Science reporter John McGrath brings you a curated reading list in the areas of science and sustainability every Wednesday.
1. Midwestern farmers growing non-traditional crops — Harvest Public Media via KCUR
Farmers in the Midwest grow, for the most part, corn, soybeans and wheat. To branch outside of this range of crops can be a risky financial move, but some farmers are doing just that, growing niche crops like fenugreek and aronia berries.
Over the past 500 million years, Earth has seen five mass extinctions. Scientists recognize the extinction of dinosaurs as the fifth mass extinction. That event is thought to have been caused by an asteroid, but some scientists believe the sixth extinction may be caused by humans.
Scientists have shown that depriving mice of their sense of sight over several days can lead to improved hearing. The rodent’s brains rewire during temporary vision loss, and scientists are hopeful the same could be true for humans.
4. Economists reassure farmers that ethanol cuts will not devastate Midwest — Harvest Public Media
The EPA wants to reduce the amount of ethanol mixed into gasoline this year, which worries farmers in the Midwest’s Corn Belt. Some economists, however, argue that the economic blow will not be as severe as farmers anticipate.
5. Executive director of Bridging the Gap shares her vision for sustainable KC — Hale Center for Journalism
Kristin Riott, executive director for Kansas City environmental nonprofit Bridging the Gap, describes her vision for a sustainable KC in this profile.