ACDC News – Issue 20-11

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Extreme floods. Short memories.

“How long do floods throughout the millennium remain in the collective memory?” A team of environmental researchers at Czech University of Life Sciences asked that question as title of their 2019 article in Nature Communications. They tested data on 1,293 settlements founded across nine centuries (1118-1845) in the Vltava river basin in central Europe, enduring seven extreme (100-year or more) floods.

“We conclude that flood memory depends on living witnesses, and fades away already within two generations. Historical memory is not sufficient to protect human settlements from the consequences of rare catastrophic floods.” Authors offered suggestions for keeping memories alive – and history from repeating itself.

Do you wonder if a deep “eroding memory” tendency may apply to human experiences beyond devastating floods? You can read this article by open access here.

Where UK consumers place trust for information about novel foods produced by nanotechnologies

We recently added to the ACDC collection a 2018 Food Policy article about this topic. Researchers investigated levels of trust that United Kingdom consumers placed in 16 institutions as sources of information involving use of nanotechnologies in food production and packaging. Findings identified three different consumer groups and provided insights into the development of best practices and policies in risk communication and management.

You can read the article by open access here.

Online tools that reporters use to track wildfires before things get really hot

Joseph A. Jones recently identified a variety of tools and sources North American journalists use to “stay ahead of the smoke and fire.” His tips to members of the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) included databases, websites, situation reports, fire statistics, incident display maps, state forester and tribal contacts, and other sources.

You can read the August 12, 2020, SEJ online article here.

A new perspective on agricultural (including food) communications

For decades, we agricultural journalists and communicators have fielded questions about whether we talk to plants and animals. Of course, we do. And now we can add an assurance that our guts communicate with our brains. How else do we (and others) get “that feeling in our guts?”

We bring this up because of a 2020 article published in Automatic Neuroscience: Basic and Clinical. It reflects the recent work of University of Illinois researchers. They explained their findings as a kind of cross-talk between the entire brain and our small intestines (in particular) through neuronal connections.

“It’s not a surprise that the brain responds to signals in the gut, initiating motor functions involved with digestion,” a co-author noted. Looking ahead, he observed: “…we may finally begin to understand how hunger makes us ‘hangry,’ or how a stressful day becomes an irritable bowel.”

Read a research summary, “Gut communicates with the entire brain,” here.

Information issues in the wake of “Ag-Gag” legislation

A recent addition to the ACDC collection is entitled “Behind a veil of secrecy: animal abuse, factory farms, and Ag-Gag legislation.” It was published during 2016 in the Contemporary Justice Review. Authors Pamela Fiber-Ostrow and Jarret S. Lovell addressed “the abundance and increasing laws expanding the rights of agricultural interests over the rights and duties of American citizens and the animals with whom they coexist.”

You can read the abstract here with full-text PDF available for purchase from the publisher. Or confer with us at

Communicator events approaching

Uncertainties of the COVID-19 health issue continue to prompt flexible event planning. Here are plans of which we are aware, with website addresses you can use to track updates.

February 7-8, 2021 (online/virtual symposium rescheduled from on-site)

National Agricultural Communications Symposium (NACS) will feature (1) research or professional papers and (2) research and innovative ideas posters.

Information about papers: Dr. Shuyant Qu at Information about posters: Dr. Annie Specht at

April 12-15, 2021

“Mediterranean Agriculture, Food and Environment.” Annual conference of the Association for International Agricultural and Extension Education (AIAEE) in Thessaloniki, Greece.


 Is it talent, luck, business skill, or ….?

We close this issue of ACDC News with a recent thought from Alex DiNovo, president of the DNO Produce group of companies, Columbus, Ohio. He was writing in The Packer about success in the roller-coaster fresh produce business.

“As far as I can tell, individual skill in this business is not as much about innate talent or God-given brilliance as much as it is persistently applied hard work and the lessons learned from failure in those endeavors.

Best regards and wishes during this challenging time

ACDC is a resource for you, so please feel free to invite our help as you search for information. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @ACDCUIUC. And please suggest (or send) agricultural communications documents we might add to this unique and valuable international collection. We welcome them in hard copy (sent to Ag Comm Documentation Center, Room 510, 1101 S. Goodwin Avenue, Urbana, IL 61801) – or in electronic format sent to