Tag Archives | Environment

The Triumph of the Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Ashton Carter’s predecessor, greets Sen. Carl Levin and Sen. John McCain, at right in the blue and red ties, respectively. Photo via Wikipedia

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Ashton Carter’s predecessor, greets Sen. Carl Levin and Sen. John McCain, at right in the blue and red ties, respectively. Photo via Wikipedia

Via Ben Cohen & Winslow Wheeler at Medium:

In his farewell address in January 1961, Pres. Dwight Eisenhower famously cautioned the American public to “guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.”

Today it’s routine for critics of wasteful military spending to cite Eisenhower’s warning. Unfortunately, Eisenhower did not warn us that the military-industrial complex would become increasingly malignant as it morphed into less obvious forms.

The “complex” is no longer just “military” and “industrial,” and it has extended far beyond just its congressional branch, which Eisenhower also intended to include.

It’s now deeply embedded in the fiber of the American political system, academia, the civilian leadership of the Defense Department and—increasingly—the White House itself.

• • •

The military-industrial-complex was on display—but passed without wide notice—on Dec.

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Pesticides just got a whole lot smaller. Is that a good thing?

Liz Core writes at Grist:

Nanoparticles are basically the X-Men of the molecular world, in that they are unpredictable, elusive, and come in a dizzying array of forms.

So it should come as no surprise that scientists are now researching a new type of nanotechnology that could revolutionize modern farming: nanopesticides. (Cue: Ooo, ahh) Recentstudies have suggested that the nano-scale pesticide droplets could offer a range of benefits including raising crop durability and persistence, while decreasing the amount of pesticide needed to cover the same amount of ground. But they’re also looking at the hefty potential for trouble: No one knows if the nanopesticide particles will seep into water systems, and, if they do, if they will harm non-pests like bees, fish, and even humans.

As we’ve written before, nanotechnology involves engineering particles that are tinier than the tiniest tiny. (More technically, we’re talking anything measured in billionths of a meter.) Scientists find this useful, since most substances behave much differently at that scale.

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USDA Approves New Monsanto Seeds While Kidneys Fail in Sri Lanka

Donna Cleveland (CC BY 2.0)

Donna Cleveland (CC BY 2.0)

Via St. Louis Biz Journal:

St. Louis Biz JournalMonsanto Co. has won approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for new soybean and cotton seeds resistant to specific herbicides, including dicamba and glyphosate, which is marketed by the company under the Roundup brand.

The decision Thursday clears another hurdle for Monsanto’s genetically modified products, with the Environmental Protection Agency expected to make a decision on the seeds in the coming months.

Monsanto applied for deregulation of the plants with the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) in 2013. In its decision Thursday, APHIS said Monsanto’s new technologies “are unlikely to pose a plant pest risk and, therefore, should not be regulated” under the agency’s rules on dissemination of plant pests.

The seeds are part of what Monsanto has branded as its Roundup Ready 2 Xtend system, which combines tolerance to both dicamba and glyphosate herbicides and is aimed in part at tackling glyphosate-resistant weeds.

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First solar round-the-world flight will take 5 months, stop in 12 cities

Jessica Plautz reports at Mashable:

The team preparing for the first round-the-world solar plane flight announced the route they plan to take, which will bring a cutting-edge aircraft to cities from Muscat, Oman, to New York.

The Swiss cofounders and pilots of Solar Impulse 2, Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, said at an event in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday that they plan to begin the flight from Abu Dhabi at the end of February or beginning of March. From there, they will make 12 stops along a 35,000 km (21,748 miles) route.

The stops will include Muscat, Oman; Ahmedabad and Varanasi, India; Mandalay, Myanmar; Chongqing and Nanjing, China; Hawaii, Phoenix, a midwestern city to be determined by weather, and New York City in the United States; and a stopover in Southern Europe or North Africa.

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Hydroponic gardener to raise plants that produce valuable medicines

 

Bob Shaw, St. Paul Pioneer Press writes at Duluth News Tribune:

MAPLEWOOD, Minn. — For Dave Roeser, it’s not just about salad anymore.

St. Paul’s award-winning hydroponic gardener will still grow vegetables but is adding medicinal plants. He plans to raise 100,000 genetically modified plants to produce medicine for cancer, flu and — potentially — Ebola.

“This is exciting,” said Roeser, a retired controller for Hewlett-Packard.

Roeser has been operating a Maplewood greenhouse to produce vegetables for his company, Garden Fresh Farms. He will continue growing vegetables in a new location in St. Paul but has co-founded a new company — MnPharm — to convert the Maplewood greenhouse into a biological drug factory.

Scientists — and Roeser — see great potential in using plants to produce vaccines.

That’s because vaccines traditionally have been made by the cumbersome process of injecting weakened germs into chicken eggs.

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Mummy Mask May Reveal Oldest Known Gospel

This mummy mask was one of the masks that the researchers took apart to reveal ancient papyri. This mummy mask is similar to the one that contained the first century gospel fragment. Credit: Courtesy of Prof. Craig Evans

This mummy mask was one of the masks that the researchers took apart to reveal ancient papyri. This mummy mask is similar to the one that contained the first century gospel fragment.
Credit: Courtesy of Prof. Craig Evans

Owen Jarus writes at LiveScience:

A text that may be the oldest copy of a gospel known to exist — a fragment of the Gospel of Mark that was written during the first century, before the year 90 — is set to be published.

At present, the oldest surviving copies of the gospel texts date to the second century (the years 101 to 200).

This first-century gospel fragment was written on a sheet of papyrus that was later reused to create a mask that was worn by a mummy. Although the mummies of Egyptian pharaohs wore masks made of gold, ordinary people had to settle for masks made out of papyrus (or linen), paint and glue.

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In Our Veins: A Surreal Meditation on the Natural World

Amy Guidry‘s Artist Statement:

The premise of my series “In Our Veins” is to explore the connections between all life forms and the cycle of life. Through a psychological, and sometimes visceral, approach, this series investigates our relationships to each other and to the natural world, as well as our role in the life cycle. Concepts such as life and death, survival and exploitation, and the interdependence and destruction of living and nonliving organisms are illustrated throughout. Using imagery derived from dreams and free association, “In Our Veins” demonstrates these ideas in a surreal, psychologically-charged narrative.

You can follow Amy on Facebook and sign up for her newsletter here.

The Pack - Acrylic on canvas, 20"w x 10"h

The Pack – Acrylic on canvas, 20″w x 10″h

The Pack - Acrylic on canvas, 20″w x 10″h

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Monsanto is now the leader in corn in Ukraine and 7 other ways they are killing the 5 year plan

monsantopoison

Via WTF News:

Monsanto’s reported 34 percent earnings decline, which was hinted at last quarter as we reported, was released during the media frenzy after the terror attacks in Paris.

AP
Monsanto said Wednesday that its earnings fell 34 percent in its first fiscal quarter as South American farmers cut back on planting corn, reducing demand for the company’s biotech-enhanced seeds.

U.S. farmers harvested record crops of soybeans and corn last year, sending prices on those food staples to their lowest levels in years. That has resulted in farmers in South America and elsewhere reducing the number of acres they dedicate to corn. The company said lower corn plantings in the U.S. will likely reduce second quarter results by 5 to 10 percent compared with the prior year.

Monsanto said its business was also affected by reduced cotton planting in Australia and a shift in timing for its chemical business.

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Survivors of the Apocalypse

MARTIN WITTFOOTH — BABEL.  Some of the most beautiful, moving and relevant paintings of our time.

BABEL by New York based artist Martin Wittfooth is the new book featuring 124 pages of  masterful works spanning over five years (2009-2014).

Martin’s work is a rich narrative tapestry that celebrates animals as victors after an apparent apocalyptic event. “Animal apparitions trapped within theatrical atriums caught acting out scenes of good and evil, life and death.”

“Instinctive and purposeful, New York-based oil painter Martin Wittfooth conveys mention of the Masters while sifting through personal revelations, environmental phenomena and socio-political disturbances.” (Nocturne II featured in BABEL).

BABEL is a museum-grade publication documenting seven prolific solo exhibitions featuring large-scale oil paintings: De Anima (2014), Empire (2012), The Passions (2011), Gardens (2010), Tempest (2010), Babylon (2009), Sandcastles in the Tide (2008) and Melting Season 2006).

BABEL features written contributions by Marshall Arisman, Kirsten Anderson, Martin Wittfooth and Mark Murphy.… Read the rest

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Top 10 Patents for 2014

Via IPWatchdog

Our Top 10 Patents of 2014

Closing out our year of reporting on innovations from all over the world, our Top 10 Patents of 2014 list picks up where we left off with our survey of the best patent applications published this past year. Today, we’re picking the best inventions for which corporations from the Companies We Follow series have actually earned patent rights from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Alternative energies, drones, robots, seawater desalination and the Internet of Things all make an appearance in today’s profile of the best inventions from the past year.

#10: Seawater Desalination System

U.S. Patent No. 8834712

Access to fresh water has been a major and growing concern in our world as the human population increases and freshwater resources dwindle. 2015 marks the end of the Water For Life campaign established by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA).

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