Trees with email addresses get into strange conversations

Think you get into some oddball email threads with your coworkers? That's nothing next to what's happening in Melbourne, Australia's green spaces. The city gave email addresses to trees in 2013 to help deal with broken branches and other issues, but it now finds that many people are striking up conversations with these leafy residents about everything from their looks to the weather. In some cases, the trees (okay, city staff) reply back. Want to know what a cedar thinks of the Greek debt crisis? Ask it -- you might just get an answer.

And in case you're wondering, the city doesn't mind. This shows that locals are fond of their trees, Councillor Arron Wood tells Citylab. It also suggests that the internet of things is having an unintended effect: when you can talk to inanimate objects (even if there's a human pulling the strings), that changes how you care for and interact with them. The best way to preserve something valuable might just be to give it a digital personality.

[Image credit: Edwin Lee, Flickr]