Valuable Mutants

He rolled the dice again. This time, he was mimicking what he and his colleagues have been doing quietly around the globe for more than a half-century — using radiation to scramble the genetic material in crops, a process that has produced valuable mutants like red grapefruit, disease-resistant cocoa and premium barley for Scotch whiskey. […]

Que Sera Sera

  “Rape is kinda like the weather. If it’s inevitable, relax and enjoy it.” ~Texas Republican Clayton Williams Apparently, some people are fatalistic. In the recent controversies over Brett Kavanaugh and his sexual abuse accusations, some people, notably men of a given political persuasion, have decided that attempted rape or sexual harassment is just no […]

Live and Let Diet

When our distant ancestors invented farming ten thousand or so years ago, they began altering these and other wild plants to make them more productive, easier to grow and harvest, and more enjoyable to eat. To date, four hundred generations of farmers and tens of thousands of plant breeders have played a role in redesigning […]

Guerilla Tactics

Those who hear not the music think the dancers mad. — Unknown “There he goes again,” my neighbor sighed grumpily, pointing to the older guy wandering our street with pruning shears. “Come on,” I replied, “he’s harmless.” “But I may not want my trees trimmed,” he grumped and went inside. Once again my weird old […]

Talking Trash

Plastics in the oceans, fish and turtles choking on garbage, litter … what can be done? I strongly advocate for cleaning up the beaches, oceans and rivers. The cleanup schemes range from just individually picking up trash to complicated ocean plastic-collection systems. In the U.S. we’re also talking about banning plastic straws and water bottles. […]

What Broke The Camel’s Back

Maybe it wasn’t that last straw that broke the camel’s back, it was the long-term accumulation of straws and other materials that did it. Can we reverse things by banning straws? Undoubtedly, no, but maybe we can slow the damage and take a little time to fix the problems. Plastic pollution in the rivers and […]

Blue Space, Green Space

“Blue skies smilin’ at me, Nothin’ but blue skies do I see.” ~ Irving Berlin, Blue Skies Take a deep breath, then exhale. You have just accomplished what every tree, indeed, all vegetation, accomplishes continuously. But unlike humans, trees absorb carbon dioxide and emit oxygen. That — trees replenishing our oxygen — is what makes […]

Plastic, Plastic Everywhere, and Not Just Straws, I Think

As we walked into town for breakfast, up ahead I saw him rise from his spot on the planter in the shade to pick up an empty plastic water bottle that had blown down the street. He tossed it into the trash can and reclaimed his spot. As we passed, he avoided eye contact, but […]