11 March 2008

Am I missing something?

So, I'm working on Extemp research right now, and I'm kind of confused.

Why is the topic "Special Interest Groups: How are these affecting agriculture today?" in the Agriscience and Technology category? Shouldn't it be in the Agricultural Marketing/Domestic and International Ag category?

I would really like for it to be in that category, because I REALLY HATE THAT TOPIC.

I can't find any good research on it, and I really don't know what they're getting at. I found a good article on multilateralism and regionalism, but it's not really focused on special interest groups. And, do they mean pro-agriculture special interest groups? Or anti-agriculture groups like ELF or PETA? The only hope I have is some obscure textbook on agricultural welfare states and interest groups in the US, France and Japan.

The graduation requirements topic is also driving me nuts. Oregon is increasing its graduation requirements over the course of the next few years, and I'm supposed to talk about how the changes are going to affect agriculture education. Only problem is, the requirements don't really change anything. Agriculture just counts for a science class now. So, I really don't see how that's going to affect how the classes are taught. Maybe they are going to have to focus more on the science-y parts? I don't know. Ag is just an applied science. It's an annoying topic.

I can also say I really dislike the National Animal Identification System topic. Everyone's just going to talk about BSE (aka "Mad Cow Disease") the whole time. And complain about keeping records and tagging and all sorts of crap. Why can't I just talk about plant-made pharmaceuticals or nanotechnology?

Something I can't complain about: Apple's customer service. MacBook owners: don't close your laptop too forcefully - plastic around the edges of your wrist pad will break. If that happens, just make an appointment online, and take it in. It's a one-hour fix they can do on-site. It's pretty much beautiful. Well, if you're still under warranty. They're really nice at the Genius Bar.

A few "Did You Knows" from the World Forestry Center (aka where I spent my day completing Senior Project hours):
  • Over $100 million are spent every year fighting invasive species.
  • "Douglas-firs can reach 300' (91 m) in height, exceed 13' (3.96 m) in diameter, and live more than 1000 years."
  • 60% of the forests in Oregon are publicly owned.
  • Oregon has 28 million acres of forest-land.
  • "Of total global wood use, 20% is for building shelter and furnishings. The U.S. is the world's leading importer of wood products. Ninety percent of the softwood lumber consumed here is used for building homes."
  • There are 88 million utility poles along U.S. highways, and Douglas-fir is the most commonly used species for this purpose.
  • In Washington, D.C. alone, urban trees absorb 878,000 pounds of pollutants every year.
  • 70% of the land in Russia is forested.
  • "...[T]ropical forests cover about 7% of the earth's land surface but contain at least 50% of its biodiversity."

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