Why is our ecosystem (PR's), so important and its endangered by our own farmers
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The future of our food system depends on healthy soils--and policies that support soil stewardship | Switchboard, from NRDC

The future of our food system depends on healthy soils--and policies that support soil stewardship | Switchboard, from NRDC | Why is our ecosystem (PR's), so important and its endangered by our own farmers | Scoop.it

Healthy soils are the foundation of a healthy food system. These soils teem with life: earthworms create water channels as the burrow through the soil, allowing rain to soak in; residues from previous crops help soil retain moisture, suppress weeds, and prevent erosion and runoff; microorganisms help filter contaminates and form the glue that helps keep soil intact; and cover crops—second crops planted to protect and improve soil health during the off-season—deliver natural fertilizer to the soil, prevent erosion, increase biodiversity, and improve water filtration as their roots create pores in the soil. Together, all of this works to create healthier crops.

 

Healthy soils also help farmers become more resilient to extreme weather. When farming practices degrade soil health, farmers often turn to chemically-intensive inputs like pesticides, artificial fertilizers, and increased irrigation to replace the weed-suppressing, nutrient-providing, and moisture maintaining qualities healthy soil naturally provides. This can lead to damaging health and environmental outcomes.

 

Unfortunately, too much of our valuable soil has become degraded and therefore more vulnerable to extreme weather like droughts and floods. A major wakeup hit in 2012 when record droughts plagued farmers in regions like the Upper Midwest and Great Plains—places we count on for so much of our agricultural production:

 

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Via Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc
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10 new species of freshwater earthworms discovered

10 new species of freshwater earthworms discovered | Why is our ecosystem (PR's), so important and its endangered by our own farmers | Scoop.it
Scientists have discovered an astonishing 10 new species of semi-aquatic freshwater earthworms in river systems in Thailand. According to a report published

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Cullen Dunn's curator insight, September 24, 2013 5:09 PM

this is an extremly new speices of earthworm found in freshwater

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How Microsoft invented, or invisibly runs, almost everything | NetworkWorld.com

inShareWell, it seems as if Microsoft is being credited with inventing almost everything.

 

We'll start with the post by TechRadar defending Microsoft and crediting the company with inventing practically everything, including the wheel - the mouse wheel. The did-you-know flavored list begins with Google TV, but pointed out that Microsoft did that first in 1997 by acquiring WebTV, then renaming it MSN TV, and eventually using the technology for Xbox and Xbox 360. WebTV was first to allow web access with a computer, but let's toss in the little-known fact that in 1996, before it became Microsoft's product, the U.S. government classified WebTV as "munitions (a military weapon)" due to its use of strong encryption. It was a change in law, not Microsoft touching the technology, that stopped the military weapon classification.

 

The TechRadar article goes on to credit Microsoft with being the first to invent its version of the iPad, dubbed the Tablet PC, which shipped in 2002, but were "too big, bulky and expensive." Facebook's walled garden was credited to Microsoft's 1995 version of MSN. The Redmond giant was first to market smart watches (Smart Personal Object Technology, or SPOT) which took advantage of mobile data. In 2000, the Redmond giant put out the first eReader; also in 2000, Microsoft invented the first smartphone, Microsoft's Pocket PC platform. In fact, TechRadar compared Microsoft Bob, released in 1995, to the earliest version of today's Siri and Google Now. The lack of success of Microsoft's many invented products was attributed to them coming before their time or having no killer apps.

 

But those examples of what Microsoft invented are just a drop in the bucket if you use the "invisible" supportive structures reasoning presented by Microsoft's Matt Wallaert, Behavioral Psychologist for Bing. Wallaert, who recently defended Microsoft's Bing it on challenge claims, mentioned that fight in his Forbes article, before describing the worst part about working at Microsoft. "Every time you take a pot shot at Microsoft just to be a jerk, you distract us from doing the work that makes the world better."

 

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Via Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc
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