By Fred Gould
Genetically engineered crops and their use in food are hot-button issues. People around the world have a wide range of questions and opinions about the agronomic, environmental, health, and socioeconomic, impacts of these crops. We entomologists have our own questions. How do genetically engineered crops fit into the spectrum of pest management strategies used in agriculture? What are their impacts on insect biodiversity? Will these approaches be overcome by pest resistance?
I’m serving as the chair of the expert committee for a study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine that seeks to answer those questions. The goal is to bring an independent, objective voice to the sometimes contentious debate around genetic engineering of crop plants with a study that reviews current understanding of the socioeconomic, agronomic, environmental, and health impacts of genetically engineered (GE) crops. In addition to assessing whether initial concerns…
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According to the World Bank, agriculture is essential for sub-Saharan Africa’s growth. The sector employs 65 percent of Africa’s labor force and accounts for 32 percent of the region’s gross domestic product. Increased agricultural production is expected to continue to support growth in Africa’s economy.
The demographic in agriculture is however aging rapidly: the average African farmer is between 50 and 60 years old. At the same time, the need for greater agricultural production is acute. In order to feed the projected population of 2050, global food production will need to increase by 60%. That’s about 2.5 million more tons of just grain alone – per day – than we produce right now.
Africa is uniquely positioned to meet this challenge. It contains over half of the world’s undeveloped arable land, great potential for increased crop productivity, and a burgeoning population of young people, with all their energy and creativity.
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This is best shown in rural entrepreneurship where it is crucial for a business to be consumer oriented and have a clear market. A third characteristic of (rural) entrepreneurship is that of small business that tend of identifying with their owners. READ MORE HERE
Food for Thought!
Why African countries should urgently start generating appropriate knowledge
“Our young people are running away from Africa while the Chinese and Europeans are running to Africa. It means we are not equipping our youths with the right skills to see what those coming to Africa are seeing.” These words were said by Professor Fanuel Tagwira, the Board Chairman of the Centre for Coordination of Agricultural Research & Development for Southern Africa (CCARDESA) at the end of the Youth in Agriculture Summit held in Durban, South Africa from 3 to 6 August 2015.
Unemployment is becoming a time bomb in all African countries. While more than 17 million young people enter the job market every year in Sub-Saharan Africa, the majority of formerly educated young people do not see opportunities in African agriculture although it accounts for about 32% of GDP. There is a strong view that the youth are…
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Creative acts are not all the same. They vary by magnitude, originality, influence and intention. The following are types of creativity and novelty as described by psychologist Stephen Smith.[i]
Types of Creativity and Novelty
- Individual versus social definitions of creativity
- Deliberate versus non-intentional creations
- Goal-defined creativity
- Subjective sense of novelty
- Degrees of novelty
- Continuousverses discontinuous problem solving
Individual versus Social Definitions of Creativity:
Every quarter students make new discoveries. They have moments of enlightenment that dramatically change their understanding of the world. These breakthroughs don’t change the world, but they do change the person. During my time teaching high school, a student described his discovery in the field of mathematics. While doing his math homework the night before, he had invented a new way of solving his equations. Slump shouldered later in the day, he told me how his math teacher explained it was centuries old. His discovery was…
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This post is in collaboration with The John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress, which brings together scholars and researchers from around the world to use the Library’s rich collections. The article below was originally published on the Kluge Center blog with the title Preserving Social Media for Future Historians.
Information scientist Katrin Weller’s research investigates how future historians might use social media as primary source materials, and how such materials should be preserved. One of two inaugural Kluge Fellows in Digital Studies, Weller was in residence at the Library of Congress from January – June 2015. She sat down with Jason Steinhauer to discuss her research and the prospect of creating a guide to using social media as historical resources.
Hi, Katrin. Your research investigates whether social media data will be the primary source materials for future historians? Will it–and why or why not?
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