Odds and Ends 

This Is Where Your Wine Corks Come From

Uncorking a bottle of wine after a long day is one of the few true pleasures in life. But ever wonder where that small cork—aka the last thing standing between you and your favorite red—comes from? In Portugal, there’s a long and rich history of harvesting cork trees. Harvesters strip trees of their bark by hand, using a process that makes certain the tree remains alive and healthy. The method is so difficult that harvesters begin learning the trade from a young age, keeping up a skill passed down through…

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‘Its not if, its when’: the deadly pig disease spreading around the world

Swine fever has made its way into China, home to half the worlds pigs. Farmers in Estonia are already counting the cost Ott Saarevli, the owner of a pig farm in Lne county in Estonia, is starting all over again. In September last year, government vets diagnosed an outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) in a section of the farm where pregnant sows are held ahead of farrowing. It made no difference that the outbreak had been limited to one area all seven thousand of his pigs would have to…

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‘It saved our business’: Italy’s farmers turn low into high with cannabis

Hemp cultivation for non-pharmaceutical could help revert desiccation of farm land Italian farmers are in crisis as low prices of wheat, desiccated land and big companies importing grain take their toll. But some have found a solution: growing cannabis. Hemp cultivation has been legal in Italy since 2016, and over the last few years the amount of land dedicated to the plant has increased from 400 hectares (1,000 acres) in 2013 to 4,000 hectares today. The law which allows cultivation for non-pharmaceutical use of plants with up to 0.2% of…

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In 1982, An Artist Harvested Two Acres of Wheat on Land Worth $4.5 Billion

© Agnes Denes In the summer of 1982, two acres of wheat were planted and harvested by artist Agnes Denes, two blocks from Wall Street and the World Trade Center and facing the Statue of Liberty. Planting and harvesting a field of wheat on land worth $4.5 billion created a powerful paradox. Wheatfield was a symbol, a universal concept; it represented food, energy, commerce, world trade, and economics. It referred to mismanagement, waste, world hunger and ecological concerns. It called attention to our misplaced priorities. The harvested grain traveled to…

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Offended by Koreans eating dog? I trust youve never had a bacon butty | Chas Newkey-Burden

Frightened animals being caged, killed and turned into food wed never dream of such evils in the western world, writes journalist and author Chas Newkey-Burden The meat industry Offended by Koreans eating dog? I trust youve never had a bacon butty Chas Newkey-Burden Frightened animals being caged, killed and turned into food wed never dream of such evils in the west would we? @AllThatChas Last modified on Thu 15 Feb 2018 09.20EST Share via Email Share on LinkedIn Share on WhatsApp Labradors, beagles and chihuahuas are eaten in South Korea.…

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Trump administration could be sued over pesticide threat to orca and salmon

Fishing industry and environmentalists mull lawsuits after EPA tried to delay report detailing chemicals harm to wildlife Trump administration could be sued over pesticide threat to orca and salmon Fishing industry and environmentalists mull lawsuits EPA tried to delay report detailing chemicals harm to wildlife Joanna Walters and agencies @Joannawalters13 First published on Sun 21 Jan 2018 08.40EST Share via Email Share on LinkedIn Share on WhatsApp A female orca breaches in Puget Sound. The unique resident population has lost eight of its 76 members in the last 18 months.…

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When You Realize the Concert Crowd is a Cotton Harvester at Night

Photograph by @micah.b.horn on Instagram At first glance you might think you’re looking at a huge concert crowd but it’s actually a photo of several industrial cotton harvesting machines at night. The photo was taken by @micah.b.horn on Instagram and the image quickly went viral after being posted on reddit. Don’t feel too bad, a programmer had the brilliant idea of running the photo through Google’s Cloud Vision API and even the machines were fooled! The top three results were ‘crowd’, ‘festival’ and ‘stage’. Ran the image through Google Cloud…

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Pesticides damage survival of bee colonies, landmark study shows

The worlds largest ever field trial demonstrates widely used insecticides harm both honeybees and wild bees, increasing calls for a ban Widely used insecticides damage the survival of honeybee colonies, the worlds largest ever field trial has shown for the first time, as well as harming wild bees. The farm-based research, along with a second new study, also suggests widespread contamination of entire landscapes and a toxic cocktail effect from multiple pesticides. The landmark work provides the most important evidence yet for regulators around the world considering action against neonicotinoids,…

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Wild Amazon faces destruction as Brazils farmers and loggers target national park

The Sierra Ricardo Franco park was meant to be a conservation area protecting rare wildlife To understand why the Brazilian government is deliberately losing the battle against deforestation, you need only retrace the bootmarks of the Edwardian explorer Percy Fawcett along the Amazonian border with Bolivia. During a failed attempt to cross a spectacular tabletop plateau here in 1906, the adventurer nearly died on the first of his many trips to South America. Back then, the area was so far from human habitation, the foliage so dense and the terrain…

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