Are You a ‘Wizard’ or a ‘Prophet’? The Dueling Visions for How Humanity Will Survive

By 2050, the world’s population will top ten billion people. As industrial capitalism evolves across the globe like no time in human history, will our planet’s ecosystem be able to sustain itself during this rapid transformation? This is just one of many questions that Charles C. Mann’s grapples with in The Wizard and the Prophet. Read More >>

Let’s All Be Charmed By This Chinese Man Who Makes a Living Live-Streaming Farming

So much of our extremely online lives now revolves around things like the president of the United States threatening to either nuke North Korea or show them his genitals (not sure which!) or worrying about massive security breaches. But hey, some of it also rules. Read More >>

New Study Shows What Would Happen If the Entire USA Went Vegan

If you were to ask all of your friends what an ideal society looks like, I’m sure you’d receive vastly different answers. Maybe someone will suggest a society without war where everyone works together to solve problems. Your friend who just finished an Ayn Rand book will say something stupid. And maybe your vegan friend will pipe up and suggest a society without animal agriculture. Read More >>

The US Just Greenlit the Release of Genetically Modified Moths

Diamondback moths may be a mere half-inch in length, but their voracious appetite for Brussels sprouts, kale and cauliflower make them a major pain for farmers. This week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved a potential solution: moths genetically engineered to contain a special gene that makes them gradually die off. A field trial slated to take place in a small area of upstate New York will become the first wild release of an insect modified using genetic engineering in the US. Read More >>

Synthetic Meat Spat Shows That Ethical Meat Doesn’t Mean Peaceful Meat

There are a few of generalisations we can probably make about meat. First, meat production is bad for the animal. Second, meat production is bad for the environment. Third, meat tastes good. Read More >>

This Mars-Bound Grain Processor Will Help Earthlings First

Let’s say we do somehow end up growing grains like corn or wheat on Mars. What fun would that be if we can’t puff them into curls and dust them with cheese? Read More >>

Americans Have Somehow Helped the Environment Without Even Trying

Climate change is bad, beef is bad, everything is bad, yadda yadda. But Americans ate less beef between 2005 and 2014, which kept a lot of greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere, according to a new study. Maybe cutting back on those hamburgers is actually doing something good for the environment. Read More >>

Don’t Freak Out About the New Bird Flu Outbreak (Yet)

Chicken farmers in Tennessee are about to shed a lot of blood. After noticing an unusually high death rate in a flock, some Tyson Foods-suppliers discovered that they were dealing with a new bird flu outbreak. Don’t worry too much, though: The USDA says humans should be safe. Read More >>

news reporting shitshows
You Don’t Need to Freak Out About the Olive Oil Apocalypse

Olive oil is clearly worse than butter, but the media’s got bad news for those who have made the wrong choice about which form of grease to cover their bread with. An especially crappy year of bad weather and bacteria have sent every other news outlet panicking after the prices went up, like, a little bit. Read More >>

Resistance to ‘Last Resort’ Antibiotics Being Spread to Humans by Flies

The agricultural industry has long been considered an enemy of humanity when it comes to recklessly pumping antibiotics into animals. In further evidence that this practice is fuelling a public health crisis, a new study has found a disconcerting trend at Chinese farms: flies are spreading the gene that gives bacteria resistance to our strongest antibiotics, and it’s showing up in hospitalised humans. Read More >>

Scientists Create the First Gene Edited, Tuberculosis-Resistant Cows

Gene editing research is moving quickly in China — researchers there have already edited human embryos, after all. But a team of scientists now have their sights set on the food supply. Ladies, gentlemen, etc., meet the first crop of tuberculosis resistant, genetically moo-dified cows. Read More >>

This Magical Spray Can Modify a Plant’s Genes

If you wanted to, say, turn a red pepper yellow, you have a few options. You could directly tinker with with the plant’s genetic code, tweaking the genes that control its colour. Or, perhaps, you could just mist the plant with a spray that changes its gene expression without altering its genetics. Read More >>

That ‘Fake Plastic Rice’ in Nigeria Was Actually Something Much More Depressing

The other week, Nigerian officials seized over 100 bags of what was claimed to be plastic rice. Lab tests have since shown the product isn’t fake, as we and other outlets reported. But it is badly contaminated rice that’s unsafe for human consumption. The incident is casting light on the sorry state of the economy and food production in Nigeria—along with a government that’s anxious to deflect the blame elsewhere. Read More >>

Monsanto Just Got Access to the World’s Most Powerful Gene-Editing Tool

Agriculture company Monsanto has acquired a non-exclusive global licensing agreement from MIT’s Broad Institute and Harvard to use the CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing system. The firm will use it to design and grow new seeds and plants, but there are key restrictions on its use to prevent Monsanto from abusing this revolutionary new technology. Read More >>

Where We Will Grow Food After We Scorch the Earth 

A relatively small number of crops make up a lot of the world’s diet. But, as the world gets hotter, the places that we’re able to grow these vital foods is moving. Read More >>