Science Breakthroughs, an Eccentric Ag Man, and Bovine Equestrians

When a new year arrives, we can hear it slouching toward us like a menacing balrog with challenges and disasters clinging to its shadowy form. Or we can anticipate its opportunities and start working on making the world (and Middle Earth) better. Science is one way to defeat the balrogs. We all know that tech and innovation can have mixed results, but sound science has led to advances in medicine, agriculture, and many other facets of life. In the first link below, a BBC article says it is a good time to reflect on some positive breakthroughs from last year. In the second article, farmer and ag specialist Blake Hurst considers the fact that the new year will bring us a new Secretary of Agriculture. And he reminds us of a “crazy, talented” secretary of the past. The final link below delves into a bit of “bovine equestrianism.”  

**  This year has seen the birth of the first three-person baby, a dangerous Zika epidemic, and a huge injustice overturned by medical science. There were also breakthroughs in a range of deadly diseases. This BBC site includes a short, informative video and a list of several science stories from the past year–and many advances that give people hope.

Hannah Simpson and her jumping cow.

   **  According to Blake Hurst, the most interesting Secretary of Agriculture was Henry Wallace, who was not only a talented agriculture leader, but he was possibly the craziest. He was also Secretary of Commerce, Vice President of the U.S., and a failed candidate for President. Oh yes, he also said he was a reincarnated Iroquois warrior, a dabbler in “creative” religions, and an admirer of the Soviet Union in pre-WWII days.

**  Problem Solving–This New Zealand girl didn’t have a horse so she taught her cow to jump instead. As the video at the bottom of the article shows, they probably aren’t ready to enter Olympic dressage competitions, but the young Kiwi certainly seems adept at riding the bovine without a saddle.

by dan gogerty (photo from 

Help Support CAST

Your donation to CAST helps support the CAST mission of communicating science to meet the challenge of producing enough food, fiber and fuel for a growing population. Every gift, no matter the size, is appreciated.