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aries1988 : agriculture   19

The Perfect Storm Confronting Xi Jinping

China, however, has been a net food importer since at least 2007. This includes both grains and soybeans, central pillars of the Chinese diet. This is partly due to the growing need for animal feed, as China’s livestock production has expanded to meet increasing demands from a wealthier population.

“Experts report that there is a high probability that the pest will spread across all of China’s grain production area within the next 12 months.” There is no natural predator in China that feeds on the fall armyworm, nor are there any registered pesticides in China to counter it.
agriculture  2019  disaster  opinion 
9 weeks ago by aries1988
Laisky's Blog

非常不错的科普读物,通过对大量历史事件和研究的对比分析,介绍了纵跨整个人类文明史的农耕演进, 并且对当前的农业现状和前景发出了警示,值得一读。

苏美尔农业面临的关键问题,是河流丰水期与作物生长期不重合。在春季,来自北部山川的融雪汇入底格里斯河和幼发拉底河,使其进入丰水期;而河流流量最低的夏末初秋,却正值作物需水量最大的时候。集约农业需要通过蓄水以应对夏季飙升的气温。高温使大量灌溉入田的水还未来得及被作物吸收就已蒸发,而这又使更多的盐分在土壤中累积。
agriculture  farming  history  china  explained  nature  degredation  soil 
march 2019 by aries1988
季风亚洲 - 维基百科,自由的百科全书
季风亚洲(Monsoon Asia)是受季风影响的亚洲地区。其界线西起塔尔沙漠东缘,向东经喜玛拉雅山脉、青藏高原东缘、大兴安岭一线。此线以东的地区在夏天受海洋暖湿空气影响,获得降水。冬季受蒙古高气压影响变得干燥。这是也解释了为什么在同纬度的中东地区、非洲和中美洲一片荒芜,但东亚地区却草木繁茂。季风亚洲鲜有冬季强降水纪录,如2004年十二月台湾豪雨、2013年十二月海南岛暴雨等。

由于季风不稳定,季风的时间与含水多寡对本地区的农业生产至关重要。由于季风具有雨热同期的特点,该地区水热条件配合良好,因此水稻可在该地区大面积种植,且种植北界接近黑龙江,是世界上水稻可种植纬度最高的地区。[1]
agriculture  climate  china  asia 
july 2018 by aries1988
All by Itself, the Humble Sweet Potato Colonized the World
Many botanists argued that humans must have carried the valuable staple to the Pacific from South America. Not so, according to a new study.
agriculture  story  biology  americas  pacific  ocean 
april 2018 by aries1988
The Case Against Civilization
We don’t give the technology of fire enough credit, Scott suggests, because we don’t give our ancestors much credit for their ingenuity over the long period—ninety-five per cent of human history—during which most of our species were hunter-gatherers.

To demonstrate the significance of fire, he points to what we’ve found in certain caves in southern Africa. The earliest, oldest strata of the caves contain whole skeletons of carnivores and many chewed-up bone fragments of the things they were eating, including us. Then comes the layer from when we discovered fire, and ownership of the caves switches: the human skeletons are whole, and the carnivores are bone fragments. Fire is the difference between eating lunch and being lunch.

Anatomically modern humans have been around for roughly two hundred thousand years. For most of that time, we lived as hunter-gatherers. Then, about twelve thousand years ago, came what is generally agreed to be the definitive before-and-after moment in our ascent to planetary dominance: the Neolithic Revolution. This was our adoption of, to use Scott’s word, a “package” of agricultural innovations, notably the domestication of animals such as the cow and the pig, and the transition from hunting and gathering to planting and cultivating crops.

His best-known book, “Seeing Like a State,” has become a touchstone for political scientists, and amounts to a blistering critique of central planning and “high modernism,” the idea that officials at the center of a state know better than the people they are governing. Scott argues that a state’s interests and the interests of subjects are often not just different but opposite.

The big news to emerge from recent archeological research concerns the time lag between “sedentism,” or living in settled communities, and the adoption of agriculture.

The evidence shows that this isn’t true: there’s an enormous gap—four thousand years—separating the “two key domestications,” of animals and cereals, from the first agrarian economies based on them.

