Why are Carrots Orange? It is Political
No, the image above does not some show some collection of freshly genetically designed hypercarrots in various colors of the rainbow. This is the spectrum of colors carrots used to have – and in some regions of the world you can still find white, yellow, red and purple carrots. In most countries however, carrots tend to be orange nowadays. Why is that?
Meet A.T.R.E.E.M. (acronym for Automated Tree-Rental for Emission Encaging Machine), a device that compares daily activities, energy and products to the growth of a tree.
“From an ecological perspective, CO2 is a byproduct of the living, either directly or indirectly. From the economic perspective, CO2 may become the world’s largest commodity market. What do we consider the price of our own byproducts?
This project aims to criticise the carbon trading system as well as raise awareness of how good we are at destroying the planet.”
Comeback of the ‘Ugly’ Fruits
Perhaps in the long run, historians will consider this as the official end of modernity as we knew it: The comeback of the wonky cucumber, abnormally bent banana, and comedy carrots, at least in the EU.
As of July 2009, the European Commission abolished more than two dozen laws that have stipulated the look of Europe’s fruit and vegetables – including Brussels sprouts – for the past 20 years. A majority of EU member states, including Britain and Ireland, have voted to reform rules like EC Commission Regulation No 2257/94, which stipulate that only the most perfect-looking produce adorns supermarket shelves and caused international ridicule by stating that all bananas must be “free of abnormal curvature” and at least 14 cm in length.
Pollution trading – savior or scam?
While most people are still prudently changing light bulbs and recycling coffee cups to fight global warming – or at least their gnawing conscience – policy-makers have long moved on to more drastic techniques to cope with the environmental drama.
Under the Kyoto treaty – which came into force in 2005 – industrialized countries agreed to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by an average 5.2% compared with 1990 levels between 2008-2012. As some countries are unable to meet this norm, an international carbon emission trading market was created. Companies investing in projects, such as energy efficiency schemes that reduce emissions in countries such as Russia and China are awarded a credit for each ton of carbon dioxide saved. These can be sold to countries such as Canada, Japan and EU member states that need to reduce their emissions under the protocol.
Back in the economical boom years it seemed like a smart pragmatic theory to view global warming not as a natural, but rather as an organizational disaster and tackle it as such. British economist Nicholas Stern even called climate change “the biggest market failure in history” and carbon trading was supposed to fix that.
Yet, there is also a flipside of the coin: now that environmental values are being incorporated within the economic realm, they are also moving along with regular economical cycles. Thus in concordance with the current economic recession, the price of the EU allowances for carbon emissions has fallen by half since mid-2008. Intended to price fossil fuels out of the market, the system is instead turning them into the rational economic choice: As the economy stagnates, polluting becomes dirt-cheap!
Liberate the Breast Cancer Genes
On May 12, 2009 the ACLU and the (not-for-profit) Public Patent Foundation, filed a lawsuit, charging that patents on two human genes associated with breast and ovarian cancer are unconstitutional and invalid. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of four scientific organizations representing more than 150,000 geneticists, pathologists, and laboratory professionals, as well as individual researchers, breast cancer and women’s health groups, genetic counselors and individual women.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) has granted thousands of patents on human genes – in fact, about 20 percent of our genes are patented. A gene patent holder has the right to prevent anyone from studying, testing or even looking at a gene. As a result, scientific research and genetic testing has been delayed, limited or even shut down due to concerns about gene patents.
“Patenting human genes is counter to common sense, patent law and the Constitution,” said Daniel B. Ravicher, Executive Director of PUBPAT and co-counsel in the lawsuit. “Genes are identified, not invented, and patenting genetic sequences is like patenting blood, air or e=mc2.”
I’d like to plea for more trees in soccer-stadiums: 1) They add an element of fun to the game; 2) They don’t get aggressive easily; 3) Everyone supports green.
Sebastian Errazuriz: A 10-meter high, real magnoilia tree planted in the center of Chile’s National Stadium where dictator Pinochet tortured political prisoners 30 years ago. During a whole week [somewhere in 2006, red.] the de-contextualized stadium was open to the public as a park. A cathartic soccer match played before 15.000 people, with the tree in the middle was the closure of the piece.
Children’s Dictionary Dumps ‘Nature’ Words
To make way for modern tech terms such as BlackBerry, blog, voicemail and broadband, the latest edition of the Oxford Junior Dictionary has opted to drop terms pertaining to old nature. No longer can a child check this dictionary and learn more about the blackberry, dandelion, acorn, heron, otter, magpie, sycamore, or willow.
According to Vineeta Gupta, who heads children’s dictionaries at Oxford University Press, changes in the world are responsible for changes in the book. “When you look back at older versions of dictionaries, there were lots of examples of flowers for instance,” she said. “That was because many children lived in semi-rural environments and saw the seasons. Nowadays, the environment has changed.”
The 10,000 words and phrases in the junior dictionary were selected using several criteria, including how often words would be used by young children.
Controlling the Uncontrollable
It is a home to crawlers, virusses, search engines, gamers, spammers, chatters, twitters, bloggers, worms and spiders. If calling it alive goes too far, it’s still safe to say that the internet forms a nature of its own. Would the new American president have won the elections if he had ignored its tentacles? How many people would be out of a job if it seized to exist? Internet’s garden is blooming like never seen before, yet some people only enjoy gardens without the weeds.
Article by Michael Bristow, published at news.bbc.co.uk.
China is using an increasing number of paid “internet commentators” in a sophisticated attempt to control public opinion. These commentators are used by government departments to scour the internet for bad news – and then negate it. They post comments on websites and forums that spin bad news into good in an attempt to shape public opinion. Read more