I was reading about a paper that attempted to create a “food network” to explain covariance in commodity prices, when something in the abstract caught me:
A better understanding of the fluctuations in commodity prices would have significant ramifications across broad disciplines. The Network Science Center at the United States Military Academy is interested in this area of research for a number of reasons, including creating a comprehensive plan for incentivizing legitimate farming practices in Afghanistan — a policy problem intimately linked with an understanding of commodities markets. This paper hopes to fill in some of the gaps in explaining the human-agriculture interaction from a networked perspective by testing dependence hypotheses through sociocultural (recipes) and financial (commodities prices) data.
Why is the US Military responsible for “incentivizing legitimate farm practices in Afghanistan”. I know the military often has a broad interest in seemingly unrealted areas, but this seems way off task, and a great example of how we are asking our armed forces to take on challenges they may not be equipped to handle or that distract that from their primary goal — protecting us.