“The inescapable conclusion, after reading the report, is the G.E. crops are pretty much just crops. They are not the panacea that some proponents claim, nor the dreaded monsters that others claim.” — Wayne Parrott a professor of crop and soil sciences at the University of Georgia.
The report looks at the impacts GE crops have had since the 1980s. Its findings include:
Generally positive economic outcomes for farmers, but no indication GE crops changed the rate of increase in yields;
Decreased crop losses, insecticide use and greater insect biodiversity for insect-resistant Bt crops, but also instances of insects evolving resistance;
No decrease in plant biodiversity for herbicide tolerant crops, but a major problem with herbicide-resistant weeds due to heavy glyphosate use;
No evidence that foods from GE crops are less safe to eat than conventional food.
Looking to the future of GE crops, the report notes that new genetic technologies are blurring the line between conventional and GE crops, and that the U.S. regulatory system needs to assess crop varieties based on their individual characteristics, not the way they are produced.
Set foot on an alien world, on average three to four billion miles from the warmth of the sun.
On July 14, 2015, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft zipped past Pluto, scanning the dwarf planet in unprecedented detail. Using data from that flyby, The New York Times created a seven-minute virtual reality film. Fly over Pluto’s rugged surface, stand among the icy al-Idrisi Mountains and touch down in frost-rimmed Elliot Crater. The film was produced in collaboration with the Lunar and Planetary Institute and the Universities Space Research Association.
The Google Lunar XPRIZE incentivizes space entrepreneurs to create a new era of affordable access to the Moon and beyond.
“It is only with a commercial mindset and commercial technologies that we will achieve a long-term vision of space commercialization and industrialization.” — Peter H. Diamandis, Chairman & CEO of XPRIZE
Created in 2007, the mission of the Google Lunar XPRIZE is to incentivize space entrepreneurs to create a new era of affordable access to the Moon and beyond.
The competition’s $30 million prize purse will be awarded to teams who are able to land a privately funded rover on the moon, travel 500 meters, and transmit back high definition video and images.
The first team that successfully completes this mission will be awarded the $20 million Grand Prize. The second team to successfully complete the mission will be awarded $5 million. To win either of these prizes, teams must prove that 90% of their mission costs were funded by private sources. Teams have until the end of 2016 to announce a verified launch contract to remain in the competition and complete their mission by the end of 2017.
Why the Moon? The Moon is not only our nearest neighbor in space, but it is also the gateway to the rest of the universe. Formed approximately 4.5 billion years ago, the Moon provides exciting opportunities for discovery in the fields of science, technology, resource detection and utilization, and human habitation.
Science Projects: The Moon has already impacted the way we think about future exploration through previous discoveries, such as the existence of lava tubes potentially big enough to support a lunar base and the detection of ice at the lunar poles.
All of these discoveries have been made from lunar orbit. Now think of all the exciting research opportunities for scientists if they can have access to the lunar surface!
Abundant Resources: The Moonis a treasure chest of rare metals and other beneficial materials that can be used here on Earth. A successful Google Lunar XPRIZE would result in cost-effective and reliable access to the Moon, allowing for the development of new methods of discovering and using space resources, and in the long-term, helping to expand human civilization into space.
To Infinity and Beyond: The Moon is an essential stepping-stone to the rest of the universe, and the opportunity to learn from our closest neighbor can provide the necessary experience to further humanity’s presence in the solar system and beyond.
Private Exploration: The technologies developed by the Google Lunar XPRIZE teams will further reduce costs and barriers to entry so that private industry can work alongside government agencies and advance lunar exploration.
Governments are running out of time to address climate change and to avoid the worst effects of rising temperatures, an influential UN panel warned yesterday.
Greater energy efficiency, renewable electricity sources and new technology to dump carbon dioxide underground can all help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the experts said. But there could be as little as eight years left to avoid a dangerous global average rise of 2C or more.
The warning came in a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published yesterday in Bangkok. It says most of the technology needed to stop climate change in its tracks already exists, but that governments must act quickly to force through changes across all sectors of society. Delays will make the problem more difficult, and more expensive.
Rajendra Pachauri, who chairs the IPCC, said the report would underpin negotiations to develop a new international treaty to regulate emissions to replace the Kyoto protocol when it expires in 2012.
The report said little on the best way to encourage greater take-up of cleaner technologies. A delegate present at the negotiations said the passages on international policy options had been watered down by the US, which is opposed to Kyoto-style agreements that rely on binding targets.
Harlan Watson, head of the US delegation, said the report “highlights the importance of a portfolio of clean energy technologies, consistent with our approach”.
There were also rows about the role of nuclear power, with countries including Spain and Austria opposed to any form of words that endorsed an increase in electricity from nuclear technology.
Yesterday’s report follows two studies by the IPCC this year, which said unrestrained greenhouse gas emissions could drive global temperatures up as much as 6C by 2100, triggering a surge in ocean levels, destruction of vast numbers of species, economic devastation in tropical zones and mass human migrations.
The report said global emissions must peak by 2015 for the world to have any chance of limiting the expected temperature rise to 2C, which would still leave billions of people short of water by 2050.
Quoting energy expert Alex Epstein “8 years ago, they said we had only 8 years to avoid a climate catastrophe. Climate danger is now at an all-time low.”