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Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘agriculture

[BLOG] Some Monday links

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  • James Bow reflects on Mulcair’s decision to ignore the debates boycotted by Harper, and examines the decline of the Bloc Québécois.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly reflects on the social forces pressuring people, especially women, to smile.
  • Centauri Dreams reflects n the pessimism over the potential of interstellar expansion in Kim Stanley Robinson’s new Aurora.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a study examining the links between concentrations of elements in stars and their exoplanets, shares art of HD 219134b, wonders about distributions of brown dwarfs in nearby interstellar space, wonders if a lithium-rich giant star known as HD 107028 swallowed its planets, and imagines compact exoplanets made of dark matter.
  • The Dragon’s Tales shares a study of the growth of the state of Tiahuanaco, and imagines what a durable Russian-American relationship could have been.
  • A Fistful of Euros looks at dodgy Greek statistics.
  • Joe. My. God. shares the new New Order single, “Restless.”
  • Language Hat celebrated its thirteen anniversary and looked at the ephemeral St. Petersburg English Review of the 19th century.
  • Language Log examines the origins of modern China’s standard language, and looks at the reasons why French texts are longer than English ones.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money examines settler violence in Israel.
  • Marginal Revolution looks at how charity, in an age of global income disparities, is inexpensive, and notes the economic issues of Cambodia.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw reflects on Cilla Black.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog looks at Ossetian demographics and examines the growth of Kazakhs in Kazakhstan after 1991.
  • Speed River Journal’s Van Waffle likes the Cosmonaut Volkov heirloom tomatoes.
  • Towleroad reports on a push for marriage equality on the Navajo reservation.
  • Understanding Society examines the concept of microfoundations.
  • Window on Eurasia notes how Russia’s war in Ukraine has been underachieving, argues Ukrainians should not count on change in Russia, reports on a Russian writer who wants the Donbas to be separated from Ukraine as a buffer, looks at ethnic Russian identity and propensity to emigrate in Kazakhstan, and looks at the identity of Belarusians in Siberia.

[LINK] “Why The World Might Be Running Out Of Cocoa Farmers”

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NPR’s Eliza Barclay makes a report that make sense of a lot of press coverage about West African cocoa. Of course there would be heavy recourse to child and slave labour if the cocoa plantations are unrenumative.

[T]he 2015 Cocoa Barometer [is] an overview of sustainability issues in the cocoa sector, written by various European and U.S. NGOs, and was released in the U.S. this week. And what they’re really worried about is the people who grow the beans that are ground up to make our beloved treat.

“The world is running out of cocoa farmers,” the report states. “Younger generations no longer want to be in cocoa. Older generations are reaching their life expectancy.”

It’s well known that most cocoa farmers live in extreme poverty. There are about 2 million small-scale farmers in Ghana and Ivory Coast, the West African countries that produce at least 70 percent of the world’s cocoa beans. The average cocoa farmer in Ghana earns 84 cents a day, while the average small farmer in Ivory Coast earns just 50 cents a day, according to the Barometer.

I met two women cocoa farmers at the World Cocoa Foundation’s meeting in Washington, D.C., this week. Assata Doumbia tells me (in French, through a translator) that she and her husband are both in ECAM, a cooperative of 900 farmers in Ivory Coast, and that their income is “extremely low, almost nothing.” What little they do earn goes straight to her husband.

“Men have all the control and decision-making power in the cocoa sector,” she says, though she and a few other women are trying to change that for the 120 women in the cooperative.blockquote>

Written by Randy McDonald

July 10, 2015 at 9:50 pm

[ISL] “Reward increased to $500,000 in potato tampering investigation in P.E.I.”

The Canadian Press reports on the latest in a criminal investigation on Prince Edward Island.

Prince Edward Island’s potato industry has increased the reward it is offering to $500,000 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of whomever is responsible for inserting metal objects into potatoes.

The new reward is available until Aug. 15, and tips received from Aug. 16 to Oct. 31 will be eligible for the previous reward amount of $100,000.

The federal government recently announced it will spend $1.5 million to buy metal detection equipment to help find foreign objects in potatoes from the province.

The funding will be used to purchase and install detection equipment, while an extra $500,000 from the province is being used for on-site security assessments and training.

