Gymnosperms are plants that do not flower and instead produce bare seeds or cones, as with the familiar pine tree.
Pine trees, of course, are of enormous economic importance. They grow quickly, and their wood is used to manufacture cheap construction materials such as particle board and plywood. Whole pines were the traditional material for ship masts, and their soft unprocessed wood continues to be used in woodworking. It is also a common firewood due to the low cost. Pulped pines produce the majority of paper manufactured.
Crude pine resin is commercially important. Rosin and oil of turpentine derived from the crude resin are used for applications ranging from oiling violin strings to making glue and soap on an industrial scale. Turpentine also has medical applications as an antispasmodic, a diuretic, a stimulant and an antibacterial.
Finally, pine nuts are used as food, the most famous recipe including them being pesto sauce.
Aside from pines, a gymnosperm called ginkgo is planted throughout major American cities as a street tree because it is resistant to pollution. Products made from ginkgo seeds are promoted by beverage manufacturers for their supposed neurological properties, said to promote alertness and memory.
Firs are used for their strong and attractive wood, which is relatively cheap due to the trees' rapid growth.
Spruce is important to the music industry as spruce wood is used to make high-quality soundboards for violins and guitars.
Roblox isn’t what I expected. On first inspection, its polygons and primitive textures give an impression of Minecraft meets Lego – but Roblox is neither. This isn’t a game, it’s a platform; and its elements more closely resemble “Steam meets Unity” than some variation on the creative games currently sweeping the industry.
In fact, Roblox has been ushering in the age of user-generated content for far longer than Mojang’s block builder. Since 2006 it’s been evolving and growing, now boasting an enormous user base of 30 million unique monthly users.
That would be a staggering achievement for most online services; World of Warcraft has been around fractionally longer, but has experienced consistent decline in recent years. Roblox isn’t declining, it’s going from strength to strength.
And so comes the inevitable question: what on earth is it? Fire up the online client of Roblox and a legion of gaming experiences open up before you. First-person shooters, murder mysteries, platformers, and even some games that defy generic convention. The vast majority, if not all of these are user-generated, or produced by small studios dedicated to the platform – a bewildering 15 million of them to be precise.