Monday, September 27, 2010

Why hemp could save the world - National freethought | Examiner.com

Why hemp could save the world - National freethought | Examiner.com:
D.M. Murdock * Freethought Examiner

Why hemp could save the world

  • August 10th, 2010 6:37 pm ET
industrial hemp for victory to save the world
Industrial hemp in France
(Photo: Aleks)

That title probably should say, "Why hemp could have saved the world all along," because the plant should never have been banned in the first place, and its prohibition has led to untold suffering around the globe. If we—the global human population—had been able to grow the miracle plant hemp (Cannabis genus) locally and to use it for local industries and businesses, including and especially for fuel, we would never have needed to be addicted to oil, for one, an addiction that is at the root of much misery. We would never have allowed ourselves to be lorded over by international oil-mongers whose crimes against humanity have become legion, including wholesale invasion of other lands and slaughter of countless people.

None of this oil-related horror—along with the deplorable degradation of the environment globally—would have occurred if hemp had not been prohibited but had been used wisely and intelligently as a major foundation of human society. Indeed, hemp-based economies could still save the human world, while hemp planting could go a massively long way in rescuing the natural world as well.

Thousands of uses for amazing hemp

It is said that hemp has up to 50,000 uses, from fiber to fuel to food, but I'll just provide a taste here:

In modern times, hemp has been used for industrial purposes including paper, textiles, biodegradable plastics, construction, health food, fuel, and medical purposes with modest commercial success. In the past three years, commercial success of hemp food products has grown considerably.

Hemp is one of the faster growing biomasses known, producing up to 25 tonnes of dry matter per hectare per year, and one of the earliest domesticated plants known. For a crop, hemp is very environmentally friendly, as it requires few pesticides and no herbicides. ("Hemp," Wikipedia)

A partial list of hemp uses includes (there are many within each category):

food—seeds, oil, flour
medicine—salves, anti-nausea
toiletries—soap, shampoo, lotion
textiles—clothing, towels, bedding, canvas
household products—carpet, detergent, paint, toys
industrial products—paper, concrete, insulation, fuel, car parts

(It should be noted that medical marijuana is a different strain of cannabis that contains significant amounts of the active chemical THC, whereas industrial hemp contains negligible amounts and is not capable of getting anyone "high.")

One highly important use of hemp has been in detoxifying nuclear waste, as demonstrated by experiments in the Ukraine, for example, on the site of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Moreover, hemp fuel could actually replace the dangerous and costly nuclear power industry.

Much of this information about the history and uses of hemp comes from the writings of, among many others, the late great Jack Herer, whose book The Emperor Wears No Clothes has become a classic, with hundreds of thousands of copies bought or given away over the past 25 years. Inspired by these writings, I myself have been a hemp activist for 20 years or so, after I learned about it while in Los Angeles—where I actually met Herer and several other major players in this important field. I once got a complaint for faxing a hemp factsheet to (other) law offices, while another time I stood up at presidential candidate Jerry Brown's press conference and asked the former California governor first about U.S. foreign policy and its repercussions, and then whether or not it was time to seriously consider hemp as a viable solution to many of the world's problems. That was in 1994, and there's a film of the exchange somewhere on Youtube, I'm told.

Why hemp was banned

When studied, the history of hemp prohibition can only be deemed a disgrace, exposing, as it appears to turn out, some of the greatest villains ever to set foot upon the earth. Despite the anti-hemp propaganda of these individuals, the fact is that this versatile plant has been used in numerous cultures around the world since the dawn of civilization:

Hemp (cannabis) was also used for making cloth in temperate Europe... Since it was resistant to seawater, it was particularly useful for making sails. Hemp seeds occur in a few European sites from LBK [c. 5500 BCE] onward, and possible hemp cloth was found in a Late Neolithic French site; hemp textiles were certainly in production by the Iron Age in Thrace and Greece.... (Jane McIntosh, Handbook of Life in Prehistoric Europe, Oxford University Press, 2009, p. 107)

It is also claimed that "Ötzi the Iceman," a 5,300-year-old mummy found frozen in the Swiss Alps, was discovered to be wearing clothing made of hemp, as well as carrying marijuana in his pouch.

"Make the most of the Indian hemp seed, and sow it everywhere!" George Washington

As an example of how vital hemp used to be to humanity, it is said that the United States may never have succeeded if a number of its founders had not been hemp farmers—an industry that made them rich. Indeed, first American President George Washington himself is quoted as saying, "Make the most of the Indian hemp seed, and sow it everywhere!"

In fact, hemp farming was required by law or otherwise encouraged in several early American villages and towns:

In 1619, because hemp was such an important resource, it was illegal not to grow hemp in Jamestown, Virginia. Massachusetts and Connecticut had similar laws. During the 1700's, subsidies and bounties were granted in Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, North & South Carolina, and the New England states to encourage hemp cultivation and the manufacturing of cordage and canvas. (John Dvorak, "America's Harried Hemp History")

One of the most important facts concerning American use of hemp is that the Declaration of Independence itself was drafted on hemp paper.

According to hemp activists, industrial "robber barons" and "medico-fascists" colluded in an unholy war against the common people to create monopolies that have since destroyed the planet and led us to the brink of complete and utter collapse. For example, in order to corner the paper market, media mogul William Randolph Hearst teamed with DuPont, enlisting the help of Harry Anslinger, the first Commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, who actively worked to associate hemp with "marijuana" and to demonize it, so that his cronies could make a killing off cutting down the American Northwest's forests.

