At the heart of Monsanto’s global research operation is a structure with a rather ordinary name. But on the fourth floor of Building GG is a room where the future of wheat may be changing.
Only the Sheeple Are Sane
This post is about an issue that is by now a bit dated (though the topic as such certainly isn’t), but we have only just become aware of it and it seemed to us worth rescuing it from the memory hole. In late 2013, the then newest issue of the American Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM for short) defined a new mental illness, the so-called “oppositional defiant disorder” or ODD.
As TheMindUnleashed.org informs us, the definition of this new mental illness essentially amounts to declaring any non-conformity and questioning of authority as a form of insanity. According to the manual, ODD is defined as:
[…] an “ongoing pattern of disobedient, hostile and defiant behavior,” symptoms include questioning authority, negativity, defiance, argumentativeness, and being easily annoyed.
Every time a new issue of the DSM appears, the number of mental disorders grows – and this growth is exponential. A century ago there were essentially 7 disorders, 80 years ago there were 59, 50 years ago there were 130, and by 2010 there were 374 (77 of which were “found” in just seven years). A prominent critic of this over-diagnosing (and the associated over-medication trend) is psychologist Dr. Paula Caplan.
As MindUnleashed notes:
“Are we becoming sicker? Is it getting harder to be mentally healthy? Authors of the DSM-IV say that it’s because they’re better able to identify these illnesses today. Critics charge that it’s because they have too much time on their hands.
New mental illnesses identified by the DSM-IV include arrogance, narcissism, above-average creativity, cynicism, and antisocial behavior. In the past, these were called “personality traits,” but now they’re diseases. And there are treatments available.”
Edward Abbey on what happens when no-one ever stirs things up
There is an obvious danger involved with such loose definitions such as the one employed in identifying the alleged illness of “ODD”. A chilling example was provided by the Soviet Union in the 1960s and 1970s. In a 1959 speech, Nikita Khrushchev made the following remark:
“Can there be diseases, nervous diseases among certain people in the communist society? Evidently there can be. If that is so, then there also will be offenses which are characteristic of people with abnormal minds. To those who might start calling for opposition to communism on this ‘basis,’ we say that now, too, there are people who fight against communism, but clearly the mental state of such people is not normal.”
Published: January 15th, 2015. Find Full Article Here:-
The facility has dozens of rooms just like it. But inside this particular 10-foot by 20-foot growth chamber — whose mirrored walls and sun-bright lamps can imitate the weather of any U.S. field — is a batch of young wheat plants.
They’re part of an intensive effort to use breeding and gene manipulation to make a new kind of wheat. The plants represent several years’ worth of work aimed at creating a plant that’s resistant to a trio of herbicides.
The research has the attention of supporters and critics alike.
The supporters tout the work being done at the Chesterfield Village Research Center as critical to feeding a growing global population, while the critics say the world isn’t ready for the genetic modification of a dinner table staple.
For Creve Coeur-based Monsanto, it is an expensive and time-consuming quest. It costs $150 million or more to add just one new genetic trait to a seed. Add a long development timeline — including field trials and regulatory approvals — and it could be another decade before the company is ready to put its new wheat seeds in farmers’ hands.
“People think we’re being coy about it. But we really don’t know,” said Claire Cajacob, director of the company’s wheat research.
It takes a combination of traditional breeding and genetic enhancement to mate the ideal plant with the right genetic sequences to arm it with the ability to shrug off the herbicides dicamba, glufosinate and glyphosate — Monsanto’s signature weedkiller sold as Roundup.
To get there, researchers will sift through hundreds of thousands of plants.
“You have to find the one plant that’s going to be the parent of every other seed out there,” Cajacob said.
The funny thing (though the company probably sees no humor) is that this isn’t the first time Monsanto has sought the perfect wheat plant. They found it before.
A decade ago, the agriculture giant was on the verge of seeking regulatory approval for a Roundup-Ready version of hard red spring wheat, typically used for bread flour.
But in May 2004, Monsanto halted the program, citing changing market conditions. It was clear that growers — worried about consumer backlash — weren’t ready.
“There was massive opposition,” said Bill Freese, a GMO critic and science policy analyst for the Center for Food Safety.
It didn’t take long, however, before wheat farmers grew tired of watching neighbors switch to more profitable corn and soybeans — both having seen greater yield increases fueled by stronger breeding programs and genetic modifications. By 2006, the number of U.S. acres planted with wheat had dropped to 57 million, down from 75 million a decade earlier. Soybeans, on the other hand, surged from 64 million to 75 million during the same period, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“We came to the conclusion that we had to do something,” said Paul Penner, president of the National Association of Wheat Growers. “It’s no fun raising wheat if you are making a loss on it.”
