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The Turbo-Charged Plants That Could Boost Farm Output

BBC | Agriculture

The Turbo-Charged Plants That Could Boost Farm Output

“Prof Long and his team have used powerful computers to build a digital twin of the photosynthesis process. It can tweak that process in millions of ways. From those millions of options the software can identify those that will make the biggest improvements.

“We then engineered these into crops, and if that results in an improvement in the glasshouse, then we take it to our experimental farm and test it in a real-world environment,” says Prof Long.

That’s already had promising results. Changes to the mechanism of photosynthesis in soybean plants have resulted in yield improvements of more than 20% in controlled environments, with field trials now underway.”

from BBC.

Wall Street Journal | Conservation & Biodiversity

Florida’s Coral Reef Supports Fishing, Tourism, and Beaches

“Scientists like Enochs are working overtime to engineer more climate-resistant corals. They are creating booster shots to keep them alive, deploying in vitro fertilization to make larvae grow faster, and importing coral species from around the Caribbean to breed with those in Florida.”

From Wall Street Journal.

Science | Agriculture

Fern Protein Discovery Could Usher in Potent New Insecticides

“The pretty ferns that adorn windowsills and gardens have some surprising powers. Biologists have long known that this ancient group of plants wards off hungry insects better than other flora, and now they’re homing in on why. They’ve discovered fern proteins that kill and deter pests, including, most recently, one that shows promise against bugs resistant to widely used natural pesticides.”

From Science.

Bloomberg | Food Production

US Corn Farmers Defy Summer Heat to Grow Record Crop

“So much for the summer of drought and extreme heat in the US that triggered early fears about crop damage. On Thursday, the Department of Agriculture made it official: This year’s corn harvest was the biggest ever.

The most widely grown US crop will total 15.234 billion bushels, the USDA said in its latest set of monthly estimates, surpassing the previous peak of 15.148 billion set in 2016.”

From Bloomberg.

Blog Post | Cost of Living

Thanksgiving Will Be 13 Percent More Abundant This Year

Professor Jeremy Horpedahl has provided updated numbers on the percentage changes in four products essential to enjoying our Thanksgiving holiday. Remember, it’s not how expensive things are but how affordable they are that counts. To measure affordability, we must compare prices to wages. This is what time prices do for us. A time price is simply the nominal money price divided by nominal hourly income. Since last year, the nominal money prices of our four essential items have decreased from 0.8 percent to 13 percent, while nominal hourly income has increased by 4.4 percent. That means that personal abundance has increased by between 5.2 percent and 20 percent.

Dividing the percentage change in the nominal money prices by the percentage change in nominal wages reveals the percentage change in the time price. Personal abundance is how much more you now enjoy for the same amount of time relative to last year. We get 13 percent more Thanksgiving this year for the same amount of time it took last year.

Sources: “Cost of Thanksgiving Dinner Down Slightly from Record High in 2022,” news release, American Farm Bureau Federation, November 15, 2023; U.S. Energy Information Administration, “US Regular All Formulations Gas Price,” FRED Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, updated November 13, 2023; Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers: Airline Fares in US City Average,” FRED Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, updated November 14, 2023; Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Average Price: Wine, Red and White Table, All Sizes, Any Origin (Cost per 1 Liter/33.8 Ounces) in US City Average,” FRED Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, updated November 14, 2023; and Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Average Hourly Earnings of Production and Nonsupervisory Employees, Total Private,” FRED Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, updated November 3, 2023.

We describe the process of transforming scarcities into abundances in our book, Superabundance, available at Amazon. Jordan Peterson calls it a “profoundly optimistic book.” There has never been a better time to create more life.