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Flowers' Smell Not Traveling As Far

kdawson posted about 6 years ago | from the bloom-is-off-the-rose dept.

Earth 113

Ant writes in to note a study indicating that, because of air pollution, the smell of flowers is not wafting as far as it once did. Pollutants from power plants and automobiles destroy flowers' aromas, the study suggests: "The scent molecules produced by flowers in a less polluted environment, such as in the 1800s, could travel for roughly 1,000 to 1,200 meters; but in today's polluted environment downwind of major cities, they may travel only 200 to 300 meters." The finding could help explain why some pollinators, particularly bees, are declining in certain parts of the world.

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Good! (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23053414)

I hate all flying insects, especially bees!

more pollution please!

Keep Trying. (1, Interesting)

twitter (104583) | about 6 years ago | (#23053454)

Sorry but pollution and bee decline don't coincide. Bee decline is recent but air pollution has been a problem for more than a century. You need to look for recent changes like pesticides, GM or a virus. My bet is on GM crops because some countries that banned GM seeds don't have a bee problem.

Re:Keep Trying. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23053536)

You sir are a fucking moron. Someone should just shoot you to put all of out of misery.

Re:Keep Trying. (3, Funny)

MrNaz (730548) | about 6 years ago | (#23053792)

Now now, there's no need to be angry and start name-calling. After all, even uninsightful people are still human after all. Shakespeare said that a rose by any other name would... oh, never mind.

Brilliant (5, Funny)

kramulous (977841) | about 6 years ago | (#23053424)

Does this mean I don't have to wear deodorant anymore?

Re:Brilliant (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23053544)

filthy nerd

Re:Brilliant (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23053696)

You know, deodorant is sticky, it combines with sweat to make an even worse smell, and it irritates otherwise comfortable skin contact. So screw you, I'm better off without it.

Re:Brilliant (2, Interesting)

Prysorra (1040518) | about 6 years ago | (#23055932)

Well..... If you walk into a major grocery store and look for carnation, you'll often find they have a faint scent almost like the roses next to them. Decades and decades ago, carnations - those flowers you bought in highschool when too cheap for roses - were known to have a *powerful* clove-like fragrance. In fact, they were planted around monasteries in France *because* of that fragrance. Turns out, the scented oil that gives off the smell we recognize accelerates the deterioration of cut flowers. Especially those shipped from South America. So.....florists bred the fragrance out. http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/fragrant/msg0617175920581.html [gardenweb.com]

Vapor trails? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23053426)

And yet I can still smell my brother's farts from across the room.

I'd better get that SUV after all.

try different flowers (2, Informative)

alen (225700) | about 6 years ago | (#23053434)

try flowers from one of the organic stores or Whole Foods. they smell a lot better and stronger than pretty much all other flowers i've ever bought

Re:try different flowers (4, Insightful)

T-Bone-T (1048702) | about 6 years ago | (#23054826)

Is that because you overpaid for them?

Hardly (1)

tinkerton (199273) | about 6 years ago | (#23057112)

Fruit and flowers have long been selected for shape and size, often at the expense of smell and taste. As a rule, old varieties of roses don't look as nice but they have more smell. Organic growers often go for older varieties. Old varieties grown non-organically are just the same though.

Organic growers don't force-grow their turnips and tomatoes that much either , which makes for a more concentrated taste.

Re:try different flowers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23055704)

I get mine from Placebos R' Us. They're plastic, but I think they smell great!

corepirate nazis still hacking/hijacking 'weather' (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23053452)

you can bet your .asp there's more being effected/damaged than plant life's aroma. better days ahead? see you there? let yOUR conscience be yOUR guide. you can be more helpful than you might have imagined. there are still some choices. if they do not suit you, consider the likely results of continuing to follow the corepirate nazi hypenosys story LIEn, whereas anything of relevance is replaced almost instantly with pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking propaganda or 'celebrity' trivia 'foam'. meanwhile; don't forget to get a little more oxygen on yOUR brain, & look up in the sky from time to time, starting early in the day. there's lots going on up there.


