Selecting bigger alder seeds by their falling speed in air



I am aware of this idea, but I want something vertical so that I can hold it, and tip the cones in and get a result. I don't want something that needs to be levelled on a bench.
Michael Bell
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On Mon, 08 Feb 2010 04:57:22 GMT, Michael Bell

Could you not hang it from say a tree branch and then weight it so it hangs level?
Graham
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Not very portable, but possible.
Michael Bell
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Michael Bell wrote:

Yikes. I hope you're young.
How many generations of tree breeding do you envisage?
BugBear
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Typo. It should have been "seeds". Yes, it's a hard one. Maybe beyond my time, though I plan to do it quicker than some think of.
Michael Bell
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I may have misunderstood your proposed design, but surely you just need to blow air horizontally across a thin stream of falling seeds? No laminar flow issues, and not really any need for calculating - all seeds will fall through the same breeze. Adjust the wind speed or any baffles until light ones get blown to the side and heavy ones fall into your collector. If the proportion of small ones that get through is too highl, put the collection back in the top and do it again.
This is basically how winnowing works, isn't it?
Chas
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Exactly what I suggested a day or two ago, but Michael didn't seem to like the idea. Seems a bloody sight simpler than all the other stuff being talked about.
David
--
David Littlewood

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We were at cross purposes. Your idea is one that could work, but I have gone for a vertical design, where air is sucked upwards by a fan at the top, seed is put in half way up the duct, and only the heaviest falls down, the rest is blown out of the top through the fan.
Michael Bell
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wrote:

OK, this is basically the Millikan oil drop experiment to determine the charge of an electron, which I have done. In that case the electron has a predictable charge, the weight and air resistance of the oil drops are essentially constant and the force is provided by electrostatic plates - easy to get parallel (equivalent to laminar flow of your wind) and easy to adjust minutely. I think you will struggle with your design and I doubt very much if you can calculate the speeds required in advance, given all the variables that apply to wind resistance of real objects, but good luck.
Charles
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Being unable to join in the genetics debate I'd like to ask a simple question. Why? In my experience Alder grow fast and die early. They also have little structural value, rot quickly and burn so fast as to be useless in an open fire or log-burner. About all I can see left is as Biomass fuel and my reading suggests that Willow and Hazel are better in most respects.
puzzled and hoping for enlightenment....
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Roland Craven
Nr. Exeter, Devon, UK
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It is true that some see alder as a competitor to willow, I hadn't heard of hazel, but it is also a fast-growing "weed tree". Alder burns well, so that is a GOOD, not a bad point, and kept under water, it doesn't rot and I think much of Amsterdam is built on pilings made of it.
But I am interested in taking alder in a DIFFERENT direction. All organisms can be changed by selection, evolution is natural selection, and that is what makes alder (and all wild plants and animals) what they are today. Domesticated plants and animals have been changed by breeders and that is what I am trying to do. The odds are against my project, but I may find a Koh-i-Noor seed which changes everything.
Michael Bell
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I do understand you here, Michael. I was watching the RI Christmas lecture a few weeks ago, and was struck by the extent to which the early progenitors of today's cereal crops had been changed out of all recognition by selective breeding. Many, many generations of selective breeding, to be sure, but maybe with greater knowledge you can accelerate that. I certainly wish you well with it, anyway.
Particularly struck by your comments on the wet rot resistance of alder. Now if you can breed it to produce good-sized strong timber of similar durability, that would be something.
David
--
David Littlewood

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It is already used as the body of electric guitars. You can't get cooler than that!
Michael Bell
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