Oil-mongers jumped on the bandwagon, so they could force us all not to have local fuels but to buy from them—getting us addicted to the product of foreign sources that have since become huge national security problems with the trillion$ in oil money they have sucked out of our economies.

Hemp for humanity

Since that ominous time when hemp was first prohibited for capitalistic purposes, the world has degenerated to a truly frightening point where we are overwhelmed by problems—and we really don't even want to contemplate the dire consequences of our actions and state of existence. Human civilization is not well; nor is the environment, largely because of our industrial lifestyle, which reveals itself in horrendous pollution in numerous parts of the world and, probably, in climate change.

There is hope, but we must transcend our prejudices and biases, which are largely based on false morality in this case, as well as just plain greed by those who are either amoral, immoral or both. We must immediately adapt our ways and begin hemp farming worldwide on a massive scale and effort never before seen by humanity. Anti-hemp objections based on flawed interpretations of "God" or "Allah" must be thrown out the window in a haste. These nonsensical protestations and obstructions are preventing us from utilizing a "God-given plant" that has so many uses it's hard to think what it isn't good for. It's high time to end the injunction against hemp, which is also a major repression of our own freedom and independence. If local communities had their own locally produced resource base, there would be no need to take that of others, no incursions or invasions, no endless warfare. Not only can we hope but we can also demand the change, for our humanity, survival and posterity.

D.M. Murdock is the author of controversial books and articles on comparative religion and mythology that can be found at TruthBeKnown.com, Stellar House Publishing and Freethought Nation. For more articles from the Freethought Examiner, be sure to subscribe!

NASA UPGRADES 2012 SOLAR STORM WARNING - LEARN HOW TO PREPARE

NASA UPGRADES 2012 SOLAR STORM WARNING - LEARN HOW TO PREPARE

Award winning astrophysicist Alexia Demetria says our solar system
is entering an interstellar energy cloud that will soon bring global catastrophe.


In light of recent news, the following information is paramount. On July 14, 2010 we learned that our sun is passing through an interstellar energy cloud which excites/energizes the sun. NASA, along with The National Academy of Science and other world renowned scientist are so concerned about this up and coming solar maximum in late 2012, that way back in March 10, 2006 NASA issued a solar storm warning (in writing) for 2012. What NASA omitted in their 2006 solar storm warning is what prompted NASA in the first place to issue a 2012 solar storm warning four years in advance? Then in 2010, NASA again warns the general population of a pending solar storm, telling the population to get ready for a once in a lifetime solar storm. Despite that news agencies and websites like this one are beginning to cover this developing story, no high government official has yet to stick his or her neck out to make an official announcement about the catastrophic implications as to allow the global population to begin preparing.

The following scientific data revealed by Alexei Dmitriev further supports NASA's original 2012 solar storm warning issued back in March of 2006.

Astrophysicist Alexei Dmitriev says that both Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 satellites reveal that our sun, as well as our entire solar system, is now moving into an interstellar energy cloud. Opher, a NASA Heliophysics Guest Investigator from George Mason University says this interstellar energy cloud is turbulent. Dmitriev explains that this cloud of energy is exciting the atmospheres of our planets and especially our sun. As this interstellar energy cloud continues to excite/charge the sun, it causes the sun to become more active, resulting in greater output from the sun. IE: Bigger and more frequent solar storms and CME's resulting in the Carrington effect. This interstellar cloud of electrical energy is also absorbed by the Earth, and scientist have found that it results in more earth quakes, all while dramatically effecting our weather here on earth. When asked how long will it take our sun to pass through this interstellar energy cloud, Dr. Dmitriev replied, "I don't know. But If I had to guess, I would say somewhere between two thousand to three thousand years." This interstellar cloud is a wispy band of charged particles through which our solar system is slowly moving through.

When Dr. Dmitriev was asked what are the implications of all this for earth he replied, "Global catastrophe! Not in tens of years from now, but in ones of years" ...in that this global catastrophe is basically right around the corner setting the stage for NASA's latest solar storm warning 2012-2013.

Dr. Dmitriev is talking about the Carrington Effect which can knock out electrical power and all modern forms of communications world wide for months on end, even years. When that happens, global anarchy and mass looting will soon begin as the food chain will become paralyzed/crippled in modern countries, while water shortages will quickly become a threat to our very survival because electricity is what runs the pumps that gets the water to our homes and offices. If you are not prepared prepared to be self efficient for one to two years, then you and your family will be at risk of dehydration and starvation during a time when drinking water, food and toilet paper will be more valuable then money itself.

To hear the entire 122 minute report go here. Or go to straight to video #3, and start it at the 5:28 minute mark to learn more about this interstellar energy cloud as it unfolded on the radio.

NASA ISSUES NEW WARNING TELLING US TO PREPARE FOR A ONCE IN A LIFETIME SOLAR STORM

Despite that high profile scientist along with NASA and the National Academy of Science are all warning us about solar storms in 2012-2013, we ourselves have no way of knowing one way or the other if any catastrophic events will take place such as solar storms, great earthquakes, super volcanic eruptions, pole shifts, planet crossers and so forth. There by we do not imply or make any such claims of pending catastrophic events, rather we simply report on the facts as we find them. This website gathers it's scientific data information information that is gathered from US government websites, including independent sources such as the National Academy of Science, NOAA, NASA, CNN, BBC, CBS News, NBC News, ABC News, MSN News and other space agencies whenever possible. Please note that when we express our opinion on something, we make sure that we state that, "it's our personal opinion that..." this way the reader knows we are not trying pass-off our personal opinion as fact. In the event something does happen within the next few years, we have put together a Solar Storm Survival Guide which can be downloaded. This is not a scare tactic, rather everyone should be ready for any kind of national emergency regardless as to whether or not 2012 or 2013 holds any real threats.

