Joe Satran has a remarkable article here on the Huffington Post about, of all things, a significant crisis in the orange-growing industry. To clear, I am not a Big Science Expert who by nature gloms onto such articles. I simply saw it, like orange juice and thought I’d like to see what this is about.
It's detailed, substantive, scientific, historic and yet (mostly) accessible. Wonderfully written, on a subject that is difficult to write about. The article concerns a devastating disease called huanglongbing or HLB or -- in human English -- "Citrus Greening" that has been crippling orange groves around the world, and has been making its way through Florida for the past five years (and has started to touch California.
But the article isn't all about science. It's also about history -- of the orange industry and also scientific research. And most interestingly about one man, Maury Boyd, an orange grower whose life has been impacted. But rather than accept the non-curable disease (at the moment -- scientists are very hard at work on a cure), he delved into some of his own science-training from college and has developed a potential way of dealing with the problem. He's been very controversial -- to the point of being called "Typhoid Maury" by some -- questioning whether his proposals are having the impact they appear, or if they're simply delaying something worse.
By the way, scientists do feel confident that they are making progress and will find a cure. The problem is that it's probably 15-20 years, which could be too devastating for the industry. Which is where Maury Boyd might come in.
Make no mistake, the article is a tad long -- "tad" being along the lines of Homer's The Odyssey, crammed (albeit only in parts) with arcane science. I skimmed many parts, though I suspect that for people involved in the subject, the full science was important to include. For the general public, less so. But over all, most especially if you come with your skimming eye well-honed, this is quite a seriously impressive exploration.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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