This procedure is imprecise and adds a time delay. It is very common for me to knit a sentence together several seconds after everyone else heard it. Everyone laughs, and seconds later I get to “hear” the punch line in my head. Having to do all this processing does have an upside. Sometimes the combination of words that my mind has rejected sounds like what was said and has a message that is related to the topic but creates an absurd vision in my head. Periodically the incorrect interpretation of the sounds is more entertaining than what was actually said.
BIOTECH FOOD AND DRUGS
Both Brendan Borrell’s interview with agro-research czar Roger Beachy [“Food Fight”] and Mary McKenna’s “The Enemy Within” point to a serious disconnect between research, learning and hopes for applications of that research. Beachy says that crops with permanent resistance to pests are “almost unheard of,” and McKenna shows us how scary the future of infection may be with antibiotic-resistant bacteria winning over the development of new medicines. There is no difference between the loss of valuable antibiotics to ever more resistant bacteria and the fight with pests through genetic engineering. In only a few years, with the planet’s food-production capability more strained by population demands, major crop harvests may well follow the same hazardous, on-the-edge life we humans are walking ourselves into as a result of not learning our lessons from history nor from one another.
Scott C. Reuman
FAMILY ALBUMS OF THE FUTURE
David Pogue laments in “Seeing Forever” [TechnoFiles] that current digital media may not last long. And it is good that in 100 years 99.9 percent of all images, video and audio recordings will be gone. Who cares about Uncle Joe’s photos from his 2005 vacation in Florida or Italy? Future generations need their own memories plus the very best from past generations. Nobody in the year 2100 will have the time to look at pictures from their forebears of the past 100 years. They need to build their own memories.
Eitan Haddok’s “Can the Dead Sea Live?” shows how pragmatism can give hope.
A project involving salvation of an extraordinary body of water brings together three politically disparate regions: Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority. It is a rare example of cooperation in the midst of a bitter area of human conflict. An organization that has been monitoring the project, Friends of the Earth Middle East, consists of participants from each of those regions. The organization, and specifically its undertaking to save the Dead Sea, is a wonderful example of how the effort to save a precious resource can raise people above endless, vicious political squabbling.
Stanley P. Santire