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<nettime> Space is the Place
Soenke Zehle on Thu, 29 May 2003 14:29:41 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> Space is the Place


Sandra Braman refers to biotech as a 'metatechnology' because it links,
among other areas, agriculture and (national) security
(<http://www.uwm.edu/~braman/singh2001.html>. Here's a beautiful example,
coming at a time when a) the US is attempting to subject the European
anti-GPS Galileo project to the imperatives of its own foreign policy, as
well as b) a US-led anti-EU challenge at the WTO challenges the EU
moratorium on GMOs (weakened by Egypt, btw - the only African country the US
was able to cajole into supporting its case just jumped ship).

It would require a bit more conspiracy-theoretical inspiration than I can
muster to suggest that EU organics will in the future depend on
certification by the US military. But I would not be suprised if the
technical capacity for space-based gmo-pollution monitoring were to appear
in upcoming international negotiations on biosafety, or if insurance
companies (which won't even touch the issue of genetic pollution) became
interested in it.

Soenke

Jerrett, Greg "Satellites to monitor corn pollination." Daily Nonpareil, USA
(20 May 2003).
<http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=8066905&BRD=2554&PAG=461&dept_id=
507134&rfi=6> (via genet-news mailing list)

Satellites to monitor corn pollination

AMES - The down-to-earth occupation of farming is about to get a boost
from scientific research that is out of this world.

With the help of a $30,000 grant from NASA through the Iowa Space Grant
Consortium, Iowa State University associate professor of agronomy Mark
Westgate is working on a project to use satellite images to document when
corn tassels emerge in a cornfield.

If it works, farmers and researchers in Iowa as well as the world will
have a very accurate resource to help them pinpoint the exact moments
when corn begins to shed its pollen, the pattern in which fields become
pollinated and if cross pollination occurs between varieties.

Because pollen is spread easily, knowing the time of pollination can help
researchers contain genetically-modified corn pollen to certain fields.

"We're testing whether NASA's satellites can help us manage corn
pollination by telling us when the corn plants start to shed pollen,"
Westgate said. "Once we have that information for a specific field, we
have tools to predict how much pollen is produced, where the pollen goes
and the probability of our genetically-modified field pollinating a
traditional field nearby."

Satellite pictures pick up reflections of light coming from the top of
cornfields. These pictures show researchers when corn tassels emerge.

Tests on the satellite angle and position are being conducted to help
Westgate determine which combination of light wavelengths the satellites
need to measure and when to measure them. A second set of tests will be
conducted this summer with the help of the Iowa Civil Air Patrol.

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