Shipping giant Maersk among those affected: Shipping giant A.P. Moller-Maersk, which handles one out of seven containers shipped globally, said on Tuesday that this week’s cyber attack had caused outages at its computer systems across the world. Organizations worldwide are currently under a cyber-attack involving what was originally believed to be the year-old Petya ransomware, but now is being called “NotPetya” and seems to be a never before seen ransomware family. Russia’s top oil producer Rosneft said on its servers had been hit by a large-scale cyber attack, but its oil production was unaffected. Ukraine’s central bank also said a number of Ukrainian commercial banks and state and private companies had been hit by cyber attacks via an “unknown virus.” The ransomware variant used in this attack demands a $300 ransom from its victims, and the first payments appear to have been made to the hardcoded Bitcoin wallet it uses. Read more HERE and HERE.
How do you feed nine billion people? The global population is skyrocketing, the climate is changing, and diets are shifting. So how do you tackle the problem of feeding nine billion people by 2050? Assemble an elite team of scientists for a year-long brainstorming session. The first meeting of “Science Breakthroughs 2030” just convened to discuss the key advances essential for revolutionizing food and agriculture in the next decade. The resounding theme: What’s needed is akin to a moonshot. Or as committee co-chair John D. Floros put it, a “green revolution 2.0.” Half a century ago, scientists similarly asked how to feed a growing population. Their answer: “invest more in agricultural technology.” That investment kick-started what became known as the green revolution. But according to some experts, that investment and the growth it fueled has begun to stagnate. READ MORE
Food security and Illinois’ financial disaster: Illinois is one of the top producers of corn and soybeans in the U.S. and therefore an important partner in the continued production of a safe, economical, and abundant food supply for the nation and the world. Illinois is currently undergoing a financial crisis unprecedented for its scale. The state is insolvent and has been so for decades as politicians delivered excess and promised even more, without consideration of paying the bills when they came due. What happens next in the halls of government and the back rooms of political power will determine the effects on the food supply. The state government recently sent an order calling for an end of all road repairs. Illinois roads are already some of the worst in the Midwest, so ending road repairs will potentially affect transportation in the area. Grain is shipped by truck to state docks (also at risk), so barges on the Mississippi and Ohio rivers can transport to the grain markets of the world. Creative people are posing potential solutions; the most extreme is to dissolve the state and divide it among surrounding states. That will never happen because the debts incurred do not disappear and surrounding states are unwilling to even consider absorbing the debt. Read more HERE, HERE and HERE.
California to list popular herbicide as carcinogenic: California is regulating in the same manner as the European Union, using the “Precautionary Principle.” As mentioned in the article, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer ruled in 2015 that glyphosate (an ingredient in Monsanto’s popular RoundUp weed killer) was “probably carcinogenic.” Critics of the controversial WHO ruling have argued the science is either lacking or insufficiently definitive to use as the basis for a regulatory ruling. How this plays out will dramatically affect food security throughout the world, since the weed killer is used in conjunction with biotech plants, which can dramatically increase productivity in areas where weeds have a major impact on yield. In this instance the phrase “food security” has been used by international organizations to mean an abundant food supply. READ MORE
Why are tropical marine organisms multiplying off Alaska? Fishing crews off the west coast of the U.S. and Canada as far north as the Gulf of Alaska are encountering large numbers of pyrosomes, which are colonies of small-jelly like organisms that are native to tropical waters and which foul nets and reduce fish harvest numbers. Pyrosomes had gradually multiplied along the West Coast and spread north since 2012 and then exploded in numbers this spring, according to scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Scientists believe the phenomenon is related to elevated sea temperatures along the Pacific Coast. READ MORE
Weather volatility affecting crops: Extreme volatility in weather around the world is affecting crops, with almost every major U.S. crop suffering, reports ag analyst Dan Hueber on Agweb.com. READ MORE
Restaurant attacks increasing: Attacks on restaurant employees are on the uptick. Physical security planning and training are important elements in protecting restaurant and bar employees as well as patrons. A case in point is the Georgia restaurant owner and her teenage daughter who say they were brutally attacked by a couple who complained that they were served cold chicken, according to local news reports. Jeanette Norris told WTOC-TV that a couple who purchased two meals from her Qwik Chick takeout stand on Thursday complained their chicken was cold and they did not receive enough fries. Norris said that after some back-and-forth she refunded the meal, but the couple were still irate . READ MORE
Plague in New Mexico: The New Mexico Department of Health on Monday has confirmed two more human cases of plague, bringing the total to three in June. All three victims live in Santa Fe County. State public health veterinarian Paul Ettestad said plague could be present in fleas that infest wild rodents in Santa Fe County, including within the city limits of Santa Fe and in other locations around New Mexico. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that hundreds of cases have been documented over the last century in the western United States, typically in northern New Mexico, northwestern Arizona, and southern Colorado. READ MORE
Fat cats and other obese animals: It’s no secret that Americans waistlines have been expanding for years, and a new report shows our pets are following suit. Banfield Pet Hospital’s 2017 State of Pet Health report found that one in three pets who visited Banfield pet facilities in 2016 was overweight or obese. The annual report details health habits of the 2.5 million dogs and 500,000 cats who visited facilities across the country in 2016. READ MORE