#2281

sovnarkoman posted:







#2282
https://e360.yale.edu/features/how-seeds-from-war-torn-syria-could-help-save-american-wheat

When a team of researchers set loose a buzzing horde of Hessian flies on 20,000 seedlings in a Kansas greenhouse, they made a discovery that continues to ripple from Midwestern wheat fields to the rolling hills that surround the battered Syrian city of Aleppo. The seeds once stored in a seed bank outside of that now largely destroyed city could end up saving United States wheat from the disruptions triggered by climate change — and look likely to, soon enough, make their way into the foods that Americans eat.

...

One of the world’s most important seed banks used to be located in Syria, about 25 miles west of Aleppo in the town of Tal Hadya, and was run by the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA). That UN-affiliated center specializes in preserving and researching seeds in hot, dry areas — conditions now being faced by many of the earth’s food-growing regions.

It’s also the place of origin of today’s domesticated wheat, and thus the seeds that were stored there benefit from germplasm embedded with survival strategies developed over thousands of years of changing conditions and evolving pathogens. Now, diseases and pests long familiar to Middle and Near Eastern farmers are moving north from the southern U.S. and Mexico and are surging across Kansas and surrounding states — Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado, and Nebraska and in some instances up to Illinois and the Dakotas.

The Hessian fly has been around for more than two centuries — since, in fact, the birth of the U.S.. It’s thought by entomologists to have come to North America with the straw bedding of Hessian mercenaries who fought on behalf of the British during the Revolutionary War, hence the name. It’s been a menace ever since, but mostly in warmer climates in the South.

...

Ming-Shun Chen, a professor of molecular entomology at KSU, explained that the flies’ larvae used to be killed off by the cold of winter. But that cold is coming later in the season, and the larvae survive to turn into flies. Their devouring of wheat seems drawn from science fiction: The flies don’t have teeth, so they inject a protein-based substance into the plant which transforms it into a kind of nutritious slurry they can suck up and digest. “They transform the leaf into something they can eat,” explained Chen. The substance has the effect of stunting the plant’s growth and accelerating the metabolization of chlorophyll — an infested plant becomes more green, a surefire sign of the presence of the fly. “The plant’s metabolic pathway is changed,” said Chen. “It no longer produces nutrients for its own growth, but produces nutrients for the insects.” Darkening green in a field of golden wheat is now a scary color in Kansas.

...

An ironic twist to the saga of wheat’s wild relations is that the [US] agriculture [Syria's ancient wild strains of wheat] are intended to save could be partially responsible for destroying entire communities of wild relatives that are critical to their future and that of other crops in the turbulent times ahead. “If Midwestern monoculture farming practices are ever adopted in Syria, Iraq, or wherever in the Fertile Crescent,” says Brummer, “that will push more of those wild relatives off the land. Then we have a problem. Another source of variation, and all the traits of selective advantage, will be lost… Germplasm banks are just a sampling of the wild. If the wild goes away, we can’t go back and get another sample.”

The U.S. has been losing diversity at an alarming rate for more than three decades: An assessment by scientists at Kansas State and North Dakota State, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, found that after three decades of consolidation in the seed industry, and the steadily expanding size of farms, diversity in seed varieties has dropped in almost every region of the country, most dramatically in the lower Midwest. Globally, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization has declared that three-quarters of all the world’s crop varieties that were around in the early 1900s had become extinct by 2015. “You may be using wild crop relatives to boost industrial agriculture, while industrial agriculture itself is one of the greatest pressures on their existence,” commented Maywa Montenegro. “They’re threatened from the usual pressures — pollution, land-cover changes — but also from turning diverse fields into monoculture plantations.”



seeds stolen from syria will save amerikan agribusiness, imperialism works!

also if we can turn Syria into a client state and infect its farming with our own rapacious practices, we'll wipe out that very same bounty of millennia. and we know all this in advance and we won't. bat. an eye.

Edited by Constantignoble ()

#2283
i am reading about israels inability to do wars well anymore

As it became increasingly likely that Israel would fail to debilitate Hezbollah quickly through its massive air campaign, Washington and London provided for it the political support and cover to continue the war, in spite of the international protests and calls for an immediate ceasefire. Secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, referring to the fighting, remarked on 21 July 2006 two days before her official trip to Israel to meet with Prime Minister Olmert: “What we are seeing here, in a sense, is the growing, the birth pangs of a new Middle East, and whatever we do we have to be certain that we are pushing forward to the new Middle East, not going back to the old one” (see www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2006).

After some initial successes, the Israelis were stunned at Hezbollah’s powerful response, including its firing of thousands of Katyusha rockets into northern Israel. Rather than facing an amateur militia, the Israelis soon realized that they were fighting a well-trained and well-equipped guerilla army. Hezbollah even used a Chinese-made C-807 missile against an Israeli warship off Lebanon’s coast, catching the Israelis off guard and disabling the ship. Israeli intelligence had failed to discover in full before the war what Hezbollah had amassed in its arsenals. The Lebanese fought a high-tech war and paid as much attention to the media battle as they did to the fighting on the ground. Hezbollah fighters cracked the codes of Israeli radio communications, intercepting reports on the casualties they had inflicted. Whenever an Israeli soldier was killed, Hezbollah confirmed it by listening to the Israeli radio and then sent the reports immediately to its satellite TV station, Al-Manar, which broadcast the news live. Thus Arab audiences knew the names of Israeli casualties and where they had been killed well before the Israeli army had a chance to inform the soldiers’ families. The psychological impact of this on the Israelis, who had grown accustomed to superiority over the armies of their Arab neighbors, was devastating. By the end of the thirty-four day war, Hezbollah had won a stunning victory by simply having withstood and survived Israel’s onslaught. Rather than strengthening and reinforcing the image of Israel’s invincible deterrence, the war that was to weaken Iran only made Israel itself more vulnerable.

#2284
Congratulations to the SAR for freeing all Central Syria of rebel pockets today.
#2285
Where is that extract about hezbollah from
#2286
i don't know about that one, but i remember reading a whitepaper about the 2006 war, and in addition to a good overview of hezbollah's strategy and the failure of the air campaign, it had a lengthy section about israel's incorporation of deleuze in their officers' manuals. didn't make a big deal of it like hollow lands etc, but instead claimed that almost nobody understood a word but wouldnt say so because they didnt want to look stupid. the writer maintained a professional tone throughout but you could tell he thought it was funny as hell. never been able to find it again.
#2287
iirc, well-understood or no, the policy attached to that part of the manual was pretty much just to tunnel directly through city blocks with explosives. Like, instead of taking and holding streets, the IDF would make their own “street” by blasting holes in either side of someone’s apartment, then “hold” that for whatever arbitrary timeline they had in Lebanon. Which, beyond its breathtaking depravity, mostly seems like a huge waste of money, but probably proportionally less so than hiring someone to educate their soldiers about Deleuze
#2288
Lol that strategy has been pretty common in urban warfare for decades. The Soviets blew thru buildings to move squads down city blocks in fortress cities after the Germans realized that soviet tank turrets couldn’t aim at a high enough angle and placed anti tank weaponry on the highest floors making it too costly to push motorized units directly down city streets.

It’s funny to imagine Israeli officers telling soldiers that Judge Schreber has sunbeams in his ass though.
#2289

Dimashq posted:

Lol that strategy has been pretty common in urban warfare for decades. The Soviets blew thru buildings to move squads down city blocks in fortress cities after the Germans realized that soviet tank turrets couldn’t aim at a high enough angle and placed anti tank weaponry on the highest floors making it too costly to push motorized units directly down city streets.



something makes me doubt the IDF adopted a policy of gratuitously blowing up buildings in Lebanon because of the superiority of their enemies’ equipment

#2290
That was just an arbitrary example, tunneling through buildings has been a urban warfare tactic for awhile and they don't need no rhizomes to figure that out.
#2291

cars posted:

iirc, well-understood or no, the policy attached to that part of the manual was pretty much just to tunnel directly through city blocks with explosives. Like, instead of taking and holding streets, the IDF would make their own “street” by blasting holes in either side of someone’s apartment, then “hold” that for whatever arbitrary timeline they had in Lebanon. Which, beyond its breathtaking depravity, mostly seems like a huge waste of money, but probably proportionally less so than hiring someone to educate their soldiers about Deleuze


yep. also, iirc the stated rationale (besides Deleuze, whose writing cannot be said to rationalize anything) was to bring a whole new level of psychological warfare and terror to their opponents -- to make them feel that no place is safe, no room, no amount of cowering. to make walls meaningless and safety unthinkable. which is of course always presented in military terms, then applied to families in their homes.

#2292

Dimashq posted:

That was just an arbitrary example, tunneling through buildings has been a urban warfare tactic for awhile and they don't need no rhizomes to figure that out.



it's not arbitrary at all imo... the Soviets did what they did to advance in spite of advanced enemy materiel, while the Israelis did what they did in spite of its lack. it's probably not a coincidence which group's manual thought it needed to get grad school to justify the tactic, nor which army intended to hold the cities it entered against the foe and which intended to simply do as much damage as possible while its acts could still be supported by a flimsy, recurring excuse. no one is blaming Deleuze for what the IDF did, of course, but Deleuze freely admitted elliptical expression as a facet of his writing and knew it could be abused

#2293
george monbiot recently tweeted his usual hectoring bullshit in support of king sleazebag and jihadi booster oz katerji. amazed anybody is still taking them seriously.

(not actually amazed, syria has turned people's brains into soup)