Lifeboat Ethics Redux.  An opinion piece in the Independent raises some arguments first made by Garrett Hardin.  "How much morality is there in saving an Ethiopian child from starvation today, for it to survive to a life of brutal circumcision, poverty, hunger, violence and sexual abuse, resulting in another half-dozen such wide-eyed children, with comparably jolly little lives ahead of them? Of course, it might make you feel better, which is a prime reason for so much charity. But that is not good enough.  For self-serving generosity has been one of the curses of Africa. It has sustained political systems which would otherwise have collapsed."

posted July 11, 2008 at 4:10 p.m.


July Estimate for Worldwide Grain Output.   The July WASDE shows a slightly higher projection for the 2008/09 crop year than the June projection.  The 2008/09 projected output is 2.4% higher than the 2007/08 estimate and 8% higher than the 2006/07 output.

posted July 11, 2008 at 10:40 a.m.


July Estimate of US Wheat Crop is 3% higher than the June estimate.  USDA reports  that the 2008 winter wheat crop is 23% higher than the 2007 crop. Acreage is up 12% and yields up 9% over last year.

posted July 11, 2008 at 8:45 a.m.


Growing Food in the Desert. "A so-called halophyte, or salt-loving plant, the briny succulent thrives in hellish heat and pitiful soil on little more than a regular dousing of ocean water. Several countries are experimenting with salicornia and other saltwater-tolerant species as sources of food. Known in some restaurants as sea asparagus, salicornia can be eaten fresh or steamed, squeezed into cooking oil or ground into high-protein meal.  ...{Also, it] can be converted into biofuel. And, unlike grain-based ethanol, it doesn't need rain or prime farmland, and it doesn't distort global food markets. NASA has estimated that halophytes planted over an area the size of the Sahara Desert could supply more than 90% of the world's energy needs."   A for-profit company is doing research on this.


posted July 11, 2008 at 8:30 a.m.

Expanding Agricultural Land in the US.   By taking it out of the Conservation Reserve Program

posted July 11, 2008 at 7:10 a.m.


Globalization is Working in Colombia.   Exports up, crime down following actions in the 1990s and 2002 to reduce restrictions on imports to the US from Colombia.  The bill that will make these trade preferences permanent is currently on hold in Congress.

posted July 11, 2008 at 7:10 a.m.

updated July 13, 2008 at 7:00 a.m.