Hi, my name is Deric Brazill and this is my writings on subjects. I'm no rapscallion or anything at all. If you want to you can read my writings on subjects if you have free time. If you want to argue with me or call me names then please comment. Negative feedback is very welcome...I love dat shit.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Past, Present, and Future.......of Corn.

I eat a lot of vegetables, some are over rated and some are under rated. In this essay I am going to write about my favorite vegetable.

My favorite vegetable (if you haven't guessed yet) is corn! So without further ado, let's talk about corn.

Past

The history of corn is an interesting one to say the least.

Maize or Maïs has been around since pre-historic times. Farmers in the Western Hemisphere were planting and harvesting it since around 2000 B.C.E. (well before Columbus "discovered" America of course).

Teosinte: The father of Corn.
It seems to have come from a naturally occurring weed named Teosinte, farmers most likely noticed a mutant version of Teosinte grass one afternoon and thought it was cool and brought it home with them. The strange growths on the plant's extremities were larger and stranger looking than on the normal teosinte. The farmers must have planted the seeds of the mutant strain of Teosinte and were surprised to find that it could re-create itself. Some of the new plants from the mutated teosinte developed even larger vegetables growing at its extremities.

Next, through a process of selective breeding...the farmers chose the seeds from the plant which produced the largest and most colorful (yellow) vegetables at its extremities. They sewed the seeds of only the most mutated teosinte grass plants until they further mutated into what we know now as maize or corn.

The ingenuity of farmers in what we now call South and Central America is how we originally created corn. Farmers from this region also discovered potatoes, tomatoes, and other vegetables through selective bio-engineering. After Europeans "discovered the new world" (I don't understand how anyone can say that with a straight face anymore) these vegetables started being brought back and grown in Europe too.

The original use of corn/maize was to eat. Corn is pretty tasty, I like eating it. The farmers who first created corn would grind it up with a mortar and pestle into a viscous paste...like a porridge or a thick soup. Personally, I like to cook it and cream it too because your body doesn't always digest raw corn and it tends to come out whole grain in your movements.

Present

We now produce a lot of corn as a global nation. The world produces 200,000,000 metric tonnes of corn per year. A metric tonne is 1000 kilograms or roughly 2,205 pounds. Wow, I want to write the number of pounds of corn produced by humans yearly...let's see...carry the zero...and....

 441,000,000,000 pounds

We humans produce 441 billion pounds of corn every year. That's a lot. The leading country in corn production is the USA which produces about 350,000 metric tonnes per year.

Right now, in the present, we do not produce much corn for human consumption. According to Iowa Corn Dot Org only about 10% of the corn of today is used to eat. The breakdown is roughly as so...

40% for feed
30% for fuel
20% for corn syrup
10% for raw corn, cornmeal and grits

Feed is corn used to feed livestock animals (cows, chickens, pigs). Fuel is corn used to make bio ethanol fuel to power automobiles and other fuel burning combustion devices. Corn syrup is a high fructose syrup used as a food additive. The final 10% is raw human consumption.

This is the case globally as well. We are mainly creating corn to feed livestock, make ethanol fuels and to produce high fructose corn syrup (mainly used to make cola drinks bottled by Pepsi or Coca Cola).

This is interesting of course, but it is also troubling as well. Why isn't the percentage of corn used to power vehicles higher? Why is feed and corn syrup so high? The answer seems to point to poor eating habits and much of the blame appears to be on fast food restaurants.

Many humans around the globe sustain themselves on a diet of corn-fed meat products (burgers) and high fructose corn syrup (cola). Using Macdonald's figures as an example, they serve roughly 70 million customers per day around the world. Assuming, most of those served, purchased a corn-fed livestock sandwich and a 24 ounce cup of high-fructose corn syrup...let's just take a nice round number like 50 million per day...

50 million (corn-fed livestock sandwiches) * 365 (days per annum) = 18,250,000,000 burgers

(0.71 litres *  50 million) * 365 (days per annum) = 12,957,500,000 litres

Every single year, people eat about 18.25 billion burgers and drink 12.96 billion litres of cola from MacDernDern's. Remember, this is only one fast food chain...you'd have to add up Burger King and all the others to get the full picture.
You big Fat Fuck...

What I'm getting at is the world's fast food addiction is not only an unhealthy diet but it's seriously cutting into the corn reserve. It seems if we even cut down on our global intake of pop/soda/cola we would free up a huge amount of corn reserves for the creation of ethanol fuels.

I'm trying to find the amount of Coca Cola and Pepsi consumed around the globe per year...the figures vary but an estimate of 200 billion litres per year is probably not far off. Humans drink two hundred fucking billion litres of corn syrup every year. That's fucked up.

If we even just cut down on our corn syrup consumption we could free up an insane amount of corn production for ethanol fuel.


Future

What is the future of my favorite vegetable? I'm glad you asked, because it seems there's an untapped potential for corn that we haven't been taking advantage of.

Corn Resin (PLA)
I was writing about bio-plastics the other month or so....(here)

I was surprised that we have been making corn starch into plastics since 1958 thanks to Robert P. Baer and other scientists who experimented with Amylomaize. Yes, corn starch can be used to make plastic polymers and plastic resin. Cool eh?

If you follow science, you've probably heard of the new 3D printers that everyone's talking about. Some are predicting that 3D printing will revolutionize the way we produce and manufacture plastic parts.

Basically, a computer scans an object and records all the metrics assigned to said object (length, width, height, weight, angles, contours, depth, etc.) and uses that info to shoot globs of resin to slowly but surely create an exact double of that object. Neat-o, eh?.

Where does corn fit in to this? One of the types of resin ammunition loaded into these 3D printers of the future is something called Polyactic Acid. It's great stuff, great stuff. It is a bio-plastic which is created from corn starch (or tapioca or surghum). Science types refer to it as "PLA" and it can be loaded into 3D printers to print the objects of the future.

So....can we theoretically scan any object and make a corn resin double out of it? Maybe not now, but who knows what the future holds.

Wow....corn is so cool sometimes.

Conclusion

That is why corn is my favorite vegetable. I like a lot of vegetables like potatoes and others....but corn is different. I RESPECT corn.

Hey corn....RESPECT, bro. Keep on being your bad self.

Keep up the good work...corn.

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