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Weekend Reads 4/25/15

Genetically modified crops? Nature got there first

One of the most frequently mentioned issues with GMO foods is a vague concern about bringing genes from distantly related organisms into plants. But an international team of biologists has now found that this has occurred naturally in a major crop plant: the sweet potato.

Explaining 'Working Poor' to my Privileged, Middle Class Children

Because we do serve at a downtown church in Portland, where the number of people living outside is inordinately high, my kids do come into contact with them on a weekly basis. And yet it’s still hard for them to imagine that these friends of ours really don’t have a choice about where to sleep.

“So, like, they really don’t have anyplace else to go?” 

Shade the planet? The dangers are in the details

Employing that tactic—generally known as Solar Radiation Management—is fraught with oft-discussed risks. It can result in reduced precipitation and ozone depletion, yet does nothing to curb harmful ocean acidification caused by atmospheric CO2. And, since the substances we're considering (mostly sulfate aerosols) are pretty short-lived in the atmosphere, you’d get a dose of extremely rapid warming if you suddenly pulled the plug.

Child Cash Benefits, Hidden Unemployment, And 401(k) ‘Leakage’

Families receiving cash benefits from the government see their children’s health and educational outcomes improve, both because they spend more on items like food and books and because they spend more on things that reduce stress, such as on recreation. One further consequence of this stress reduction is that recipients spend less on alcohol and tobacco.


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