Tag Archives: Science

Don't Rush to Judgment

In 1953 Linus Pauling and Robert Corey published their structure of DNA, 3 strands twisted around each other. Shortly after that James Watson and Francis Crick published the correct structure of DNA, the one on which the biotechnology industry is built.That is the way science goes. Scientists make discoveries, publish their work, and others come along to either support or dispute those discoveries. Imagine if we had just rushed to judgment back then and gone Read More >

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Clouding Assumptions

Science magazine this week published an exchange between Vinod Khosla, the venture capitalist who has invested a great deal in alternative energy, and Timothy Searchinger and coauthor Richard Houghton critiquing and defending the February 2008 study, “Use of U.S. Croplands for Biofuels Increases Greenhouse Gases Through Emissions from Land-Use Change” The exchange reveals some of the nuances of indirect land use change arguments that have not been addressed. Khosla’s comments raise two important issues, allocation Read More >

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This Week in Science

A group of preeminent academics put forward a policy proposal on regulating the development of cellulosic biofuels in the pages of Science magazine last week. They point out the urgent need to think about the unintended consequences of alternative fuels in order to achieve outcomes that are substantially better than “business as usual.” They conclude: Legislated environmental performance standards for cellulosic ethanol production could, for example, go far towards promoting sustainable outcomes. Such standards could Read More >

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Weather, Not Biofuels Contributes to Food Crisis

Could it be, that weather, not biofuels, are responsible for the increase in corn prices?  That is what Tim of Environmental Economics suggests.   Citing rains and floods, as being responsible for leaving 4 million acres unplanted (according to the AP),  Tim quotes the AP, “That would likely lift corn prices further, forcing consumers to pay higher grocery bills for meat and pork, as livestock producers would be forced to pass on higher animal feed costs Read More >

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Tilman clarifies study

Much of the media coverage of the recent Science Magazine studies made it clear that many hadn’t actually read the studies before they reported on them. Some interpreted the studies as condemning corn ethanol production now, not as the worst case scenario of what could happen in the future. University of Minnesota professor David Tilman, an author of one study, clarified it today in an interview with Minnesota Daily: Tilman, who is currently on sabbatical Read More >

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