Category Archives: Agriculture

Heard It Through the Grapevine: More Scientific Infrastructure Problems

Our usual plaint about the state of research infrastructure: One of the ridiculous things about many depictions of science in TV and movies is the notion that there’s this huge infrastructure: shiny labs (which are always neat and spacious), high-tech … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Booze, Funding, Plants

New Chicken Microbial Survey Reveals Very Little That’s New

Before I get into the meat of the post (SEE WHAT I DID THERE?), let me state for the record that I think the U.S. needs to do much more in terms of limiting antibiotic use in agriculture, especially since … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Antibiotics, Food, KPC, Public Health | 2 Comments

Democrats Finally Understand the Power of the Agriculture Bill

Four years ago, I noted that many conservatives can be ‘got’ by holding the agricultural bill hostage (though this probably doesn’t apply to the completely batshitloonitarian wing). Despite what popular press accounts claim, Democrats can find leverage to use against … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Democrats

The Price of Pork and the Externalities of Antibiotic Resistance

If you haven’t read Maryn McKenna’s excellent piece on antibiotic resistance, you should. Before I get to a point about agriculture, I just want to point out this bit from McKenna’s article: At UCLA, Spellberg treated a woman with what … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Antibiotics, E. coli, Economics, KPC | 10 Comments

Our Ignorance of the Link Between Antibiotic Resistance and Agricultural Use Is No Accident

http://www.bmj.com/content/347/bmj.f4214 We come across two posts and an online forum hosted by the British Medical Journal about whether agricultural antibiotic use results in the evolution and spread of antibiotic resistance. A common theme that emerges is that the scientific evidence … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Antibiotics | 3 Comments

Misunderstanding NARMS and Missing the Solution: How Not to Do Antibiotic-Related Advocacy

During the past month, the Environmental Working Group (‘EWG’) released a report (pdf) about 2011 Retail Meat Annual Report of the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (‘NARMS’; pdf). In short, EWG mistated the problem, demonstrated some astonishing ignorance (or cynicism), … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Antibiotics

Reconsidering the Easter Island Collapse (and the Irony of Jared Diamond’s Interpretation of It)

Barbara King recently asked “Why Does Jared Diamond Make Anthropologists So Mad?” It’s not my place to speak for anthropologists (I’m not Mike the Mad Anthropologist), but I do know what has made me very skeptical of Diamond’s claims: his … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Easter Island, Ecology, Environment | 3 Comments

Republicans Inexplicably Kill the Ag Bill

What the Republicans are doing, only much, much cuter (from here) A while ago, I argued that the Northeastern Congressional delegation should play hardball with the agriculture bill to make sure that we get some of what we need too. … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Conservatives, Fucking Morons

Northeastern Congresscritters Have an Opportunity. Will They Seize It?

We read in the NY Times (boldface mine): The impact of the hot and dry weather on the nation’s farmers has put new pressure on Congress to move ahead on a pending five-year farm bill. But House Republican leaders have … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Democrats, Get a Pair, Will Ya?, Transportation

So How Will the Ag Lobby Explain This?

A brand spanking new paper in mBio describes how a clone of MRSA (the bacterium methicillin rensitive Staphylococcus aureus), known as ST398, long-associated with agriculture including pigs gained its methicillin and tetracylcine resistance. Surprise! It happened in the agricultural setting. … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Antibiotics, Evolution, Microbiology, MRSA | 4 Comments