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Genetically Modified Crops Decimating Monarch Butterflies Habitats

Should we say No to GMO

Amplify’d from eatdrinkbetter.com
monarch butterflies

Monarchs butterflies’ decline correlated to increased plantings of herbicide tolerant GM crops and overuse of glyphosate (RoundUp) herbicide.

Twelve years ago, a study found that genetically modified Bt corn was lethal to monarch butterflies; recent research shows that another type of GM crop is even more damaging to the beloved insect.

“What’s going on down there is a disaster”

A recently published study says that increasing acreage of GM Roundup Ready (RR) corn and soybeans is a major cause for declining populations of monarch butterflies in North America. The paper, published in the journal Insect Conservation and Diversity, says that increased use of glyphosate herbicide with RR GM crops in the Midwest is killing milkweed plants, which monarchs rely on for habitat and food.

Chip Taylor, an insect ecologist at the University of Kansas and co-author of the paper, told the New York Times, “This milkweed has disappeared from at least 100 million acres of these row crops. Your milkweed is virtually gone.”

The paper documents that populations of monarch butterflies in central Mexico, where they migrate to in winter, have declined over the past 17 years, reaching an all-time low in 2009-2010.

Lincoln P. Brower, an entomologist at Sweet Briar College and co-author of the paper, told Wired magazine: “What is going on on the ground down there is a disaster.”

Monarch butterflies migrate from the United States to Mexico each year, traveling some 4000 miles.

Taylor and Brower both criticized a recent paper by Andrew K. Davis, an assistant research scientist at the University of Georgia, which didn’t find a significant decline in monarch populations. Davis analyzed monarch populations in Cape May, N.J., and Peninsula Point, Michigan. Brower said those are minor sites that would not reflect the true status of monarch populations. “His paper is not representative of the big picture (of overall monarch populations), which is Mexico.”

“Bigger threat than Bt corn”

While the paper lists several other factors, such as deforestation in Mexico, contributing to declining monarch populations, Taylor says the proliferation of RR crops and the overuse of glyphosate is the major cause.

“This is the one main factor that has happened,” he says. “You look at parts of the Midwest where there is a tremendous use of these crops and you see monarch populations dropping. It’s hard to deny the conclusion.”

Taylor has been warning about the negative impact of RR crops on monarchs since writing a blog about it in 2001. “I’ve always thought they were a bigger threat to monarchs than Bt corn.”

Taylor says the monarchs’ decline accelerated around 2003 when herbicide tolerant GM crops accounted for nearly 50% of all corn and soybeans. That number has increased to more than 80% in the last two years.

“Once herbicide tolerant GM crops reached 50%, we saw a significant impact on monarch populations,” he says.

Read more at eatdrinkbetter.com
 
Death to Monsanto

A Monsanto official was beaten in India because of frustration there about the company’s genetically modified cotton seeds.

Amplify’d from eatdrinkbetter.com
Monsanto BT Cotton

A couple of interesting pieces about Monsanto have popped up in the last few weeks, so I thought I’d share them with you together.

Monsanto Official Beaten in India

A few weeks ago, a Monsanto official was beaten up in India because of frustration there about the company’s genetically modified cotton seeds. Our sister site, Planetsave, has the whole story, but the gist is that Bt corn has ruined the lives of many cotton farmers in India. Farmers have been seeking reparations for years, and a couple of weeks ago, a group of farmers took a Monsanto agent to the fields to show him the damage that the GMO cotton was doing to their land. When he refused to admit that the company had made a mistake, they beat him.

I do not advocate violence, even in a situation where it might feel like the only recourse, but at the same time I feel for these farmers who are in such bad shape because of this corporate giant’s policies. What do you think about this one?

Anonymous Takes Down Monsanto Website

Internet hacking group Anonymous is fed up with Monsanto’s growing monopoly on our food supply, too, and they recently released a couple of videos before hacking the company’s website, crashing it, and stealing contact information for 2500 employees.