So in 2008, the group asked its members if they were ready for GMO wheat.
A survey went to 21,000 growers in the organization. A third of them answered, with 76 percent saying yes.
The change of heart should not be surprising, said Jason Lusk, an agriculture professor at Oklahoma State University and a supporter of GMO wheat.
“They can see some of the benefits that other groups have enjoyed,” Lusk said. “Why deny producers the choice?”
With many wheat growers now clamoring for the same seed enhancements enjoyed by soybean and corn farmers, Monsanto changed course again.
In the summer of 2009, the company revived its wheat program and grabbed the raw seed materials needed by its scientists, spending $45 million on WestBred, a Montana wheat breeding company.
Former government adviser Dr David Nutt says ban on MDMA has resulted in more dangerous drugs coming on to market.
The deaths of four men who had taken pills they thought were ecstasy are the result of the government’s “illogical and punitive drug policy”, a former drugs tsar has said.
MDMA is the chemical name for ecstasy, but the pills bearing a Superman emblem that have been linked to four recent deaths – three in Suffolk and one in Telford – are believed to have been made with a high concentration of the chemical PMMA.
Suffolk police said on Monday that they had seized more than 400 pills matching the description of those believed to have been taken by two Ipswich men stashed in a public place in the city.
Writing for the Guardian, Nutt, who was sacked as the government’s senior drug adviser in 2009 after criticising its decision to toughen the law on cannabis, said PMMA and its close relative PMA have been responsible for most of the deaths – amounting to more than 100 – attributed to ecstasy by the media in recent years.
“Their re-emergence is directly due to the international community’s attempts, via UN conventions, to stop the use of MDMA by prohibiting its production and sale,” he wrote. “The emergence of the more toxic PMA following the so-called ‘success’ in reducing MDMA production is just one of many examples of how prohibition of one drug leads to greater harm from an alternative that is developed to overcome the block.”
Nutt, the Edmond J Safra professor of neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London, compared the situation to the rise in demand for more poisonous hooch after alcohol was prohibited in the US during the 1920s and the rise in production and injecting of heroin after smoking opium was banned.
He explained that the UN banned a number of precursor chemicals to MDMA, including safrole. As safrole supplies dropped, drug makers switched to chemically similar aniseed oil. “Unfortunately, the product that results from using the MDMA production process with aniseed oil is PMA or PMMA,” he wrote. “Hence, these substances only exist because of the blockade of MDMA production. That in itself wouldn’t particularly matter if they were not more toxic than MDMA.”
Nutt said there should be testing facilities for users, without fear of prosecution, like those in the Netherlands, or safe doses of pure MDMA should be available to registered users. “In the meantime, we should accelerate the testing of seized tablets and make public their contents and strengths on internet databases, so that all users can check what they might be taking,” he wrote.
A Home Office spokeswoman said: “MDMA, PMA and PMMA are all illegal class A drugs. They destroy lives, cause misery to families and communities, and this government has no intention of decriminalising them. No drug-taking can be assumed to be safe.”
The chief superintendent of Suffolk police, Jon Brighton, said the seizure of 400 pills on Sunday night was a significant development in its investigation into the deaths of the two Ipswich men.
“If these prove to be the same as those linked to these cases, we will have gone a significant way towards reducing the risk of further serious injury or deaths linked to this particular ecstasy pill,” he added.
A man has been charged and two men have been bailed after arrests made as part of the investigation into the deaths.
A 19-year-old Ipswich man, Adrian Lubecki, has been charged with being concerned in the supply of ecstasy and possession with intent to supply a class B drug. He appeared at Ipswich magistrates court on Monday and was remanded in custody.
The discovery of Teixobactin could pave the way for a new generation of antibiotics because of the way it was discovered.
The first new antibiotic to be discovered in nearly 30 years has been hailed as a ‘paradigm shift’ in the fight against the growing resistance to drugs.
Teixobactin has been found to treat many common bacterial infections such as tuberculosis, septicaemia and C. diff, and could be available within five years.
But more importantly it could pave the way for a new generation of antibiotics because of the way it was discovered.
Scientists have always believed that the soil was teeming with new and potent antibiotics because bacteria have developed novel ways to fight off other microbes.
But 99 per cent of microbes will not grow in laboratory conditions leaving researchers frustrated that they could not get to the life-saving natural drugs.
Now a team from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, have discovered a way of using an electronic chip to grow the microbes in the soil and then isolate their antibiotic chemical compounds.
They discovered that one compound, Teixobactin, is highly effective against common bacterial infections Clostridium difficile, Mycobacterium tuberculous and Staphylococcus aureus.
