Agriculture

Not cow farts - Code for life

Grant Jacobs Feb 09, 2019

You may have heard or read media outlets talking of cow farts.[1] This tweet from  University of California at Davis animal biotechnology/genomics scientist, Alison Van Eenennaam might help – I’m sure I’ve been guilty of lazily using it. Eructation is a very polite and fancy way of saying burp. As the dictionary puts it, “a belch”. (Yes, … Read More

Satellite imagery of the Nelson bush fire - Out of Space

Duncan Steel Feb 09, 2019

The area burnt in the ongoing bush fire in the Nelson-Tasman region, largely around Pigeon Valley near Wakefield, can easily be seen in satellite imagery collected in recent days.  Earth observation satellites frequently cross New Zealand and, clouds allowing, collect imagery of the land and sea below. In later posts I will discuss such data collection in more detail, but … Read More

Strongest opponents of GM think they know best but actually know the least - Code for life

Grant Jacobs Jan 17, 2019

A study just out shows that the strongest opponents of GM (genetic modification) think they know the subject well, but in fact know the least. What does this means for science communication? Especially contentious topics. Doubly so where deliberate misinformation is being offered. Similarly are their lessons for politicians? In New Zealand politicians seem too timid to try correct … Read More

Glyphosate and TIME magazine: writer employed by advocacy group a dubious choice - Code for life

Grant Jacobs Nov 24, 2018

TIME magazine has a story on DeWayne ‘Lee’ Johnston who took Monsanto to court claiming RoundUp caused his non-Hodgkin lymphoma.[1] The story has obvious appeal, but is crying out for balance and it’s provenance is, to be kind, awkward. I’d love to read his account of his experiences since the trial — but from a source I … Read More

NZ EPA is to review 40 chemicals, not glyphosate - Code for life

Grant Jacobs Oct 18, 2018

The NZ EPA is to review 40 chemicals it has selected as of highest concern. This list doesn’t include glyphosate. We all like to know what we’re up against when using chemicals, so that we can avoid unnecessary risk. That’s one of the aims of the EPA:[1] to offer rulings and information to help us. I’m interested in genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) … Read More

Glyphosate is to go back to trial - Code for life

Grant Jacobs Oct 13, 2018

Superior Court Judge Suzanne Bolanos[1] has written a Tentative Ruling that glyphosate is to go back to trial. I’m not a lawyer, but her ruling looks pretty damning. Let’s have a look at what it says. What’s a Tentative Ruling? Tentative rulings are preliminary indications of rulings ahead of the final ruling. (Lawyers indicate these tentative rulings rarely differ substantially … Read More

Food Evolution – screening at Queenstown August 31st - Code for life

Grant Jacobs Aug 27, 2018

Food Evolution, the movie, is screening at Queenstown at the end of the month. If you’re in the area, check it out. It’s free: you just have to register at EventBrite. The screening and panel discussion is in the Clancy’s Meeting Room, Level 5, Rydges Lakeland Resort, from 7pm on Fri. 31 August. The film is narrated by well-known science communicator … Read More

New Zealand’s zero carbon bill: much ado about methane - Guest Work

Guest Author Jul 14, 2018

Robert McLachlan, Massey University New Zealand could become the first country in the world to put a price on greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture. Leading up to the 2017 election, the now Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern famously described climate change as “my generation’s nuclear-free moment”. The promised zero carbon bill is now underway, but in an unusual … Read More