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Ears of plenty (the story of wheat / The story of man's staple food)
The Economist ^ | Dec 20th 2005

Posted on 12/26/2005 8:42:55 PM PST by SunkenCiv

[W]heat is losing its crown. The tonnage (though not the acreage) of maize harvested in the world began consistently to exceed that of wheat for the first time in 1998; rice followed suit in 1999. Genetic modification, which has transformed maize, rice and soyabeans, has largely passed wheat by—to such an extent that it is in danger of becoming an "orphan crop"... And with population growth rates falling sharply while yields continue to rise, even the acreage devoted to wheat may now begin to decline for the first time since the stone age... [W]heat is a genetic monster. A typical wheat variety is hexaploid—it has six copies of each gene, where most creatures have two. Its 21 chromosomes contain a massive 16 billion base pairs of DNA, 40 times as much as rice, six times as much as maize and five times as much as people.

(Excerpt) Read more at economist.com ...


TOPICS: Food; History; Science; Travel
KEYWORDS: agriculture; animalhusbandry; corn; dietandcuisine; godsgravesglyphs; huntergatherers; maize
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To: Kenny Bunk
Since Tookie seems to still be dead, do you mind if I nominate you for a Nobel Prize?

My dear Dr. Bunk, I am most honored by your kind offer. I must humbly admit that in explaining my theories I am truly standing on the shoulders of giants. That is to say, in the finest tradition of the modern university I have shamelessly plagiarized much of my material. However that should prove no impediment to the esteemed Nobel committee, especially if I express sufficiently anti-American political views. I eagerly await my invitation to Stockholm.

Kind regards,
Dr. Hugin

21 posted on 12/27/2005 1:22:25 AM PST by Hugin
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To: shuckmaster
> Less than 1 million years ago, bipedal - long distance running hominids covered the entire EuroAsian and African continuant's.

Sorry, but that's basically nonsensical. A human trying to cover 40 miles a day would just make a target out of himself for every predator on the veld. That is, if the human didn't simply keel over and starve or die of exhaustion, and women and kids trying to cover 40 or 50 miles in a day...

That's a joke. Elain Moprgan's ideas make a whole lot more sense to me at least. The most major difference between us and all apes and monkeys is legs being the major limbs, and that appears to be clearly an adaptation for swimming and wading as Morgan suggests.

22 posted on 12/27/2005 4:32:29 AM PST by darkocean
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To: bannie
culling eliminates 1/3 of a population. That seems to be the amount by which every successful plague decimates a civilization.

Culling by a third is much more serious trimming than a mere decimation would be.Decimation is specifically the destruction of a tenth, that is one of ten equal parts, The Reds in the Russian Civil War actually decimated army units that failed to achieve an objective or retreated. They lined up the unit and shot every tenth man. Decimation is from the Greek word for ten-tenth.

23 posted on 12/27/2005 5:30:44 AM PST by ThanhPhero (di hanh huong den La Vang)
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To: dervish

Moderate Environmentalists are working from an idea that the ideal population of North America would be less than 5 mil and they are determined to achieve that very soon. The extrtemists among them believe in Human Extinction but insist that everyone else has to be extinctified first after which they will consider offing themselves. Actually they are kind of walking the walk in that they are very big on aborting their children, but it is slower than the prefered famine or pandemic.


24 posted on 12/27/2005 5:35:25 AM PST by ThanhPhero (di hanh huong den La Vang)
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To: SunkenCiv

I agree! Barley was cultivated in order to brew beer, the true mother of Civilization!


25 posted on 12/27/2005 5:38:02 AM PST by Little Ray (I'm a reactionary, hirsute, gun-owning, knuckle dragging, Christian Neanderthal and proud of it!)
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To: dervish
GM crops should have been welcomed by environmentalists

Nuclear energy should have been welcomed by environmentalists if one thinks they are actually interested in untouched-by-humans wilderness and natural stuff.But that is not their goal. Most of them are displaced Communists who found it inconvenient to remain nominal Communists after the Stalinist Utopia disutoped. The purpose of Environmentalism is to get control of everything for the Vanguard of the Masses and prune back the human population to make total control more manageable.

26 posted on 12/27/2005 5:39:49 AM PST by ThanhPhero (di hanh huong den La Vang)
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To: Hugin; Little Ray; SunkenCiv
Barley was cultivated in order to brew beer, the true mother of Civilization!

Dr. Hugin, Before you begin packing for Norway (take a sweater)I am afraid more of your seminal research may be needed to counteract this classic example of the lopdsided logic now taught in the public schools:

I must ask these boys; if there were no beer, how would these primitive types have known about the Barley thing? Beer definitely antedates barley.

Barley clearly evolved from beer. Hops were added, one may speculate ... but not in Science Class, through Intelligent Design.

27 posted on 12/27/2005 10:04:13 AM PST by Kenny Bunk (Democrat vote fraud must be stopped. Hello? RNC?)
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To: ThanhPhero
Nuclear energy should have been welcomed by environmentalists if one thinks they are actually interested in untouched-by-humans wilderness and natural stuff.But that is not their goal. Most of them are displaced Communists who found it inconvenient to remain nominal Communists after the Stalinist Utopia disutoped. The purpose of Environmentalism is to get control of everything for the Vanguard of the Masses and prune back the human population to make total control more manageable.

Your careless dumping of facts and logic onto this thread has neen duly noted and will be punished. Robinson, take this man's name!

