"The mind is a compact, multiply connected thought mass with internal connections of the most intimate kind. It grows continuously as new thought masses enter it, and this is the means by which it continues to develop."

Bernhard Riemann On Psychology and Metaphysics ca. 1860

Today's Elites


Thursday, June 30, 2011

Hooray! Happy Days Are Here Again.

Here is a headline today from the mouthpiece of the financial kleptocrats' own CNBC:

"Wall Street Signaled Higher on Greek Vote Optimism"

It really leaves little to the imagination except maybe a mental image of vampires salivating over their next victim...

From The Mouth of Babes

That the so-called pleasure pain principle of economics of Adam Smith and Jeremy Bentham, et. al. is deviant from a universal human quality of equity is exhibited in the behavior of children. Although anyone who is not merely a toady to this inhuman dogma of so-called free trade economics needs no such proof, nevertheless, it is at once both amusing and bathetic to see these Harvard "experts" like the fabled blind men and the elephant grope around within the confines of their delusional precepts. Viz:


Just rewards: Study of children challenges economists’ notions of rational behavior

June 29, 2011 By Paul Massari
Just rewards

Katherine McAuliffe and Peter Blake are exploring children's concepts of fairness and rewards. “We were able to show that 8-year-olds have a general sense of fairness and are willing to make large sacrifices to enforce it with other children,” said Blake. Credit: Justin Ide/Harvard Staff Photographer
(Medical Xpress) -- A Harvard University study built around an innovative economic game indicates that, at least for our younger selves, the desire for equity often trumps the urge to maximize rewards.
Super Slim Osciloscope - 60 MHz, deep memory, 8" screen $395 only and free delivery! - www.tmatlantic.com
1503 Insulation Tester - Trusted Name in Insulation Testing. See All Fluke Insulation Products. - www.Fluke.com/Insulation_Testers
“We were able to show that 8-year-olds have a general sense of fairness and are willing to make large sacrifices to enforce it with other ,” said Peter Blake, a postdoctoral researcher at Harvard’s Program for Evolutionary Dynamics who co-authored the study with Katherine McAuliffe, a doctoral student at the University’s Department of Human Evolutionary Biology. “Children younger than 8 are more self-interested, yet they’re still willing to deny themselves rewards in order to prevent a transaction that’s unfair to them."
The study, which was conducted under the auspices of Harvard’s Laboratory for Developmental Studies and appears in the August 2011 issue of the journalCognition, explores a fundamental principle of economics, namely that humans do all they can — within the bounds of utility and constraints on resources — to maximize the satisfaction they get from consumption. According to this line of thinking, equity is more or less irrelevant to economic decision-making. People make choices based on whether a given transaction will leave them better off than they were before, not whether it will leave them as well off as their neighbor, or even the party with which they do business.
To test these assumptions — and to explore the development of economic decision-making among children — Blake and McAuliffe created the Inequity Game, an activity that allows children to accept or reject an unequal offer, both when it is advantageous to them and when it is not.
As parents and others looked on, researchers paired each participant with an unfamiliar peer — one designated the “decider,” one the “recipient” — and seated the children face to face at an apparatus created especially for the game. An adult then allocated  on trays designated for each child.
“One kid was in charge of the toy,” said Blake. “He or she got to make decisions by pulling one of two handles in front of them. The other guy was just a passive recipient. If one kid got more than the other, the decider could pull the green handle and accept that outcome, or he could pull the red handle, the candy goes in the middle, and no one gets those.” 
Fluke Test Equipment - Fluke 233 Digital Multimeter Buy a Fluke Tool & Get a Free Gift - www.Fluke.com/Gift-With-Purchase
Free Tech Wi-Fi Poster - Includes Channels, Speed & Range Frequencies for 802.11a/b/g/n. - flukenetworks.com/Wireless_Poster
Some pairs were tested in a condition that Blake and McAuliffe called “advantageous inequity” (decider gets 4 pieces of candy; recipient gets one); some in “disadvantageous inequity” (decider gets one piece of candy; recipient gets four). Deciders in each condition also got offers of an equal outcome: one piece of candy for each participant.
“The game allows us to look at how one individual reacts to inequity when they are responsible for their own payoffs, as well as someone else’s,” McAuliffe explained. “The main question we were asking was, ‘Would children reject candy to prevent an unfair allocation of resources?’ The design has been very successful because kids enjoy learning about the apparatus and pulling the handles — not to mention the fact that they are motivated by the Skittles!”
Blake and McAuliffe were satisfied, but not surprised, by the results for children ages 4 to 7. The deciders in these groups generally accepted equal offers, as well as offers in their favor. They usually rejected unequal offers, although Blake said that children hesitated before pulling the red handle and sending all the candy — including the piece allotted to the decider — into the neutral bowl.
“They hesitate to reject an offer, even if they’re not coming out on top,” he said. “It’s hard for them to give up that one piece of candy, yet they’re willing to do it, whereas when they get more, there’s no problem. It’s very easy to make that decision.”
McAuliffe said the behavior of the younger children in the study conflicts with the economist’s notion of rational behavior.
“Even a 4-year-old child is willing to pay a cost to prevent a peer from getting more candy, when, in theory, they should accept any nonzero offer,” she said. “On the other hand, if we look at the behavior from the perspective of evolutionary biology and think of individuals in a competitive setting, it may not be irrational to prevent a relative disadvantage, even if it does mean sacrificing personal gain.”
The most surprising behavior occurred among the eight-year-olds in the study. The deciders in this age group continued to accept equal offers and reject unequal offers that were disadvantageous, just as their younger counterparts had done. But 8-year-olds also rejected allocations that were unequal, even when they benefited from the disparities.
“We weren’t expecting to see 8-year-olds willing to sacrifice so much candy to prevent a peer from getting less than them,” said McAuliffe. “In some cases, children were giving up 24 candies in a given session. It shows that fairness or inequity aversion is an important factor in determining how these children behave. Relative rewards do matter.”
In the years ahead, the researchers hope to clarify the motivations behind the behavior they observed in the children. It could be that the participants in the study made their decisions based on internalized norms of fairness. It’s also possible, however, that the children were concerned not with enforcing equity, but with preserving their reputations.
“They could be considering the audience around them and saying, ‘I don’t want to look like I’m being selfish by accepting all this candy. I know that I’ll reap future benefits by rejecting now,’” said Blake. “An awareness of reputation could be emerging. And that’s the next big step to test.”
Provided by Harvard University (news : web)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

