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The Banana Dead-End
3 Nov 2009, Oregon State University
Journalist Daniel Koeppel takes listeners to banana plantations across the globe that are being destroyed by a fast-moving blight, and to the biotech labs where a race is on to save them.
- lecture intro by ORB director Steve Strauss
- lecture slides (pdf version)
- study guide
- streaming audio
- streaming video
Dan Koeppel has written for the New York Times Magazine, Outside, Audubon, Popular Science, and National Geographic Adventure, where he is a contributing editor. He has also appeared on CNN and Good Morning America, and is a former commentator for Public Radio International's Marketplace.
In his Food for Thought lecture, Dan talks about the questionable fate of one of the most important fruits in the world, explaining how bananas became so important, why the business of bananas has been so checkered (and sometimes even deadly), and most importantly, what makes banana trees weak — and what might make them strong again.