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Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘agriculture

[BLOG] Some Friday links

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  • io9 notes that kale, cauliflower, and collards all are product of the same species.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze speculates on the detection of Earth analogues late in their lifespan and notes the failure to discover a predicted circumbinary brown dwarf at V471 Tauri.
  • The Dragon’s Tales shares Lockheed’s suggestion that it is on the verge of developing a 300-kilowatt laser weapon.
  • Far Outliers considers the question of who is to blame for the Khmer Rouge.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that One Million Moms is hostile to the free WiFi of McDonald’s.
  • Spacing Toronto notes an 1855 circus riot sparked by a visit of clowns to the wrong brothel.
  • Torontoist notes how demographic changes in different Toronto neighbourhoods means some schools are closing while others are straining.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes a California court ruling not recognizing the competence of the Iranian judicial system in a civil case on the grounds of its discrimination against religious minorities and women.
  • Window on Eurasia considers the implications of peacekeepers in eastern Ukraine, notes the steady integration of Abkhazia and South Ossetia into Russia, and notes Russian fascism.

[BLOG] Some Friday links

  • blogTO notes that crowd-funded transit might be coming to Toronto’s Beaches.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly describes her favourite shopping experiences in Paris.
  • Centauri Dreams considers the question of how to name planets.
  • Crooked Timber discusses predictions for the coming year which descend into Bitcoin debates.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper suggesting that giant stars tend not to have giant close-in planets.
  • The Dragon’s Tales links to a paper noting the complicated entry of maize from Mexico into the United States.
  • Livejournaler jsburbidge notes the serious costs associated with a public housing problem for the homeless of Toronto.
  • Marginal Revolution notes that many Poles hold mortgages denominated in Swiss francs, and have thus been hit by the recent currency fluctuations.
  • Otto Pohl describes his writing project on the 1966 coup in Ghana.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer notes the problems with inexpensive manned spaceflight.
  • Torontoist and (again) blogTO and their commenters react to the end of Target Canada.
  • Towleroad notes that anti-gay American Roman Catholic cardinal Raymond Burke is also a misogynist.
  • Window on Eurasia argues that a Belarusian revolution would lead to a Russian invasion of that country, and wonders about European Union policy towards Crimea.

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • Centauri Dreams looks at the oddly tilted circumstellar disk of HD 142527.
  • The Crux notes a study suggesting that, where women are rare, men are less promiscuous.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper documenting the Spitzer telescope’s deep observations of Vega, Fomalhaut, and Epsilon Eridani, looking for planets and not finding signs of Epsilon Eridani b.
  • The Dragon’s Tales links to a paper documenting maize consumption in the pre-Hispanic Andes.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw reflects on the economics of Uber.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog links to a presentation on demographic data from Crimea.
  • Savage Minds looks at the fine balance in ethnographic writing between theory and data.
  • Speed River Journal’s Van Waffle considers whether there is such a thing as being too clean.
  • Strange Maps examines the tutulemma. What is it? Go there to find out.
  • Towleroad argues for more sympathy for gay men married to straight women, as in the recent TLC show.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes that in Canada, terms of religious marriage contracts which violate secular law can’t stand.
  • Nicholas Whyte has more on the inking of Edward Heath in 1972.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that talk of “traditional values” always relates to contemporary issues, argues that Russian propaganda in Belarus is alienating locals, and wonders if the North Caucasus will accept closer rule from Moscow in exchange for economic development.

[LINK] “Integrated Farming: The Only Way to Survive a Rising Sea”

The Inter Press Service’s Manipadma Jena notes how one family in the Sundarbans, the rain forest delta at the mouth of the Ganges endangered by sea level rise, is surviving by adopting a more diversified agricultural model.

Several farmers’ groups in the Patharpratima administrative block of the South 24-Parganas district told IPS that every family has one or more migrant members, on whose remittances they are increasingly dependent.

Other families, like Sukomal and his wife Alpana Mandal, are turning towards integrated farming methods.

“An integrated farming system virtually replicates nature,” explained Debabrata Guchhait, a trainer with the Indraprastha Srijan Welfare Society (ISWS), which works for community food security.

The technique “brings the farm and household together” so that waste from one area of life becomes an input for another. Staple crops are mixed with other plant and vegetable varieties, while cattle, ducks and hens all form part of the self-sustaining cycle.

The process “reduces farm costs and risks by going organic and by diversifying yield and income sources, while ensuring nutrition,” Guchhait told IPS.

The hens feed on leafy greens, broken grains and maize while their litter is collected and used as organic manure with dung from Mandal’s three cows and two goats. The remaining hen waste drains into the pond, becoming fish feed.

