Issue 5 Editorial

For all its pre-release hype, the movie ‘Avatar’ turned out to be pretty divisive. And sure, I can accept that it’s a lot of style and special effects over narrative substance, but one part of the plot that I loved was the idea of the inter-connectedness, the intelligence, of Pandora’s fauna and, particularly, the flora. (Yes, I am a bit of a hippy at heart!)

Plants, too, are living, ‘breathing’ creatures, so why not ‘thinking’?!

Which is why when I came across the work of Australian-based scientist Monica Gagliano, I was so keen to find out more. She is studying common garden plants and discovering that the way they’re responding to her training and testing belies the fact they don’t have brains. It’s fascinating stuff!

Monica Gagliano, photographed by Frances Andrijich

I felt similarly when I heard about Pip Thornton’s PHD topic; although this time the fascination was coming from more of an anxious, rather than awestruck, place. Thornton stumbled upon an “intentional fallacy” in Google’s search results one day, and it’s led her down a rather disturbing path investigating the technological and financial machinations going on behind the scenes when we interact with the internet.

And in those two articles, at two opposite ends of the emotional and material spectrum, lies my motivation for making this magazine: seeking out wonderful and weird stories and sharing them with others who – I hope – will be as fascinated as me.

And there’s plenty more where they came from – in Issue 5 you can also learn about evidence for the pivotal role of women in advancing ancient history, discover a couple who were serving up feminist art decades before it became a movement, and the young women in Birmingham using sport to break down gender and cultural stereotypes.

Plus, there’s some AI, memory palaces, community weaving, and more, so please, do get yourself a copy.

 

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