15 Oct, 2018

Organic farming with gene editing: An oxymoron or a tool for sustainable agriculture?

A University of California, Berkeley professor stands at the front of the room, delivering her invited talk about the potential of genetic engineering. Her audience, full of organic farming advocates, listens uneasily. She notices a man get up from his seat and move toward the front of the room. Confused, the speaker pauses mid-sentence as she watches him bend over, reach for the power cord, and unplug the projector. The room darkens and silence falls. So much for listening to the ideas of others. …

11 Oct, 2018

Q&A: ‘I imagine diversity as the central axis’ in research

The percentage of female researchers in Latin America is among the highest in the world. It has reached 44 per cent, compared with the global average of 28 per cent. However, a gender gap persists, standing in the way of women scientists having the same opportunities and recognition as their male colleagues. …

08 Oct, 2018

Illinoisans on Illinois: Tips and Tales from Around the State

I’m back from my most recent reporting trip to southern Illinois. Last week, I wrote about some things I’ve learned from getting out of Chicago and getting to know our state, and I asked you to write with suggestions for places to go and stories to look into. …

04 Oct, 2018

Friday essay: what might heaven be like?

What will Heaven be like? Perhaps not surprisingly, competing images abound. Until around the end of the 17th century, Heaven was primarily about the Beatific Vision. The perfect happiness of eternity in Heaven consisted in the worship, praise and adoration of God along with the angels, saints, martyrs, Old Testament worthies and even some noble pagans like Plato and Aristotle. …

01 Oct, 2018

The rush for data risks growing the North-South divide

Across the world, tech firms and software developers are embedding digital platforms into humanitarian and commercial infrastructures. There’s Jembi and Hello Doctor for the healthcare sector, for example; SASSA and Tamween for social policy; and M-farm, i-Cow, Esoko among many others for agriculture. …

27 Sep, 2018

Sanitation Salvage Ordered to Halt Trash Collections

The agency that oversees New York’s private trash industry ordered Sanitation Salvage, one of the city’s largest haulers, to halt operations, saying the company poses “an imminent danger to life and property.” …

24 Sep, 2018

A sad song of musical censorship in India and Pakistan

At the end of September 2016, the Indian motion picture producer’s association, India’s largest organisation related to entertainment, announced a ban on all Pakistani artists. In retaliation, Pakistan authorities imposed a complete ban on airing Indian content on all its TV channels, including Bollywood movies. …

20 Sep, 2018

Estimate of carbon in indigenous lands rises five-fold

Land managed by indigenous people holds vastly more carbon than previously thought, according to a report that calls for an urgent strengthening of their land rights to avoid its release into the atmosphere. The legalisation of indigenous people’s rights to forested land is one way of supporting sustainable forest management that keeps carbon locked-in, contributing to climate change mitigation. …

17 Sep, 2018

At St. Luke’s in Houston, Patients Suffer as a Renowned Heart Transplant Program Loses Its Luster

The anonymous letter reached Judy Kveton in March 2017. Nearly two months earlier, her husband’s failed heart transplant at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center had led to a week of follow-up surgeries, a pair of devastating strokes and then, his death. …

13 Sep, 2018

How naming poison frogs helps fight their illegal trade

Dart frogs from the rainforests of Central and South America make their powerful poison by eating toxic bugs. Their bold colours warn predators: “Do not eat me or you will regret it.” Orange, yellow and blue hues on deep black or light-brown frogs form patterns similar to those of wasps and bumblebees. These designs vary greatly, and frogs found in different parts of the jungle, sometimes only a few kilometres apart, do not look alike. …

10 Sep, 2018

African swine fever ‘devastating’ if it spreads beyond China

[VIENNA] Outbreaks of African swine fever reported from widely different parts of China over the past month have prompted experts, including from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), to warn that the virus could spill into adjacent South-east Asia, with devastating consequence for hog industries. …

06 Sep, 2018

Oregon Doctors Warned That a Killer and Rapist Would Likely Attack Again. Then the State Released Him.

Charles Longjaw was being held at the Oregon State Hospital after being found insane. Oregon changed its interpretation of the law and he was released, raising questions about how states manage violent offenders with mental illness. In September 2015, Oregon’s Psychiatric Security Review Board faced a decision with potentially momentous consequences for public safety. Sitting before them in a small hearing room at the state hospital was Charles Longjaw, a 50-year-old killer and rapist judged to be guilty except for insanity. …

03 Sep, 2018

A bee economist explains honey bees’ vital role in growing tasty almonds

It’s sometimes reported that one in every three bites of food depends on bees. As is often the case when an easy to grasp notion spreads, there’s a dose of truth and a dollop of exaggeration. The stat is based on a 2007 study that found that 35 percent of the world’s food crops depend on animal pollinators of one kind or another to enable pollination and seed production. …

30 Aug, 2018

Renaissance Dam water conflict will pass down generations

After months of arduous negotiations between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan about the Renaissance Dam — mainly on keeping water quotas the same as pre-dam levels, and ensuring minimum annual water flow through the dam — it was a real surprise to see an announcement by the Egyptian government that solutions to most outstanding problems had been reached by the end of the last meeting in mid-May. …

27 Aug, 2018

The Family Plan: In Louisiana, Lawmakers Promote Bills That Help Their Relatives and Clients

This article was produced in partnership with The Advocate, which is a member of the ProPublica Local Reporting Network. State Sen. Norby Chabert wanted to offer a helping hand to his district’s truck stop casinos. The number of video poker machines allowed in the casinos is tied to how much gas the attached stations sell. Bridge construction projects in Chabert’s hometown of Houma have diverted traffic and hurt gas sales at nearby casinos, limiting the number of video poker machines they can have. …

23 Aug, 2018

India and China move closer as Modi tours ‘Act East’ policy

This past week, Narendra Modi has visited China (May 14-16), Mongolia (May 17) and South Korea (May 18-19). The Indian prime minister’s tour has demonstrated his nation’s diplomatic approach, which aims to maximise common interests and minimise political differences and potential obstacles. …

20 Aug, 2018

Cheap drugs not enough to fight hepatitis C in Asia

[AMSTERDAM] Providing cheap drugs against the hepatitis C virus (HCV) has had limited success in fighting the disease in South-East Asia where poor health services and stigma surrounding the infection are significant barriers, says a new survey. …

16 Aug, 2018

Five First Responders to the Pulse Massacre. One Diagnosis: PTSD.

On the morning of June 12, 2016, police officer Omar Delgado pulled his cruiser up to his two-story townhome in Sanford, Florida, and sat in silence for 15 minutes, trying to process what he had seen during 3 1/2 hours inside the Pulse nightclub. …

13 Aug, 2018

India’s wells are running dry, fast

Over the past three years, the monsoon – the rainy season that runs from June through September, depending on the region – has been weak or delayed across much of India, causing widespread water shortages.With the onset of summer this year, southern India, particularly Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu states, are already wilting under a blistering sun and repeated heatwaves. …

09 Aug, 2018

A simple way to prevent African water wars

The first stage of Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance dam project is fast approaching its end. At 70 metres high, the dam is just 25 metres shy of the target for this stage of the project. Come June, it will be able to store the 14 billion cubic metres (BCM) of river water needed to kick the first turbines into action. …
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