Monday, April 18, 2016

"Human Geography: Chapter Eleven"

Conner Lewis

       CRISPR’s use is fundamentally changing how scientists approach genetic engineering. Instead of introducing genes, CRISPR allows scientists to dream up new ways of modifying the genome without the help of foreign genes. - Quartz

         Genetic engineers and corporations wanted a way to sidestep FDA regulations on GMOs which use DNA from organisms such as bacteria but this was the only way they knew how to introduce new genes into an organism so scientist Yinong Yang used a method (CRISPR) to modify rather than add new genes to a GMO, then they were able to get these foods past the FDA without being checked or regulated.

Before the introduction of commercial agriculture and plantations, most of the people in eastern Africa lived as subsistence farmers, like much of the rest of the periphery, however with the introduction of plantations areas near the Horn of Africa, and especially Ethiopia, where tribes such as those living on the Lower Omo River Valley, nearly all subsistence farmers are forced off of their land and have to either farm poor infertile soil or more likely work for poor wages on plantations owned by corporations in core countries.


Video/Slide 21:

Movie Paragraph:
          King Corn:
          In the movie King Corn, two friends, Ian Cheney and Curtis Ellis, set out and buy one acre of land in Greene, Iowa in order to grow corn after learning how much of their daily intake is corn, even without them knowing it, as seen by the fact that most of their hair is made of corn. They go to examine the process of growing corn, and tracking where the corn goes after it is grown. They examine how corn is stored, the forms of technology used to grow it, from massive tractors to the genetic engineering of corn from a wild grass to the overgrown plant it is now, and how the government subsidizes corn so that its mass production can remain profitable for farmers, as the government policy is to grow as much crown as possible. It tracks how most corn is used as feed for livestock, rather than humans, because corn coming straight from the crop is tasteless, and unappealing to humans. It also examines how corn finds it way into much of our food and drinks in the form of high-fructose corn syrup, which is used to add sweetness to everything from food to drinks such as Coca Cola. This movie relates to agriculture, obviously, as it examines the process of growing food as well as how this food finds its way from the farm to our tables. It examines how food is used for other purposes other than feeding humans, and how even good food can be fed to livestock rather than humans due to the desire to have large amounts of meat in our culture.


Van Thunens Model is a model which displays how different crops and forms of agriculture are used based not on visible changes in climate, soil, or terrain, but rather on the position that land holds in relation to the nearest city. In the center is the city, surrounded by market gardening and dairying, followed by a region of forest. This is then followed by mass production fields making goods such as grain, which is followed by ranching and livestock on the outermost ring. After this is wilderness, or so Van Thunen thought, as after this he found it was too far from the nearest city to be profitable. He attempted to use this model to explain why agriculture occurs where it does relative to cities despite having similar natural conditions around it.

Extra Credit:

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