Why GM Crops Are a Moral Necessity

While some concerns about GM crops are valid, refusing to pursue them while poor countries suffer malnutrition and starvation is irresponsible, says rights activist Isobel Coleman. 

What's the Latest Development?


Professor of international development at Harvard, Calestous Juma has called on Africa to form an "International Institute for Biotechnology" that would unite governments, farmers, researchers and private companies to make genetically modified crops a positive force in Africa. If the world is to meet the rising demand for food, sub-Saharan land must be better utilized. Currently, only 4% is irrigated, compared with 40% of the land in Asia. A recent Nature article suggested that organic farming yields about one-third less food than conventional techniques, due mostly to disease vulnerability and the lack of synthetic fertilizers. 

What's the Big Idea?

By 2050, the world faces a 70% increase in global food demand so worries over genetically modified foods must be balanced against malnutrition and starvation in the world's poorest countries. While there are real concerns about genetically modified food, no scientific studies have found them unsafe to eat since their widespread use began a decade ago. GM foods are one tool in the toolkit, to be sure. Another is waste reduction: Consumers in the West throw away about a third of the food produced while in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, about a third of cultivated foods rot due to inadequate transportation and storage. 

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3D printing might save your life one day. It's transforming medicine and health care.

What can 3D printing do for medicine? The "sky is the limit," says Northwell Health researcher Dr. Todd Goldstein.

Northwell Health
Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • Medical professionals are currently using 3D printers to create prosthetics and patient-specific organ models that doctors can use to prepare for surgery.
  • Eventually, scientists hope to print patient-specific organs that can be transplanted safely into the human body.
  • Northwell Health, New York State's largest health care provider, is pioneering 3D printing in medicine in three key ways.
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Big Think Edge
  • Push Past Negative Self-Talk: Give Yourself the Proper Fuel to Attack the World, with David Goggins, Former NAVY SealIf you've ever spent 5 minutes trying to meditate, you know something most people don't realize: that our minds are filled, much of the time, with negative nonsense. Messaging from TV, from the news, from advertising, and from difficult daily interactions pulls us mentally in every direction, insisting that we focus on or worry about this or that. To start from a place of strength and stability, you need to quiet your mind and gain control. For former NAVY Seal David Goggins, this begins with recognizing all the negative self-messaging and committing to quieting the mind. It continues with replacing the negative thoughts with positive ones.

Why the south of Westeros is the north of Ireland

As Game of Thrones ends, a revealing resolution to its perplexing geography.

Image: YouTube / Doosh
Strange Maps
  • The fantasy world of Game of Thrones was inspired by real places and events.
  • But the map of Westeros is a good example of the perplexing relation between fantasy and reality.
  • Like Britain, it has a Wall in the North, but the map only really clicks into place if you add Ireland.
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Big Think Edge
  • Master Execution: How to Get from Point A to Point B in 7 Steps, with Rob Roy, Retired Navy SEALUsing the principles of SEAL training to forge better bosses, former Navy SEAL and founder of the Leadership Under Fire series Rob Roy, a self-described "Hammer", makes people's lives miserable in the hopes of teaching them how to be a tougher—and better—manager. "We offer something that you are not going to get from reading a book," says Roy. "Real leaders inspire, guide and give hope."Anybody can make a decision when everything is in their favor, but what happens in turbulent times? Roy teaches leaders, through intense experiences, that they can walk into any situation and come out ahead. In this lesson, he outlines seven SEAL-tested steps for executing any plan—even under extreme conditions or crisis situations.