Written by Randy McDonald

June 30, 2015 at 10:39 pm

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • The Big Picture has photos from the scene of the disastrous Chinese cruise liner sinking on the Yangtze.
  • blogTO observes that a schooner found buried at the foot of Bathust Street will be moved to Fort York.
  • D-Brief notes that the antidepressant Zoloft can be used to fight Ebola.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes how pre-agricultural Europeans were more robust than their agriculturalist successors.
  • The Frailest Thing’s Michael Sacasas discusses the problems of a mind that reduces everything to routine algorithms.
  • Joe. My. God. notes how a Costa Rican judge recognized a common-law same-sex marriage in that country.
  • Marginal Revolution wonders if Greece might be well-advised to default.
  • pollotenchegg charts declining economic output.
  • Torontoist examines the growing controversies over garding.
  • Peter Watts wonders what consciousness is actually good for.
  • Window on Eurasia looks at the extent to which Russian sanctions against the European Union try to distinguish between pro- and anti-Russian states, and argues that Russia’s traumatic long 20th century still continues.

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • 3 Quarks Daily notes, after the Economist, that badly-educated men have not adapted well to global trade, high technology, and feminism.
  • blogTO notes that the High Park peacock roaming around Roncesvalles may have returned to its home in the zoo.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly provides tips for people moving to freelance writing from staff employment.
  • The Cranky Sociologists shares a parody of the new movie Aloha, set in Hawaii yet dominated by whites.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes the unique astronomical biosignature of photosynthesis.
  • The Dragon’s Tales compares the clays of Earth and Mars.
  • jsburbidge examines the concept of the literary canon.
  • Language Log considers the complexities of Chinese character usage in an unacknowledged multilingual China/Taiwan space.
  • Marginal Revolution considers China’s heavy investments in the new Silk Road project.
  • Progressive Download’s John Farrell looks to a historian who suggests the world needs a new origins story based on science.
  • Towleroad notes how a gay couple dissolved the adoptive relationship that once united them to become married.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes the illicit sexuality involved among the Republicans opposed to Clinton in the 1990s.
  • Window on Eurasia argues that Crimea is set to be Russified and notes the importance of Russian rural agriculture in the time of sanctions.

[BLOG] Some pop culture links

  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly talked about her social networks, and about the need to have faith in one’s abilities and to be strong.
  • C.J. Cherryh describes her visit to Grand Coulee Dam.
  • Crooked Timber notes the ways in which Ian Macleod is actually a romantic writer.
  • The Crux looks at the controversy over the siting of a new telescope on Hawaii’s Mauna Kea.
  • Cody Delistraty wonders if social rejection is needed for creative people.
  • The Everyday Sociology Blog looks at how difficult it is for Americans with criminal records to get jobs.
  • Mathew Ingram notes how young Saudis can find freedom on their phones for apps.
  • Language Hat suggests that a computer’s word analysis has identified a lost Shakespeare play.
  • Personal Reflection’s Jim Belshaw linked to his local history columns.
  • Otto Pohl notes the culinary links between Ghana and Brazil.
  • Peter Rukavina remembers the fallen elms of Charlottetown and reports on innovative uses of Raspberry Pi computers.
  • The Search reports on format migration at Harvard’s libraries.
  • Mark Simpson notes homoeroticism on British television.
  • Speed River Journal’s Van Waffle describes his discovery of wild leeks.
  • Towleroad notes an Austrian magazine’s printing of a limited edition with ink including HIV-infected blood, notes a gay Mormon’s defense of his life to his church, and observes an Argentine judge who thought it acceptable to give a man who raped a possibly gay child a lighter sentence because of the child’s presumed orientation.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes the repeal of blasphemy laws in Norway and examines the questionable concept of Straight Pride.

[LINK] “Pineapple Industry Leaves Costa Rican Communities High and Dry”

The Inter Press Service’s Diego Arguedas Ortiz describes how commercial pineapple plantations have led to serious contamination of the water table in parts of Costa Rica.

Since Aug. 22, 2007, these [four] rural communities have only had access to water that is trucked in. They can’t use the water from the El Cairo aquifer because it was contaminated with the pesticide bromacil, used on pineapple plantations in Siquirres, a rural municipality of 60,000 people in the Caribbean coastal province of Limón.

“Chemicals continue to show up in the water,” Briceño said. “During dry periods the degree of contamination goes down. But when it rains again the chemicals are reactivated.”

The failure of the public institutions to guarantee a clean water supply to the residents of these four communities reflects the complications faced by Costa Rica’s state apparatus to enforce citizen rights in areas where transnational companies have been operating for decades.

The technical evidence points to pineapple plantations near the El Cairo aquifer as responsible for the pollution, especially the La Babilonia plantation owned by the Corporación de Desarrollo Agrícola del Monte SA, a subsidiary of the U.S.-based Fresh Del Monte.

But it is public institutions that have had to cover the cost of access to clean water by the local communities.

Written by Randy McDonald

May 28, 2015 at 10:39 pm

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