More on Seeding the Cosmos with Life's Precursors

This line of research is quite promising:

Supernovae, Neutrinos, and the Chirality of the Amino Acids

A mechanism for creating an enantioenrichment in the amino acids, the building blocks of the proteins, that involves global selection of one handedness by interactions between the amino acids and neutrinos from core-collapse supernovae is described. The chiral selection involves the dependence of the interaction cross sections on the orientations of the spins of the neutrinos and the 14N nuclei in the amino acids, or in precursor molecules, which in turn couple to the molecular chirality. It also requires an asymmetric distribution of neutrinos emitted from the supernova. The subsequent chemical evolution and galactic mixing would ultimately populate the Galaxy with the selected species. The resulting amino acids could either be the source thereof on Earth, or could have triggered the chirality that was ultimately achieved for Earth's proteinaceous amino acids.

Impeach Tin Pot Obama!

"High crimes and misdemeanors" against the constitution is a legal sword  provided by the founders of this republic to oust the very corruption that Obama now so evidently and openly displays in his ongoing flaunting of the war powers act. There is only one remedy: impeachment!

The Light of Time: A Theodicy of Sorts

"Study finds single photons cannot exceed the speed of light"

"In addition to bringing some closure to the debate on the true speed of information carried by a single photon, the result that single photons cannot travel faster than the speed of light will also likely have practical applications by giving scientists a better understanding of the transmission of quantum information."

