Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Purely personally partisan: I find DSU in the darndest places....

If you are a regular reader, you know that I am--besides being a Libertarian and historian--something of a science geek.

Last weekend, passing through the Phoenix AZ airport (the nation's "Friendliest airport" if you didn't know), I picked up the latest copy of Scientific American because I want to read the article on the direct of time's arrow (why do we perceive time as only moving forward, when in all equations it seems to work perfectly well either forward or backward). Actually, I wanted to read the summary, so that I could determine whether or not I'd actually be able to comprehend the article.

I'm still working on it.

But I always start with all the short (easily understandable) articles in the front of the magazine.

It was there that I found this:

In the heart of the Amazon River basin 1,500 years ago, tribes mixed soil with charcoal derived from animal bone and tree bark to boost their crop yields. Now scientists conclude that such burned, dead matter fertilizes better than compost and animal manure, helping to transform the soil into the richest earth in the world. The "biochar" also profoundly enhances soil's natural ability to seize carbon, thereby trapping greenhouse gases. Delaware State University researchers presented their findings April 10 at a national meeting of the American Chemical Society.

No matter where you go, there you are.

Congratulations to Professor Mingxin Guo and his colleagues. You can read more about this here.

Maybe next time we'll get your name in the magazine, too.

1 comment:

Brian said...

Biochar is the common form of slash and burn agricultural found throughout the south pacific, and Native America. It is a fantastic way to fertilize, and you find it still in use across area of polynesia to make portions of the region fertile. It is good to know we still have people working on scietific inquiry in Delaware, and agronomy especially! We need it.