Embed Plus – and the Plants Talk to Us

Tay from EmbedPlus pointed me to their free tool to allow greater control over YouTube videos, so here is my first attempt at using it to annotate and take over this TED talk from Wade Davis.

EDIT – it doesn’t work properly on WordPress.com, but here is a link to the edited video (the embedded version below is the original from YouTube). It works great on GoogleSites and Moodle, though.

The second ‘chapter’ (about 11.40 in) links to a brilliant example of an amazonian shaman who makes a powerful psychoactive preparation of Ayahuasca, from a vine. Tryptamines are the active component and are similar to tryptophan (our famous amino acid/ end product inhibition example).

They act as neurotransmitters and include serotonin, which regulates mood. It is broken down by enzymes bound to the plasma membrane of cells in the digestive tract called monoamine oxidase (MAO), so can’t be taken orally. The amazing thing is the shaman uses a preparation from another plant that inhibits this enzyme, so that the potion can be ingested and is effective. This is amazing knowledge, gleaned from a totally alternative scientific method to the one we are used to, and demonstrates an advanced naturalistic intelligence.

When he asked how they knew this and were able to combine these two extracts from the thousands available, they answered “The plants talk to us.”

Can you link this to the AHL enzymes content and represent it diagrammatically?

Once you’re done flicking through, watch the whole talk. Then become an ethnobotanist and do something useful!

For more questions and TOK links, see the full post here.

About Stephen

Director of Learning & MYP Coordinator at Canadian Academy, Kobe, Japan. Formerly MYP HS Science & IBDP Bio teacher and missing it terribly. Twitterist (@sjtylr), dad and bloggerer.

Posted on February 8, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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