Thursday, July 22, 2004

Working like a dog

I have been working 10-12 hour days on my internship, and I haven't had Internet access at home, so I haven't been doing much blogging or web surfing lately. Tonight I'm working the late shift here at the law library's reference desk, so I've a chance to do some blogging. My internship here in Tulsa will be over in two more weeks, so tune back in for more of Neal's demented rantings at that time.

This internship exposed me to several archive-related projects and really broadened my horizons in that way.

On a side note, the head of special collections here in Tulsa is from Southern California and went to UCLA for her MLIS. My advisor, Professor Richardson, wrote her a letter of recommendation over 15 years ago for an entry-level assistant curator job here in Tulsa. Now she is the head of the department.

I'm enjoying Tulsa, although the heat index has been over 100 degrees Fahrenheit almost every single day that I've been here. Southern California living had been making me soft, but now I'm getting back into my old Midwestern form.

I just read an interesting article in the Harvard Journal of Law and Technology called American Patent Policy, Biotechnology, and African Agriculture: the Case for Policy Change by Michael R. Taylor and Jerry Crayford (Spring 2004, Volume 17, No. 2, pages 321-407).

They argue that the US is hypocritical when on the one hand we claim that food security is important and we claim to help the developing world, but on the other hand we push measures like the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) through the WTO and demand strong enforcement of biotechnology patents that could help feed millions of people around the world.

U.S. policies on matters such as patents, agricultural subsidies, trade, and food aid -- all of which are grounded in their own set of policy goals and political interests -- have spillover effects beyond their original intent. These policies have a deep impact on important, unanticipated U.S. interests, such as reducing poverty, increasing subsistence farmers' yields, and achieving food security in developing regions like Africa. In today's interconnected world, the United States cannot afford to develop and maintain these policies without considering their widespread impacts and attempting to reconcile them with the nation's broader interests.

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