Leibniz proved Descartes' notion of force based upon momentum was all wet. Leibniz stood on the shoulders of Cusa, who proved that all in the finite world was necessarily limited in a precisely projective manner. Riemann working in this tradition, developed a proof of shockwaves for sound as it moved beyond the transmissabilty of a medium. Einstein, furthering this method of hypothesis, showed that for light, since there is no speed greater than itself, the mass at the shockwave is resolved, as it were, into energy. This takes us back to Leibniz' F=MA, thus translated into Einstein's  E=MC². The problem with looking at clock time and somehow attributing a false idea of transfer of information as a base 2, on off proposition, is that time as understood in human, distinctly noetic terms is relative to the continuing development of the perfection of technology. This is what Cusa developed as the progress of the non-other. The foregoing demonstrates that truthful ideas act forcefully across humanity's relative timeline forwards and backwards, in a fugal fashion well after their mortal progenitors are deceased to spur on scientific progress over centuries and indeed millenia. For it is no accident that the Renaissance proceeded from a Christian reworking of the Socratic method. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Aaron Burr and Derivatives

Today's NY Times headline worries:
"Derivatives Cloud the Possible Fallout From a Greek Default"
Burr and his pupil Martin Van Buren were the precursors of our derivative sycophants. They set up a scam whereby farmers' earnings were systematically stolen  after the private banks they and friends set up took the money and deliberately went bust time and again. This was exactly what Hamilton's National Bank was set up to prevent. Ergo the duel. Likewise, Roosevelt set up an end to the bucket shop practices of Wall St with the passage of Glass-Steagall. Today, the derivatives crooks are at it again, bigger than ever. But they are oh, so respectable...Like Ozymandias...

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

Rolling Stone the countercultural rag, in the finest tradition of an Orwellian day trip, today pronounces thusly:

"Climate of Denial
Can science and the truth withstand the merchants of poison?"

The question is since when do procurers of orgies and drugs have the temerity to claim that they are the spokesmen for truth and science? Truly and wretchedly, reprehensibly disgusting are they...

Toroidal Shockwaves and Life

Here is exhibited the marvelous coherence of a universal tendency for shockwave propagation that inexorably induces the preconditions for life.

Baby star blasts jets of water into space
An artists rendition of a protostar. Credit: NASA/ Caltech
Astronomers have found a nascent star 750 light years from earth that shoots colossal jets of water -- a cosmic fire hose -- out its poles in bullet-like pulses.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Obama's Sense of Timing: Curiouser and Curiouser!

"Charlie Savage writes that President Obama took the unusual step of overruling the head of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel and the top counsel for the Defense Department in order to conclude that the U.S.'s participation in the war in Libya did not amount to "hostilities or "imminent hostilities." This meant that the 60 day clock in the War Powers Resolution did not continue to run. Hence, Obama was able to conclude that he was not in violation of the WPR's 60 day requirement because "hostilities" or "imminent hostilities" had not occurred since the beginning of April."

I'm late! For a very important date! No time to say hello, goodbye! I'm late! I'm late! I'm late!

Statistics Say the Darnedest Things!

This just in from an august center of higher learning (alas, this is not a hoax, dear reader... would that it were. To quote Hollywood: I'm melting...What a world, what a world...So pay no attention to that statistician behind the curtain...They just want to end the evil reign of human creativity and science...Who needs NASA  when you have statistics?) Read it and weep:


Welcome to the new webpages from the University of Colorado sea level group! We apologize for the delay in updating our sea level releases, but the transition to these new web pages took longer than we thought. In addition, we have made many improvements to our data (new orbits, new tide model, new corrections) which ultimately had little effect on global mean sea level, but brought us up to date with the latest advances in the field.
One important change in these releases is that we are now adding a correction of 0.3 mm/year due to Glacial Isostatic Adjustment (GIA), so you may notice that the rate of sea level rise is now 0.3 mm/year higher than earlier releases. This is a correction to account for the fact that the global ocean basins are getting slightly larger over time as mantle material moves from under the oceans into previously glaciated regions on land. Simply subtract 0.3 mm/year if you prefer to not include the GIA correction.
You may also note that rate of sea level rise over recent years has been less than the long-term average. This is believed to be due to the recent La Nina's we have been experiencing, though research on this is continuing. We will soon add a plot to the web site illustrating this effect.
Let us know if you spot any bugs in the new web pages. Thanks for your interest!