Professor Kim Lewis, Director of the Antimicrobial Discovery Centre said: “Apart from the immediate implementation, there is also I think a paradigm shift in our minds because we have been operating on the basis that resistance development is inevitable and that we have to focus on introducing drugs faster than resistance.
“Teixobactin shows how we can adopt an alternative strategy and develop compounds to which bacteria are not resistant.”
The first antibiotic Penicillin, was discovered by Alexander Fleming in 1928 and more than 100 compounds have been found since, but no new class has been found since 1987.
The lack of new drugs coupled with over-prescribing has led to bacteria becoming increasingly resistant to modern medicines.
Dame Sally Davies, the government’s Chief Medical Officer, said antibiotic resistant was ‘as big a risk of terrorism; and warned that Britain faced returning to a 19th century world where the smallest infection or operation could kill.
The World Health Oganisation has also classified antimicrobial resistance as a “serious threat’ to every region of the world which ‘has the potential to affect anyone, of any age, in any country”
However the new discovery offers hope that many new antibiotics could be found to fight bacterial infections.
Crucially, the scientists believe that bacteria will not become resistant to Teixobactin for at least 30 years because of its multiple methods of attack.
Testing on mice has already shown that the antibiotic works well at clearing infections, without side-effects. The team is now concentrating on upscaling production so that it could be tested in humans.
“Right now we can deliver a dose that cures mice and a variety of models of infection and we can deliver 10 mg per kg so it correlates well with human usage,” added Professor Lewis.
The breakthrough was heralded by scientists who said it could prove a ‘game-changer’ in the struggle against antimicrobial resistance.
Prof Laura Piddock, Professor of Microbiology at the University of Birmingham, said: “The screening tool developed by these researchers could be a ‘game changer’ for discovering new antibiotics as it allows compounds to be isolated from soil producing micro-organisms that do not grow under normal laboratory conditions.”
Prof Mark Woolhouse, Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, from the University of Edinburgh added: “Any report of a new antibiotic is auspicious, but what most excites me about the paper is the tantalising prospect that this discovery is just the tip of the iceberg.
“Most antibiotics are natural products derived from microbes in the soil. The ones we have discovered so far come from a tiny subset of the rich diversity of microbes that live there.
“Lewis et al. have found a way to look for antibiotics in other kinds of microbe, part of the so-called microbial “dark matter” that is very difficult to study.”
Dr Angelika Gründling, Reader in Molecular Microbiology, Imperial College London said the discovery , ‘raises our hopes that new antibiotics can be brought to the clinics in the not too distant future.’
“The great hope is now that many more new antibiotics can be uncovered in a similar manner.”
Public Health England also welcomed the breakthrough.
“The rise in antibiotic resistance is a threat to modern healthcare as we know it so this discovery could potentially help to bridge the ever increasing gap between infections and the medicines we have available to treat them,” said Prof Neil Woodford, Head of Public Health England’s Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infections Reference Unit.
The research was published in the journal Nature.
Not a Healthful Alternative to Soda.
We have known for some time that drinking sodas can lead to an almost infinite amount of health complications, but what about diet soda? Actually, diet soda is not at all a healthful alternative to soda, as the artificial sweeteners added to the beverages can also cause all sorts of problems. What’s more, these artificial sweeteners mess with your brain in numerous ways – often even causing you to consume more than you normally would.
Numerous studies have drawn a link between various illnesses and diet sodas – or at least with the artificial sweeteners. Research has found that drinking these beverages can lead to an increased risk of diabetes, blood pressure, heart disease, and even obesity – a primary issue many are trying to avoid by choosing the drink. So is diet soda bad for you? You bet.
One of those studies, from Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science further, investigated the correlation between artificial sweeteners, and weight gain and diabetes. The study, published in the scientific journal Nature, had some compelling findings that may explain the previous contradicting results:
- People consuming artificial sweeteners had overall higher blood sugars than those who rarely or never did. Some saw an increase in their blood sugars with just one week of consuming the fake sugars.
- Mice given the artificial sweeteners gained just as much weight and had higher blood sugars than the ones given regular sugar despite consuming less calories!
Drinking diet sodas even affects us on a cellular level. We can attribute this to diet sodas containing bizarre ingredients like mold inhibitors (not found in sugary sodas) often listed as sodium benzoate or potassium benzoate. Peter Piper of the University of Sheffield says these chemicals “have the ability to cause severe damage to DNA in the mitochondria to the point that they totally inactivate it.” Be wary of these ingredients if you want to steer clear of hives, asthma, and other allergic reactions, too.
Unfortunately, the negative effects don’t stop at the physical. In addition to the physical effects of diet soda, it can also mess with your brain. Check out the video below from CNN to find out just how artificial sweeteners like aspartame trick our brains, often leading to the exact opposite outcome many people seek from diet soda.