is it time to get real yet? A LOT of energy is being squandered in attempts to keep US in the dark. in the end (give or take a few 1000 years), the creators will prevail (world without end, etc...), as it has always been. the process of gaining yOUR release from the current hostage situation may not be what you might think it is. butt of course, most of US don't know, or care what a precarious/fatal situation we're in. for example; the insidious attempts by the felonious corepirate nazi execrable to block the suns' light, interfering with a requirement (sunlight) for us to stay healthy/alive. it's likely not good for yOUR health/memories 'else they'd be bragging about it? we're intending for the whoreabully deceptive (they'll do ANYTHING for a bit more monIE/power) felons to give up/fail even further, in attempting to control the 'weather', as well as a # of other things/events.


dictator style micro management has never worked (for very long). it's an illness. tie that with life0cidal aggression & softwar gangster style bullying, & what do we have? a greed/fear/ego based recipe for disaster. meanwhile, you can help to stop the bleeding (loss of life & limb);


the bleeding must be stopped before any healing can begin. jailing a couple of corepirate nazi hired goons would send a clear message to the rest of the world from US. any truthful look at the 'scorecard' would reveal that we are a society in decline/deep doo-doo, despite all of the scriptdead pr ?firm? generated drum beating & flag waving propaganda that we are constantly bombarded with. is it time to get real yet? please consider carefully ALL of yOUR other 'options'. the creators will prevail. as it has always been.

corepirate nazi execrable costs outweigh benefits
(Score:-)mynuts won, the king is a fink)
by ourselves on everyday 24/7

as there are no benefits, just more&more death/debt & disruption. fortunately there's an 'army' of light bringers, coming yOUR way. the little ones/innocents must/will be protected. after the big flash, ALL of yOUR imaginary 'borders' may blur a bit? for each of the creators' innocents harmed in any way, there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/us, as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile, will not be available. 'vote' with (what's left in) yOUR wallet, & by your behaviors. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious corepirate nazi glowbull warmongering execrable. some of US should consider ourselves somewhat fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate. it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc.... as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis. concern about the course of events that will occur should the life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order. 'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking nazi felon greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

meanwhile, the life0cidal philistines continue on their path of death, debt, & disruption for most of US. gov. bush denies health care for the little ones;


whilst demanding/extorting billions to paint more targets on the bigger kids;


& pretending that it isn't happening here;

all is not lost/forgotten/forgiven

(yOUR elected) president al gore (deciding not to wait for the much anticipated 'lonesome al answers yOUR questions' interview here on /.) continues to attempt to shed some light on yOUR foibles. talk about reverse polarity;


From the gut feeling dept. (5, Interesting)

Nyckname (240456) | about 6 years ago | (#23053460)

I still can't help but think that insecticides are having more to do with it. Bee keepers carry hives around to the farms. It's not like they have to fly too far to find the flowers, but hives are collapsing at farms.

Re:From the gut feeling dept. (2, Informative)

gad_zuki! (70830) | about 6 years ago | (#23056328)

There's a lot of conspiracy theories about these collapses but the IAPV virus was found in over 95% of collapsed hives. I know its much more hip to blame humans, pollutants, wifi radiation, lack of bee tin foil hats, etc but this is just nature vs nature.

Re:From the gut feeling dept. (2, Informative)

afidel (530433) | about 6 years ago | (#23057500)

Yes but IAPV is also very common in non-collapsed hives so it is believed that it has to be a combination of factors with IAPV being but one (possibly major) factor.

Plant diversity too (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | about 6 years ago | (#23057762)

Single plant types bloom together and only provide a brief window for bee food. In between, the bees get fed syrups etc, but those are really empty carbs.

The loss of plant diversity must be a huge factor too.

As for the loss of scent. Well duh! selective flower breeding is tending away from scent and more towards what the plants look like.

from the bambi dept (1, Insightful)

aleph42 (1082389) | about 6 years ago | (#23053508)

When you hear something as poetically moralising, there is only one thing you can do: get out of the theater room in disgust.

Re:from the bambi dept (0, Offtopic)

aleph42 (1082389) | about 6 years ago | (#23058432)

I don't get it; how could I be modded overrated, troll and then insightful ? (in that order!)

Can no one see a funny (or trying to be funny) post anymore??

hmmm... (4, Funny)

theheadlessrabbit (1022587) | about 6 years ago | (#23053522)

can't they just genetically engineer flowers with more potent aromas?

then we will inevitably have a /. story about long delays getting the product developed, and the whole idea of new smelly flowers will get tagged as vaporware, which would be an entirely inappropriate tag.

Re:hmmm... (2, Funny)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | about 6 years ago | (#23054892)

then we will inevitably have a /. story about long delays getting the product developed, and the whole idea of new smelly flowers will get tagged as vaporware, which would be an entirely inappropriate tag.
Okay, we'll just tag it dukesmellemforever

No sense of smell (5, Interesting)

digitalchinky (650880) | about 6 years ago | (#23053526)

I have no sense of smell. Prior to about 16 years of age I honestly thought people were making it up. I thought the sense of smell was all some big elaborate joke, a conspiracy against me personally.

Re:No sense of smell (2, Informative)

ByteSlicer (735276) | about 6 years ago | (#23053546)

If it's any consolation: neither do my sister and my father (though my sister can still smell extremely strong aromas). Especially troublesome is the lack to smell natural gas or smoke.

Re:No sense of smell (3, Informative)

lattyware (934246) | about 6 years ago | (#23053652)

Ironically, Natural Gas has no smell, it's added, but we all got what you meant, I'm sure.

Re:No sense of smell (1)

ByteSlicer (735276) | about 6 years ago | (#23053794)

Yes, you're correct. I meant the household variety where they add sulfur based odorants (mostly mercaptams). For what it's worth, some natural gas contains H2S and therefore does have an odor (rotten eggs), but this is normally removed since H2S is highly toxic.

Re:No sense of smell (1, Informative)

justthinkit (954982) | about 6 years ago | (#23054650)

By the time (i.e. concentration level) you can smell H2S, you are in big trouble. Then your sense of smell goes [wikipedia.org] and you think you are alright again, I guess. In short, not the greatest stench compound.

Re:No sense of smell (1)

Markspark (969445) | about 6 years ago | (#23056260)

what? the dangerous concentrations are 500 times higher than the levels at which we can smell it, where in lies the problem?

Re:No sense of smell (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23053966)

Natural gas doesn't smell? Boy you've never been around my house after everyone eats a big bowl of chili.

Re:No sense of smell (1)

Schadrach (1042952) | about 6 years ago | (#23054852)

I can't really smell much either. Food, smoke, the odorant in natural gas, the odorants in the *other* sort of natural gas, all nothing. Stuff like stong acids (HCl, H2NO4) burn my nose though, and bizarrely enough I can smell *people* pretty strongly.

Re:No sense of smell (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23053912)

Whoo hoo hoo! Sorry, this has really been going on for too long. It is all just a conspiracy against you. It was funny at first when you were young. You know, teasing kids even though they know the truth, like when you keep telling them that they were accidents and that they are unwanted. But then you started actually believing it when you broke 16! Now that was when it started getting hilarious. But seriously, the joke is old now, and we're starting to be concerned about your level of gullibility. There are no smells.

Re:No sense of smell (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23054058)

I'm the opposite. I have a very acute (for a human) sense of smell. I can tell by smell alone if someone had been in a room. In college I took a survey and was one of only two people (among 50) who could determine food/fragrance on a test card.

At work I once knew that a power supply was burning up because I could smell something odd. It wasn't exactly smoke, more like honey and oil. When it burned about ten minutes later and blew real smoke, it was almost overwhelming to me.

Someone once left a jacket in class once. Without even thinking about it, I picked it up and smelled it and knew exactly who it belonged to. It was as obvious to me as if her name was written on it.

Re:No sense of smell (1)

Dekker3D (989692) | about 6 years ago | (#23054358)

that's interesting.. is it self-taught (did you gradually get better at sniffing stuff?) or is it genetic?

Re:No sense of smell (1)

TheDormouse (614641) | about 6 years ago | (#23054248)

Interesting. If you don't mind the public prodding, what foods taste best to you? It's well noted that, for most people, good-tasting food is actually a combination of taste and smell. For you, the smell bias is eliminated.

Re:No sense of smell (1)

Culture20 (968837) | about 6 years ago | (#23056138)

Without the distraction of taste, your mind is free to touch the Zen of pure flavor!

Re:No sense of smell (1)

Torvaun (1040898) | about 6 years ago | (#23057034)

Once you drop both taste and smell, you've just got texture. I used to work with a guy who didn't have a sense of taste, most interesting thing was that he didn't like peanut butter, said it reminded him of oily sand.

Re:No sense of smell (1)

afabbro (33948) | about 6 years ago | (#23054364)

I have an exceptionally keen sense of smell. And on top of that, I take a medication that has a side effect of heightening the sense of smell. Trust me, you are better off with no smell than one that picks up every hint of human funk, bad breath, or barely-expired meat product.

Re:No sense of smell (2, Funny)

bar-agent (698856) | about 6 years ago | (#23055222)

It makes me wonder how dogs deal. I suppose since they sniff ass on a regular basis, it mustn't bother them much.

Re:No sense of smell (5, Insightful)

mpeskett (1221084) | about 6 years ago | (#23055838)

Dogs' noses are so good that they can't afford to find certain smells distasteful in the way we do - if they did it'd soon be absolutely unbearable for them anywhere near something icky.

Our noses kinda make the decision about whether something is good/bad, for a dog any smell is just information. Like how our eyes just give us info about colours/shapes - we wouldn't recoil from a blue triangle in the way we do from sour milk.

I suspect the smells dogs like are just the strongest smells or the ones with the most useful information to impart, which would explain the ass-sniffing and rolling in fox crap.

Re:No sense of smell (1)

wik (10258) | about 6 years ago | (#23054582)

My sense of smell is extremely poor. I just assumed it would be a skill I'd develop as I got older. (I didn't, of course). I also never understood why people said they loved the smell of flowers. If I put my nose directly up to flowers, they smell unpleasant--somewhat sour--pardon the term, I really don't know how to describe it.

A few odors really do bug me, however. The smell of cooking bacon makes me feel sick. The smell of certain seafood also bothers me immensely. There were a few particularly memorable instances (in a very bad way) where I could have sworn that my housemate was cooking a 50% solution of bleach (actually scallops, I think) and used motor oil (tilapia). It didn't go over well when I told him what I smelled.

Re:No sense of smell (4, Interesting)

scorp1us (235526) | about 6 years ago | (#23054736)

I have a super sense of smell. I can smell and identify an open can of V-8 in another room. But it's not all rosey at this extreme either (pun shamefully indulged in). As a result, some of our more volatile chemicals (like tar, household cleaners, etc) cause immediate headaches at just a wiff. Today there are tons of smells that just shouldn't be there. I'm not going to equate it to a mine field, but it's not great. But on occasion it is rewarding.

My father lost his sense of smell after a car accident. I never realized how important it is. One day his van smelled like gas, but he didn't know. He had a leaky gas line. He can't smell my mom's perfume or what's for dinner. What he does taste is a combination of the four basic flavors.

Smell is probably our most underrated sense.

Re:No sense of smell (1)

Velocir (851555) | about 6 years ago | (#23057790)

Agreed. Most of taste is actually smell. Also, smell is the only sense that taps directly into the hindbrain, which is why people react so instinctually with it...

Re:No sense of smell (1)

sjames (1099) | about 6 years ago | (#23058714)

My sense of smell seems to simply be "different", not stronger or weaker, but I percieve smells somewhat differently.

The main manifestation is that artificial scents smell NOTHING like what they're supposed to even though others swear they do.

Some smells others find objectionable are more neutral to me. Unfortunately, many perfumes and colognes smell absolutely horrific to me. We're talking eyes watering, burn some sulphur to cover the stench kind of bad.

Fortunatly, flowers and most foods smell about the same to me as they do for others.

Dumb conclusion... (4, Insightful)

TropicalCoder (898500) | about 6 years ago | (#23053542)

The finding could help explain why some pollinators, particularly bees, are declining in certain parts of the world.

I don't need to RTFA to point out how this conclusion does not bare up to even superficial examination. We have two types of bees in this world - domestic and wild. Bees in the wild are likely far from sources of pollution - by definition of "in the wild". Domestic bees are well known to be currently suffering a crises due a disease (or is it bee mites - or both?). What bees remain that are both not "in the wild" and not domestic are the only ones to potentially fit to the above conclusion. I would suggest that this is a very small group. I suppose other pollinators - like butterflies, etc, may find it a bit more difficult to find their flowers these days, but on the other hand, one would logically find these insects near flowers in the first place - their place of birth. Same goes for domestic bees, which are cultivated near flowering crops.

Re:Dumb conclusion... (2, Informative)

polar red (215081) | about 6 years ago | (#23053624)

We have two types of bees in this world - domestic and wild.
No, we have 1 species of domestic bee, and thousands of species of wild bee.

Re:Dumb conclusion... (1)

karbonKid (902236) | about 6 years ago | (#23053638)

He said TYPES, not SPIECES.

Re:Dumb conclusion... (-1, Troll)

polar red (215081) | about 6 years ago | (#23053650)

a type is not a biological term, so (s)he must have meant species.

Re:Dumb conclusion... (1)

tehBoris (1120961) | about 6 years ago | (#23054062)

You are right (as far as I know, anyway), but I think that s/he was just partitioning the set of 'bees' into three different subsets that don't overlap, without talking about the distribution of the different species, varieties, etc. of bees within those sets.

Re:Dumb conclusion... (1)

andymadigan (792996) | about 6 years ago | (#23054086)

Or maybe he was looking at where they live, and didn't need to get to the level of species to do that. Most people know what a species is, english has a large vocabulary, there is no need to assume the person meant something other than what they said.

Re:Dumb conclusion... (2, Informative)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | about 6 years ago | (#23053642)

And both are declining dramatically (there's an area in china that apparently has no bees left at all - the farmers there who grow pears for a living have to hand-pollinate otherwise there would be no more crops).

Re:Dumb conclusion... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23053872)

The stupid .... it burns..... seriously, whoever modded this as informative is as clueless as the author of this post. The opening line tells all you need to know: "I don't need to RTFA to point out how this conclusion does not bare up to even superficial examination." The person dismissing this scientific study does not even know the difference between bear and bare and yet you value his opinion on the on the effect of pollution on pollinators? The study is published in the journal Atmospheric Environment http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/13522310 [sciencedirect.com] RTFA - then draw you conclusions.

The stupid .... it burns..... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23054218)

"The person dismissing this scientific study does not even know the difference between bear and bare and yet you value his opinion on the on the effect of pollution on pollinators?"

I am not so sure that you can so easily dismiss somebody's comment because it contains a typo. If we do that, we would dismiss your response, since clearly you failed to proof read your own comment. If you had, you would have noticed that you repeated "on the" in "on the on the effect of pollution...". Obviously you are clueless and we should disregard your point of view, if we follow your way of thinking.

Then you cite the study upon which the FA was based, but it is a useless citation because only those with a subscription to that journal could read that study. There is certainly no information in the abstract that has any bearing on the comment to which you respond. You conclude that the author of the post is "clueless", but you give no rebuttal to his conclusion. Since you obviously RTFA, you should easily be able to find something to back up your critique. Finally, your implication is we cannot not criticize the FA because "The study is published in the journal Atmospheric Environment". That is dangerous thinking. Any intelligent person needs to question anything he reads as a matter of routine. The more prestigious the journal, the more we need to keep our eyes open sometimes.

Finally, contrary opinions such as yours can be quite valuable to a discussion if they contain well formed arguments. It may be that there are times when it is appropriate to call somebody out as being "clueless". If you are going to take such a bold position, and want to be taken seriously, you should not hide as AC. You should stand up proudly attaching your name to your point of view.

Re:Dumb conclusion... (1)

Solra Bizna (716281) | about 6 years ago | (#23053948)

I suppose other pollinators ... may find it a bit more difficult to find their flowers these days, ...

I must be tired, since I read "pollinators" as "politicians."


So without reading the article you're the expert? (3, Informative)

jensend (71114) | about 6 years ago | (#23054212)

Nonsense. They're suggesting that the relevant effects from pollution aren't just local in the area of the polluters. Furthermore, colony collapse disorder [wikipedia.org], which is the crisis you refer to, affects both wild and domestic bees and is very poorly understood - it's certainly not been proven to be due to disease or mites, and there's no good reason to immediately jump to the conclusion that the problem mentioned in the study isn't a major or even dominant factor in colony collapse disorder.

Re:So without reading the article you're the exper (3, Insightful)

TropicalCoder (898500) | about 6 years ago | (#23054434)

Nonsense...there's no good reason to immediately jump to the conclusion that the problem mentioned in the study isn't a major or even dominant factor in colony collapse disorder.

I don't see how you so easily can say "nonsense". I see it differently - that there is no good reason to immediately jump to the conclusion that the problem of Colony Collapse Disorder is caused by pollution. Colony Collapse Disorder seems to happen in sporadic bursts, whereas I believe pollution can be graphed with long graceful curves.

Wikipedia says "...late in the year 2006 and in early 2007 the rate of attrition was alleged to have reached new proportions, and the term "Colony Collapse Disorder" was proposed to describe this sudden rash of disappearances." To me, that implies that there is no correlation between Colony Collapse Disorder and pollution, since I don't think there was a sudden spike in pollution that corresponds with declines in bee populations.

Interestingly, I was just reading Boeing 787 Dreamliner Delayed Again [slashdot.org], which links to a Wired Science article [wired.com], which points to a Dan Rather video, which has a segment at the end that states that the cause of Colony Collapse Disorder has been determined to be caused by some Israeli bee virus. First time I heard that. I am certainly no expert, nor do I pretend to be. I was merely stating that for me, on the surface, the conclusion does not bear up to close scrutiny. In fact, I was implying that one doesn't need to be an expert, or even to RTFA to formulate a plausible critique.

Re:So without reading the article you're the exper (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | about 6 years ago | (#23055668)

CCD could be a chaotic event with increasing stress before a complete breakdown.

Sort of like this...
p= pollution level/stress

p4 sudden collapse may or may not happen from here on. (it's random so hard to prove scientifically)
p5 s.c. zone
p6 s.c. zone
p7 bees always die at this level ( so it is repeatable- so science can easily detect it)

We have a lot of problem with random/chaotic events.... then you add in politics (tree huggers, developers, industrialists, religious wack jobs) and it gets really messy.
And then science is generally probabilistic anyway. Even for Gravity it is "observed data holds true so far- but could change tomorrow".

Re:Dumb conclusion... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23054558)

No, you do need to RTFA and you need to know something of the ecology of pollinators and flowering plants today before you make such blanket suggestions. There are 'domestic' bees, and there are lots of different types of 'wild' bee, both feeding on the same flowers, in gardens as anywhere else. The non domesticated species are important pollinators for numerous crops. For instance the wild giant honeybee is an important pollinator in most of southeast Asia, and you can see colonies of them without having to look very far. In my own garden in London, England, the majority of the bees are either solitary bees, or bumble bees, i.e. non domesticated species, some of which breed there.

Horse shit. (3, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | about 6 years ago | (#23053552)

The perceptible scent of flowers drifted well over half a mile back in the day when the thick scent of horse shit and outhouses drowned the streets.

Re:Horse shit. (5, Informative)

ByteSlicer (735276) | about 6 years ago | (#23053588)

The problem seems to be not drowning the scent in other scents, but the destruction of scent molecules by pollutants. Insects have a very low scent threshold and can detect a scent trail of just a few specific molecules, so drowning wouldn't be a problem.

Re:Horse shit. (1)

Seumas (6865) | about 6 years ago | (#23053674)

The article is rather vague and answers absolutely no questions, so I don't know how they acquired measurements, under what conditions and what variables were measured. I doubt the effect of pollution on reduction of "scent molecules" is as likely (or at least as destructive) as reducing the output of these molecules by the plants in the first place or the direct damaging of the plants themselves.

And relating vanishing bees to it is just a random guess. Last I heard, the news reports were stating that bees weren't vanishing after all. Then they were. Then they weren't again.

Re:Horse shit. (4, Funny)

ByteSlicer (735276) | about 6 years ago | (#23053748)

Last I heard, the news reports were stating that bees weren't vanishing after all. Then they were. Then they weren't again.
I heard rumors they plan to leave again right after putting a vase in every house, engraved with 'So long and thanks for all the sugar'.

Actually a good thing for my wife (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23053566)

My wife has terrible allergies to anything like flowers, pets, perfumes, etc. When we lived in Atlanta, she didn't have nearly as many problems since the smog clobbered all those things.

Re:Actually a good thing for my wife (1)

3seas (184403) | about 6 years ago | (#23053634)

It's likely to have been the pollen clogging up her sinuses while desensitizing her allergies.

Where pollen counts in the rest of the country are considered very high at 200, in Atlanta we commonly get to 2000 + and worse case year was 6000 +.

And I have hear that people who have lived in teh Atlanta area all their life but move out for 6 months and back now suffer from sinus problem they did not have before.

What I learned from this article is that bees have a sense of smell???


Re:Actually a good thing for my wife (1)

Orange Crush (934731) | about 6 years ago | (#23054502)

I lived in Marietta for two years--I have never seen so much pollen in my entire life. There were literally mounds of nothing but pollen that accumulated against street curbs. When it rained, you'd get big green-yellow pollen slicks, and your car would be covered in green-yellow dust as if someone took a 5 pound bag of the stuff and shook it all over your driveway. Insane.

