On a plate, a single banana seems whimsical—yellow and sweet, contained in its own easy-to-open peel. It is a charming breakfast luxury as silly as it is delicious and ever-present. Yet when you eat a banana the flavor on your tongue has complex roots, equal parts sweetness and tragedy. In 1950, most bananas were exported from Central America. Guatemala in particular was a key piece of a vast empire of banana plantations run by the American-owned United Fruit Company. United Fruit Company paid Guatemala’s government modest sums in exchange for land. With the land, United Fruit planted bananas and then did as it pleased. It exercised absolute control not only over what workers did but also over how and where they lived. In addition, it controlled transportation, constructing, for example, the first railway in the country, one that was designed to be as useless as possible for the people of Guatemala and as useful as possible for transporting bananas. The company’s … [Read more...] about Humans Made the Banana Perfect—But Soon, It’ll Be Gone
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Visit The Boston Globe Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Comment on this Scroll to top of page Hiawatha Bray Globe Staff June 26, 2018 For the founders of a new Boston startup, there’s no such thing as too much information. Catalog, a company founded by scientists from Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, designs systems that store data on man-made versions of microscopic DNA molecules, instead of on bulky magnetic tapes or silicon chips.DNA is nature’s own hard drive, storing data by assembling itself in millions of different combinations of just four chemical compounds found in nearly every living cell. Human DNA is so small you need a microscope to see it, but the strand of DNA in a single human cell contains about 800 megabytes of information. Advertisement Scientists have been working on replicating the idea behind DNA with artificial versions made in a lab that could store computerized data using the same … [Read more...] about The next big thing in data storage is actually microscopic
There’s been so much going on in recent weeks that it’s hard to remember that the biggest story in the world is the rapid rise of China. Yes, it’s fascinating to see what’s happening with the Trump-Kim Summit in Singapore, or at the Trump vs. Trudeau Smackdown in Canada, or to peek into the the bottomless Swampathon of Washington, DC. Yet still, while it’s not always atop the headlines, the most consequential story of the age is the rise and rise of the People’s Republic. And perhaps the fate of a city in Brazil serves as a parable as to what could be looming for our American republic. Virgil will get to that scary parable in a moment, but first, let’s consider the latest news. An Artful Deal with China—But Artful for Whom? On June 12, China’s telecom giant ZTE announced it is resuming business operations, after having been staved off some U.S. sanctions that could have shut it down completely. A bipartisan … [Read more...] about Virgil: A Lesson from Brazil on What Could Happen if We Lose the Trade War with China
Owners Frances Smalley and Sam Birch, Photo: Norwich City Council Archant A new stall dedicated to the nation’s favourite drink has opened on Norwich Market. Birchley’s Loose Leaf Tea, as its name suggests, sells a variety of teas including black, green, fruit and herbal. Its owners Frances Smalley and Sam Bircham offer advice to customers on which teas would suit their needs best and also sell a variety of eco-friendly tea-related accessories. Mr Birch said: “Our teas are all sourced from Fine Tea Merchants Ltd, owned by Will Battle. The teas he produces are from all around the globe from places such as China, India, Kenya, Malawi, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Rwanda, and are blended in house. He also wrote The World Tea Encyclopaedia. “We believe specialty tea is on the rise of popularity, as with the rise of different types of coffee, we feel that it’s tea’s time to shine and having a specialty tea shop on the Norwich Market would make it more … [Read more...] about Novel-tea stall opens at Norwich Market
In August 2013, Mark Zuckerberg tapped out a 10-page white paper on his iPhone and shared it on Facebook. It was intended as a call to action for the tech industry: Facebook was going to help get people online. Everyone should be entitled to free basic internet service, Zuckerberg argued. Data was, like food or water, a human right. Universal basic internet service is possible, he wrote, but “it isn’t going to happen by itself.” Wiring the world required powerful players—institutions like Facebook. For this plan to be feasible, getting data to people had to become a hundred times cheaper. Zuckerberg said this should be possible within five to 10 years. It was an audacious proposal for the founder of a social software company to make. But the Zuckerberg of 2013 had not yet been humbled by any significant failure. In a few months, the service he’d launched between classes at Harvard would turn 10. A few months after that, he would be turning 30. It was a … [Read more...] about What Happened to Facebook’s Grand Plan to Wire the World?