As you may know, on March 10th, 2006 NASA's own website issued a solar storm warning for 2012. Then in June of 2010 NASA reinforces their original 2006 warning telling the public to get ready for a once in a lifetime solar storm. Dr Richard Fisher, head of NASA's Heliophysics Division said: "We know it's coming but we don't know how bad it's going to be." However, "the next solar maximum should be a doozy" says Dikpati. NASA say's the sun storm will be in full swing around 2012-2013, however the National Academy of Science says, "The solar storm could start any day now." "Who ever is right, the storm is coming!" says NASA.

But what NASA is not telling the general public, is what we should be doing to prepare only that they tell us to do so. Unlike hurricanes and snowstorms, most have no idea what they could be doing to prepare for a sunstorm.

By now you should have begun to notice major news agencies as well as talk radio are starting to cover this slow developing story detailing exactly what NASA's warning actually means to the public. If it turns out that NASA, along with other world scientist are is indeed right, "The Economic Damage In The United States Alone Will Be Twenty Times Greater Then Hurricane Katrina that hit New Orleans" says NASA. *Keep in mind that mankind is in uncharted water when it comes to knowing for absolute certainty what the long and short term effects will be, that is, should a super solar storm clash with modern civilization.

If the earth in fact gets a direct hit by a solar storm producing x-class solar flares, (Coronal Mass Ejection or CME) ...it can cripple the world in more ways then we can possibly imagine, as it will cause nearly every electronic device to no longer work until it gets fixed. Imagine no more working cell phones, cars, trucks, planes, ships, computers, navigation systems, TV, radio, iPods, or game machines, let alone no more advanced medical services. *Since more then likely there will be no electric power in most of the world for many months on end, there will be no modern banking system in place, no New York Stock Exchange, credit cards will be worthless and what cash, silver and gold you have will be king. Food stores will soon be looted in the name of survival, most gas stations can't pump gas for what cars and trucks that might still be working. All forms of radio communication will no longer work during this period, making it difficult if not impossible for local law enforcement to maintain law and order, and National Marshall Law = (Rex-84) will be ordered that the public will be mostly unaware of.

Before you know it, the the city water and sewer system will stop working. If you are on an electric well pump, you lose your water right away, (unless it's a hand pump) where as those in the city might have a few days to a week or so before they lose all their water pressure. Even worse, those who don't have at least twelve to twenty four months of secured food and water, starvation will set in, which stands to kill hundreds of millions world wide if not billions; where as third world countries will not be as adversely effected. *Remember... most of the world population no longer supply their own food and water, rather people buy it. If food trucks don't run, then they cant get the food to the stores. Even if somehow cars and trucks still worked, gas stations will be without power for months and thus unable to pump gas without having to run a costly generator. No doubt what gas their is available will be top dollar, easily exceeding ten US dollars per gallon in many locations world wide.

It will be one big nightmare if the earth takes a direct hit from a super CME, thus changing billions of lives forever. Leading countries like the US would be temporally setback well over a hundred and fifty years. But there are numerous things we can do to easily survive the coming solar storm rather then us becoming a victim. To better understand why NASA and other's are forecasting a "doozy" , "once in a lifetime solar storm" in the first place, be sure to visit, Insights From The Author for full details found below highlighted in yellow.

We must keep in mind that it will take years to fully repair the damage electrical grid and power stations resulting from a direct hit of a perfect solar storm. This once in a life time solar storm event that NASA is warning everyone about is not to be taken lightly, especially if NASA and the National Academy of Science is indeed right. It's not so much that the solar storm itself is the real threat where as starvation and anarchy/chaos is the bigger threat. Yes, some say that a direct hit from a massive CME could do environmental damage as well, possibly causing the side of the earth facing the sun to climb to unthinkable temperatures, possibly causing fires. But we think that might be a bit far reaching to think that way. Nevertheless, there are a lot of unknowns here and we will just have to see what happens, and just how bad it really gets. Taking shelter in a cave near you or underground shelter could in the end be your best bet, that is, if you want to play it on the safe side.

No one at an official level such as world leaders, are going to make any special announcement about the pending danger to earth, as to do so, would instantly cause world wide panic. People such as yourself who learn about the coming super solar storm now, are the ones that have any real chance at protecting themselves and family against this potential looming disaster that may begin to unfold at any time now. As for everyone else? For the most part the rest of the world population will be clueless and wont have any idea at first what happen when their electronic world comes crashing down around them.

