Ryan Garrett

Student/ Lab manager, University of Oregon
Eugene, OR, United States

About Ryan

Areas of Expertise

Leaf cutter ants (Atta cephalotes)

Comments & conversations

187560
Ryan Garrett
Posted about 1 year ago
Buggin' Out: Urban Bug Farming for the Future
That's an interesting point, about the level of pesticide consumption when eating an insect vs an apple. I haven't been able to find any research on the topic, but given the specificity of most pesticides (which usually target the insects nervous system or cuticle) I imagine they tend to build up in target insects more than their host plants. If the pesticide is meant to bind to a region of the insects nervous system, it would probably only be an unlucky coincidence that it bound and held onto apple skin or some other unintended region. Ideally we would be able to keep bug farms and pesticide treated crops far from each other.
187560
Ryan Garrett
Posted about 1 year ago
Buggin' Out: Urban Bug Farming for the Future
I would love to see cricket protein bars! I think they would be really popular once people saw Brad and Angelina feeding them to their kids. I think the fear of eating certain bugs might be inherent. Slimy worms might make me throw up, and hairy spiders give me the heebie jeebies, but crickets and grasshoppers are basically land shrimp. In China it is common to eat scorpions, but of course they remove the stinger. I'd like to try spicy fried scorpion.
187560
Ryan Garrett
Posted about 1 year ago
Buggin' Out: Urban Bug Farming for the Future
I've eaten quite a few bugs intentionally and unintentionally, and I think crickets are the best I've had. In class today I was tracing my interest in eating insects, and I think it goes back to the Lion King. I'll bet this clip planted a seed in most of our young brains that insects are cool to eat http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HqREvb2VTjw
187560
Ryan Garrett
Posted about 1 year ago
Can urban beehives increase food production?
From what I have read, pesticides were used very generously in this region due to strong pest problems, and the resulting degradation of wild pollinators was so profound that they do not pollinate fruit trees at all. This article* says that honey bee keepers are reluctant to bring hives to this region because the farmers are trigger happy with pesticides. Even though human pollination has been going on for two decades in this part of China, it seems they are still spraying pests. That is very strange. http://blog.lib.umn.edu/efans/ygnews/2011/02/hand-pollination-of-apples-tre.html
187560
Ryan Garrett
Posted over 1 year ago
Can urban beehives increase food production?
Due to overuse of pesticides in the Maoxian county of Sichuan, China, there are no pollinators for the pear and apple trees. The result is that once a year, thousands of villagers gather to hand pollinate the trees. I imagine this takes a lot more human hours than bee hours. http://www.apinews.com/en/news/item/12780-china-hand-pollination
187560
Ryan Garrett
Posted over 1 year ago
Will the Belo Monte Dam project on the Amazon River cause more harm to the environment or will it be a good source of energy for Brazil?
I think Robby has a good point. The U.S. has a bad reputation, especially in South America, for manipulating political powers and exploiting resources. We are also among the highest per capita energy consumers in the world, and therefor have little room to criticize. In my experience traveling through Latin America, I was faced with this hypocrisy, the way we Americans want to solve poorer countries problems, fix their corrupt governments, and educate their children, but we are less likely to look at our own habitat destruction, bad education, corruption. Maybe it is easier for people to deal with problems that are vague and far off. That said, the Belo Monte dam is going to have a devastating effect on an area of high biological and cultural significance, and I think it is great that there is resistance, and that people all over the world are showing concern. I just wonder how effective it is to sign online petitions, and donate money. I dare say that this conversation is a waste of time unless it leads to any real action from some of it's participants. I feel that our potential to protect and benefit an environment goes down in proportion to our distance from that environment. I know that each of us can dramatically improve a portion of the Willamette river if we chose to, be it through eradicating invasives, or fighting riverfront construction. For some reason it is easier for us to focus on problems in Brazil.
187560
Ryan Garrett
Posted over 1 year ago
Cats pose a serious threat to biodiversity: Why do we accept it? What should be done?
It brings to mind the current issue with gun control, and the uproar it is causing in this country. Some of the same people fighting for gun rights, along with many other demographics would be outraged if the government tried to take serious action against cats. The internet, which is already obsessed with cats, would explode with criticism, and it would be political suicide for whoever brought it to the table. I can see it now on Fox News, "President Obama, our dog eating president, is trying to set up death panels for your family cat! So that we can save a few RATS!! Fascism!"
187560
Ryan Garrett
Posted over 1 year ago
Cats pose a serious threat to biodiversity: Why do we accept it? What should be done?
It would take a mighty fence to hold in most cats. It seems that many people aren't going to care about this problem unless there are serious consequences. It's reasonable to establish the same rules for cats as dogs. If your cat is caught running around, and you don't want it to be euthanized, you have to pay a fine. This would at least slow down the impact from pet cats. As for feral cats, maybe we encourage adolescent boys to stop playing video games, and start hunting collarless cats. We'll give them a bag of pop rocks for every cat they catch, and the cats can be put down humanely.
187560
Ryan Garrett
Posted over 1 year ago
Cats pose a serious threat to biodiversity: Why do we accept it? What should be done?
I agree that it is silly for people to point the finger at cats when we are doing the most damage, it's just easier for us to fragment and change each destructive behavior rather than step back and see ourselves as a problematic species. I wonder if the law is harder on dogs because they have the potential to injure or kill humans and destroy property, whereas cats can only harm smaller organisms. If cats were as big as most dogs, there would certainly be a lot of restrictions. So much of our behavior and legislation is centered around human well being, with no regard for our neighbor species, that seems to be a theme of this class.