FROM Tom Philpott
California's Hottest Winemaker: Harvard? Harvard University has been quietly snapping up swaths of farmland along California's central coast, turning the school into one of the top -- and most unlikely -- wine producers in the region. And Harvard's not alone in picking up thousands of acres of California farmland. Investment banks, pension funds, and insurance companies have all become some of the biggest farmers in the state. Turns out farmland is a stable and lucrative investment for those with a lot of money to spend. Not even the historic drought has put a damper on the farm fever. How did this come about, and what does it mean for the future of California's farm industry?
Almonds Are Sucking California Dry California supplies 80% of the world’s almonds, now producing 2.1 billion pounds a year—three times more than it did just 14 years ago. But there’s a hidden cost. Each individual nut requires 1.1 gallons of water. New groves of almond trees are still being added—despite years of drought, which we all know is likely to continue. Tom Philpott is Food and Agriculture reporter for Mother Jones magazine.
Trump says goodbye Paris Accord: What does it mean for U.S. and the planet? President Donald Trump announced Thursday that the U.S. will withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord, the landmark international agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Trump was to renegotiate a new deal, but will that happen?
Securing Public Spaces, Super Wealthy Asians Vehicles are increasingly being used as weapons, as seen in the London Bridge attack over the weekend and in New York’s Times Square last month. The Compton-based company Calpipe is designing security bollards to help make public spaces safer. And novelist Kevin Kwan satirizes the “crazy rich” Asian jet set and their luxurious tastes in his latest book, “Rich People Problems.”
Why is Trump so behind on filling staff jobs, establishing concrete policies? Yesterday Donald Trump signed a “decision memo” to revamp the air traffic control system. But there was little legislative detail in the plan. There’s not much to other splashy announcements from the White House, including tax cuts and the arms deal with Saudi Arabia. And hundreds of positions are unfilled in federal agencies.