  • NASA warns public to prepare for a, "once in a lifetime super solar storm event." This event can start at anytime with little to no warning.
  • NASA's Heliophysics Division said: "We know it's coming but we don't know how bad it's going to be."
  • Are you ready and know what to expect, let alone how to prepare?
  • Do you know how to make a special safe room to protect you and family from prolong electromagnetic radiation which can be deadly?
  • Do you understand that most anything electronic will no longer work? This effects computers, phones, satellites, hospitals, even the electronic ignition system for cars and trucks.
  • Do you know what steps to take to protect your car from permanently breaking down from a powerful super solar storm?
  • Did you know that a super solar storm would knock out most power world wide for months and take years to repair it all, costing trillions in damages world wide?
  • Are you prepared with at least twelve to twenty four months of previsions for food, water, medicine and heating?
  • Are you aware that a killer super solar storm would lock down modern countries like the United States, Europe, Asia, and Canada for months?
  • Are you aware of that countries like the U.S. have an Anti Hoarding Act that effects you during a national crises? ((Learn how not to have your food purchases tracked))
  • Are you ready to fend for yourself as food stores most likely will not be in operation for months because of looters, gangs and no power, and especially a lack of food supplies?
  • Well... are you???
Download the Solar Storm Survival Guide to learn how you can easily protect yourself and all of your electronics, as well as your car. It's a condensed manual that can make the difference between becoming a victim or a survivor. Simply said; the guide offers lots of things that you wish you never new about, but will be glad you did should NASA and the National Academy of Science have this right.

Truth About Pesticides and GMO

Truth About Pesticides and GMO:
Submitted by Buzz Team on Saturday, 25 September 2010

An 11 Year Old Who Gets It!




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Truth About Pesticides and GMO

Submitted by Buzz Team on Saturday, 25 September 20104 Comments
An 11 Year Old Who Gets It!

Facts about pesticides:
“Chemicals have replaced bacteria and viruses as the main threat to health. The diseases we’re beginning to see as the major causes of death in the latter part of this century and into the 21st century are diseases of chemical origin.” — Dick Irwin, toxicologist at Texas A&M Universities
WHAT ARE PESTICIDES?
Pesticides are poisons designed to kill a variety of plants and animals such as insects (insecticides), weeds (herbicides), and mold or fungus (fungicides). Pesticides include active ingredients (chemical compounds designed to kill the target organisms) and inert ingredients which may be carcinogens or toxic substances. They also include rodenticides and wood preservatives.
HOW DO PESTICIDES REACH US?
Pesticides can be absorbed through the skin, swallowed or inhaled (most toxic). During application pesticides drift and settle on ponds, laundry, toys, pools and furniture. People and pets track pesticide residue into the house {3}. Only 5% of pesticides reach target weeds. The rest runs off into water or dissipates in the air. Drift from landscaping ranges from 12 feet to 14.5 miles {1}. More serious effects appear to be produced by direct inhalation of pesticide sprays than by absorption or ingestion of toxins. {2}
ARE REGISTERED PESTICIDES SAFE?
NO. Many of the “safety tests” used to test these products are fundamentally inadequate: they test for the acute (not chronic) effects of single (not multiple) chemicals on healthy (not sick, chemically sensitive or immuno-suppressed etc.) adult (not feta l or young) animal (not human) subjects exposed over short (not long) periods of time {4}. Some of the companies testing pesticides have been charged and convicted of falsifying residue and environmental studies that were used to support pesticide registration in the US and Canada {4}. Some pesticides become even more toxic as they break down. (In the US it is a violation of federal law to state that the use of pesticides is safe.)
BESIDES SENSITIVITY AND TOXICITY WHAT OTHER HEALTH RISKS ARE THERE?
  • increased risk of leukemia
  • cancers (lung, brain, testicular, lymphoma)
  • increase in spontaneous abortions
  • greater genetic damage
  • decreased fertility
  • liver and pancreatic damage
  • neuropathy
  • disturbances to immune systems (asthma/ allergies)
  • increases in stillbirths {1}
  • decreased sperm counts

WHAT ARE THE MAIN RISKS FOR CHILDREN?

  • cancer: leukemia and brain cancer
  • asthma and allergies
  • polyneuritis with numbness and pain in lower limbs. {5}
  • altered neurological functioning and long-lasting neuro-behavioral impairments. {4}
  • birth defects
  • neurotoxicity
  • gangrene (tissue death) of the extremities
Children whose homes and gardens are treated with pesticides have 6.5 times greater risk of leukemia than children living in untreated environments. {1,2}

WHO IS MOST SUSCEPTIBLE?

  • Children, infants and fetuses – relative to adults, children have more rapid breathing and metabolic rates, greater surface to body mass ratios, thinner skins, spend more time in contact with the ground, more frequently place their fingers in their mouths, and are less likely to be able to read hazard signs.
  • Adults – especially those with asthma, lupus erythematosus, vasculitis, dermatitis and chemical sensitivities {1}.
  • Animals – pets, wildlife of all kinds and their habitat.

WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS ON ANIMALS AND WILDLIFE?

  • Birds die after eating granular pesticides.
  • Animals may develop:
    • cancer
    • abnormal thyroid function
    • decreased fertility
    • decreased hatching success
    • demasculinization and feminization of males
    • alteration of immune function {4}
Foods With Highest Pesticide Load
Rank Food Pesticide Load

1
Peaches 100
2
Apples 93
3
Sweet Bell Peppers 83
4
Celery 82
5
Nectarines 81
6
Straweberries 80
7
Cherries 73
8
Kale 69
9
Lettuce 67
10
Grapes – Imported 66
11
Carrots 63
12
Pears 63
13
Collard Greens 60
14
Frozen Winter Squash 58
15
Spinach 58
16
Potatoes 56
17
Summer Squash 53
18
Green Beans 53
19
Hot Peppers 51
20
Cucumbers 50
21
Raspberries 46
22
Grapes – Domestic 44
23
Plums 44
24
Oranges 44
25
Cauliflower 39
26
Tangerine 37
27
Mushrooms 36
28
Apple Sauce 36
29
Fresh Winter Squash 34
30
Bananas 34
31
Apple Juice 33
32
Cantaloupe 33
33
Cranberries 33
34
Honeydew Melon 30
35
Tomatoes 29
36
Sweet Potatoes 29
37
Grapefruit 29
38
Broccoli 28
39
Watermelon 27
40
Orange Juice 26
41
Blueberries 26
42
Papaya 20
43
Egg Plant 20
44
Cabbage 20
45
Kiwi 13
46
Canned Tomatoes 11
47
Sweet Peas – Frozen 10
48
Asparagus 10
49
Mango 9
50
Canned Pears 8
51
Pineapple 7
52
Sweet Corn – Frozen 2
53
Avocado 1
54
Onions 1

GMO Foods
What is a GMO?
A GMO (genetically modified organism) is the result of a laboratory process where genes from the DNA of one species are extracted and artificially forced into the genes of an unrelated plant or animal. The foreign genes may come from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals or even humans. Because this involves the transfer of genes, GMOs are also known as “transgenic” organisms.
This process may be called either Genetic Engineering (GE) or Genetic Modification (GM); they are one and the same. Read more.

Where are they?

In your food! First introduced into the food supply in the mid-1990s, GMOs are now present in the vast majority of processed foods in the US. While they are banned as food ingredients in Europe and elsewhere, the FDA does not even require the labeling of GMOs in food ingredient lists.
Although there have been attempts to increase nutritional benefits or productivity, the two main traits that have been added to date are herbicide tolerance and the ability of the plant to produce its own pesticide. These results have no health benefit, only economic benefit.

What foods are GM?

Currently commercialized GM crops in the U.S. include soy (91%), cotton (88%), canola (88%), corn (85%), sugar beets (90%), Hawaiian papaya (more than 50%), zucchini and yellow squash (small amount), and tobacco (Quest® brand).
Products derived from the above, including oils from all four, soy protein, soy lecithin, cornstarch, corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup among others. There are also many “invisible ingredients,” derived from GM crops that are not obviously from corn or soy. Read more
Why should you care?
Genetically modified foods have been linked to toxic and allergic reactions, sick, sterile, and dead livestock, and damage to virtually every organ studied in lab animals. The effects on humans of consuming these new combinations of proteins produced in GMOs are unknown and have not been studied. See more under GMO Health Risks.
Crops such as Bt cotton produce pesticides inside the plant. This kills or deters insects, saving the farmer from having to spray pesticides. The plants themselves are toxic, and not just to insects. Farmers in India, who let their sheep graze on Bt cotton plants after the harvest, saw thousands of sheep die!
Herbicide tolerance lets the farmer spray weed-killer directly on the crop without killing it. Comparative studies on the toxic residues in foods from such crops have not yet been done.
Pollen from GM crops can contaminate nearby crops of the same type, except for soy, which does not cross-pollinate. In fact, virtually all heritage varieties of corn in Mexico (the origin of all corn) have been found to have some contamination. Canola and cotton also cross-pollinate. The long-term effects on the environment could be disastrous.

Food
Properties of the genetically modified variety
Modification
Percent Modified in US
Percent Modified in world
Soybeans Resistant to glyphosate or glufosinate herbicides Herbicide resistant gene taken from bacteria inserted into soybean 93% 77%
Corn,
field
Resistant to glyphosate or glufosinate herbicides. Insect resistance via producing Bt proteins, some previously used as pesticides in organic crop production. Vitamin-enriched corn derived from Soutd African white corn variety M37W has bright orange kernels, witd 169x increase in beta carotene, 6x tde vitamin C and 2x folate. New genes, some from tde bacterium Bacillus tduringiensis, added/transferred into plant genome. 86% 26%
Cotton (cottonseed oil) Pest-resistant cotton Bt crystal protein gene added/ transferred into plant genome 93% 49%
Alfalfa Resistant to glyphosate or glufosinate herbicides New genes added/transferred into plant genome. Planted in tde US from 2005–2007; no longer planted currently due to court decisions
Hawaiian papaya Variety is resistant to tde papaya ringspot virus. New gene added/ transferred into plant genome 80%
Tomatoes Variety in which tde production of tde enzyme polygalacturonase (PG) is suppressed, retarding fruit softening after harvesting. A reverse copy (an antisense gene) of tde gene responsible for tde production of PG enzyme added into plant genome Taken off tde market due to commercial failure. Small quantities grown in China
Rapeseed (Canola) Resistance to herbicides (glyphosate or glufosinate), high laurate canola New genes added/ transferred into plant genome 93% 21%
Sugar cane Resistance to certain pesticides, high sucrose content. New genes added/ transferred into plant genome

Sugar beet Resistance to glyphosate, glufosinate herbicides New genes added/ transferred into plant genome 95% (2010); planting in tde US is halted as of 13 Aug. 2010 by court order 9%
Rice Genetically modified to contain high amounts of Vitamin A (beta-carotene) “Golden rice” tdree new genes implanted: two from daffodils and tde tdird from a bacterium Forecast to be on tde market in 2012
Squash (Zucchini) Resistance to watermelon, cucumber and zucchini yellow mosaic viruses Contains coat protein genes of viruses. 13%
Sweet Peppers Resistance to virus Contains coat protein genes of tde virus.
Small quantities grown in China

References:

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

University of Florida News – UF community invited to participate in community agriculture program

UF community invited to participate in community agriculture program

Filed under Announcements, InsideUF (Campus), Top Stories on Thursday, September 9, 2010.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The University of Florida Office of Sustainability will offer a location on campus this fall for local farms to provide their produce to the UF community through a Community Supported Agriculture Program, known as a CSA.

The pilot year of the Gator CSA starts in mid-October with four farm CSAs delivering their members’ shares to campus each Monday between 4:30 and 6:30 p.m.

In a CSA program, local consumers become farm members by paying a set price at the beginning of the season, either as a lump sum or in installments. The cost depends on the length of the season and the variety and quantity of products provided. The up-front payment helps buy the seed and fund other expenses necessary for the season, gives the farmer immediate income, and allows the farmer to concentrate on land stewardship and growing good food rather than marketing. By committing to a price and paying at the beginning of the season, members also share in the bounty and risks of the harvest.

In return for this commitment, farmers provide fresh vegetables, fruits and other farm products directly to members each week throughout the growing season. The members eat healthy food, know where it comes from and how it is grown, share a connection to the land with the farmers who feed them and support the local economy.

UF is providing coordination and communication, as well as a physical location for pickup, to facilitate participation in community-supported agriculture by its staff, faculty and students.

“We are really excited by the response we’ve already seen from our campus community; it is amazing how many people were just waiting for this kind of opportunity,” said Anna Prizzia, director for UF’s Office of Sustainability, “I hope that the program will be a great success and that we will see it grow over the years.”

According to Prizzia, there are limited spots available and the demand seems high. Individuals sign up for a CSA membership directly with the farmer. For more information on the Gator CSA program and participating farms, you can visit http://www.sustainability.ufl.edu/gatorscsa, or contact the UF Office of Sustainability at info@sustainability.ufl.edu.

In West Bank, corruption-busting teenagers shake up local government - CSMonitor.com


In West Bank, corruption-busting teenagers shake up local government

While Israeli-Palestinian talks aim for Palestinian statehood, a devoted band of educators is grooming the rising generation to be citizens of a vibrant democracy.

Temp Headline Image
High school students Ayat Tabakhi and Fatmeh Abu Afifeh (c.) were part of a team headed by principal Abla al-Akhdar (l.) that confronted local officials in charge of a construction project. Here, they take a break from a culminating conference in Ramallah, where they and 15 other teams shared their experiences. Principal Amneh Atawneh (r.) said the three-day August meeting provided a huge 'morale boost.'
(Christa Case Bryant/The Christian Science Monitor)

By Christa Case Bryant, Staff writer
posted September 18, 2010 at 1:26 pm EDT

Ramallah, West Bank —

Fatmeh Abu Afifeh doesn't look like someone who could intimidate tough bureaucrats. Demure and only 17, she had never even spent a night away from her family until now.

But armed only with fine pearl pins that keep her head scarf firmly in place, Fatmeh is here in Ramallah with dozens of other students who exposed significant corruption across the West Bank.

"All the people [we interviewed] would say, 'We are engineers and we are unable to grasp what's going on – how can young girls?' " recalls Fatmeh, who says that confronting local officials about lax oversight of a sports stadium building project made her a better citizen. "I no longer care only about my interests; I care about the interests of society."

The project sought to prepare 16 teams of Palestinian youths to become citizens of an eventual Palestinian state. Part of a movement known as "civic education," such initiatives build familiarity with democratic mechanisms, respect for the rule of law, and the confidence to hew to those ideals.

Such education is "a precondition to be liberated from the [Israeli] occupation and establish a viable Palestinian state," says human rights advocate Issam Aruri, who represents 132 Palestinian nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). "Independence is not just raising the flag or having the president walking on a red carpet. That's not a state. The state is ... to feel that our dignity is protected."

Creating a nation of leaders, not followers

Civic education is an ambitious push in a school system struggling to meet the demands of a rapidly growing population. But proponents see it as crucial to transforming a school system that has been restricted – by tradition but also by political influence and a lack of resources – largely to rote learning.

More than 35,000 new students enter the Pal­es­tinian school system every year, burdening classrooms already packed with 30 to 40 pupils. Almost 1 in 4 teachers don't have a bachelor's degree, and some hold additional jobs to feed their families.

Even well-trained teachers face equipment shortages. Information technology instructor Islam Rada's high school has only one computer linked to the Internet – and it's in the principal's office.

Eighth-graders' scores on a math test administered internationally fell to 42nd out of 48 in 2007, just ahead of Botswana – a "terrifying" decline from 38th in 2003, says Mr. Aruri. But his primary aim is an overhaul of dogmatic practices that produce narrow-minded graduates more likely to follow than lead. "We need a revolution, really, in education," he says.

A need to instill self-government

To Aruri, it's a choice between instilling order in the rising generation or imposing it on every street corner – where flagrant disregard for traffic laws speaks to a deeper disrespect for the rule of law.

The Israeli occupation of the West Bank adds challenges by stirring anger in students, say many here.

"When the Israeli occupation goes into town and destroys ... then students imitate them in school, against each other," says parent Abdelwahab Abu Safat, also blaming violent Israeli settlers. "All of the behavior of settlers affects the behavior of students, who won't listen to principals."

Refaat Sabaah saw an opportunity to help teachers address such tensions through civil education, and founded the Teacher Creativity Center in the 1990s. It has worked with the Palestinian Authority's Ministry of Education for a decade.

Educators, once resistant, now laud initiative

TCC held a five-day workshop in January to introduce the social-audit program, the one Fatmeh took part in. But teachers were convinced that local officials – not to mention parents – would oppose the idea, says TCC coordinator Fadel Suleiman.

"They said, 'It's not our duty. Don't put us in this situation,' " he recalls. But by the end of the workshop, the teachers had shifted. Upon returning home, they managed to win over parents, if not administrators. "I was against [my students] being monitors, lawyers, arbitrators," recalls Abla al-Akhdar, Fatmeh's headmistress. "The mayor didn't want us to check anything, but our teachers and students insisted.... Thank God, we succeeded."

Many educators at the culminating conference in Ramallah echoed Ms. Akhdar's sentiments.

"This is an unprecedented approach to providing liberal thinking to our students," says Um Mohammed, a headmistress from Deir Ghusun, who boasted that her team had uncovered many illegal procedures. "Here we have female students using words like 'tenders, contracts, projects' – words they didn't know before. Suddenly our students are reading the laws, analyzing the laws, [enforcing] compliance of the laws."

'We discovered a bribe of 28,000 shekels'

Students also took pride in their participation, which was based on a competitive selection process at each school.

"We discovered a bribe of 28,000 shekels [$7,000]" in Yabad municipality, says Ahmed Atatara from Jenin, while checking his Facebook page. "Everybody now is jealous, everybody wants to be asking questions like us."

Now there will be an additional computer for him and his teammates to use, because they were one of three teams to win a PC and printer in recognition of their affect on the Jenin community.

"We provided like a [warning] siren for [those in power], like, 'We are watching you,' " says Ahmed's principal, Mohamed Saadeh.

The project's future is subject to funding. This year TIRI, a London-based NGO dedicated to "making integrity work," gave $50,000.

Despite uncertainty and the resistance encountered by most of the teams, those involved vowed to press on.

"Shall we stop all our work just because people at the top are not responding to our recommendations? No. All these challenges should push us to do more," says Mr. Suleiman, reminding the group that students like Ahmed and Fatmeh were learning to become leaders themselves. "In 10 years, they'll be in those positions."

Monday, September 20, 2010

America’s Newest Drug Addicts: How Legal Drugs are Destroying America…

America’s Newest Drug Addicts: How Legal Drugs are Destroying America…:

The drug company Wyeth used ghostwriters to emphasize the benefits and downplay the harm of hormone replacement therapy in medical journal articles.

Wyeth, now owned by Pfizer, paid a company called DesignWrite $25,000 to ghostwrite articles on clinical studies, including four regarding Prempro, the company's combination estrogen-progestin therapy.

Reuters reports:

“... [T]he articles were intended to mitigate concerns that hormone replacement therapy raises the risk of breast cancer, and to support the unfounded idea that the drugs offer some protection against heart disease.”

Meanwhile, prescription drug use in the United States has been rising steadily over the past 10 years. The trend shows no signs of slowing.

A study published by the CDC states that the percentage of Americans who took at least one prescription drug has risen from 43.5 percent to 48.3 percent.

According to WebMD:

“The use of two or more drugs increased from 25.4 percent to 31.2 percent over the same decade, and the use of five or more prescription medications jumped from 6.3 percent to 10.7 percent.”

There is also a new drug problem emerging in the United States -- a national epidemic of prescription drug abuse that has become so widespread it's being called "Pharmageddon." Some have defined Pharmageddon as “the prospect of a world in which medicines and medicine produce more ill-health than health, and when medical progress does more harm than good.”

In just 20 years, deaths from accidental drug overdoses have increased five-fold. Unintentional overdoses have now replaced car accidents as the leading cause of accidental death in 15 states and the District of Columbia.

According to CBS News, there are definite signs someone could be addicted to prescription drugs:

“Activities abandoned or reduced ... Dependence on the drug ... Duration or amount greater than intended, intra-personal consequences -- that they can't cut down or control it. And when it becomes time-consuming.”

Sources:


Americans are a pill-popping population, as nearly half are taking at least one prescription drug. Even children are taking their fair share, with one of every five U.S. kids using at least one prescribed medication.

Among seniors, as you might suspect, drug use is beyond epidemic. Nine out of 10 older Americans are taking at least one drug, with more than 76 percent over 60 using two or more and 37 percent using five or more!

The biggest issue here is what all of the drugs are doing to your health, but the cost cannot be ignored either. U.S. spending for prescription drugs more than doubled from 1999 to 2008 to just over $234 billion.

Unfortunately, the hundreds of billions of dollars being spent on prescription drugs is not giving Americans the good health they desire. Instead we’re seeing massive increases in chronic illnesses like cancer, heart disease and diabetes, and obesity rates are at an all-time high.

As drug spending continues to increase, Americans’ health continues to decline, and that is not a coincidence.

Drug Companies are Not Looking Out for Your Health

Pharmaceutical companies have kept the wool pulled over Americans’ eyes for many years, and had many convinced that they were working fervently to develop safe medications that would cure and prevent virtually every disease plaguing the world.

But these modern-day messiahs are not the saints they would have you believe … not even close.

The drug companies that manufacture some of the best-selling drugs in the world have committed some of the greatest crimes against human health. For instance:

  • Pfizer, maker of one of the biggest selling cholesterol drugs Lipitor, paid out the largest health care fraud settlement in history -- $2.3 billion -- for illegally promoting uses of four of its drugs. Pfizer engaged in illegally promoting one of these drugs, Bextra, for off-label use despite their knowledge that it was associated with an increased risk of stroke and heart attack.
  • Another top seller, Plavix, which is manufactured by Bristol-Myers Squibb and used to help prevent strokes and heart attacks, also has serious side effects you many not be aware of. When combined with aspirin, the drug nearly doubled the death rate from heart disease among patients who had not had heart attacks but were at risk for them.
  • Diabetes drug Avandia, made by GlaxoSmithKline, is still on the market despite research showing a 43 percent increased risk of heart attack and a 64 percent higher risk of cardiovascular death compared to patients treated with other methods.
  • Merck, the maker of the painkiller Vioxx that killed 60,000 people, ignored research that reflected unfavorably on their drug, and they concealed heart attacks suffered by three patients during a clinical trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2000. They also deleted other relevant data before submitting their article for publication.
  • Drug company Wyeth, who is now owned by Pfizer, paid ghostwriters to write articles promoting hormone replacement therapy (HRT), and downplaying its risks, for medical journals. Now it’s widely known that synthetic HRT increases risks of heart disease, breast cancer and other serious health problems.

The truth is, drug companies continuously display blatant disregard not only for federal laws but also for public health by aggressively developing and marketing drugs even when they know they will cause harm. They continue to do this because they are unlikely to suffer much of a consequence for their crimes.

Most people have no idea just how shielded these huge drug companies really are.

Even under the BEST circumstances -- such as with a drug that has gone through unbiased, stringent, long-term testing -- when it is released into the uncontrolled environment of your body, literally anything can happen -- and only a tiny fraction of the possibilities have been “tested for” in a lab.

Unfortunately, those circumstances are a rarity. Studies are frequently biased, results are skewed, and drugs are put on a fast-track to be approved long before anyone knows whether they’re safe -- and sometimes even when it’s known that they’re not.

“Pharmageddon” Overtaking U.S. Baby Boomers

The drug industry has successfully turned our society into a “pharmacracy” where every twitch and hiccup is deemed treatable with another prescription.

Unfortunately, treating disease symptoms with drugs will invariably create other health problems, which lead to yet another prescription to counteract the side effects from the first one, followed by another one, and another… It’s an evil circle that is now leading to a rash of prescription drug addictions and overdose deaths dubbed “pharmageddon.”

Pharmageddon is "the prospect of a world in which medicines and medicine produce more ill-health than health, and when medical progress does more harm than good" -- and it is no longer a prospect but fully upon us.

Those most at risk from dying from this new drug crisis are people you would least expect: baby boomers whose doctors are only too happy to prescribe multiple medications.

As a result, in the last 20 years deaths from accidental drug overdoses have increased five-fold and, as CBS News reported, unintentional overdoses are now the leading cause of accidental death in 15 states and the District of Columbia.

So we’re seeing a mounting death toll directly attributable to prescription drugs.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), adverse drug reactions from drugs that are properly prescribed and properly administered cause about 106,000 deaths per year, making prescription drugs the fourth-leading cause of death in the U.S. Compare this to the death toll from illegal drugs -- which is about 10,000 per year -- and you begin to see the magnitude of the problem, and the magnitude of the coverup.

We are indeed a nation of drug addicts, and just like old-fashioned street junkies, we’re spending every penny we have to feed the beast. Unfortunately, now people are dying in droves because of our dependency on a quick, but dangerous, fix.

Should You Put Your Health in the Hands of the Drug Companies?

Drugs should typically not be your first choice when dealing with a health problem. I realize that it takes a massive shift in thinking to realize that your body can heal itself, and that often drugs only hinder the process.

But I can’t stress enough the importance of the most basic principle of HOW to resolve an illness: finding the underlying cause of the problem. Masking it with a drug that lessens your symptoms does not fix anything.

For example, all of the following conditions can be treated or prevented with LIFESTYLE CHANGES, yet if you go to a typical doctor, you will likely be prescribed a potentially dangerous drug instead:

Disease can only be resolved by addressing its root cause, so that is what you should strive for. Remember, leading a common sense, healthy lifestyle is your best bet to produce a healthy body and mind, and increase your longevity.

So first and foremost I encourage you to follow these basic health tenets if you want to avoid these and other terrible diseases.

Next, seek out a physician or health coach that understands your body’s innate ability to heal, who will provide guidance into natural and truly safe treatment methods that go above and beyond a bottle of pills.

In the event your doctor or coach suggests you take a drug, research it before you take it. Do not believe for one minute that your physician will have all the answers and all the latest research findings at his or her fingertips. They won’t. Most physicians will have little to offer you aside from the lines they learned from their drug reps.

Also, it’s a good idea to keep in mind the very real fact that drug companies are ALLOWED to continue making drugs despite being caught lying, defrauding, and even knowingly killing its customers time and time again.

Then take a look at the frequently devastating side effects that are listed on the drug’s label. Remember that even if it lists a side effect as rare, it can still happen to you.

Also remember that a large number of drugs are vastly over-prescribed and unnecessary. They’re frequently referred to as “blockbuster drugs.” If several people you know are on it, ask yourself, “why?” and “what alternatives do I have?”

More often than not, you will discover there are numerous non-drug alternatives to help you not only resolve your health complaint, but go on to reach true optimal health.


Related Links:

FDA Announces 20 Dangerous Drugs You Should NOT Be On