The first video explains their frustration with the ag giant:

The second video actually shows them taking down the site:

See more at eatdrinkbetter.com
 
#FUCKYOUWASHINGTON

Would be trending on Twitter if they didn’t censor.

GOP Loads Bill with Environmental Cuts
Amplify’d from www.thedailybeast.com
GOP Loads Bill with Environmental Cuts

Apparently not everyone in Washington is focused on the debt ceiling. House Republicans have tacked at least 39 riders onto an appropriations bill, each designed to curtail an aspect of environmental regulation. One proposal would prevent the Bureau of Land Management from designating new wilderness areas, while another would prevent the Department of Interior from policing mountaintop-removal mining. Yet another would allow uranium prospecting near the Grand Canyon. There was even a proposal to forbid any new plants and animals being listed as endangered until several Republicans broke ranks and tossed it out. It’s unlikely that all 39 proposals will pass, but Democratic allies worry that some will make it through the negotiation process.

Read more at www.thedailybeast.com
 
Paying Red-Light Camera Fines Are For Suckers!

That’s the message that motorists in Los Angeles got when it was revealed that red-light camera fines - some of which were as high as $476 - were actually “voluntary.”

Amplify’d from www.neatorama.com

Did you get a red-light camera ticket? Did you pay the fine? If you did, then you’re a sucker.

That’s the message that motorists in Los Angeles got when it was revealed that red-light camera fines - some of which were as high as $476 - were actually “voluntary.”

The Los Angeles Times has the story:

City officials this week spotlighted a surprising revelation involving red-light camera tickets: Authorities cannot force violators who simply don’t respond to pay them. For a variety of reasons, including the way the law was written, Los Angeles officials say the fines for ticketed motorists are essentially “voluntary” and there are virtually no tangible consequences for those who refuse to pay. […]

Unlike other moving citations, which are issued directly by a police officer to a driver who signs a promise to appear in court, red-light camera tickets are mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle allegedly involved in the violation.

That has limited the Los Angeles County Superior Court system’s willingness to aggressively enforce camera ticket collections for the city and 32 other photo enforcement programs in Los Angeles County, officials said.

Under state law, court officials have discretion over how they pursue those who do not respond to camera-generated citations. Los Angeles County Superior Court officials, as a matter of fairness, said that for the last decade they have chosen a less forceful approach partly because the person receiving the ticket may not be the person who was driving the car.

Read more at www.neatorama.com
 
BAM
The Chart That Should Accompany All Discussions of the Debt Ceiling
The TRUTH About Who Really Owns All Of America’s Debt

.
Hint: Its not the Chinese.
.

Amplify’d from www.businessinsider.com

Hong Kong

Hong Kong

Image: Wikipedia

Total Holdings of US Treasuries: $121.9 billion

Percent of US Debt that they own: 0.9%

Source: US Treasury

Caribbean Banking Centers

Caribbean Banking Centers

Image: Andres Nordgreen Fierro

Total Holdings of US Treasuries: $148.3 billion

Percent of US Debt that they own: 1%

The Bahamas, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Netherlands Antilles and Panama, and British Virgin Islands all function as offshore financial centers. Of course, they invest in Treasury Securities as well.

Source: US Treasury

Taiwan

Taiwan
Total Holdings of US Treasuries: $153.4 billion

Percent of US Debt that they own: 1.1%

Source: US Treasury

Brazil

Total Holdings of Treasuries: $211.4 billion

Percent of US Debt that they own: 1.5%

Source: US Treasury

Oil Exporting Countries

Oil Exporting Countries
Total holdings of Treasuries: $229.8 billion

Percent of US Debt that they own: 1.6%

Oil exporters include Ecuador, Venezuela, Indonesia, Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Gabon, Libya, and Nigeria.

