One of the biggest modern myths about agriculture is that organic farming is inherently sustainable. It can be, but it isn’t necessarily. After all, soil erosion from chemical-free tilled fields undermined the Roman Empire and other ancient societies around the world. Other agricultural myths hinder recognizing the potential to restore degraded soils to feed the world using fewer agrochemicals.
Without knowing it, most Americans rely every day on a class of chemicals called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFASs. These man-made materials have unique qualities that make them extremely useful. They repel both water and grease, so they are found in food packaging, waterproof fabric, carpets and wall paint.
Cassini is the most sophisticated space probe ever built. Launched in 1997 as a joint NASA/European Space Agency mission, it took seven years to journey to Saturn. It’s been orbiting the sixth planet from the sun ever since, sending back data of immense scientific value and images of magnificent beauty.
I’m an anthropologist who grew up in Japan and has lived there, off and on, for 22 years. Yet every visit to Tokyo’s Harajuku District still surprises me. In the eye-catching styles modeled by fashion-conscious young adults, there’s a kind of street theater, with crowded alleyways serving as catwalks for teenagers peacocking colorful, inventive outfits.
Humans and animals need to do several things to pass on their genes: eat, avoid being eaten, reproduce and sleep. Missing any of these biological imperatives leads to death. But when we’re asleep we can’t perform those other functions. One of modern science’s big mysteries, then, is: why do we sleep?
In the spring of 1837, a “long, gawky, ugly, shapeless man” walked into Joshua Speed’s dry goods store in Springfield, Illinois, requesting supplies for a bed. Speed said the cost would be US$17, which ended up being too pricey for the visitor, who asked instead for credit until Christmas. The 23-year-old Speed was nonetheless taken with this stranger; he “threw such charm around him” and betrayed a “perfect naturalness.”
A Hungarian film titled “Sing” recently won the Oscar for best short film. “Sing” tells the story of young Zsófi, who joins a renowned children’s choir at her elementary school where “everyone is welcome.”
In this episode of Upgrade, Motherboard goes to Baja California, Mexico to get a firsthand look at these free floating pods, and to get an understanding for why we need better ways to cultivate our future food sources. Whether it’s found on a plate of sushi, grilled in our backyard, or thrown on pasta, seafood is a staple for many diets around the world, and demand is growing. And as the commercial seafood industry booms, fish stocks worldwide face perilous declines.