28 posted on 12/27/2005 10:08:13 AM PST by Kenny Bunk (Democrat vote fraud must be stopped. Hello? RNC?)
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To: ThanhPhero
Nuclear energy should have been welcomed by environmentalists if one thinks they are actually interested in untouched-by-humans wilderness and natural stuff.But that is not their goal. Most of them are displaced Communists who found it inconvenient to remain nominal Communists after the Stalinist Utopia disutoped. The purpose of Environmentalism is to get control of everything for the Vanguard of the Masses and prune back the human population to make total control more manageable.

Your careless dumping of facts and logic onto this thread has neen duly noted and will be punished. Robinson, take this man's name!

29 posted on 12/27/2005 10:08:33 AM PST by Kenny Bunk (Democrat vote fraud must be stopped. Hello? RNC?)
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To: ThanhPhero
No sniggering!

Repititio mater scientiae!

30 posted on 12/27/2005 10:10:19 AM PST by Kenny Bunk (Democrat vote fraud must be stopped. Hello? RNC?)
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To: Kenny Bunk

Actually, I think it was evolution:

First they picked grass seeds and made porridge of 'em.
Being slobs, they allowed the porridge to ferment (spoil).
Being disgusting slobs they ate the stuff anyway and got drunk.
They liked being drunk, so they needed grass with more and larger seeds. So, through selective breeding they created barley.


31 posted on 12/27/2005 10:28:19 AM PST by Little Ray (I'm a reactionary, hirsute, gun-owning, knuckle dragging, Christian Neanderthal and proud of it!)
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To: shuckmaster
Meat was added later and the addition of protein to the diet probably added to the eventual increase in brain size.

Eating animal flesh and fats provides the long chain fatty acids (DHA & DTA) required for brain growth. Additionally a nutritionally dense diet requires a less energy-intensive gut which frees up energy for the larger brain.

The four most expensive (energy-wise) organs are the heart, liver, gastrointestinal tract, and the brain.

The organ-body mass ratio of heart and liver are roughly similar amongst all the great apes, the main difference is the GI and brain ratios.
Meat eating humans have the smallest GI tract and largest brain. The fruit (& meat) eating chimpanzee has a smaller gut and larger brain than the leaf eating gorilla.

32 posted on 12/27/2005 10:56:38 AM PST by dread78645 (Sorry Mr. Franklin, We couldn't keep it.)
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To: shuckmaster
"Less than 1 million years ago, bipedal - long distance running hominids covered the entire EuroAsian and African continuant's."

You'd come closer to the correct date if you doubled that.

33 posted on 12/27/2005 12:18:31 PM PST by blam
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To: ThanhPhero

Thank you: I had no idea! If you look at the word, "decimation," however, it speaks for itself. I was just so used to the word that I failed to SEE it!

I love it when I learn good stuff like that!!! Thanks, again!


34 posted on 12/27/2005 12:21:15 PM PST by bannie (The government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend upon the support of Paul.)
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To: shuckmaster
Stranger In A New Land

Found in the Republic Of Georgia, he's 1.7 million years old

"Stunning finds in the Republic of Georgia upend long-standing ideas about the first hominids to journey out of Africa "

35 posted on 12/27/2005 12:21:54 PM PST by blam
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To: ThanhPhero

I wonder what you'd call it when 1/3 is extinguished? Tertiated?


36 posted on 12/27/2005 12:24:20 PM PST by bannie (The government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend upon the support of Paul.)
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To: ApplegateRanch

:') And ya can't have gravy without the meat!


37 posted on 12/27/2005 5:46:50 PM PST by SunkenCiv ("In silence, and at night, the Conscience feels that life should soar to nobler ends than Power.")
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To: Hugin

The author must have a really good head on his shoulders.


38 posted on 12/27/2005 5:49:12 PM PST by SunkenCiv ("In silence, and at night, the Conscience feels that life should soar to nobler ends than Power.")
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To: darkocean; shuckmaster
Morgan's claim was that a chunk of Africa was separated from the rest, and humans did all their evolving there, out of the way of other primates, other competitors, and predators. She thinks hair grows on the head because the small children clung to it. And there's plenty more where that came from. It's largely feminist drivel, spelled out in "The Descent of Woman". However, she can be nice to have around, because she's always on the lookout for evidence of an isolated environment for human evolution:
The Scars of Evolution
by Elaine Morgan
"The most remarkable aspect of Todaro's discovery emerged when he examined Homo Sapiens for the 'baboon marker'. It was not there... Todaro drew one firm conclusion. 'The ancestors of man did not develop in a geographical area where they would have been in contact with the baboon. I would argue that the data we are presenting imply a non-African origin of man millions of years ago.'"
Primary Literature by Jonathan Marks
Benveniste, Raoul E. and Todaro, George J. (1976) Evolution of type C viral genes: Evidence for an Asian origin of man. Nature, 261:101-107. This study also applied DNA hybridization to the apes. They found a 3-way split.
socrates.berkeley.edu/~jonmarks/biblio.html
39 posted on 12/27/2005 5:57:36 PM PST by SunkenCiv ("In silence, and at night, the Conscience feels that life should soar to nobler ends than Power.")
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To: Hugin
That's a very good point, as the tropics have two seasons, wet and dry, which alternate twice a year. Anyone who wants our ancestors to be from Africa has to conclude that they had an omniverous and quite opportunistic diet, pretty much as we still do as we all sit here typing and surfing and eating out of the chip bag.
Lawrys Mexican Rice Mix Sour Cream Harvest Cheddar Sun Chips
mix 1 of these with 1 of these & serve with these

40 posted on 12/27/2005 6:09:23 PM PST by SunkenCiv ("In silence, and at night, the Conscience feels that life should soar to nobler ends than Power.")
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