Author Archive | majestic

Where GMOs Hide In Your Food

GMO Full Disclosure AdvocateThe mighty (alright, once-mighty) Consumer Reports picks up the GMO labeling cudgel:

More than 70 percent of Americans say they don’t want genetically modified organisms in their food, according to a recent Consumer Reports National Research Center survey of 1,000 adults. The trouble is, it’s hard to avoid them. Consumer Reports’ tests of breakfast cereals, chips, soy infant formulas, and other popular products found that GMOs lurk in many packaged foods—including some that carry labels suggesting that they don’t have these controversial ingredients.

In more than 60 countries, manufacturers must label foods that contain genetically modified ingredients. But GMO labeling isn’t required in the U.S. Yet our survey found that 92 percent of Americans want genetically modified foods to be labeled. And concerns about the potential health and environmental risks of GMOs coupled with an unwillingness on the part of the federal government to mandate labeling are leading many states to take action on their own.

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The Coming Era of Unlimited — and Free — Clean Energy

When I saw this headline in  a tweet from Daniel Pinchbeck I thought it was going to link to one of “those” blogs, but no, it’s straight from a stalwart of the mainstream media, the Washington Post, which is touting 100% solar-generated electricity meeting all our needs, sooner rather than later:

In the 1980s, leading consultants were skeptical about cellular phones.  McKinsey & Company noted that the handsets were heavy, batteries didn’t last long, coverage was patchy, and the cost per minute was exorbitant.  It predicted that in 20 years the total market size would be about 900,000 units, and advised AT&T to pull out.  McKinsey was wrong, of course.  There were more than 100 million cellular phones in use in 2000; there are billions now.  Costs have fallen so far that even the poor — all over world — can afford a cellular phone.

The experts are saying the same about solar energy now.

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New 20-Year Study Shatters Myths About Marijuana Use

Professor Wayne Hall has published the results of a 20-year study of the use of marijuana in the journal Addiction (PDF of Full Study article here), which summarizes his findings as follows:

Adverse effects of acute cannabis use

  • Cannabis does not produce fatal overdoses.
  • Driving while cannabis-intoxicated doubles the risk of a car crash; this risk increases substantially if users are also alcohol-intoxicated.
  • Cannabis use during pregnancy slightly reduces birth weight of the baby.

Adverse effects of chronic cannabis use

  • Regular cannabis users can develop a dependence syndrome, the risks of which are around 1 in 10 of all cannabis users and 1 in 6 among those who start in adolescence.
  • Regular cannabis users double their risks of experiencing psychotic symptoms and disorders, especially if they have a personal or family history of psychotic disorders, and if they start using cannabis in their mid-teens.
  • Regular adolescent cannabis users have lower educational attainment than non-using peers but we don’t know whether the link is causal.
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Lee Camp: ‘The John Oliver of Russia Today’

LeeCamp BW alley lighter“The John Oliver of Russia Today” is how Salon describes Lee Camp, well known to long-time disinfonauts for his comedic rants (see our  video archive here) and now the star of his own show on RT, Redacted Tonight:

Americans are looking to a growing assortment of comedians to help them digest the news and respond to current events. On one end of the spectrum, we have “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report,” which offer a temporary reprieve from the lunacy of the 24/7 news cycle. Liberal as their leanings are, their targets are outlandish enough that many moderates and conservatives can enjoy their takedowns, too. In the world outside cable news, Bill Maher and John Oliver dial the anger up a few notches. “Last Week Tonight” has become America’s moral compass in just a few months on the air. Then there’s Russell Brand’s YouTube rants against Fox News pundits, which are angrier still.

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Food 2.0

Krispy Kreme DoughnutsThe next big thing for many Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and investors is food. Paul B. Farrell explains ‘Food 2.0′ at MarketWatch:

  • Silicon Valley: “The Next Start-up Craze” is “Food 2.0” predict MIT Technology Review’s editors. “They are taking on corporate giants such as ConAgra, General Mills, and Kraft that spend billions on research and technology development.” Still, you can bet a successful new food-tech start-up is likely to have one of the Big Ag firms along as a venture partner or later as buy-out sugar-daddy.

