Thursday, July 07, 2011

Some links, July 7th

Farm Size and Productivity: Understanding the Strengths of Smallholder and Improving Their Livelihoods by Ramesh Chand , P A Lakshmi Prasanna and Aruna Singh

Abstract:"During the 1960s and 1970s there was an intense debate on the observed inverse relationship between farm size and per hectare agricultural productivity in India. It was subsequently argued that the higher productivity of smallholdings would disappear with the adoption of superior technology, modernisation and growth in general. However, close to half a century later, National Sample Survey data from the initial years of the 21st century show that smallholdings in Indian agriculture still exhibit a higher productivity than large holdings. These smallholdings however show lower per capita productivity and the incidence of poverty is widespread. Strategies for Indian agriculture and smallholding households should include reducing the inequality in land distribution and promoting off-farm work in the rural areas itself. The strategy of improving the crop land-man ratio by facilitating migration from rural India has not worked and will not work. The lives of smallholding families can be improved only by building on their higher per acre agricultural productivity and by promoting off-farm rural employment."

Last year: Arsenic life. This year: Chlorine life? by Carl Zimmer. More at A First Step Toward A New Form of Life

Sangakkara's challenge to cricket by Peter Roebuck. The transcript of the speech The Spirit of Sri Lanka's Cricket - A celebration of our uniqueness

In Eyes, a Clock Calibrated by Wavelengths of Light From NY Times "What do these findings mean to everyday life? Some experts believe that any kind of light too late into the evening could have broad health effects, independent of any effect on sleep. For example, a report published last year in the journal PNAS found that mice exposed to light at night gained more weight than those housed in normal light, even though both groups consumed the same number of calories.

Light at night has been examined as a contributor to breast cancer for two decades. While there is still no consensus, enough laboratory and epidemiological studies have supported the idea that in 2007, the World Health Organization declared shift work a probable carcinogen. Body clock disruptions “can alter sleep-activity patterns, suppress melatonin production and disregulate genes involved in tumor development,” the agency concluded."

Aging: To Treat, or Not to Treat? (via 3quarksdaily)

Nutrition advice: The vitamin D-lemma (via 3quarksdaily): "He(Dr. Clifford Rosen) suspects that unbiased, systematic reviews such as this one will increasingly come under fire when they lead to hard recommendations. "This is the beginning of a whole new phase," he says. "In the old days of medicine we believed experts, and now we say, show us the data.""

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