Digging a small pond to help harvest water during the annual monsoon, which typically brings 1,700 mm of rainfall, helped his fortunes immensely.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 13, 2015 at 10:28 pm

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • Claus Vistesen’s Alpha Sources considers the arguments for thinking stock markets will continue on their current course.
  • Centauri Dreams notes the discovery of eight potentially Earth-like worlds by Kepler, as does The Dragon’s Gaze.
  • Crooked Timber considers the future of social democracy in a world where the middle classes do badly.
  • The Dragon’s Tales looks at a redesigned American anti-missile interceptor.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that same-sex marriage in Vietnam is no longer banned, but it is also not yet recognized.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money reacts to reviews of bad restaurants favoured by the ultra-rich.
  • The Planetary Society Blog’s Emily Lakdawalla provides updates on Japan’s Akatsuki Venus probe and China’s Chang’e Moon probe.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog looks at the immediate impact of political turmoil last year in Crimea on the peninsula’s demographics.
  • Mark Simpson suggests that straight men want attention from gay men as validation.
  • Spacing Toronto reviews The Bohemian Guide to Urban Cycling.
  • Torontoist looks at a Taiwanese condo tower that featured on-tower gardening.
  • Towleroad and Joe. My. God. both note that the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Miami has told its employees it might fire them if they comment favourable about same-sex marriage.
  • Why I Love Toronto really likes downtown restaurant 7 West.
  • Window on Eurasia notes turmoil in the Russian intelligence community and a higher density of mosques than churches in the North Caucasus.

[LINK] “Children Starving to Death in Pakistan’s Drought-Struck Tharparkar District”

The Inter Press Service’s Irfan Ahmed reports on a badly underreported famine in Pakistan. Blame for the deaths of so many children is placed in the article on a badly prepared Pakistani state.

The main entrance to the Civil Hospital in Mithi, headquarters of the Tharparkar district in Pakistan’s southern Sindh Province, is blocked by a couple of men clad in traditional dress and turbans. They are trying to console a woman who is sobbing so heavily she has to gasp for breath.

She lost her two-year-old son just moments ago and these men, both relations of hers, were the ones to carry the child into the hospital where doctors tried – and failed – to save him.

Just a couple of yards away, a team of paramedics waits for the shell-shocked family to move on. They understand that the mother is in pain, but scenes like this have become a matter of routine for them: for the last two months they have witnessed dozens of people, mostly infants, die from starvation, unable to withstand the fierce drought that continues to grip this region.

The death toll hit 650 at the close of 2014, but continues to rise in the New Year as scant food stocks wither away and cattle belonging to herding communities perish under the blistering sun.

[. . .]

The tragedy did not unfold overnight. According to Amar Guriro, a Sindh-based journalist who has reported extensively on the region, inhabitants of this district that borders the Indian states of Rajastan and Gujarat are facing a drought for the third consecutive year.

Despite ample evidence that additional food stocks are needed between the months of July and September, typically the monsoon season, in the event of inadequate rainfall, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP)-led Sindh government failed to develop and execute contingency plans for the vulnerable residents.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 6, 2015 at 11:39 pm

[LINK] “Climate Change Threatens Quechua and Their Crops in Peru’s Andes”

The Inter Press Service’s Fabiola Ortiz reports on how climate change in the Peruvian Andes is threatening the potato.

In the Parque de la Papa, which is at an altitude of up to 4,500 metres and covers 9,200 hectares, 6,000 indigenous villagers from five communities – Amaru, Chawaytire, Pampallaqta, Paru Paru and Sacaca – are preserving potatoes and biodiversity, along with their spiritual rites and traditional farming techniques.

The Parque de la Papa, a mosaic of fields that hold the greatest diversity of potatoes in the world, 1,460 varieties, was created in 2002 with the support of the Asociación Andes.

This protected area in the Sacred Valley of the Incas is surrounded by lofty peaks known as ‘Apus’ or divine guardians of life, which until recently were snow-capped year-round.

“People are finally waking up to the problem of climate change. They’re starting to think about the future of life, the future of the family. What will the weather be like? Will we have food?” 50-year-old community leader Lino Mamani, one of the ‘papa arariwa’ – potato guardians, in Quechua – told IPS.

He said that whoever is sceptical about climate change can come to the Peruvian Andes to see that it’s real. “Pachamama [mother earth, in Quechua] is nervous about what we are doing to her. All of the crops are moving up the mountains, to higher and higher ground, and they will do so until it’s too high to grow,” he said.

[. . .]

To prevent crop damage, over the last 30 years farmers have increased the altitude at which they plant potatoes by more than 1,000 metres, said Mamani. That information was confirmed by the Asociación Andes and by researchers at the International Potato Centre (CIP), based in Lima.

Written by Randy McDonald

December 30, 2014 at 10:31 pm


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