Scientists at the University of California discovered that the human body views red meat as a foreign invader and launches an immune response.
Red meat has been linked to cancer for decades, with research suggesting that eating large amounts of pork, beef or lamb raises the risk of deadly tumours.
But for the first time scientists think they know what is causing the effect. The body, it seems, views red meat as a foreign invader and sparks a toxic immune response.
Researchers have always been puzzled about how other mammals could eat a diet high in red meat without any adverse health consequences.
Now they have discovered that pork, beef and lamb contains a sugar which is naturally produced by other carnivores but not humans.
It means that when humans eat red meat, the body triggers an immune response to the foreign sugar, producing antibodies which spark inflammation, and eventually cancer.
In other carnivores the immune system does not kick in, because the sugar – called Neu5Gc – is already in the body.
Scientists at the University of California proved that mice which were genetically engineered so they did not produce Neu5Gc naturally developed tumours when they were fed the sugar.
“This is the first time we have directly shown that mimicking the exact situation in humans increases spontaneous cancers in mice,” said Dr Ajit Varki, Professor of Medicine and Cellular and Molecular Medicine at the University of California.
“The final proof in humans will be much harder to come by.
“This work may also help explain potential connections of red meat consumption to other diseases exacerbated by chronic inflammation, such as atherosclerosis and type 2 diabetes.
“Of course, moderate amounts of red meat can be a source of good nutrition for young people. We hope that our work will eventually lead the way to practical solutions for this catch-22.”
Red meat is a good source of protein, vitamin and minerals, but an increasing body of research suggests too much is bad for long-term health.
Health experts recommend eating no more than 2.5oz (70g) a day, the equivalent of three slices of ham, one lamb chop or two slices of roast beef a day
A study published by Harvard University in June suggested that a diet high in red meat raised the risk of breast cancer for women by 22 per cent.
In 2005 a study found those who regularly ate 5.6oz (160g) of red meat a day had one third higher risk of bowel cancer.
The average person in the UK has 2.5oz (70g) meat a day 3oz (88g) among men, 2oz (52g) among women) but 33 per cent have more than 3.5oz (100g) a day.
Previous research has suggested that a pigment in red meat may also damage the DNA of cells lining the digestive system.
The new research was published online in the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Nuclear waste left lying on beach — Kids playing on sand where machines scoop up plutonium each day — Alarming test results 1,000% legal limit.
SWR (German public television broadcaster), 2013 (emphasis added):
- 25:00 in — The dumping of nuclear waste in the sea was banned worldwide in 1993, yet the nuclear industry has come up with other ways. They no longer dump the barrels at sea; they build kilometers of underwater pipes through which the radioactive effluent now flows freely into the sea. One of these pipes is situated in Normandy [near] the French reprocessing plant in La Hague… The advantage for the nuclear industry? No more bad press… disposal via waste pipes remains hidden from the public eye, quite literally.
- 28:30 in — 400 km from La Hague [as well as] Holland [and] Germany… we find iodine… 5-fold higher tritium value than [reported] by the operator Areva. It’s now obvious why citizens take their own measurements.
- 30:15 in — Molecular Biologist: “The radioactive toxins accumulate in the food chain. This little worm can contain 2,000-3,000 times more radioactivity than its environment. It is then eaten by the next biggest creature and so on, at the end of the food chain we discovered damage to the reproductive cells of crabs… These genetic defects are inherited from one generation to the next… Cells in humans and animals are the same.”
- 32:00 in — The 2nd disposal pipe for Europe’s nuclear waste is located in the north of England… Radioactive pollution comes in from the sea. Their houses are full of plutonium dust… The pipe from Sellafield is clearly visible only from the air… nuclear waste is still being dumped into the sea. Operators argue this is land-based disposal… It has been approved by the authorities.
- 35:45 in — Plutonium can be found here on a daily basis, the toxic waste returns from the sea… it leaches out, it dries, and is left lying on the beach. The people here have long since guessed that the danger is greater than those responsible care to admit… Every day a small excavator removes plutonium from the beach… In recent decades the operator at Sellafield has tossed more than 500 kg of plutonium into the sea.
- 42:00 in — We take a soil sample… The result turns out to be alarming. The amount of plutonium is up to 10 times higher than the permissible limit.
Yahoo News, Dec 5, 2014: All this radiation from the [Fukushima] disaster has definitely not been isolated to just Japan. Researchers monitoring the Pacific Ocean, in which much of the radiation spilled into, have detected radioactive isotopes this past November just 160 km [100 miles] off the coast of California. So this story will continue to unfold for many years to come.