Good grief (0, Flamebait)

192939495969798999 (58312) | about 6 years ago | (#23053572)

With the glut of environmental decline stories, I'm left to wonder if there's anything left that's NOT wrong with the environment!

Re:Good grief (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23053594)

My environment is screwy too. For some reason LD_LIBRARY_PATH and JAVA_HOME are getting unset.

Pot-heads R Us.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23053620)

Will this affect marijuana potency in any way?

Is it suddenly less windy? (1)

cremes (16553) | about 6 years ago | (#23053688)

How does this study stand up to any scrutiny? (he asks while not RTFA.)

I'm sure the pollen is still traveling the same distance that it used to unless pollution has also made it less windy (sure...). I bet what they meant to say is the scent is less noticeable at greater distance due to being overpowered by scents caused by pollution. I could believe that statement, but to say that pollution is preventing the smell from traveling is just goofy.


Re:Is it suddenly less windy? (1)

vidarh (309115) | about 6 years ago | (#23054102)

If you had RTFA'd you'd have seen that what they claim is that the pollutants bond with the molecules causing the scents and that as a result neutralize the scents much closer to the source. It is not about the scent being overpowered, but removed. Hence the smell would not travel further, because it wouldn't exist anymore - the molecules causing them will be a part of a different chemical compound.

The article doesn't give enough details to judge the quality of the research.

Re:Is it suddenly less windy? (1)

cremes (16553) | about 6 years ago | (#23054416)

In order for the RTFA joke to have any currency, some of us must continue to *not* RTFA. I'm just trying to help you all out here...

Thanks for the explanation. Now I don't need to RTFA.


If it looks like a duck and smells like a duck... (1)

flyneye (84093) | about 6 years ago | (#23053906)

I'm not sure I agree with their postulation that somehow, because they, as human cannot receive smell as well as they theoretically could in a pollution free environment, that others in the cycle of existence for whom smell is more necessary,have lost enough of the smell to matter. (I said that in one breath,honest!)
            I suspect perhaps there is some environmental alarmist bias in a subject that requires some scientific detachment. So, feel free to send me a slice o' that grant money for my input to the problem.

Re:If it looks like a duck and smells like a duck. (2, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 6 years ago | (#23054172)

This "study" is a computer simulation. Computer simulations have a place in science, but before they are the basis for policy, they need to be tested in the real world.
These scientists have tested a postulate in a computer simulation, that scents are diminished by the scent chemicals reacting with pollutants (especially ozone). Now they have to test that in the real world.

Re:If it looks like a duck and smells like a duck. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23059930)

These scientists have tested a postulate in a computer simulation, that scents are diminished by the scent chemicals reacting with pollutants (especially ozone). Now they have to test that in the real world.
Try googling 'ozone odor control'. It's allready usable tech in real world. Brb.

BTW don't use ozonators in your grow-op, that stuff is poisonous.

Coming soon - stronger scents? (3, Interesting)

gregor-e (136142) | about 6 years ago | (#23054120)

If pollution is degrading aroma molecules before pollinators can pick up on them, this is a selective pressure for plants to produce more scent or at least more durable scents. Given that peppered moths have been able to change from light to dark and back to light coloring in less than a century, I'd expect we'd already be seeing (or smelling) stronger-scented flowers.

Re:Coming soon - stronger scents? (4, Insightful)

dodobh (65811) | about 6 years ago | (#23055130)

They would need to produce molecules which are not destroyed by pollutants. Being able to generate those in a really short time is tough. Even for as big a laboratory as the earth.

Re:Coming soon - stronger scents? (2, Insightful)

Mistshadow2k4 (748958) | about 6 years ago | (#23055322)

Wildflowers probably will develop stronger scents. I doubt that cultivated flowers will though, unless there is a radical change of attitude among breeders. I like gardening, and I especially like gardening with fragrant flowers. I can tell you that planting for scent is a lot harder than it was when I gardened with my grandmother as a kid; the vast majority of breeders just don't care about fragrance. Many, many types of tea roses have had no scent at all or just a very faint scent for decades. They breed for bigger blooms and longer blooming times. Scent isn't even on the list of priorities for them. This is partly to accommodate florists, but most breeds of tea roses bred for and sold to the public are like this too nowadays. Unfortunately, this attitude has spread to the breeding of other types of flowering plants that are normally quite fragrant, such as lilacs and wisteria.

