Everything I Learned About Botany, I Learned from Growing Cannabis

Julie Soller at Nerd Nite East Bay #35, Club 21, 19-Oct-2015

A non-scientist nerds out on botany from the point of view of a backyard cannabis grower. Now that the state of California considers growing and using cannabis to be legal with a medical marijuana recommendation, any adult can try it. But misinformation and bad advice abound. In this funny and insightful presentation, Julie Soller will tell how she went from a “Just Say No” kid in the 80’s to a medical cannabis advocate and backyard grower today. She’ll share what she’s learned about botany and caring for the amazing and hardy plant in our unique Oakland microclimate. From soil to sun to nutrients to pests, challenges abound. Growing cannabis is akin to caring for exotic pets or playing a really slow video game: to succeed all the way through harvest, you need the right information, plenty of careful attention, practice, and a little luck. If you are someone who regularly kills houseplants, this talk is for you. (Legal limits vary by jurisdiction, check local laws before growing.)

Julie Soller is not a scientist. But she is no stranger to the joys of nerding out on diverse passions, from flamenco guitar to weight loss to cannabis horticulture. A Bay Area native, Julie is the creator of StorySlam Oakland, a live, monthly open-mic and curated storytelling show. She also produces the popular Spontaneous Storytelling event at the Layover lounge in Oakland. Previously a filmmaker, she has directed dozens of short films and TV segments, and sports a Masters in Film Directing from UCLA’s School of Film, TV and Digital Media. She’s currently a video consultant with Red Clip Video.

Gail Patricelli at Nerd Nite East Bay #30, Club 21, 25-May-2015

Animals use a dizzying array of sounds, smells, colors, dances, electrical fields and seismic vibrations to convince each other to mate. These elaborate courtship signals were a mystery until Darwin’s time—after proposing his theory of natural selection, Darwin was left with the question of how the flamboyant peacock could be shaped by the same process that makes the peahen so perfectly camouflaged. There is now strong support for Darwin’s answer to this question, the process he termed sexual selection, proposing that the courting sex (often, but not always the males) must be elaborate because the courted sex (often, but not always the females) demands it. But how do scientists study the conversations males and females in non-human animals have about mating? One way to do this is to participate, controlling one side of the conversation with a robot. Gail Patricelli will talk about using robotic females to study courtship behaviors in two spectacular species of birds, the satin bowerbird and the greater sage-grouse.

Gail Patricelli is a professor of evolution and ecology at the University of California, Davis. Her research focuses on the evolution of elaborate mating behaviors in birds and the impacts of noise pollution on breeding behaviors and populations.

Bosses: Rick Karnesky and Rebecca Cohen
Video Editor: Julie Soller
Videography: Rebecca Cohen and Ami Eaton
Additional Thanks: Kishore Hari

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