Dennis Fitzgerald, Box Hill, Vic
There are a number of reports currently in the media of a 2016 research project where scientists have engineered spinach plants to send emails. The question to be considered isn’t really how they did it, but why they did it. Although not completely familiar with the interests and desires of spinach plants I would assume all they want is light, water, and food – usually manure. The manure might be symbolic of this research.
This is by no means the weirdest piece of scientific research ever, as the yearly Ig Nobel prizes will show. But there are other areas they could have investigated including why do most children hate it [spinach] and does it give you great muscles instantaneously, as it did for Popeye – although my own research suggests it doesn’t.
Further efforts could include how to use carrots to really improve your eyesight, how to quickly determine the heat of a chilli without giving it to a younger sibling to test, and why will people only eat bent bananas when straight ones taste the same?
A far better spinach-based research project would have been how to grow more of it, and faster, as it is good for you. Then the research could be generalised to improve food production overall which would be a boon for many.