Wheat genome’s key parts unlocked in new study

Scientists have unlocked key parts of the complex genetic code of wheat, one of the world’s most important crops, which could help improve food security. The team hopes the data will accelerate the development of varieties more resilient to stresses, such as disease and drought, that cause crops to fail. The 2012 wheat harvest was hit by extreme weather events… Read more →

Obama Said to Reject Request to Ease Corn-Based Ethanol Law

President Barack Obama’s administration rejected a request from the governors of eight U.S. states to waive requirements for blending corn-based ethanol into gasoline, said a person familiar with the decision. Market conditions don’t justify such a move, said the person, who declined to be identified because he isn’t authorized to speak for the Environmental Protection Agency. Gasoline refiners will be required… Read more →

UK experiences ‘weirdest’ weather on record

The UK has just experienced its “weirdest” weather on record, scientists have confirmed. The driest spring for over a century gave way to the wettest recorded April to June in a dramatic turnaround never documented before. The scientists said there was no evidence of a link to manmade climate change. But they say we must now plan for periodic swings… Read more →

Drought area expands in northern U.S., eases in south

(Reuters) – The worst drought to hit the United States in a half century expanded in the upper Midwest and northern Plains states in the past week due to warmer- and drier-than-normal weather, but loosened its grip on some central and southern areas of the country. Nearly 65 percent of the contiguous United States were under at least “moderate” drought… Read more →

Rare ‘fire devil’ caught on film

Nature’s not much for subtlety. Just ask Chris Tangey, who watched in awe as a 100-foot-high whirlwind of fire tore around a patch of Australian outback Tuesday Sept. 11. Tangey, a filmmaker, managed to capture some very rare footage of the startling phenomenon while out scouting locations near Alice Springs, Australia, according to The Australian. One term for the event he recorded,… Read more →

End the Ethanol Mandate

Record-high corn prices should be sending a clear message to policy makers in Washington: Requiring people to put corn-based fuel in their gas tanks is a bad idea. Since 2005, the U.S. government has mandated that gasoline contain ethanol, almost all of it derived from corn. The policy, ostensibly aimed at reducing the country’s dependence on foreign oil and at improving… Read more →