|BOTANICAL ELECTRONIC NEWS|
|No. CCLXXXV April 1, firstname.lastname@example.org||Victoria, B.C.|
[During the past few years I have attended several botanical meetings and noticed numerous breaches of the rules of etiquette. In order to avoid embarrassment in upcoming botanical meetings (especially BOTANY BC & BotWA), I have posted a few excerpts from the work of the man who gave us the complete set of instructions on how to behave. No, his name was not Emily Post, but Giovanni delle Casa. In his book Galateo, quickly translated from Italian to numerous other languages, he gave the basics of etiquette, as we know it today. Check also http://www.emilypost.com/index.htm for more information, especially on how to take Emily Post for a hike. -- AC]
On January 1st, 2002, ten European countries switched to common currency - euro - the exchange value of which hovers somewhere between the US and Canadian dollar. While the banknotes have basically the same appearance, each country had a chance to show something nationally significant on their metal coins. Cultural monuments and significant persons are what you would expect, but what about the botanical content?
Austria presents a floral series of three mountain plants 'to symbolise a duty to the environment': alpine primrose (Primula farinosa - 5 cents), edelweiss (Leontopodium alpinum - 2 cents), and gentian (Gentiana acaulis - 1 cent); see http://www.euro.ecb.int/en/
Throughout the 1990s the Finnish botanists were able to show to a visitor (or to a student in the field) a small 50-penny coin outlining on one side a haircap moss (Polytrichum commune). Probably this was the first (and last?) time a bryophyte was illustrated on a coin (Hyvönen 1990). Sad day for bryologists: now the Finnish Polytrichum coin is history - only a collector's item and not a valid money any more. Perhaps this reflects the excessive drainage activities as a result of which paludified forests (with a ground cover of Sphagnum spp. and Polytrichum commune) have been in many areas transformed to drier forests.
One circumboreal bog plant, however, made it to the new euro series: cloudberry (Rubus chamaemorus). The species is illustrated on the Finnish 2-euro coin (same www reference as above). Perhaps this is a thought-out choice, because the utilization of cloudberry in Scandinavia was already described by Linne (1737), reviewed more recently e.g. by Rapp et al. (1993), and a brief note appeared in BEN (Pakarinen 1993) mentioning particularly one of the end products, cloudberry liqueur Lakka, observed as a rare element also in British Columbia liquor stores.
The German Federal Mint Commision (Deutsches Bundeszentralmuenzenhauptcommision) in co-operation with the European Central Mint in Liege discussed at length our criticism of the old oak design (BEN # CCLXVII, April 1, 2001) and decided to replace the faulty oak (oak with opposite leaves) with a brand new oak design, this time correctly rendered with alternate leaves. The oak on 5, 2, and 1-cent coins was designed by Professor Rolf Lederbogen, who obviously knows what the oak looks like.
French 2 and 1-EURO coins have a tree design on its reverse. It should symbolise life, continuity and growth. The tree is highly abstract and it's difficult to say for sure what species it represents. The multiple stems would suggest Banyan Fig (Ficus benghalensis), NOT native to France. The other possibility is that the tree is in fact a cladogram of words "fidelite, egalite," and "liberte" that appear at the end of the tree's branches. We also cannot exclude the possibility that the designer of this French coin, artist Joaquim Jiminez, was inspired by Borgnino's model of tree architecture described by Prof. Rudi Schmid in BEN # CCXLVII, April 1, 2000 (see also Naturwiss. Rundschau, Stuttgart 38: 154-155. 1985).
I also like the the design of Irish coins. They all display the Irish lyre which appears to be a mirror image of the Guinness logo, thus commemorating one of the typical Irish pastimes.
The Canadian Government did consider our critical article about the Canadian penny (BEN # CCLXVII, April 1, 2001), but concluded that to replace a faulty maple (one with alternate leaves) with a correct one (that with opposite leaves) would be far too expensive. Even with falling copper prices, the Canadian pennies can be sold as a scrap metal for much more than their face value. The only action the Government might take in the future is to recall all pennies. This action will be taken as soon as the world prices of copper start to climb again.
After an absence of 62 years the world-renowned B.B.N.P. brewery in Ceske Budejovice (Budweis on German maps), the Czech Republic, has once again started exporting its Original Czech Premium Larger [the "original" Budweiser: Beer of kings!] to the United States of America. Due to an unfavourable agreement with Anheuser-Busch [producer of the "American" Budweiser: King of beers!], which in 1939 banned the use of the original brand name in the North American continent, this traditional Czech product is being introduced to the American market under the Czechvar brand name. [Believe me, the original Budweiser by a different name still tastes like the original Budweiser. -- AC]
After reading BEN # CCXIX, April 1, 1999, Bill Gates sent a letter to the New York Review of Books in which he denied that he ever said: 640K OUGHT TO BE ENOUGH FOR ANYBODY. His reply is too long and too technical for BEN, but it is posted in full at http://www.nybooks.com/articles/15180.
Already in 1997 the Canadian Field-Naturalist rejected a submitted paper. Why? Because it had been previously published in BEN.
When I asked The Editor of the Canadian Field-Naturalist if the posting in BEN can be considered a publication, Dr. Francis Cook replied:
"The reason we decided here that your newsletter should be regarded as a publication is that it is archived, and therefore available in the long term."
"Absolutely, I agree it is a grey area. But I don't want to publish what is already in newsletters if they are generally available. If we should publish, you are most welcome to repeat what we have run (with citation to The Canadian Field-Naturalist) after it appears in CFN."
The problem is that the publication in journals, such as The Canadian Field-Naturalist, takes months or years, whereas the posting in BEN can be released within a few days or weeks. If you want to notify other botanists about your findings, BEN is much faster than any printed medium. On the other hand, especially in the academia, BEN is not really considered to be a publication. In a bibliography of one university professor I did not find a citation of his article in BEN, but I noticed the citation of the same article taken from BEN and reprinted verbatim in Menziesia (journal of the Native Plant Society of British Columbia). If you want to have your article printed both in BEN and in The Canadian Field-Naturtalist, you can either risk it and hope that CFN editors and reviewers do not read BEN, or you can particularly specify that you don't want to have your article reviewed by anyone who reads BEN. I am sure that CFN will comply with your wishes.
I decided to follow Mosher's Law: It's better to retire to soon than too late! and today is the first day of my official retirement. Although I want to devote most of my time to botany (botany without bureaucratic acronyms), my financial situation will force me to scale down the BEN office to the bare minimum. I will have to lay off about 14 full-time employees and two remaining persons out of three will have to arrange time-sharing and switch to a part-time job. The only full time person in BEN will be an attorney who will defend BEN against all possible libel suits. I will no longer be able to pay the huge honoraria to authors as in the past, and I won't send them any free reprints. I hope, however, that the BEN readers won't be able to recognize any change. In order to support BEN, and also my wife and two cats, I will be available for any botanical, ecological or environmental consulting within the geographical scope of BEN, i.e., predominantly British Columbia, Canada and the Pacific Northwest (from California to Alaska) with broader references to planet Earth.