Tuesday, September 21, 2004

For reasons explained below, I will be pretty scarce around here for the next couple weeks. Surely you are here because you have already exhausted the offerings of my well-groomed blogroll to your immediate right, but maybe you should double-check just to make sure. A few totally unrelated things before I go:

If there is one thing I have learned from the internet it is this:

shitting your pants = comedy gold

I was so blinded by the brilliance of this insight that I somehow forgot to alert you to bad new hughes, who is really the master of the genre.

Some people will be shocked, but there is an agro-alimentary topic about which I know very little, which is Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. This tiny gap in my encyclopedic knowledge is not the product of a lack of interest, but rather of funds. Not all of us can be solicitors. However, some names that come up repeatedly are Erath and Ponzi (an appropriate name for an American winery). Were I a New York City barrister, I would proceed simply by tracking down whatever I could find; without, however, forgetting about the antipodean alternatives. And I would always remember that once I hit approximately $40 retail, there is no reason not to turn my attentions to the real thing.

Now, it has seemed fairly obvious to me since, oh, April 12 that Roundup-Ready creeping bentgrass is a very bad idea. So I was really only suprised today that the Times allowed Andrew Pollack to explain this to the rest of the country on its first page, above the fold. The PNAS article, which revealed that GM bentgrass pollen travels as far as you care to measure (at least 13 miles) will eventually appear here. See also Mike Lee's Sac Bee article.

Today's PNAS early edition does feature a commentary on the morning glory article I mentioned last week, in which Bitty A. Roy puts the case pretty clearly:

We must learn how to slow down the rate of evolution of resistance and tolerance to herbicides if herbicides are going to continue being used. Otherwise we are creating even larger problems for ourselves than we had before.

She notes, of course, that the fitness cost associated with herbicide tolerance is good news, in that it would enable us to manage tolerant weeds, if we weren't total fucking morons. The other problem is that there is no evidence of comparable costs in other weedy species. And furthermore, if there were a comparable cost in a cultivated crop -- like, say, maize, -- and the tolerance gene spread to its wild progenitors, that would, technically, be a Bad Thing.

And finally, there is, shockingly, some good news for small farmers, though one has to wonder how long this kind of growth can be sustained.

Those of you mourning t-muffle's demise could do worse than reading this over and over until you run out of Wild Turkey.

Wait, one more thing: anyone who feels that "blogging" is a "phenomenon" that they must come to grips with somehow should read this. "Blogging" is a simple technology that allows the unwashed to shout into the wilderness slightly more efficiently.


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