There are exceptions, of course. English roses have the forms and fragrance of old-fashioned roses but are fairly difficult to find; most gardening supply places have only a few of them, if any at all. If you want to garden for scent you will have to do some diligent searching. Also be prepared to change things after a couple of years, because some of your fragrant flowers that die off will be impossible to replace with equally fragrant specimens of the same species.

colors (3, Informative)

slashkitty (21637) | about 6 years ago | (#23054572)

That's real interesting, but bees and many other pollinators find the flowers through the color. Granted, pollution may be diminishing the color, but I'm sure they can still find them. Once found, the bees give directions to the hive.

Flower Density (1)

explodingspleen (1267860) | about 6 years ago | (#23054918)

It makes no practical difference whether the radius of detection is 1300 meters or 300 meters if the bees have a large flight path. (and flowers are not bordering on extinction) The premise of this argument is that bees are unable to find flowers with a 300m radar system, which I believe to be intuitively absurd. What we may be more concerned about is flowers that have been disproportionately diminished in their scent trails. These may wind up not being pollenated.

Bad Bad BAD! Headline - No Doughnut. (1)

TechnoGrl (322690) | about 6 years ago | (#23055110)

"Flower's Smell Not Traveling As Far"

Look , I know we're not exactly the New Your Times here (and I'm NOT a grammar troll) but flowers don't "smell" primarily because they don't have noses. Flowers can "smell bad" or WE can smell flowers but flowers can't "smell" anything. The headline should have read "Flowers Fragrance not traveling as ..." or "Flowers Odor not traveling as ..." , whatever.

Frankly I read the title three times and couldn't make any sense of it until I read the text beneath it. I'm not expecting you guys to win a Pulitzer prize but could you please have enough respect for me, as your reader, to at least use basic high school syntax and grammar? Thanks in advance...

Re:Bad Bad BAD! Headline - No Doughnut. (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 6 years ago | (#23055398)

Well, the head line isn't "Flowers smell ...", but "Flowers' smell ..." i.e. "The smell of the flowers ..."

And yes, "smell" indeed is a noun as well as a verb, and Webster's New Encyclopedic Dictionary gives as one meaning of that noun: "2: the property of a thing that affects the olfactory organs: odor"

Oh, and the same source gives as one meaning of the verb: "4a: to give off an odor" - therefore flowers indeed do smell, although that's irrelevant to the interpretation of the title.

Re:Bad Bad BAD! Headline - No Doughnut. (1)

slashkitty (21637) | about 6 years ago | (#23055710)

I think you got this from the old joke. You don't smell, I SMELL, and you stink.

an ineffusive smell (1)

Minimalist360 (1258970) | about 6 years ago | (#23055260)

Please please please no one tell Al Gore or we'll all have to sit through another Keynote presentation, and all the hype that surrounds it.

Hive Collapse (1)

PPH (736903) | about 6 years ago | (#23055408)

Here's my theory: Whenever I drive through agricultural areas, I see all the hives set up in orchards, vineyards and other similar areas. One thing I've noticed about them is that the bee-keepers set their hives up where its easy to get trucks in. Inevitably, this turns out to be on access roads at the perimeter of the crops, adjacent to a public road or highway. If the bees search for flowers in all directions from the hives, probability states that half of them will head across the road ..... and end up on my windshield.

Sounds like a Bioengineering problem to me. (1)

Es Esmu Adams (1200809) | about 6 years ago | (#23055744)

I say bio-engineer flowers with pollutant resistant scents. All in the name of Science.

Re:Sounds like a Bioengineering problem to me. (1)

RobinH (124750) | about 6 years ago | (#23055972)

I would think that if new strains of plants evolved that had pollution resistant scents, they would immediately flourish down-wind of large cities, and they would be the ones getting pollinated, thus solving the problem. The question is whether or not plants will evolve fast enough. I think that in time they probably would, if necessary.

andnothingofvaluewaslost (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23056750)

IMO, most flowery fragrances are terrible. I can appreciate the "fresh" smell of grass and trees, but flowers tend to fall into the category of "pungent". I also can't stand those thick fruity scents that women rub on their hands, or in their shampoos.

Not that I'm suggesting that car exhaust (or methane, for country folk) is a better smell, just that this is probably not going to get that many people excited over environmentalism. I would rather be smelling barbeque charcoal (which is technically a type of pollution) than any flower.

Yay for metric! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23056884)

Finally, a Slashdot post where I can understand the units used! Woot!
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