Any bugs? You have got to be kidding...

Obama: Being a dad is sometimes my hardest job

"Look," said the little boy in the crowd loudly and animatedly, as he pointed to Barack Obama, who was exhibiting his typical blank stare, "the President has no mind!" An embarrassed hush descended upon the erstwhile frenzied crowd gawking at the "First Family."

Friday, June 17, 2011

Union leader compares NJ gov to Hitler at rally

If Christie is Adolf Hitler then he must have forgotten to take his laxatives...


"I own you, beaches!" "It's none of your business," snarled Christie. "I don't ask you where you send your kids to school."

Thursday, June 16, 2011

‘Nothing More Impeachable' Than War Without Authorization, Says Constitutional Scholar


We have been witness to the President's movable feast since the chosen one bamboozled the people. Is Impeachment now on the menu? How delightfully appetizing! Let's eat!


Greece: Tragedy or Hope?

This from "the markets" today:

"In order to achieve stability in the world economy it is necessary that Greece prove it can succumb to ever increasing levels of cuts in the social safety net. If this is not done then the contagion of weakness in the face of such necessary measures will inevitably spread to the rest of the world. At that point the monetary system as we know it will for all practical purposes cease to exist. So Greece must lead the nations of the world in implemented harsh but needed austerity in order to slow the rate of collapse while we maintain our financial control. We are not to be trifled with..."

From the people:

"There is a limit to a tyrant's power."

Monday, June 13, 2011

Entropic Gravity Wins The Prize This Time

As someone who is challenged (and quite non-plussed) by today's sort of seeming higher mathematics and physics, let me say that there does seem to be an emerging theme that all this promotion of entropy (is it fair to equate this with flatulence, as Mr. Franklin has done with Decartes' vortices?) is quite the money making proposition. But what if Bernanke proves eternal inflation to be true, then what, you rascally prize winners?
Verlinde's higher math
Descartes' bladders...er...vortices

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The IMF Hacked!!!

Oy vey! The International Murder Fund has come under attack! Now the gangsters that run the doomed financial system will have to close ranks to make sure no new crooks get the better of them.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Who Is Nuttier Weiner or Obama?

Oops, I'm afraid they got the wrong weiner, it's Obama whose abject and disgraceful kowtowing to Wall Street proves that he needs the psychiatric counselling far more seriously than does the philandering congressman. (As, I should add, do those that continue to support him.)



On The Other Hand...

Mothers guard your children! This is what can happen when you get strung along by mathematical figments of the unimagination:

UCSB Physicists Apply Einstein's Theory to Superconducting Circuits 

June 9, 2011


 
The gravitational description of the<br>superconducting condensate<br>shows a suppression in the gap.<br>Credit: Jorge Santos, UCSB
Click for downloadable image
The gravitational description of the
superconducting condensate
shows a suppression in the gap.
Credit: Jorge Santos, UCSB

Gary T. Horowitz<br>Credit: George Foulsham,<br>Office of Public Affairs,<br>UCSB
Click for downloadable image
Gary T. Horowitz
Credit: George Foulsham,
Office of Public Affairs,
UCSB
 
