Agriculture

  • ‘Skeptical environmentalist’ Lomborg adopts high-yield farming

    CHURCHVILLE, VA—Bjorn Lomborg and his Copenhagen Consensus have just joined one of the smallest clubs in today’s world: people who believe that high-yield farming is the path to a sustainable future for people and wildlife despite, and even because of, its pesticides, chemical fertilizers, irrigation dams, and blast-freezers.   Lomborg, famous for his book The […]

  • The folly of E15 anti-hydrocarbon policies

    The Obama Administration’s anti-hydrocarbon ideology and “renewable” energy mythology continues to subsidize crony capitalists and the politicians they help keep in office – on the backs of American taxpayers, ratepayers and motorists. The latest chapter in the sorry ethanol saga is a perfect example. Bowing to pressure from ADM, Cargill, Growth Energy and other Big […]

  • Legal challenge to EPA’s E15 scheme picks up steam

    The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) plans to allow a controversial blend of gasoline and ethanol to be sold in the U.S. could be headed for rough legal sledding. Federal appeals court judges recently heard a challenge to the Obama EPA’s approval of E15, a blend of 85 percent gasoline and 15 percent ethanol, to be […]

  • Happy Earth Day Humans

    by Einar Du Rietz

    Only weeks after the peculiar, entirely symbolical and possibly dangerous Earth Hour gimmick, it’s now the 42’nd Earth Day. Hard to be against the Earth, but I’ve never understood the tendency to use these events to suggest an ongoing conflict between the earth and humanity.  

    CFACT International President David Rothbard comments:

    “Celebrate them all, we should. But as faithful followers of CFACT know, today’s environmentalism (at least the kind that gets all the attention) isn’t so much about reveling in the beauty of nature and its amazements as it is in using this lofty matter to hammer away at human productivity, prosperity, and plenty. Saddest and ironic of all, of course, is that people prospering is the very thing that helps us steward the environment the best.”

     You might add that without humans, there wouldn’t be an Earth Day, or that without human action, in the form of development and exploitation, there would be no humans. Ecological nostalgia is sometimes tempting to some, but I believe we all realize that if time travel was possible, none of us would survive even minutes in a prehistoric era.

     So, let’s take the opportunity to celebrate the innovations that increasingly is making it possible to lead a life even in areas still ridden by hardship. Not of prehistoric proportions, but at least with meagre possibilities to adjust housing and clothing to the weather, choose what we eat, or even have access to fresh drinking water.

    Today’s sunny news is that Brittish scientists now have shown that hidden groundwater resources wating to be exploited in Africa, may amount to a hundred times the more shallow wells being used today.

  • They Don’t Want To Hurt You – They Just Want Your Money

    by Einar Du Rietz

    Might appreciate some real support - not corruption and stupidity

    The heroic boy scouts collected money, went to a village in deepest Africa and helped develop a well. A few month later, excessive use had dried it up and the final result was an extension of the desert.

    Examples of unintended consequences (and sometimes plain stupidity) in development aid are numerous, some probably myths by now. Distributing loads of pork to Muslim countries. Rushing factory building until the installation collapse on top of people. The literature is also quite extensive. A useful introduction, or summary may be this.

    Important to remember is that humanitarian catastrophes are seldom, if ever, caused by real villains in these cases, hence the words unintended and aid. Wars, planned famine and genocides are indeed orchestrated by evil, but they are never intended by the do-gooders.

    The problems occur both with voluntary help and government programs, though the latter, for natural reason, tend to be more dangerous. As a matter of fact, lot’s of people working with government aid are smart, caring people, but often trapped in the system. One such hazard is the idea, launched some decades ago, and implemented in some countries, to legislate allocation of a minimum level of GDP to the foreign aid budget. Both the government, and the associated authorities are then forced to spend the annual funds.

    Some countries try to make the best of the situation, for example by allocating funds to emergency help rather than budget support. Pouring money into a corrupt countries state budget most often leads to, in the less evil scenario, the money going straight into a Swiss bank account, or, which is worse, into buying weaponry used against neighbours or the country’s own population. On the other hand, budget support can also be the only way to boost investments in infrastructure. An alternative to building governmental roads and airports is of course to let private companies both develop, build and own. Such investments tend, if they are even allowed, however to be quite risky for the entrepreneur, facing the constant threat of both war and plain nationalization. The only simple solution, if not sufficient, seems to be to, to the extent possible, minimize governmental aid and let the not so small private, international networks do the job.

  • Milking the public: a ‘raw’ deal?

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    The U.S. Centers for Disease Control finally confirmed that drinking raw milk is more than twice as dangerous then drinking pasteurized milk. And the raw milk disease outbreaks are more dangerous, especially for kids and the elderly. This is the CDC’s reluctant response to a craze among the alternate believers for “all natural.” CDC made the announcement after a 13-year review!

