A couple of interesting things I’ve read recently:
- Should we tinker with plants genes. Includes a couple insightful letters the blogger, Pamela Ronald, received after writing an op-ed in the NY Times. She makes a couple great points about contradictions in what we consider organic agriculture and why we need to disentangle the ideas of genetically engineered crops and ownership of seed by big agribusiness: “So a small farmer that uses GE papaya to protect her crop from a devastating disease that cannot be controlled by any known method, developed in a university lab by a local Hawaiian using government funds (not for profit), cannot be certified organic.In contrast, a large grower that purchases Monsanto seed and plants a monoculture can be certified organic.”
- Moonshine or the kids? A controversial read from the NY Times that points out that poor families are just as prone to making poor financial decisions as the rich. Aid critic Bill Easterly has an interesting commentary on this article as well as change.org.
- Living in denial: why sensible people reject the truth. One of the New Scientists’ recent issues is devoted to exploring denialism, when people choose to believe something with little to no evidence over established “truths”. If you’re interested in this kind of thing you should check out Michael Spectre’s book Denialism and you can catch him in podcast form at Point of Inquiry.
- Though I’ve found that TED talks have been rather disappointing recently, here is a great one by Esther Duflo (whose research, incidentally, is talked about in the NY Times op-ed mentioned above):