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For posts before June 2012, please follow these links to our archives.

What does “local” mean? And is it really better?

Robyn Metcalfe New Food Economy
To understand the complex question of whether long or short food sup­ply chains are better for us and the environment, we need to settle on a way to measure distance
We consumers think that long distance travel for food must cost more, damage the food, require chemicals to extend shelf life, and consume fossil fuels that end up polluting our environment. But is this really true?

Useful Enemies

Christopher de Bellaigue The Guardian
This book examines the influence Islam had on European political thought between the 15th to the 18th centuries, as well as the complex relations between the Ottoman Empire and emergent modern Europe during that era.

Why Scientists Want to Engineer Spicy Tomatoes

Brigit Katz Smithsonian Magazine
Tomatoes may be a source of capsaicin, a beneficial compound that gives peppers their heat
Tomatoes are closely related to peppers—the two plants diverged 19 million years ago—and so have all the genes necessary to produce capsaicinoids.

Path to Migration

Joseph Zaccardi A Wolf Stands in Water
“When a thought from the past fires the soul,” writes the poet Joseph Zaccardi of a wartime memory, “time is no more.” And yet it clings to the present.