The mysterious and useful Vegetable Lamb of Tartary: a plant whose ripe seed-pods yield tiny live lambs. Or was it a plant growing in the shape of a full-size lamb, but with an umbilical tether to the ground? (Oh, and do you know about the barnacle goose?) A tale from the medieval science grapevine. [more inside]
The war against genetically modified organisms is full of fearmongering, errors, and fraud. Labeling them will not make you safer.
The Beauty of Engraving is the name of a site that Neenah Paper has devoted to the ancient practice of engraved printing, with a focus on its CRANE Papers line. Check out the video to see modern engraving in action. While the site's history of engraving and also of CRANE are interesting, the highlight is a gallery of user-submitted engraved work.
NASA recently released a series of photographs documenting the loss of the Aral Sea over the past ten years. The Aral Sea could be the poster child for human damage to the ecosystem. In a mere four decades, it has gone from a surface area of 68000 km^2 to less that a quarter of that, with a 10x drop in water volume. As its Wikipedia article points out, this is the equivalent of completely draining two of the five Great Lakes. [more inside]
A recent study shows that farmer suicides in India have not increased due to introduction of GM crops The Washington based research organization IFPRI claims that "Bt cotton is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for the occurrence of farmer suicides. In contrast, many other factors have likely played a prominent role." Their study has been wielded in the empirical arms race by big pharmaceutical corporations such as Monsanto against NGOs that oppose GM modified crops in India such as Gene Campaign and activists such as Vandana Shiva.
"King Cotton" created a huge demand for land and (slave) labor that changed early America's borders, population, and economics. But just as cotton affected history, history affected cotton: the story of naturally colored cottons -- brown, green, yellow, mauve, and reddish cottons -- has almost been lost. [more inside]