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All News and Pages Related to "Iowa Agriculture"

“Conservationist”

Posted on October 22nd, 2020

A few months ago, I wrote an essay that discussed the abandonment of empiricism and the contempt some of our elected leaders apparently have for science and scientists. A couple of recent items motivated me to write about this again. The first was hearing one of the presidential candidates mocking his opponent with the line […]

On Brothels and Cathedrals

Posted on September 10th, 2020

Clayton County’s Bloody Run Creek is designated an “Outstanding Iowa Water” by the Iowa DNR because limestone geology and a modestly-undisturbed watershed support a clear, cold stream that is home to trout and other pollution-intolerant species. In a state with 72,000 miles of streams and 120 or so lakes and reservoirs, Bloody Run is one […]

Everyone’s responsible so no one is responsible

Posted on July 27th, 2020

Roundup is the Monsanto trade name for the isopropylamine salt of glyphosate, and it is also known to chemists as N-(phosphonomethyl)glycine. As organic compounds go, it is not a complex molecule. The chemical is a broad-spectrum herbicide, meaning it can kill a lot of plant species. It’s been especially effective on annual grasses and broadleaf weeds that […]

When the Ship Comes In

Posted on July 14th, 2020

The photo below (credit David Thoreson) was taken at Iowa’s West Lake Okoboji this past 4th of July weekend. Ignoring for a while what it may show about the effectiveness of volunteerism in suppressing the coronavirus, I’d like to point out that this is one area of Iowa where our legislature has chosen to pursue […]

Ripe as a Roadkill Raccoon

Posted on June 3rd, 2020

Hydrologists classify watersheds using a hierarchical system that “nests” watersheds within one another, an idea that resembles a broad oak tree with the trunk being a large river such as the Mississippi and the countless branches its numerous tributaries. Each watershed or branch is given a number—a Hydrologic Unit Code (HUC) with the larger branches […]

“I’m not a scientist”

Posted on March 31st, 2020

You may have noticed that we have few trained scientists occupying elected positions in the United States. In the 115th Congress (1), members include one chemist, one physicist and one microbiologist, all in the house. By comparison there are 218 attorneys (including 47 former prosecutors and 15 judges), 101 teachers, 26 farmers, 8 ordained ministers, […]

Hair of the Dog

Posted on March 16th, 2020

Dr. Silvia Secchi wrote most of this; I added a dash of bitters here and there. The post expands on the interview Dr. Secchi gave to National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, which can be found here: https://www.npr.org/2020/03/13/815546846/the-biofuel-requirement-of-american-gasoline-hits-a-roadblock The Iowa congressional delegation and many agricultural economists have been arguing over the small refineries exemption, which reduces the […]

The ethics of a pig

Posted on March 4th, 2020

Note: some of these ideas came from Smith Fellow Dr. Bonnie McGill. Writing with a great nom de plume, O. Henry1 (William S. Porter) may have been the G.O.A.T. short story writer and his best one was the ironic comedy, The Gift of the Magi. O. Henry also wrote one titled The Ethics of Pig, […]

ZEAlots

Posted on February 5th, 2020

Notes: Some of these words and ideas came from the head of Dr. Silvia Secchi. Featured image credit: Rigzone. Nexus is one of those trendy words that can help a frequent user sound more relevant. It’s so much sexier (it has an “x”, after all) than mundane synonyms like connection, and let’s face it, good […]

Free Iowa Now

Posted on January 23rd, 2020

The California-sized Black Sea is bordered by Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Romania, Georgia and Turkey. It receives freshwater from several major European Rivers (especially the Danube) but Mediterranean Sea saltwater also intrudes through a hydrological connection known as the Bosphorus. Thus, Black Sea water is saltier than a lake but fresher than the ocean, producing a […]