(Santa Barbara, Calif.) – In recent years, UC Santa Barbara scientists showed that they could reproduce a basic superconductor using Einstein's general theory of relativity. Now, using the same theory, they have demonstrated that the Josephson junction could be reproduced. The results are explained in a recent issue of the journal Physical Review Letters.
The Josephson junction, a device that was first discovered by Brian David Josephson in the early 1960's, is a main ingredient in applications of superconductivity.
Gary Horowitz, professor of physics at UCSB, said that Einstein's general theory of relativity – which was developed as a theory of gravity and is extremely successful in explaining a wide variety of gravitational phenomena – is now being used to explain several aspects of non-gravitational physics.
"The basic phenomenon with Josephson junctions is that you can take two superconductors, separate them by a little gap, and still find current going across it, in a specific way," said Horowitz. "And that has found many applications. So the Josephson junction is something we've reproduced using general relativity."
Horowitz said that he and his co-authors used tools from string theory to develop the gravity model of a superconductor. He explained that it was surprising to be able to link Einstein's general theory of relativity to a totally different area of physics. He said he hoped that the new tools would one day be able to shed light on new types of superconductors.
"Most materials, if you cool them down sufficiently, will actually conduct electricity without any resistance," said Horowitz. "These are superconductors. There is a standard theory of superconductivity, discovered about 50 years ago, that has worked well for most of the so-called conventional superconductors."
A new class of materials was discovered 25 years ago. These are superconductors that have zero resistance at somewhat higher temperatures. Physicists are still working on understanding the mechanism.
This new class of materials involves copper-oxygen planes. Another new class of superconductors, based on iron instead of copper, was discovered a couple of years ago. These materials, called iron nictides, also have the property of superconducting at a higher temperature.
"There is a lot of activity and interest in understanding these materials," said Horowitz. "Ultimately, the goal is to have a room-temperature superconductor, which, you can imagine, would have lots of interesting applications."
Horowitz and his research team found what could be called a gravitational model, or a gravitational dual – a dual description of a superconductor using gravity, black holes, and all of the traditional ingredients of general relativity. "This came as quite a surprise because this is a totally different area of physics, which is now being connected to this condensed matter area," said Horowitz.
The co-authors of the paper are postdoctoral fellow Jorge E. Santos and graduate student Benson Way.

Eureka!

Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
 When a new planet swims into his ken;
 Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
 He star'd at the Pacific — and all his men
 Look'd at each other with a wild surmise —
 Silent, upon a peak in Darien.



The trio of researchers--Fischbach, Jenkins and Sturrock--deserve to be highly commended and supported by our once great government in their breathtaking and astonishing work! The compelling fact that they have recognized the potential life saving aspect of that research is truly remarkable:





3. Finally, in all the cases we have observed, there is a precursor signal in which the
54Mn count rate begins to change ∼1 day before the solar event. This observation raises the
possibility of establishing an “early-warning” system for potentially dangerous impending
solar storms, whose damaging effects on astronauts; communications, navigation, defense

and other satellites; and power grids and other electronic infrastructure could thus be
prevented.










Friday, June 10, 2011

Yet More Crocodile Tears from Paul Krudman

Unfortunately, it's sort of like the cargo cult waiting for Krugman to utter the only solution to the mess: the return of Glass-Steagall and bankruptcy for the speculator's "investment" houses that finance the hallowed halls of academe where Krugman is wont to graze...


Rule by Rentiers




The latest economic data have dashed any hope of a quick end to America’s job drought, which has already gone on so long that the average unemployed American has been out of work for almost 40 weeks. Yet there is no political will to do anything about the situation. Far from being ready to spend more on job creation, both parties agree that it’s time to slash spending — destroying jobs in the process — with the only difference being one of degree.
Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times
Paul Krugman

