I’ll be speaking on THE MILLIONAIRE AND THE MUMMIES at the North Texas Chapter of ARCE (in Dallas) at 7 p.m. on Saturday, February 7, 2015. Later that month I’ll be at the Whittier CA Public library (date and time TBA). Y’all come!
As a lifelong city dweller, when we found ourselves living on a farm in the Midwest a few years ago the questions about genetically modified crops and food suddenly became more than another minor item to worry about but instead became something to be acted on. I did considerable reading on the subject, but have not seen any discussion as concise as “Seeds of Doubt” by Michael Specter in the 8-25-14 issue of The New Yorker.
Among the points Specter makes are:
“There has not been a single documented case of any person becoming ill as a result” of GMO foods.
In India, GMO cotton farmers spend 15% more on crops but use 50% less pesticides and yields have increased 150%. “The number of cases of pesticide poisoning has fallen by nearly ninety per cent.”
“Nearly every food we eat has been modified, if not by genetic engineering then by more traditional cross-breeding . . . Corn in its present form wouldn’t exist if humans hadn’t cultivated the crop.”
“Surgeons routinely suture pig valves into the hearts of humans; the operation has kept tens of thousands of people alive Synthetic insulin, the first genetically modified product, is consumed each day by millions of diabetics . . . It doesn’t seem to matter where the replacement parts come from.”
Concerns about the “unnatural” aspects of GMOs and the profit-seeking corporations that make them are well worth considering, but the topic should be based on scientific data. An estimated 600 million people go to bed hungry in the world every night. “Between 1950 and the end of the twentieth century, the world’s grain production rose from seven hundred million tons to 1.9 billion”
Those of us in the West, who can pay for “organic” food if we wish, to are free to do so but the tremendous increases in food that GMOs are producing and the increasing demands for something to eat world wide (farmers will have to grow more food in the next seventy-five years than has been produced in all of human history to feed us all) seem to argue that one of the most important ways to avoid disaster is to use the GMO tools that have been created. GMO products have been approved in the U.S. by the FDA, the EPA and the Department of Agriculture; a company looking for approval and testing of a proposed new seed pay an average of $100 million each time.
Such important issues merit much public discussion, and I recommend the article in The New Yorker (an unlikely tool of Monsanto). And when you want to complain about the farmers and advanced technology, remember not to talk with your mouth full.
An article about Charles Wilbour, who was a bigger crook than Theodore Davis and prominent later in Egyptology (with info that didn’t get in to “Millionaire and the Mummies”) is posted at http://www.academia.edu Look up john adams and you’ll get there!
The quarterly journal The Appendix has published a nice essay on Millionaire and the Mummies: http://theappendix.net/issues/2014/1/in-king-tuts-shadow
Popular Archaeology Magazine has published an article about Theodore Davis’s bequest to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and its complicated history. http://popular-archaeology.com/issue/12012013/article/the-met-the-mistress-and-the-money
The article includes a number of photos not included in THE MILLIONAIRE AND THE MUMMIES.
You may have to register to see the article, but it is not necessary to pay them any money; just skip that step.
An article on The Millionaire and the Mummies has appeared in the Newport Mercury: http://www.newportri.com/newportmercury/arts/mummy-dearest/article_f6f4d932-5a5e-527a-9788-f9047b2931e5.html
The American Research Center in Egypt has posted a piece on the sources used in finding out the details of Theodore Davis’s life: