• Story Time – The Story of Soil continued

    Hopefully you will remember a previous post on the Story of Soil which describes how agricultural practices have evolved to today’s dependency on fertilisers, pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. Today I have a few follow up topics about this partially thanks to your contributions.  The first is regarding the debate on whether organic can feed the world, the second is regarding oxygenating soil and the third is about learning from the past. Can organic feed the world? According to this article (and my own views), yes organic can feed the world but we need to change how we eat and farm.  Last week Australian television held a debate about organic food,…

  • Big businesses own the US Congress

    Today, I was going to write a post related to ecological matters, but I just stumbled upon an article from the magazine Mother Jones which I thought was very much worth sharing. Indeed, the journalist Dave Gilson has recently wondered what if members of the US Congress were seated not by party but according to the industries which gave them the most money over their entire careers? Interesting question indeed. He gave it a try and presented the following charts, representing lobbies “seating” at the Senate and at the House. I copied both charts below, as well as a selection of interesting Congressmen’s profile based on their top donors. There…

  • Muslim women in Western Society – to veil or not to veil

    On Friday night, over dinner, a group of friends started debating the topic of the French Senate recently passing a bill banning women wearing the Islamic veil (Niqab – full body covering) on public streets and other places.  I (CJG) spent some time listening to everyone’s views and soon realised that generally people are either… really confused what to think because they don’t think women should be forced to cover up but don’t feel quite right about a ban on a piece of clothing either.. or… they simply outright agree that the ban is a good thing. People who think that the veil should definitely be banned generally argue these…

  • Scents of faded grandeur in the ‘West’?

    Have you noticed the number of times news report that the ‘West’ is fading? How many times do we hear of the decline of the West, and of the rise of the ‘rest’? There are indeed many indicators underlining this gradual power shift. Only recently, I’ve read that China is willing to buy Greece’s debt – getting much sought-after transfer of skills in maritime know-how in the deal; that Saudi Arabia and Brazil are both becoming heavy weights in the realm of humanitarian affairs; that Bollywood increasingly invests in Hollywood; that eastern companies are increasingly buying shares and controlling western companies – think the Indian Tata owning Jaguar and Land…

  • Atheists and agnostics know more about the world’s religions than believers do

    I’m not the one who says that. I’m only repeating the findings of a recent study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, and that shocked many with the revelation that atheists and agnostics tend to know more about the world’s religions than believers do. Pew researchers asked more than 3,000 Americans 32 central questions about the Bible, Christianity and other world religions. On average, people who took the survey got half the answers wrong – and many even tripped on basic questions about their own faith. According to the study, Atheists and agnostics, Jews and Mormons are among the highest-scoring groups on a new survey of religious knowledge, outperforming…

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