It was the ability to tax and to extract a surplus from the produce of agriculture that, in Scott’s account, led to the birth of the state, and also to the creation of complex societies with hierarchies, division of labor, specialist jobs (soldier, priest, servant, administrator), and an élite presiding over them.

The web of food sources that the hunting-and-gathering Ju/’hoansi use is, exactly as Scott argues for Neolithic people, a complex one, with a wide range of animal protein, including porcupines, kudu, wildebeests, and elephants, and a hundred and twenty-five edible plant species, with different seasonal cycles, ecological niches, and responses to weather fluctuations.

The secret ingredient seems to be the positive harnessing of the general human impulse to envy.
history  culture  agriculture  debate  human  choice  farming  animal  book  opinion 
april 2018 by aries1988
Why did we start farming?
What if the origin of farming wasn’t a moment of liberation but of entrapment? Scott offers an alternative to the conventional narrative that is altogether more fascinating, not least in the way it omits any self-congratulation about human achievement.

The perfectly formed city-state is the ideal, deeply ingrained in the Western psyche, on which our notion of the nation-state is founded, ultimately inspiring Donald Trump’s notion of a ‘city’ wall to keep out the barbarian Mexican horde, and Brexiters’ desire to ‘take back control’ from insurgent European bureaucrats.
CPR 都市帝国 宫崎市定

His account of the deep past doesn’t purport to be definitive, but it is surely more accurate than the one we’re used to, and it implicitly exposes the flaws in contemporary political ideas that ultimately rest on a narrative of human progress and on the ideal of the city/nation-state.

domesticated goats had begun to eat up the local vegetation – the first step to today’s barren landscape.

although farming would have significantly increased mortality rates in both infants and adults, sedentism would have increased fertility. Mobile hunter-gatherers were effectively limited by the demands of travel to having one child every four years. An increase in fertility that just about outpaced the increase in mortality would account for the slow, steady increase in population in the villages.

Collapse could mean nothing more than the abandonment of the centre and the redistribution of the population into independent settlements, to be followed by the next cycle of annexation.

According to Scott, the period of early states was the Golden Age for the barbarians.
book  agriculture  human  debate  evolution  question  civ  idea  invention  destiny  whatif  history  origin  state  read  instapaper_favs 
february 2018 by aries1988
D.I.Y. Artificial Intelligence Comes to a Japanese Family Farm
The Koikes have been growing cucumbers in Kosai, a town wedged between the Pacific Ocean and the brackish Lake Hamana, for nearly fifty years.

For his project, he used TensorFlow, which Google released to the public in 2015.

He began by building a custom photo stand, which allowed him to photograph each cucumber from three angles. Then, to analyze the images, he adapted a popular piece of TensorFlow software used for recognizing handwritten numerals. Before he could turn the A.I. loose, though, Koike had to train it. He captured seven thousand photos of cucumbers that his mother had already sorted, then used the data to teach his software to recognize which vegetables belonged in which categories. Finally, he built an automated conveyor-belt system to move each cucumber from the photo stand to the bin designated by the program.
agriculture  ai  business  city  countryside  engineering  example  family  japanese  story 
august 2017 by aries1988
Industrial Revolution Comparisons Aren't Comforting

The early to mid-19th century saw the rise of socialist ideologies, largely as a response to economic disruptions. Whatever mistakes Karl Marx made, he was a keen observer of the Industrial Revolution, and there is a reason he became so influential. He failed to see the long-run ability of capitalism to raise living standards significantly, but he understood and vividly described the transition costs and the economic volatility.

along the way the intellectual currents of the 19th century produced a lot of overreaction in other, more destructive directions. The ideas of Marx fed into the movements behind the Soviet Union, Communist China and the Khmer Rouge. Arguably, fascist doctrine also was in part a response to the disruptions of industrialization in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

