28 July 2010

Wednesday links: Mostly about bugs (and other stuff)

This week, we're starting with some links about the beauties of are arthropod friends:

Pam has some lovely shots of a just emerged adult cicada. The wings are so delicate, and so beautiful.

Frances does an outstanding photo essay on the beauties of spider webs. And even one (I think) exceptionally attractive spider.

Keeping with the entomological theme, I am indebted to Allen Becker for finding out about this fascinating study. The actual study is a lot of chemistry that is way over my head, but the take home message is pretty simple: air pollution, especially ozone, can destroy the fragrance of flowers. This is sad for the gardener, but very sad for pollinators like bees who use floral scents to find their food. Yet another reason to bike to work!

Moving on to less pretty matters, there is a legal battle underway in Europe over patenting of genes in broccoli and tomato. An interesting and very complex issue. If you are really into this stuff, this is a clear (if not particularly exciting) explanation of the various forms of intellectual property protection available for plant varieties -- specifically in Europe. The US patent system is a little different -- I think. I get confused about it all, which is mostly why I'm reading and linking to these things.

1 comment:

meemsnyc said...

My in-laws who are farmers, talk a lot about the craziness of Monsanto patenting seeds, and suing farmers for growing crops "illegally". "Illegal" as in the wind blows, seeds go onto farmer's property, grows, gets sued. It's crazy and wrong!