What we're reading this week

Jan 21, 2016 8:30:00 AM

Chickens Weren’t Always Dinner for Humans

New York Times


Today, chickens are just behind pigs and poised to overtake them as the most common source of animal protein in the world. But before the raising of chickens became industrial, they were far less important to humandiets, and for thousands of years, their primary role seems to have been in cockfighting or various rituals. Estimates of the time of their domestication are from 7,000 to 10,000 years ago, but a recent report from an archaeological dig in Israel concluded that they were first eaten in significant numbers about 2,200 years ago.




The USDA Needs The Help Of Farmers To Save The Noble Monarch Butterfly

Modern Farmer


Monarch populations have dropped disastrously in the past few decades. The USDA is dedicating millions of dollars to making sure the butterflies have a place to feed and breed when they make their way up to the U.S. next year.  Read more >>



As Bees Die Off, the EPA Shuffles its Feet

Civil Eats


The agency says tiny amounts of “neonics” can harm bees and beekeepers file suit over treated seeds.  Read more >>



Bill proposes pesticide-free marijuana labeling program in Colorado

The Denver Post


HB16-1079 would require the Colorado Department of Agriculture to devise a program in which independent companies would certify which cannabis is pesticide-free, and it would require special labeling consumers can see. Read more >>



In Rural India, Solar-Powered Microgrids Show Mixed Success

Environment 360


As India looks to bring electricity to the quarter of its population still without it, nonprofit groups are increasingly turning to solar microgrids to provide power to the nation’s villages. But the initiatives so far have faced major challenges. Read more >>



Geneticists Figured Out How Animals Get Their White Spots



By tracking the DNA tweaks that give rise to the blotchy patches of white that adorn piebald (or pinto) horses, dogs and other animals, scientists created models to explain the spots, reports Ian Sample for The Guardian. The work could help researchers understand other conditions that cause disease in humans. Read more >>



In California, A Treasure Hunt For Gold Rush-Era Fruit And Nut Trees



In California's Nevada County, an unusual explorer with an unusual name — Amigo Bob Cantisano — hunts for remnants of the Gold Rush, just not the kind you might expect.The treasures Cantisano seeks are trees: the fruits and nuts planted at homesteads and stagecoach stops in the late 1800s. Despite decades of neglect, many are still highly productive and could prove valuable at a time when California faces drought and the effects of climate change.  Read more >>