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Posted by on May 5, 2010

Plants, lemurs, Montreal, and poutine

I am going to stop apologizing for not posting more than I have recently. The social media efforts of a work project have been taking whatever fruit my writing output can produce. I have actually learned quite a bit about plants, plant science, ethnobotany, medicinal uses, conservation, and ecology so that has been quite a knowledge boon for a guy who majored in and taught English.

I have learned about poison ivy (and its use in chemical weapons, egad!) and how it grows stronger and more concentrated poison with higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Which doesn't bode well for summer picnics or hikes through the forest. I also learned that Captain John Smith coined the term poison ivy because he thought it looked similar to English ivy.

I learned that there are some wonderful people like Nat Quansah in Madagasar setting up clinics for people without access to health care to learn how to use plants for medicinal purposes. I learned that a plant endemic to Madagascar, the Madagascar periwinkle, is used to fight childhood leukemia and improves the chances of survival from 20%-80%. I learned the term endemic.

I also learned about an incredible partner network of botanical gardens, herbaria, and universities that have supported this project. Some amazing people doing some amazing work in far off places.

I also learned that lemurs are shrieking terrors, much better appreciated with the sound off. I also understand better why the name lemur is used as it is from the Latin for ghost or spirits. 

I also am maintaining quite a few different social channels to promote the word about this undertaking, including Twitter, WordPress, Flickr, Delicious (more for maintaining links), Friendfeed (for the aggregation). Between these personal and professional channels, that amounts to approximately a zillion social media channels. Yes, a zillion. I am allowed a little hyperbole.

To see the actual project (especially for those of you in the Sciences), check out the site.

All that being said, I am off to the wonderful city of Montreal in a few days for friends (fellow former Korean expat), family (my wife's), and poutine, that most wonderful of Quebec concoctions. Be back in a week.

Posted via email from michaelgallagher’s posterous

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  1. Will do, Janie! Why haven’t we in America learned to douse everything in beef gravy? My word, french fries have just been calling out for that!

    Hope the NJ budgets are treating you all too unkindly. Hang in there and let me know if I can pitch in somehow!

  2. Have a great trip! I LOVE and miss Montreal. And I loved this post, too. Very quirky but informative: 2 of my favourite things….

    • Hello there Melissa! Great town, for sure. It is extremely cold here today, but this freakish weather is to be expected. Thanks for the kind words about the post; learning so much with this new project that I felt compelled to share a bit. Take care!

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