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Thread: Help, arguing with woo woo [bio dynamics/Moon]

  1. #31
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    I wonder if originally it could have had some other significance, like for example: bright nights are safer for humans, because you can see predators from a greater distance, so it is better not to plant things that you have to travel far from the house during the new moon. I'm just imagining that some actual benefit could have been the origin of the myth.
    As above, so below

  2. #32
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    Maybe there is a transposition of the annual cycle of the seasons?

    The moon planting theory is that it is best to plant during the first and second quarters of the moon. It is a fact that it is best to plant in the first and second quarters of the sun (spring and summer). We could imagine that peasant farmers established an old wives tale that mixed up the sun and moon.

    There are some surprising scientific facts about lunar cycles. Frank Brown of Northwestern University apparently showed that oysters adjusted their opening and closing times when moved from Long Island Sound to Chicago, in a controlled experiment to eliminate sensory data. Similarly, he found that rats are less active when the moon is above the horizon, without visual input. These studies appear to indicate a gravitational sense. They both have a plausible evolutionary benefit, for example rats that are active when the moon is up are more visible to predators, so a moon gravity sense would be adaptive.

    I gave more detail in a previous Q&A thread on Moon Lore.

  3. #33
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    The actual operation of the tides in both oceans and atmosphere are not necessarily intuitive. The direct pull effect along the line joining the earth/moon is negligible. The tides are entirely flow effects maximised along the tangential great circle perpendicualr to that line where the tiny acceleration (about 10^-6 m/s^2) causes flow which then is greatly amplified by coastlines and hills or mountains. (The flow is also modified by coriolis accelerations). In the atmosphere this tidal wind can interchange cold and warm air across boundaries such as mountain ridges and this locally affects rain and/or humidity levels. The humidity level or ground water level is the main driver of germination in many seeds. Therefore although not proven the hypothesis that the moon phase could affect germination locally is plausible. It is the mistaken idea that the gravity "pull" somehow is detected that is the error that makes it seem unscientific.

  4. #34
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    Tide is far from intuitive.

    The wiki page on tide has this amazing diagram of world tides.

    It shows that the continents have produced the most remarkably complex patterns in the ocean, such that some parts have no tides, some have big tides, and the location of tides against the position of the moon is very far from the intuitive expectation that high tide occurs when the moon is at meridian.

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Tulip View Post
    Tide is far from intuitive.

    The wiki page on tide has this amazing diagram of world tides.

    It shows that the continents have produced the most remarkably complex patterns in the ocean, such that some parts have no tides, some have big tides, and the location of tides against the position of the moon is very far from the intuitive expectation that high tide occurs when the moon is at meridian.
    indeed and some places have approx two tides every day while others just one. The tidal flow rates can easily be 4 knots in places so a lot of water moves. I would like to know the scale of the tidal wind in sensitive geographies, like the water tide it does not sound like much in an unconstrained fluid.

  6. #36
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    Just a general observation: My first instinct upon reading this topic title was to expect some nuclear warfare against the crackpot, but I'm pleasantly surprised at the effors to extract something of value from the ideas. The discipline exhibited here is commendable.

  7. #37
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    Thank you Robert, very creative thinking!
    And good evidence, IIMSS, against the proposal.
    I'm sorry that I missed your earlier post
    John

  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnD View Post
    Thank you Robert, very creative thinking!
    And good evidence, IIMSS, against the proposal.
    I'm sorry that I missed your earlier post
    John
    sorry I do not understand which proposal you are referring to, nor which evidence you think opposes it!

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    sorry I do not understand which proposal you are referring to, nor which evidence you think opposes it!
    The proposal is that plant growth follows lunar cycles.

    In a thread in the Astronomy section, CO2 by Lunar Quarter, I tested this hypothesis using the observation that it would cause global CO2 level to slightly decrease during the waxing moon (when plants supposedly grow more strongly) and rise during the waning moon (when growth is meant to ease) on a monthly pattern.

    Weekly CO2 records since 1985 show no correlation whatsoever with lunar cycles, indicating that planting by the moon is an unscientific superstition.

  10. #40
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    Oh right but I have to disagree with the supposed mechanism of CO2 generation because this planting issue is about germination which is about temperature and water content of the soil. Which is why I proposed that locally the tidal affects could be significant but they would not be global. It is not good enough science to put up a straw mechanism (CO2) in order to knock it down when the issue is germination (no clear link to CO2). Tidal changes are not superstition. So I think the case is still open and the trouble is one local experiment would not be enough evidence. I may be wrong about the supposed claims but I think it is about germination of seeds not accelerated growth of all plants. Your evidence does oppose the latter.

  11. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    it is about germination of seeds not accelerated growth of all plants. Your evidence does oppose the latter.
    Total growth is a reasonable proxy for germination. Absence of a total growth effect prompts doubt of a germination effect.

    Nearly half global biomass production is algae, which often has a short life span. If a waxing moon improved germination, it would improve it for species such as algae which have a short life span and which are a major proportion of global biomass and new production. The absence of a CO2 effect suggests that even short lived plants do no better when the moon is waxing or waning.

    This site comments that "The moon cycle does not directly affect blooming events, but it does strongly influence the tides. During the full moon, there are higher tides that help to stir up more nutrients from colder waters. As a result of more nutrients, there’s sometime a bloom that co-occurs when there’s a full moon."

  12. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Tulip View Post
    Total growth is a reasonable proxy for germination. snip The absence of a CO2 effect suggests that even short lived plants do no better when the moon is waxing or waning.

    ."
    I would like to refer to a biologist about that, I think germination optimised conditions are not directly related to rate of photosynthesis. I want to make it clear that I remain agnostic about the truth of moon phase planting but I do not want to see the idea condemned because of over simplified science. There are a number of related ideas about winds changing with moon phase which would be a tidal effect if anything.

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