No fornication without sterilisation

April 29, 2009

Plant & Food Research spin doctors know how to grab attention.

Their latest media release is headed “Sex used as weapon against moths”.

Wow. Sounds like much more fun than firing rockets, dropping bombs, or whatever.

Alf accordingly was strongly tempted to do his bit for Queen and country and go down to enlist. But before going to Google to find the location of the local recruiting centre, he was tartly reminded by Mrs Grumble that he might not be considered able-bodied on the grounds his sexual prowess nowadays is reliant on heavy doses of Viagra.

As it turned out, he (and other readers of the statement) have been conned.

The headline was simply intended to lure him – like a moth to a flame – to news that:

Insect experts from around the world will meet in New Zealand this week to discuss novel insecticide-free ways of controlling moth pests.

Plant & Food Research is hosting global leaders in the field of moth control using the sterile insect technique at the first meeting of the United Nations Joint Food and Agriculture / International Atomic Energy Agency project in Christchurch.

The sterile insect technique involves irradiating insects to render them infertile before releasing them into the environment. Wild insects waste time and energy mating with these numerous sterile insects, but produce no offspring, eventually leading to a reduction in the overall insect population.

The week-long meeting will include presentations by leading scientists in the field, with attendees from 14 countries.


All gas and taters

March 22, 2009

Today is World Water Day (as readers of this blog were advised last Friday). It’s also – don’t rush to get there first – the opening day of the 7th World Potato Congress in Christchurch.

This is the first world congress of spud scientists to be hosted in New Zealand and (you’ll be heartened to learn) will put the country’s potato science under the spot-light.

It is being held at the Christchurch Convention Centre from today until 25 March.

Dunno why they picked today for the kick-off. St Patrick’s Day would have been better.
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