Readers' Comments

Nor is the Federal Reserve riding to the rescue. On Tuesday, Ben Bernanke, the Fed chairman, acknowledged the grimness of the economic picture but indicated that he will do nothing about it.
And debt relief for homeowners — which could have done a lot to promote overall economic recovery — has simply dropped off the agenda. The existing program for mortgage relief has been a bust, spending only a tiny fraction of the funds allocated, but there seems to be no interest in revamping and restarting the effort.
The situation is similar in Europe, but arguably even worse. In particular, the European Central Bank’s hard-money, anti-debt-relief rhetoric makes Mr. Bernanke sound like William Jennings Bryan.
What lies behind this trans-Atlantic policy paralysis? I’m increasingly convinced that it’s a response to interest-group pressure. Consciously or not, policy makers are catering almost exclusively to the interests of rentiers — those who derive lots of income from assets, who lent large sums of money in the past, often unwisely, but are now being protected from loss at everyone else’s expense.
Of course, that’s not the way what I call the Pain Caucus makes its case. Instead, the argument against helping the unemployed is framed in terms of economic risks: Do anything to create jobs and interest rates will soar, runaway inflation will break out, and so on. But these risks keep not materializing. Interest rates remain near historic lows, while inflation outside the price of oil — which is determined by world markets and events, not U.S. policy — remains low.
And against these hypothetical risks one must set the reality of an economy that remains deeply depressed, at great cost both to today’s workers and to our nation’s future. After all, how can we expect to prosper two decades from now when millions of young graduates are, in effect, being denied the chance to get started on their careers?
Ask for a coherent theory behind the abandonment of the unemployed and you won’t get an answer. Instead, members of the Pain Caucus seem to be making it up as they go along, inventing ever-changing rationales for their never-changing policy prescriptions.
While the ostensible reasons for inflicting pain keep changing, however, the policy prescriptions of the Pain Caucus all have one thing in common: They protect the interests of creditors, no matter the cost. Deficit spending could put the unemployed to work — but it might hurt the interests of existing bondholders. More aggressive action by the Fed could help boost us out of this slump — in fact, even Republican economists have argued that a bit of inflation might be exactly what the doctor ordered — but deflation, not inflation, serves the interests of creditors. And, of course, there’s fierce opposition to anything smacking of debt relief.
Who are these creditors I’m talking about? Not hard-working, thrifty small business owners and workers, although it serves the interests of the big players to pretend that it’s all about protecting little guys who play by the rules. The reality is that both small businesses and workers are hurt far more by the weak economy than they would be by, say, modest inflation that helps promote recovery.
No, the only real beneficiaries of Pain Caucus policies (aside from the Chinese government) are the rentiers: bankers and wealthy individuals with lots of bonds in their portfolios.
And that explains why creditor interests bulk so large in policy; not only is this the class that makes big campaign contributions, it’s the class that has personal access to policy makers — many of whom go to work for these people when they exit government through the revolving door. The process of influence doesn’t have to involve raw corruption (although that happens, too). All it requires is the tendency to assume that what’s good for the people you hang out with, the people who seem so impressive in meetings — hey, they’re rich, they’re smart, and they have great tailors — must be good for the economy as a whole.
"But the reality is just the opposite: creditor-friendly policies are crippling the economy. This is a negative-sum game, in which the attempt to protect the rentiers from any losses is inflicting much larger losses on everyone else. And the only way to get a real recovery is to stop playing that game.

This Kind of Stuff Must Make Prince Phillip and Company Chew the Rug: Maybe They Will Choke


Scientists: 'Super' wheat to boost food security

Updated 02:48 a.m., Friday, June 10, 2011
  • FILE - In this Oct. 22, 2010, file photo a scientist holds grains of wheat from plants infected with Ug99 stem rust fungus at the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute in Njoro, Kenya, 200 kilometers (125 miles) northwest of Nairobi. Scientists working to stop the spread of virulent fungus that threatens global food supplies said Thursday, June 9, 2011 that they're close to producing new "super varieties" of wheat that will resist a virulent fungus while boosting yields up to 15 percent, potentially easing a deadly threat to the world's food supply. Photo: Khalil Senos / AP
    FILE - In this Oct. 22, 2010, file photo a scientist holds grains of wheat from plants infected with Ug99 stem rust fungus at the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute in Njoro, Kenya, 200 kilometers (125 miles) northwest of Nairobi. Scientists working to stop the spread of virulent fungus that threatens global food supplies said Thursday, June 9, 2011 that they're close to producing new "super varieties" of wheat that will resist a virulent fungus while boosting yields up to 15 percent, potentially easing a deadly threat to the world's food supply. Photo: Khalil Senos / AP