  • Sustainable development: latest tool for expanding EPA’s empire

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    Determined to concentrate power in the hands of largely unaccountable bureaucrats in Washington, Obama administration officials have devised a new scheme to justify expanding the regulatory reach of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

  • Turning seaweed into ethanol

    Researchers may have broken the biofuel barrier. A new biotech discovery enables ethanol to be made from a common variety of brown seaweed. This would by-pass the biggest problem with corn ethanol and biodiesel—the world’s shortage of cropland. The new ethanol process uses the familiar E. coli bacterium working on kombu, a variety of edible […]

  • Deep Green Resistance: Occupy (and more) till civilization falls

    By Duggan Flanakin (reviewer) The central theme of Deep Green Resistance, written by Aric McBay, Lierre Keith, and Derrick Jensen (author of Endgame), is simple. To save the planet, its wildlife and some of its people, the enlightened few must rise up in resistance – not to reform, but rather to totally tear down the […]

  • Add herbicides to Africa’s rescue plan!

    CHURCHVILLE, VA: Africa is the only continent where food production per capita is falling as its population continues to expand. Three-fourths of Africa’s food is produced on small farms that get radically lower crop yields than its experimental farms. Even if these little farms got adequate fertilizer and high-yield seeds, they still wouldn’t get the […]

  • No Honey

    by Einar Du Rietz

    “Honey has always been considered an entirely pure product for the purposes of food labelling laws. But Europe’s highest court has now decreed that pollen is an ingredient of honey rather than an intrinsic, natural component.”

    writes the Telegraph

    watch?v=qeGtaSWzFRA for more honey.

    It just so happens that I’m quite allergic. Not as severe as some younger friends, as the hassle tends to diminish with age, but still enough to remain careful. The so called allergy family (all allergies belong to groups, for example sea food, which I have no problems with) is nuts. Along with this comes mould – also penicillin in it’s original form – almonds and certain fruits and berries. And pets. The only thing really lethal is normally nuts. A younger friend never enters a Thai restaurant or leave her home without cortisone in her pocket. I’ve outgrown pet allergy, and can try different kinds of food, but I will never in my life test one singe nut again. It’s really not worth it.

    Sometimes, however, I get the feeling that the worst threat, at least to my mental well-being, is not the sneezing during springtime, but busy body government. When chocolate bars simply had to list ingredients – and you also could find some safe brands – it was easy to pick something suitable. Since some years back, manufacturers are required to point out that virtually every product “may contain traces of nuts”. My younger friend naturally does not even look at candy, but for me, it would be nice to be able to make an informed choice. “May contain” means that the product is manufactured in an environment where other products, containing nuts, have been produced.

    And now they are out to hit on the honey. The European Court that is, eager to put another burden on a struggling line of business.

  • No More Butter on the Fish

    by Einar Du Rietz Yesterday, I watched that widely acclaimed movie by Nora Ephron about Julia Childs and her later follower. Marvelous. And somehow, all about butter. I seldom use butter, as I prefere olive oil, but for certain dishes it’s the best option. All sorts of fish, for example. How interesting then that there is […]

  • The New Antidote – Garlic

    by Einar Du Rietz That it was fairly good for preventing colds I knew, but now apparently garlic is the way to prevent global warming. Reports euractiv: “Reducing farm animals’ wind by adding garlic to feed could substantially reduce greenhouse emissions, according to research by West Wales’ scientists featured by Euronews. An organosulphur compound obtained […]

  • Biotech reduces farmer suicides

    CHURCHVILLE, VA—The world’s farm pesticide death toll has been cut radically with biotech seeds that carry their own internal pesticide. A new study in India has found that biotech cotton has reduced pesticide spraying by 50 percent, and spraying of the most toxic poisons by 70 percent. The reduced spraying is helping avoid “several million […]

  • More boulders in Africa’s farm path

    CHURCHVILLE, VA—The African Biofortified Sorghum project centered in South Africa, is striving to breed sorghum with extra lysine, vitamin A, iron, and zinc to help millions of African small farmers meet their families’ nutritional needs. The project is funded by the Bill Gates Foundation, collaborating with Du Pont and Pioneer Hi-Bred Seeds. Unfortunately, the project […]

  • E. coli outbreak underscores need for electronic pasteurization

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    This week’s headlines: Another huge, awful outbreak of food-borne bacteria. This time the worst in modern history; perhaps 2000 sickened, and more than 20 dead. At least 500 cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome. That means liver damage—and potential death from kidney failure. More than 1000 cases of severe diarrhea. Usually it is the very young and the elderly who are most at risk of serious consequences, but this outbreak targeted young adults, mostly women.

  • Organic cucumbers (Sprouts?) kill 14 in Germany

    An outbreak of E-coli contamination in organic cucumbers has sickened 1,200 people and killed 14.  Scores of victims have lost all kidney function as a result of the infection with many forced to use dialysis. Green campaigners routinely attack fruits and vegetables grown and protected using efficient modern methods.  No evidence exists that “organic” foods […]