Articles

New Food Economy: Scientists say many UTIs are caused by E. coli in food—when will the government believe them?

The women may have lived more than 2,500 miles apart, but somehow they had a unique strain of multidrug-resistant Escherichia coli bacteria in common.

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, found the E. coli bacteria in 48 urine samples from college students who visited health centers at UC Berkeley, the University of Michigan, and the University of Minnesota with urinary tract infections (UTIs). Between 38 and 51 percent of the Berkeley, Minnesota, and Michigan students with UTIs resistant to the first-line antibiotic trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, often marketed as Bactrim, were infected with the same strain. Read more…

New Food Economy: If crop insurance rewarded conservation practices, would more farmers go no-till?

Crop insurance works too well for farmers who farm without regard for long-term soil health, and not well enough for the few who do. A new task force wants to change that.

This spring, historic flooding across the Great Plains and Upper Midwest engulfed millions of acres of cropland. The fields were so inundated, many farmers couldn’t farm; the pace of corn planting was the slowest in 40 years. With one eye on the sodden ground and the other on the calendar, farmers were faced with a terrible choice: risk planting late in the season, a move that could cost them a yield and income in the fall, or rely on crop insurance, which provides some coverage when extreme weather prevents planting. Read more…

New Food Economy: Stop & Shop now has big, goofy-looking robots patrolling its aisles. What, exactly, is the goal?

I met Marty in the produce section of a Stop & Shop in Bristol, Rhode Island. I was looking for vegetables to grill over hot coals, while Marty roamed the aisles, big, round eyes staring vacantly ahead, searching for spills and other hazards—with electric sensors strategically placed on its tall, rectangular form. Marty, you see, is a supermarket robot. Read more…

Conversationalist: Don’t Thank Google

Earlier this week, Google opened their temporary “Grow with Google New York City Learning Center” on the first floor of the company’s Chelsea offices. The “pop-up” space embodies techno-optimism: well-lit classrooms with nearly floor-to-ceiling windows, decorated in neutrals with occasional pops of primary colors, and well-stocked with Google Chromebooks. For five months, the technology company will provide free and open-to-the-public classes on topics like “Manage Projects More Effectively with Online Tools” and “Make Your Website Work For You.”

The vast majority of classes are based on Google products: Learn to manage projects with Google Sheets; get your business online with Google My Business; discover new job opportunities with Google Search. In other words, Google is further entrenching their business monopoly under the pretence of helping entrepreneurs and job seekers. The company is cynically deploying the American dream of hard work and the self-made success story for its own benefit, expecting New Yorkers to thank them for the opportunity to help make Google even richer and more powerful. Read more…

Lifehacker: How to Grow a Bug-Friendly Garden Absolutely Anywhere

Habitat loss is a major factor in the decline of insect populations around the world, a trend that one group of researchers has warned could bring about the “catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems.” For instance, the monarch butterfly population has fallen 99.4 percent since the 1980s—a precipitous decline that has wildlife conservationists calling for them to be listed as an official endangered species. While the monarch may be the charismatic megafauna of the insect world, other, less photogenic species are believed to be facing the same fate.

That’s where you come in: Even in small amounts, native grasses and wildflowers can provide essential shelter and food for a wide variety of wildlife—especially insects. No matter how much outdoor space you have to work with—whether a big backyard or a teensy window box—there are flowers, shrubs and grasses that you can grow to support a wide range of insect wildlife. Read more…