Maize: the Plant that Colonized the World

Here’s a seminar next week at the UBC Museum of Anthropology. It’s a suggested $5 donation but that includes the price of admission (and students with ID may get in free anyway – not sure on what the logistics of that is though, so if you know, please leave a comment).

Dr. Michael Blake, UBC Professor of Anthropology, examines new discoveries regarding the domestication of maize (corn) over 10,000 years, and its potential as a source of the biofuel thanol in the 21st century.

This might be an interesting overview, since the prospect of biofuels seems to be an oh, so sexy thing nowadays. I’m actually reminded of a discussion I had with Vandana Shiva who participated with the Terry project last semester.

Dr. Shiva had some pointed words on biofuels: a hot topic in this day and age of climate change and alternate sources of energy. She brought up an very interesting facet to this story, that to be honest, I didn’t even think of. That is, in the current global system, humanity already seems to have a serious problem with food equity and food security: it therefore stands to reason that this system will only be further strained if what might be viable agricultural land is instead slated for use for biofuel production. I haven’t done the homework myself on this point (perhaps others can comment), but that does sound like a pretty rational concern.

Anyway, the talk is next Tuesday, October 16, 2007, 7:00 pm at the UBC Museum of Anthropology.

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David (@ng_dave) is Faculty at the Michael Smith Labs. His writing has appeared in places such as McSweeney's, The Walrus, and He plans on using Terry as another place to highlight the mostly science-y links he appreciates. In fact, if you liked this one, you might also like his main site generally - this can be found at