an estimated 38 percent of the EU budget will be going to farm subsidies. Farms as a share of total employment are quite small (about 2 percent), but farmers as an interest group have not gone away, even hundreds of years after agricultural employment started to decline.
opinion  automation  revolution  industry  future  crisis  job  workforce  comparison  history  money  agriculture  economy 
february 2017 by aries1988
常春藤名校毕业的她,做了中国第一台智能种菜机 --陆家嘴金融网
“友菜”是一台智能种菜机,机器使用的是智能光源,不受天气限制,配备自动灌溉及控温系统,同时硬件联网,云端实时监控。
entrepreneurial  food  china  youth  agriculture  idea  customer 
january 2017 by aries1988
So Much Land, Too Few Russians - The New York Times
Russia urgently needs Chinese investments. In return, in the Far East’s southeast corner, China has made Russian land along the Amur River border a virtual colony, having secured the right for Chinese people to work there. In the last decade, huge tracts have been leased to China at rock- bottom prices. Nearly two million acres with gigantic pig farms and fields of soybean and corn are being worked by Chinese agribusinesses. Most recently, Moscow leased out about 300,000 acres in the Trans-Baikal region for 49 years. The price: $2 an acre and $368 million in promised investments.

Once a booming frontier town, it now resembles a typical 1970s-era Soviet city — drab, dilapidated, economically depressed. Its population is 216,000. Just across the river is the bustling Chinese city of Heihe, with gleaming new high-rises and a population nearly eight times that of Blagoveshchensk.
russia  comparison  china  siberia  manchuria  immigration  work  agriculture  2016 
september 2016 by aries1988
Empire of the pig | The Economist
The Communist Party prizes self-sufficiency in food. Most of the pigs China eats are indeed home-grown. But each kilogram of pork requires 6kg of feed, usually processed soy or corn. Given the scarcity of water and land in China, it cannot feed its pigs as well as its people. The upshot is that Chinese swine, which previously ate household scraps, increasingly rely on imported feed.

A few in China—a very few—are beginning to question the benefits of eating more and more pork. Meat consumption is beginning to plateau among the very rich; health scares have boosted sales of organic food, though it still accounts for a tiny share of agricultural production. Vegetarianism is growing, but is generally thought eccentric. The ambition of most Chinese continues to be to devour as large a slice of the pork pie as possible. In much of the rich world meat consumption is stable or falling but in the Middle Kingdom it soars unrestrained. Forget the zodiac: in today’s China, every year is the year of the pig.
agriculture  china  environment  food  porc 
may 2016 by aries1988
Postcard from ... France - FT.com
Former president Jacques Chirac was a natural at the Salon, quaffing a beer with farmers before tucking into his favourite tête de veau. Nicolas Sarkozy fared less well: when a member of the public refused to shake his hand the then president started swearing at him, an incident that went viral online and was never forgotten by the electorate.

While adults seem most interested in learning how beer is brewed and tasting organic dishes, the children flock to workshops ranging from baking lessons and animal drawing to classes that gently explain how pigs end up as sausages.

There is more than just animals and food here. Wandering from pavilion to pavilion at last year’s event, I meet companies selling holidays riding horses across the Camargue or staying in shepherds’ huts in the Pyrenees. Knife-makers from Laguiole lay out a frightening array of gleaming blades, while sheep’s wool from the Alps is woven into kitsch knitwear. And then there are the hundreds of restaurants and stalls offering foie gras from the Gers, ham that has been cured in the mountains of the Auvergne, tangy Etorki cheese from the Basque region, and oysters harvested in the Bay of Arcachon.
france  agriculture  travel 
february 2016 by aries1988
What It's Like to Fly Into a Thunderstorm
WMI planes are equipped with silver iodide burners on both wings, each capable of running for about two to two and a half hours. Silver iodide flares sit in racks under the wings. Upon release, they last anywhere from around 30 seconds to two minutes and deliver a concentrated dose to the would-be ice particles. When suppressing hail, the goal for pilots is to release the silver iodide directly into the storm’s updraft, which is the vertically-oriented region of warm moist air rising up off the ground that fuels thunderstorms. Hail forms when cloud droplets get shot up the updraft of a storm into the taller parts of the cloud and freeze. The stronger the updraft, the longer the hailstone can stay suspended in the storm, the more liquid water it can freeze onto its surface, the bigger the hailstone can become.
weather  engineering  plane  agriculture  usa 
november 2015 by aries1988
Japan: End of the rice age - FT.com
Japan’s rice crisis starts with its older, smaller stomachs. As the population ages, appetites are shrinking. Diets among younger Japanese favour wheat and the country is eating about 20 per cent less rice than it did two decades ago.

Other sources of demand are also vanishing: Japan drinks about a third as much (rice-based) sake as it did in 1970 and consumption of fish — the traditional accompaniment to rice — is down 30 per cent since 2005.