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Scientists say they're close to producing new "super varieties" of wheat that will resist a virulent fungus while boosting yields up to 15 percent, potentially easing a deadly threat to the world's food supply.
The research is part of a global drive to protect wheat crops from the Ug99 strain of stem rust. It will be presented next week at a conference in St. Paul that's part of the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative, based at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, organizers said Thursday.
Scientists will also report that Ug99 variants are becoming increasingly virulent and are being carried by the winds beyond Uganda and other East African countries where they were first identified in 1999. Once infected with the deadly fungus, wheat plants become covered in reddish-brown blisters.
According to a news release issued by the initiative ahead of the symposium, the fungus has now spread across all of eastern and southern Africa, and it might just be a matter of time before it reaches India or Pakistan, and even Australia and the Americas.
"We are facing the prospect of a biological firestorm, but it's also clear that the research community has responded to the threat at top speed, and we are getting results in the form of new varieties that are resistant to rust and appealing to farmers," Ronnie Coffman, who heads the Durable Rust Resistance in Wheat project at Cornell, said in the release.
Researchers will report at the conference that new varieties of wheat under development at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center in Mexico show resistance to all three kinds of wheat rust — stem rust including Ug99, yellow rust and leaf rust — the release said. Some of those varieties also boost yields 10 to 15 percent, it said.
But significant obstacles must be overcome before the resistant new varieties of wheat can replace the susceptible varieties that make up as much as 90 percent of the wheat now in production, the researchers acknowledged. They called for more investments by wealthy countries and international institutions to continue developing the varieties, to help them keep them effective against diseases that continue to evolve, and to develop the seed production and distribution infrastructure needed to put the new varieties in the hands of poor farmers in developing countries.
The new strains mark a huge advance, said Marty Carson, research director at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Cereal Research Laboratory at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul.
"Anytime you can talk about a 15 percent boost in yields from existing varieties, I mean that's phenomenal. And to get combined resistance to all three rusts, that's also a very big deal," said Carson, who wasn't directly involved in that research. His lab, which is heavily involved in the fight against Ug99, is hosting the conference along with the University of Minnesota.
Carson pointed out in an interview that wheat farmers in the developing world that the Mexican institute known by its Spanish acronym CIMMYT is targeting with these new varieties don't have many other options, such as fungicides, for dealing with threats such as rust. And while he was skeptical about the 15 percent claim, he said even a lower yield increase would be a major accomplishment.
The Borlaug Global Rust Initiative was launched five years ago by the late Nobel Peace Prize winner Norman Borlaug in response to the Ug99 threat. Borlaug, an alumnus of the University of Minnesota, was a leader of CIMMYT. His research sparked the "Green Revolution" of the 1960s that transformed agriculture through high-yield, disease-resistant crops and other innovations, helping to more than double world food production by 1990. He's credited with saving perhaps 1 billion people from starvation.
Ravi Singh, a wheat breeder at CIMMYT, helped lead the research on the new strains, which he'll present at the conference and publish later this year in the Annual Review of Phytopathology. He said in an interview that the new varieties were developed through conventional crossbreeding, not genetic engineering. They have been tested successfully for disease resistance in Kenya and Ethiopia, where Ug99 is endemic, as well as at the USDA lab in St. Paul.
Donor-funded CIMMYT distributes its seed for free to keep it affordable, Singh said, and the new varieties will be planted in several countries for yield trials in the coming growing season in hopes they can enter widespread use in a few years.


Read more: http://www.seattlepi.com/news/article/Scientists-Super-wheat-to-boost-food-security-1417863.php#ixzz1Os7WJ18N

Blog Archive