  • Big Ag’s Monsanto: The global food industry, especially Big Ag capitalists like Monsanto, which controls 27% of the global seed market, is already having trouble feeding a global population of seven billion today. You can bet your corn futures that Monsanto will need many new ag technology breakthroughs if it expects its stock to double again like it had the past four years. And Big Ag is already facing heavy backlash over genetically modified food as it is.

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Dubai Police Will Wear Google Glass Eyewear With Facial Recognition Technology

Should you happen to visit Dubai and notice a bespectacled cop looking at you, chances are he’s running you through the local police department’s facial recognition database to see what they’ve got on you. Report on this Orwellian policing initiative via Reuters:

Dubai police plan to issue detectives with Google Glass hands-free eyewear to help them fight crime using facial recognition technology, a police spokesman in the wealthy Gulf Arab emirate said.

Google Glass Sunglasses

The wearable device consists of a tiny computer screen mounted in the corner of an eyeglass frame and is capable of taking photos, recording video and playing sound.

The spokesman confirmed a report in Dubai’s 7 Days newspaper that software developed by Dubai police would enable a connection between the wearer and a database of wanted people.

Once the device “recognized” a suspect based on a face print, it would alert the officer wearing the gadget.

The gadget would be used in a first phase to combat traffic violations and track vehicles suspected of involvement in motoring offences.

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The ‘Insane’ Conspiracy Theories of Naomi Wolf

Naomi wolf 2012Now just to be clear about this, the adjective “insane” is from VOX, not from us, so make what you will of Naomi Wolf and her “conspiracy theories” as perceived by Max Fisher:

Author and former Democratic political consultant Naomi Wolf published a series of Facebook posts on Saturday in which she questioned the veracity of the ISIS videos showing the murders and beheadings of two Americans and two Britons, strongly implying that the videos had been staged by the US government and that the victims and their parents were actors.

Wolf published a separate Facebook post, also on Saturday, suggesting that the US was sending troops to West Africa not to assist with Ebola treatment but to bring Ebola back to the US to justify a military takeover of American society. She also suggested that the Scottish independence referendum, in which Scots voted to remain in the United Kingdom, had been faked.

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Berkeley Drafts Cell Phone Health Warnings

Mobilize3It looks as though the message of Berkeley, California, filmmaker Kevin Kunze’s documentary Mobilize is getting through to lawmakers, starting in his hometown, as a bill to require retailers to provide health warnings on cell phones is introduced. Report from KALW San Francisco:

Do you hold your cell phone against your ear? Your user manual probably warns against it.

Bret Bocook knew how to use a cell phone. So he didn’t bother to look at the instruction manual until five years ago – after he was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

“I consider myself a very informed person,” he said. “And I still was not aware of the fact that I was effectively smoking three or four packs of cigarettes a day when I was using my cell phone for 20 years, as far as cancer risk.”

Bocook spoke at a San Francisco news conference a year after he collapsed in the shower because a brain tumor the size of a baseball had stopped his heart.

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Building An Elevator To Space

Space elevator structural diagram--corrected for scale+CM+etcNo, it’s not science fiction, reports Gizmodo:

Forget buying a stairway to heaven. Serious people are trying to build an elevator to space.

That’s not a metaphor, and yes, a space elevator sounds like plot point from an Arthur C. Clarke novel. Which makes sense, because it is. It’s a risky but well-considered plan to create a workable transit system between the ground and a set point outside the Earth’s atmosphere. But the space elevator isn’t only a mad-eyed Willy Wonka steampunk daydream. If some indefatigable elevator crusaders have their way, it will be ripped out of the annals of science fiction and safely constructed into reality.

A futuristic plan (that’s over 100 years old)

The idea is futuristic, but it’s also quite old: In 1895, Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, a rocket scientist in Russia, drew up an early proposal for a space elevator, and the basic concept remains unchanged. Enthusiasm for the endeavor has waxed and waned in the space exploration community over the years, but right now, a few high-profile projects are bringing the outlandish-sounding space elevator into focus again.

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