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The Chemistry of the Beirut Tragedy

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Condoning Car Attacks on Protesters

The interesting thing about COVID19 times is that whenever I sense we have hit the lowest low, society always seems to find a level lower.  At a time when we admire the work of physicians, nurses and other folks on the front line of the pandemic, there are equal magnitudes of disappointment from some that represent a significant mindset within our nation.

Today someone I knew from high school posted this on Facebook:



A new low in counter-protest swag endorses the recent trend of using vehicular violence to quash social movements. 

Clearly the All Lives Splatter is a play off of Black Lives Matter, and the car plowing into protesters depicts the increasingly frequent use of vehicles weaponized by those aggressively opposed to the requested social change.  Since the death of George Floyd in late May, there have been 66 vehicle attacks on protesters.

The tactic typically employed by Islamic militant groups has now been adopted by those wishing to limit the American tradition of protest.  The…

The Joy of Growing Food for Others - What we can learn from a four-year-old farmer

Olivia is a tiny girl, probably somewhere between four and five, that doesn’t really walk from place to place as much as she bounces. Her hair is white-blonde from the sun, she always smiles, and she sings while she talks.
We met her at a Gainesville, Florida farmers market. My wife Natalia sells the fruits and vegetables she produces there, and Olivia and her parents are regular customers. One day last fall Olivia would fall in love with the cucamelon. Also known as the mouse melon or Mexican sour gherkin, the cucamelon is a fresh-market fruit that has the color and size that would be perfect as a watermelon for Barbie and Ken.
Cucamelons have a pickle-like quality and a hint of citrus, and they are a favorite at the market. We eat them in salads and on cheese boards, plucked by the dozens from long prolific vines. And Oliva just loves them. During the early spring Florida growing season in January and February she’d come back week after week, searching for the fruit even when they were…

Film Review: The Need to Grow

The recurring ads on Facebook pulled at me to watch The Need to Grow, a documentary film about food and farming.  As someone connected with these areas professionally and personally, I thought it would be worth a watch.  Here is a review.

First the good things.  The film is nicely shot and well written.  The majority of the work builds on themes such as nutritious diets healthy soils, and efficient energy. Those are the central underlying values of the film, and ones that I wholly endorse. 

However, where the film falls apart is in its approaches to achieve those end points.  Two of the "experts" recruited for the film are none other than Jeffrey Smith and Vandana Shiva, two people with little training in science or farming (and no, Vandana Shiva is not a physicist as the film claims). 

The narrator is actress Rosario Dawson, who early in the film makes the proclamation, "Agriculture is the most destructive human activity on the planet."

It is clear where this is going…

Science From Home 3-30 to 4-3

Hi Everybody, 

I'll keep doing the daily science story at 11AM EDT at facebook.com/kmfolta.  

This week:

Monday






Tuesday


Wednesday


Thursday



Friday


No Ventilator for You!

Today the New England Journal of Medicine predicted that we will fall woefully short of ventilators to treat COVID19 patients. Using the data from Italy and the rate of growth in the States, it is estimated that there will be need for 1.4 to 31 people per available ventilator.  Tough decisions will have to be made. 

That's why I'm starting the hash tag #NoVentilatorForYou.  And here is the first charlatan that should be denied access. They also should be arrested and jailed for life.   

On Instagram the account @mypronatural is selling concoctions with the clear implicit goal of treating SARS-COV2.  This is pure profiteering off of a crisis, lining pockets with false health claims that will endanger lives and burden the health care system. 

I motion that when we have to make decisions about who has access to the limited ventilators, the folks behind this campaign move to the back of the line. 
Do I hear a second?

At least report them on Instagram.  I did.  It did nothing. 

Let's…

Home School Video Field Trips!

With the closure of schools due to COVID19, it is an opportunity to try new experiments in education. This week I'll be featuring Facebook Live streaming video that students can join from any location.  I'll present topics in science and agriculture for 30 minutes, then stop to answer questions about the topic and about life as a scientist.  We'll also present a diversity of guests that will show their work. 

I'll gear the lessons for grades 3-6, but all ages are welcome.  I'll be glad to answer questions afterward until there are no more! 

11 AM EST at my professional Facebook page

This week:

3/23    Plants and Light





3/24    Plant Grafting:  How and Why




3/25    From Egg to Goose (we'll look at live goose eggs as they develop)




3/26    No More Oranges?   The race for a cure for the citrus disease



3/27   Crop Domestication - Where did Fruits and Veggies Come From?