Sunday, January 29, 2006

The Story of Wheat

Fascinating article on wheat over at The Economist.

Besides learning that wheat has 5 times as many base pairs of DNA as humans, that in real terms wheat was most expensive in 1815 at $3 a bushel; that in the mid 1800s the bird droppings became so valuable that battles were fought over it; that the green revolution in India was held up by the Watts riot in LA; that virtually every variety of wheat you see growing was produced by "mutation breeding" caused by thermal neutrons, x-rays or ethyl methane sulponate; I was left with this nugget of fat knowledge:

Today nearly half the nitrogen atoms in the proteins of an average human being's body came at some time or another through an ammonia factory.
That's the last time I throw out a bottle of ammonia. We are practically cousins.


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