My new post is up at Biofortified, discussing Hawai’is curious relationship with GE. Here’s a taste:
Hawai’i is a remote archipelago of islands with a declining sugar industry. The new expanses of open acreage are now being filled with GE crop trials, and controversy.
- PRSV-Resistant Papaya
The University of Hawai’i produced the first GE Papaya resistant to Papaya Ringspot Virus, which grows there today (and even surrounds and protects organic plots of Papaya), and is currently investigating several other crops and their potential for improvement. Those efforts have been put in jeopardy recently as the council of the big island of Hawai’i banned the growing of GE taro and coffee with no allowance for continued academic research.
So if this was about helping Hawai’ian farmers defend themselves against Monsanto and worried coffee consumers, why was there no provision to allow University GE research on the big island of Hawai’i?
Read the rest here.
In many places, when you have a large gathering of people for a fancy meal, it is often customary for someone to lead the group in a prayer, called “Divine Grace,” or just Grace. For those who are particularly religious, it is seen as a recognition that God was responsible for (but not obligated to providing) the meal they are about to eat. And indeed some such people will say grace before every meal.
This can sometimes be funny when it comes to what exactly constitutes a “meal” worthy of saying grace – does dessert count if you eat it afterward? How about a bag of cheetos in the afternoon? I once had a friend who would pause uttering casual expletives mid-sentence at the moment he sat down at the table to pray, and promptly resume when the private invocation had been completed! I also remember a dating show with a very awkward guy in red goggles who forgot to pray and had to excuse himself in the middle of eating his pie. Continue reading A Humanist Grace
I mentioned before that something seemed to be different about the science blogging world. Several genetic-engineering-centric blogs have cropped up, bringing some in-depth discussion of this field to the internet. In a discussion with someone else online, they suggested – wouldn’t it be great if there was a group of scientists who could respond to news about GE crops? I’ve had similar thoughts as well.
Well after a month or two of work, I’ve built a home for such a group, and invited some blogging scientists to contribute. Behold: The Biofortified Blog!
The scientists we have so far are Continue reading The Biofortified Blog
This weekend, I participated in my first Pumpkin Regatta! Organized by Jim Nienhuis and Irwin Goldman of the UW-Madison Horticulture department, it pits students, kids, and sailors alike against each other in a rowing race of giant proportions. Specifically, giant pumpkins. Which you sit inside. And paddle.
Let me see: Boating, Squash, Competition, Horticulture, and Glory. This has just about everything I need to make a Saturday worthwhile. So I hopped down there to volunteer as the first challenger against the Hoofer Sailing Club’s racer, Bridget. Little did my professors (Jim and Irwin) know that I had won a dinghy race against all the other Sea Explorer ships back in high school, so I surprised them with a victory for Horticulture!* Continue reading Victorious!*
While I was in the process of applying for graduate school, in late 2006, I was chasing down a letter of recommendation from my former boss, and somehow, the conversation turned to a book he was asked to proof-read. That book, a year and a half later, was to be published as Tomorrow’s Table: Organic Farming and the Future of Food, by Pamela Ronald and Raoul W. Adamchak. Pamela Ronald is a rice geneticist and genetic engineer, the chair of the plant genomics program at UC Davis, now also the Director of Grass Genetics at the Joint Bioenergy Research Institute in Emeryville. (She is also a former professor of mine.) The second author, Raoul, is an organic farmer, who runs the UC Davis Student Farm‘s Market Garden, a stone’s throw from where I used to garden in Davis.
When I first heard about it in production, I couldn’t wait to read this book, because I knew what it would be about, an idea that both Pam and Raoul have promoted and embody in their lives. You see, Pam and Raoul are married, and they think Organic Agriculture and Genetic Engineering should be, too. Continue reading Review: Tomorrow’s Table
My counterpart has just written a scathing sociological critique of Whole Foods market. What do you get when you combine exoticized yet bland ‘ethnic’ food, expensive produce, and subliminal messages in a supermarket?
Whole Foods and other health food stores totally sell stuff that exoticize and commcercialize other people’s cultures. For instance, I saw a box of Zen Flakes. Zen Flakes. Really now.
I’ve got my own criticisms (and kudos) for Whole Paycheck which I might as well post soon, but for now, check this out.
I’ve got two more genetic engineering blogs to add to my blogroll. The first is called GMO Food for Thought, and is run by C.S. Prakash, AgBioWorld founder. He maintains a declaration in support of Agricultural Biotechnology at his site, and there are over 3,400 signers of this list. (Although I can’t seem to navigate past the first page of signers.)
The second is Malaysia4Biotech, another blog popping up overseas, which has already started churning out the posts. Author Mahaletchumy Arujanan opens with the big Why for blogging about biotech:
The 21st century is hailed as the century of biological sciences, particularly biotechnology which is revolutionizing all aspects of our lifestyles from food to agriculture, environment, industry, and healthcare and medicine. Biotechnology is changing the terrains and landscapes of these fields to enhance the quality of life and environment. Countries are racing to embrace this powerful tool to create wealth though innovation. Malaysia is not spared as the government has pledged it strong commitments to develop this sector. Continue reading It’s spreading!