. SOme require exposure to hot gasses in smoke or chemicals released from charred wood.Seed banks - key role in climate change era, easing transition to alternative warm-weather crops and also protect ag against catastrophic events: wars, natural disasters, political upheavals that can bring whole farming systems to a halt. 208 new international seed repository in the Norwegian Arctic, carved into mountainside in the Svalbard archipelago, preserves sees in cold, dry darkness. International Space Station cold: survived.Sorghum: a hot-country grain native to Ethiopia, sorghum is expected to become increasingly important as the world adjusts to climate change. The kernels can be ground into flour, fermented to make beer, and even puffed as an alt to popcorn.Seeds die from an accumulation of insults.Soviet ag: crippling grain shortages of 1920, Lenin funded founding of the Institute of Applied Botany, first director Nikolai Vavilov. Stored, breed new varieties, aim to dev crops suited to Russia’s harsh climate and end food crises. Transformed a tsarist palace downtown Leningrad into the world’s largest seed bank and research facility. But Stalin not interested in Vavilov’s time-consuming methods. Opted for untrained proletariat barefoot scientists. Neglected by his jailors (after trumped-up charges of sabotaging Soviet ag), this champion of feeding the hungry suffered a final irony: he died of starvation.Aleppo syria seed bank, war protect. Fort Collins modernized.Best to bank in fields - in situ, save diversity became issue after advent of industrial ag, with its focus on high yields from a few varieties grown on a massive scale. Like Seed Savers Exchange founded 1975 in Decorah IA town thousands of veg varieties in their own fields but in garden plots worldwide by global network of backyard preservationists.Heirloom vegetables aren’t like heirloom furniture or jewelry - you can’t just dust them off once in a while. The best way to preserve seeds is to plant them. The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin, Beatrix Potter - owls keep squirrels from eating all the acorns and hazelnuts of Own Island, mutualistic natural system. Mutually beneficial.Oscar Wilde: “Life imitates art far more than art imitates life.”Chili pepper:Christopher Columbus voyage Costa Rica Puerto Limon 1502, looking for seeds. Not just spices. Redefine European cuisine and commerce from corn to peanuts to tobacco. New trade route to Asia, Queen Isabella and other noble backers expected return paid in Asian products: gold silk, pearls, and most of all exotic spices that grew nowhere else. CC documented brought home tasty seeds of allspice and chili peppers. Nutmeg eluded him.Ferdinand Magellan 1522 sought spices for backs, small cargo nutmeg, mace, cloves, cinnamon from Ternate.CC returned to the New World 3 more times for valuable commodities...second voyage found all of his new colony on Hispaniola murdered by natives. Ended the fourth expedition shipwrecked on Jamaica for a year. Died without knowing what continent he’d discovered and did know he’d found the wrong pepper (sought black pepper). Chili pepper. Now flavors Thai curries to Hungarian goulash to African groundnut stew. 2,000 cultivars.Their pungency repels seed-killing fungi, rodents, other mammals that can’t take the heat. Evolved to ward off fungus and rot.Capsaicin: same function in human body as an alkaloid, deter fungus, boost immune system.The sensation is the culinary equivalent of a roller-coaster ride or a horror movie - scary, without actually being dangerous.Exhilaration from the endorphins peaks only after the burning sensation fades. Small quantities in food preservative.The cheeriest beans:CoffeeLike capsaicin a stimulant that does not really stimulate, rather, depressed adenosine, the body’s natural mellowing agent. Coffee achieved chemically and pharmacologically what rationalism and the Protestant ethic sought to fulfill spiritually and ideologically. Prepared body and mind for indoor work becoming common in towns and cities - governance, commerce, manufacturing. Definitions of coffee, factory and working class all entered the English language in the 18th century, prepared to fuel the Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution.(Prairie Home Companion Ketchup Advisory Board)Amplifies responses of neurons in their reward pathway, say scientists.At the right dosage caffeine doesn’t repel pollinators, it keeps them coming back.800 compounds in coffeeFruit 2 beans roast.Penny universities coffeehouses b/c listen in and get a good education.1983 Howard Schultz Starbucks first espresso machine coffeehouse renaissance. Same urban center that gave the world MicrosoftCaffeine the drug that makes the modern world possible.Ceres: Roman goddess of agriculture, cereal.Tagua nuts for buttons in NA and Europe til advent of cheap plastics after WWII. Making a comeback in fashion industry.Poisons: castor bean - ricin. Markov Russian poisoned. Bloodstream toxins.Alice in WonderlandSeed extracts treatmentsDefensive compoundsFruitFruit bat Costa Rica almendrobracken fernAlbrecht Durer 1504 engraving adam and eve temptation fruit.metaphorically the fruit went with themparadise fruit gardenBeak adapted, birds disperseDispersal strategiesHitchhikers velcro inspired by burdock seeds Fleshy fruit evolved for the sole purpose to tempt animals into dispersing the seeds of plants... tasty fruit. bears, birds.Bat wings move almendros, but seeds had wings of own ride wind ancient.Wind and wavecotton on Galapagos wind, ocean currentplantations, slavery deep-rooted coupling. Sharecropping in place of slavery. Eli Whitney cotton gin patient worthless, then he went into weapons.Silk Road was Cotton Road when viewed in reverse.Cotton for Europe’s growing middle class. The Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit (Stealth Bomber) took inspiration from the flying-wing design of Javan cucumber seeds.Watermelon - diploids (the usual 2 sets of chromosomes in cell nucleus) back-crossed with tetraploids to create seedless, but have to buy new seeds yearly. Profitable, like GMO, control market.Gymnosperms (naked seeds), angiosperms (flowering plants enclosed seeds), monocots (angiosperms with one cotyledon), dicots (with 2 cotyledons).HMS Bounty purpose of journey botanical, gather by Capt Bligh orders transport live breadfruit trees from native Tahiti to West Indies, plantation owners hoped cheap sustenance for slaves, but Af slaves hated breadfruit.Seed saving and other traditions being lost.