Author Archives: K. McDonald

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TED Talk Praises the Amazon River

In it, Antonio Donato Nobre tells us that the Amazon River is like our planet’s blood and the trees it supports are like our planet’s lungs. It is hugely important in regulating the global climate.

“The forest has more eyes than leaves.”

(This film is subtitled.)

Note that the felling of trees for agriculture in recent years, plus ongoing global warming seem to have disrupted Brazil’s climate, as the flying rivers never arrived this year during January and February.

UPDATE: A current NYTs article by Nadine Unger, assistant professor of atmospheric chemistry at Yale, tells us that forestation is not a solution for global warming, because the system is more complex than that. (She also denies that the Amazon serves as the planet’s “lungs”.) This is precisely the type of thing that frustrates me in dealing with the subject of climate change. So much of the media is outspoken about what IS ASSUMED needs to be done to treat climate change, but the system is so complex that none of us can possibly understand it. Just like the recent study telling us that ants play a gigantic role in sequestering carbon, something not understood earlier. And so on. That’s why I tend to observe what others say without rendering a judgment myself.

Also, a couple years ago my city of Boulder planted new trees all over town, including in front of my house (something that greatly displeased me because it meant covering a nice view out my window) in the name of climate change. Now this!

See: To Save the Planet Don’t Plant Trees.

Growth of Mobile Phone Use for Agriculture Markets

Map of 850,000 mobile phone visits to CME website in 2013

This was a rather impressive map and statistics from CME group showing the rapid growth of mobile device use accessing markets. I might add that though I haven’t kept track of numbers, it seems that rather suddenly many of this site’s readers are also now accessing through mobile phones. (The current percent for this site is 40 percent mobile devices but I’ve seen some days higher than that.)

Here’s what CME had to say…

The number of people accessing agricultural market data through mobile devices is increasing. That’s not a surprise. More than half of American farmers own a smartphone.

What’s surprising is the rate at which mobile growth is happening. Since 2011, the number of those accessing grains and livestock pricing on the CME Group website through a mobile phone or tablet has increased 210 percent, to about 850,000 unique mobile visits in 2013.


This Week in Food and Agricultural Photos – September 18, 2014

TOKYO, JAPAN – SEPTEMBER 18: Burger King employee Minako Matsumoto displays two black hamburgers at a Burger King Japan’s restaurant on September 18, 2014 in Tokyo, Japan. The black burgers, one a Kuro Pearl (L) at 480 yen, has black buns and cheese smoked with bamboo charcoal and black sauce made of squid ink. The other, the Kuro Diamond at 690 yen, comes also with lettuce, tomato, onion and mayonnaise. The burgers are available from September 19 through early November in Burger King restaurants throughout Japan. (Photo by Keith Tsuji/Getty Images)

SRINAGAR, KASHMIR, INDIA – SEPTEMBER 17: An elderly shopkeeper and flood victim removes silt from almonds at the flood city centre on September 17, 2014 in Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian administered Kashmir, India. Nearly 100,000 people are still marooned in the areas of the Kashmir Valley submerged in flood waters. The floods in the Himalayan region of Kashmir were believed to be the worst in decades with over 200 dead. Health experts are worried over the stagnant waters and floating carcasses of livestock could create conditions for serious outbreaks of disease. (Photo by Yawar Nazir/Getty Images)

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS – SEPTEMBER 14: Some 2,000 people take part in a tomato fight organised on Dam Square in front of the Royal Palace in support of Dutch vegetable growers hurt by the Russian boycott on September 14, 2014 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Around 120,000 tomatoes which were rejected for consumption (10 tonnes) were purchased as part of the 15 Euro entry fee, equivalent to pre-boycott market prices, in an effort to help the struggling vegetable farming industry in the Netherlands. (Photo by Michel Porro/Getty Images)

OWINGS, MD – SEPTEMBER 12: Farm worker Tracy Creek cuts off tobacco leaves so they can be hung and dried at the Lewis Farm, September 12, 2014 in Owings, Maryland. Tobacco has been grown on the Lewis Farm for over 60 years and still requires to be harvested by hand. Most farms in Maryland have stopped growing tobacco due to Marylands buyout program. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

HIMEJI, JAPAN – SEPTEMBER 10: An illustration showing scarecrows pulling a firewood cart beside a road is on display at Kakashi no Sato, or the Scarecrow’s Hometown on September 10, 2014 in Himeji, Japan. In this district of Yasutomi in Himeji city, over 100 of scarecrows stand in farmlands and abandoned houses to illustrate the good old Japanese countryside and attract visitors. (Photo by Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty Images)

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND – SEPTEMBER 17: Cuckoo’s Bakery reveal the result of the cupcakes referendum that the bakery has been holding since March 7 by selling Yes, No and undecided cupcakes at Cuckoo’s Bakery in Dundas Street, on September 17, 2014 in Edinburgh, Scotland. In the informal poll 47.7% bought No cupcakes, 43.5% bought Yes and a further 8.8% bought undecided decorated cakes. The referendum debate has entered its final day of campaigning as the Scottish people prepare to go to the polls tomorrow to decide whether or not Scotland should have independence and break away from the United Kingdom. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

NOTE that -this week in food and agricultural photos- is a Thursday weekly feature here on Big Picture Agriculture.