Adonis Diaries

Archive for June 17th, 2017

NSA leaker Daniel Ellsberg: Snowden made the right call

Opinions, July 7, 2013

Daniel Ellsberg is the author of “Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers.”

He was charged in 1971 under the Espionage Act as well as for theft and conspiracy for copying the Pentagon Papers. The trial was dismissed in 1973 after evidence of government misconduct, including illegal wiretapping, was introduced in court.

Many people unfavourably compare Edward Snowden to me for leaving the country and seeking asylum, rather than facing trial as I did. I don’t agree.

The country I stayed in was a different America, a long time ago. (Excellent observation)

After the New York Times had been enjoined from publishing the Pentagon Papers — on June 15, 1971, the first prior restraint on a newspaper in U.S. history — and I had given another copy to The Post (which would also be enjoined), I went underground with my wife, Patricia, for 13 days.

My purpose (quite like Snowden’s in flying to Hong Kong) was to elude surveillance while I was arranging — with the crucial help of a number of others, still unknown to the FBI — to distribute the Pentagon Papers sequentially to 17 other newspapers, in the face of two more injunctions.

The last three days of that period was in defiance of an arrest order: I was, like Snowden now, a “fugitive from justice.”

Yet when I surrendered to arrest in Boston, having given out my last copies of the papers the night before, I was released on personal recognizance bond the same day.

Later, when my charges were increased from the original three counts to 12, carrying a possible 115-year sentence, my bond was increased to $50,000. But for the whole two years that I was under indictment, I was free to speak to the media and at rallies and public lectures.

I was, after all, part of a movement against an ongoing war. Helping to end that war was my preeminent concern.

I couldn’t have done that abroad, and leaving the country never entered my mind.

A pollination technique invented by a 12 year old slave is the reason Vanilla is available today

Aug 30, 2016 Neil Patrick

Edmond Albius was born a slave but became an important figure in the cultivation of vanilla.

At the age of 12, he invented a technique for pollinating vanilla orchids quickly and profitably.

Albius’ technique revolutionized the cultivation of vanilla and made it possible to profitably grow vanilla beans away from their native Mexico.

Portrait of Edmond Albius, circa 1863 Source: Wikipedia/Public Domain
Portrait of Edmond Albius, circa 1863 Source: Wikipedia/Public Domain

French colonists brought vanilla beans to Réunion and nearby Mauritius in the 1820s with the hope of starting production there.

However, the vines were sterile because no insect would pollinate them. In the 1830s, Charles Morren, a professor of botany at the University of Liège in Belgium, developed a method of hand-pollinating vanilla, but his technique was slow and required too much effort to make cultivating vanilla a moneymaking proposition.

Drawing of Vanilla from the Florentine Codex (circa 1580) and description of its use and properties written in the Nahuatl language Source: Wikipedia/Public Domain
Drawing of Vanilla from the Florentine Codex (circa 1580) and description of its use and properties written in the Nahuatl language Source: Wikipedia/Public Domain

In 1841, Albius discovered how to quickly pollinate the vanilla orchid with a thin stick or blade of grass and a simple thumb gesture. With the stick or grass blade, field hands lift the rostellum, the flap that separates the male anther from the female stigma, and then, with their thumbs, smear the sticky pollen from the anther over the stigma.

In 1848, France outlawed slavery in its colonies, and Albius left the plantation for St. Denis, where he worked as a kitchen servant.

He was convicted of stealing jewellery and sentenced to ten years in prison, but the sentence was commuted after five years when the governor granted him clemency in light of his enormous contribution to vanilla production in Réunion.

Albius died in poverty in St. Suzanne in 1880.

Vanilla fruits, dried By B.navez - Photo : B.navez, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=436896
Vanilla fruits, dried By B.navez – Photo : B.navez, CC BY-SA 3.0, 

Albius’ manual pollination method is still used today, as nearly all vanilla is pollinated by hand.

After Albius’s discovery, Réunion became for a time the world’s largest supplier of vanilla. French colonists used Albius’ technique in Madagascarto cultivate vanilla, and Madagascar remains the world’s chief vanilla producer.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

Blog Stats

  • 1,384,192 hits

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.adonisbouh@gmail.com

Join 731 other followers

%d bloggers like this: