Tag Archives | Health

Another State Fights War on Solar and Energy Efficiency

Via Mary Anne Hitt at EcoWatch

Despite poll after poll showing that Americans want more clean energy, Indiana legislators are pushing bills that would reduce energy efficiency and make it harder for Hoosier state residents to go solar, just as the solar industry is getting on its feet in the state.

Last week, Indiana’s Senate Utilities Committee heard from a packed room about its bill that would let utilities set energy efficiency goals. Last year the state decided to end the popular Energizing Indiana efficiency program. Now some in the legislature have created Senate Bill 412, which is very one-sided in favor of utilities who sell electricity and doesn’t protect the average person from monopoly interests.

Energy efficiency is a proven tool to lower electricity bills and save money for people across the state.

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The coming food disaster

David Schubert via CNN:

One would expect that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has the best interests of the public in mind, but its recent decisions have cast serious doubt upon this assumption.

One in particular could have a dramatic impact on the safety of the U.S. food supply: It is the mandate of the EPA to regulate the use of agricultural chemicals like insecticides and herbicides, as well as to determine their allowable limits in food and drinking water.

Herbicides (weed killers) are mixtures of chemicals designed to spray on weeds, where they get inside the plants and inhibit enzymes required for the plant to live. The active ingredient in the most widely used herbicide is glyphosate, while some herbicides contain 2,4D. 2,4D is best known as a component of Agent Orange, a defoliant widely employed during the Vietnam War.

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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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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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Neuroenhancement and the Extended Mind Hypothesis

neuroenhancement

This was originally published on Philosophical Disquisitions.

Consider your smartphone for a moment. It provides you with access to a cornucopia of information. Some of it is general, stored on publicly accessible internet sites, and capable of being called up to resolve any pub debate one might be having (how many U.S. presidents have been assassinated? or how many times have Brazil won the World Cup?). Some of it is more personal, and includes a comprehensive databank of all emails and text message conversations you have had, your calendar appointments, the number of steps you have taken on any given day, books read, films watched, calories consumed and so forth.

Now consider a question: is this information part of your mind? Does it form part of an extended mind loop, one that interfaces with and augments the mental processors inside your skull? According to some philosophers it does. They believe in something called the extended mind hypothesis, which goes against the neuro-physicalist wisdom and holds that the mind is not necessarily to be identified with the brain.… Read the rest

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Transhumanism: Longevity & Immortality

Transhumanism barnstar.png

Antonu (CC)

[Excerpted from Transcendence: The Disinformation Encyclopedia of Transhumanism and the Singularity by R.U. Sirius and Jay Cornell]

Living beyond the perceived limits of an individual human life seems to be the central obsession of transhumanist culture. Transhumanists are against death. Many of the projects and developments discussed in this book are explicitly aimed at the defeat of the Grim Reaper. If you think death is okay, a transhumanist might call you a deathist. A deathist is an enemy of transhumanism, just as a capitalist is an enemy of communism, or a Marxist is an enemy of capitalism.

BEGINNINGS

The quest for extreme longevity through contemporary science method began to gather steam in the latter half of the 20th century. In 1962, American physics professor Robert Ettinger proposed that the biological sciences would someday soon find a key to immortality, and that cryonic preservation was a way that a person living in the 20th century could keep himself intact until that great day.… Read the rest

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This Year’s Flu Shot Provides Weak Protection

Did you get yours?

Rachael Rettner writes at LiveScience:

This year’s flu vaccine is not very effective at preventing the flu, particularly among adults, according to new estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In a study of more than 2,000 people in the United States, including both children and adults, researchers found that those who got this year’s flu shotwere just 23 percent less likely to go to the doctor for flu symptoms than people who didn’t get a shot. This level of protection is quite a bit lower than the level of protection seen in some previous seasons — for example, during the 2012 to 2013 flu season, getting a flu shot reduced people’s risk of needing a doctor’s visit for flu by 56 percent.

This year’s vaccine was most effective for children. But among people ages 18 and older, those who got a flu vaccine were just as likely to go to the doctor for flu as those who were not vaccinated, according to the new study.

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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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The Nature of Mind and the Holographic Brain

Ardonik (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Ardonik (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Via War is a Crime

The purpose of this article is to provide evidence that strongly indicates that you are not your brain, or your body for that matter, and that the nature of mind, of memory, and of our brains may actually be vastly different than we have been lead to believe.

Since time immemorial, man has been fascinated by the mind, leading great thinkers from Hippocrates to Descartes to ponder the nature of mind with wonder. Fast forward to modern times and observe how the mind is still revered and is dominating our culture. We have a lot of firm beliefs about the nature of mind, and I believe the ego — our limited perception of ourselves — and thus human ignorance, is intricately tied in with these beliefs.

But the truth of the matter is that we only understand a fraction of the mind’s potential, i.e.

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