If the pinnacle of rice consumption is Zojirushi’s latest rice cooker, the secret of much of Japan’s rice production is another intricate feat of engineering — the Yanmar RG8, a riding automated rice planter. It is this machine, along with its various predecessors and rival products, that has arguably done more than anything else to transform Japanese rice farming, narrow the urban-rural divide and help maintain the vast membership base of the JA-Zenchu union of agricultural co-operatives
reportage  business  rice  agriculture  japan 
september 2015 by aries1988
Wheat People vs. Rice People
In America, we say that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. In Japan, people say that the nail that stands up gets hammered down.

For example, Americans are more likely to ignore the context, and Asians to attend to it.
In May, the journal Science published a study, led by a young University of Virginia psychologist, Thomas Talhelm, that ascribed these different orientations to the social worlds created by wheat farming and rice farming. Rice is a finicky crop. Because rice paddies need standing water, they require complex irrigation systems that have to be built and drained each year. One farmer’s water use affects his neighbor’s yield. A community of rice farmers needs to work together in tightly integrated ways.

Not wheat farmers. Wheat needs only rainfall, not irrigation. To plant and harvest it takes half as much work as rice does, and substantially less coordination and cooperation. And historically, Europeans have been wheat farmers and Asians have grown rice.

The authors of the study in Science argue that over thousands of years, rice- and wheat-growing societies developed distinctive cultures: “You do not need to farm rice yourself to inherit rice culture.”

As we enter a season in which the values of do-it-yourself individualism are likely to dominate our Congress, it is worth remembering that this way of thinking might just be the product of the way our forefathers grew their food and not a fundamental truth about the way that all humans flourish.
fun  agriculture  character  society  food  determinism  geography  asia  europe  comparison  china 
december 2014 by aries1988
一个日本左翼的萝卜革命 ~ 南方人物周刊 南方人物周刊
这场运动终于让藤田和芳开始反思:不切实际的思想和主义,在强大的国家机器面前其实无能无力。更何况,领导运动的学生,自己仍处于对未来迷茫的阶段,想要改变世界毫无可能。与中国的文化革命一样,日本学生的运动最终转变为不同派系间的内讧。它们有些以失败收场,有些则以流血作为终结。
1960年代,时任日本首相池田勇人启动了“国民收入成倍增长计划”,战败后的日本因此在1970年代步入经济高速发展时期,举国上下迎来“如过节般的浮华时代”。工厂烟囱肆无忌惮喷着浓烟,农村也在经历着以广泛使用农药、化肥所带来的“效率革命”——“落后于时代”的传统种植模式被抛弃。
agriculture  japan  china 
august 2013 by aries1988
开卷八分钟:黄宗智《中国的隐性农业革命》(一)_读书频道_凤凰网
他说农业发展的关键在于农业的劳动力的产出,或者产值的提高,你别说你这块地过去要十个人来种才能够种出这么一个量,今天我五个人种,甚至一个人种就行了,那不是生产力提高了吗,那么产值就提高了吗,那么这才叫做真正的发展,那么但是他认为中国,明朝、清朝以来一直经历的情况却是什么呢?总产量提高,但是实际上没有发展

中国是怎么回事?中国是没错你做经济作物了,做经济作物你投入劳动力增加,但总产值没增加,这里的秘密到底在什么地方呢?简单,就是因为人口压力太大,中国人太多了,这个中国人口压力大成这个样子,乃至于就是中国其实一直以来要解决的问题就是这么多的过剩的劳动力该怎么安顿他们,怎么安置这帮人才好呢?他们于是就变得是更密集的来耕作,开发土地,那么非常密集的聚在小地方,绝对不可能像英国的那种大庄园,或者美国的集体大农场,美国的那种集体大农场要是搬到中国来,我们有几亿人大概活不下去,都不晓得该干什么了,对不对?没地可种了,所以中国一直是个小农经济。

那这个小农经济它普遍的状况是什么呢?就是长期的稳定的贫穷,也就是说你饿一时半两还饿不死你,但是要吃得饱恐怕也很困难,按照黄宗智的讲法就是从明朝以来,一直到近代中国一直都是处在这个状态
china  countryside  agriculture  opinion  video 
january 2013 by aries1988

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