Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Beltsville, Md

Ok, so I'm a bad blogger. A very, very bad blogger. And a bad walker. And here I go, trying to get back on track! So, at mile 131, we find ourselves in Beltsville, Md. Home to the largest agricultural research complex in the world: The Henry A. Wallace Beltsville Agricultural Research Center.

It's been around for 100 years, and in that time it has been the site of some major breakthroughs, including:
-proving that dairy cows and beef cows are the same animal. I have no idea how this was ever in question, but there you go.
-proving that refrigerating pork reduces the chance of catching a parasite from it. Again, this seems kind of obvious, albeit a little less so than the discovery that cows are cows.
-major changes in the process of making butter that increased its shelf life.
-developing a smaller turkey with more breast meat. You probably ate one of its descendants last month for Thanksgiving.
-inventing the Beltsville Aerated Pile Method for composting sewage sludge. Apparently it's very well regarded in the sewage treatment world.
-introducing New Guinea Impatiens to the 99.997% of the world that doesn't live in New Guinea. Possibly less important to humanity than the sewage treatment thing, but definitely more attractive.

miles walked: 131