Source: US Treasury

Mutual Funds

Mutual Funds
Total Holdings of US Treasuries: $300.5 billion

Percent of US Debt that they own: 2%

Source: Federal Reserve Flow of Funds Accounts Note: Latest Statistics are as of March 2011

Commercial Banks

Commercial Banks

Image: Wikimedia

Total Holdings of US Treasuries: $301.8 billion

Percent of US Debt that they own: 2.1%

Source: Federal Reserve Flow of Funds Accounts Note: Latest Statistics are as of March 2011

State, Local, and Federal Retirement Funds

Total Holdings of US Treasuries: $320.9 billion

Percent of US Debt that they own: 2.2%

Source: Federal Reserve Flow of Funds Accounts Note: Latest Statistics are as of March 2011

Money Market Mutual Funds

Money Market Mutual Funds
Total Holdings of US Treasuries: $337.7 billion

Percent of US Debt that they own: 2.4%

Source: Federal Reserve Flow of Funds Accounts Note: Latest Statistics are as of March 2011

United Kingdom

United Kingdom
Total Holdings of Treasuries: $346.5 billion

Percent of US Debt that they own: 2.4%

Source: US Treasury

Private Pension Funds

Total Holdings of US Treasuries: $504.7 billion

Percent of US Debt that they own: 3.5%

Source: Federal Reserve Flow of Funds Accounts Note: Latest Statistics are as of March 2011

State and Local Governments

State and Local Governments
Total Holdings of US Treasuries: $506.1 billion

Percent of US Debt that they own: 3.5%

Source: Federal Reserve Flow of Funds Accounts Note: Latest Statistics are as of March 2011

Japan

Japan

Image: AP

Total Holdings of Treasuries: $912.4 billion

Percent of US Debt that they own: 6.4%

Source: US Treasury

US Households

Total Holdings of US Treasuries: $959.4 billion

Percent of US Debt that they own: 6.6%

The ‘Household Sector’ does include hedge funds, by the way.

Source: Federal Reserve Flow of Funds Accounts Note: Latest Statistics are as of March 2011

China

China

Image: AP

Total Holdings of Treasuries: $1.16 trillion

Percent of US Debt that they own: 8%

Source: US Treasury

The Federal Reserve

The Treasury owes the Fed $1.63 trillion in Treasuries, much of which were bought for the Quantitative Easing programs.

That’s 11.3% of US debt, much more than China.

Source: Federal Reserve

Social Security Trust Fund

Social Security Trust Fund
Total Holdings of US Treasuries: $2.67 trillion

Percent of US Debt that they own: 19%

The Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) and Disability Insurance (DI) Trust Funds invest exclusively in special issue bonds that are only available to the Social Security trust fund.  These are not publicly traded securities, but they still constitute a huge amount of debt.

Source: Social Security Administration

In all, the Treasury owes foreigners and foreign governments $4.514 trillion dollars

In all, the Treasury owes foreigners and foreign governments $4.514 trillion dollars
But Americans own most of their own country’s $14,342,909,569,328.74 of debt. 

These countries are in more trouble

Read more at www.businessinsider.com
 
Researcher Makes a Career Developing Cocaine Vaccine, But Pharmaceutical Companies Won’t Produce It

All social problems are based on the monetary system problem. Money needs to be removed as the driving force of social development.

http://zeitgeistmovie.com/

Amplify’d from singularityhub.com

A cocaine vaccine would make coke really blow.

Imagine if you came up with a simple but powerful idea: create a vaccine against the most addictive drugs. It could therapeutically help countless numbers of addicts overcome their substance dependency. Those at high-risk for drug use could be inoculated and avoid an entire destructive lifestyle. Furthermore, anyone genetically screened for a family history of addiction could effectively manage their physiological drives with a shot. What effect would all of this treatment have on society? It might be the very thing to win the “War on Drugs” that has cost American taxpayers over $1 trillion over the last 40 years. An idea like that is the stuff that careers are built on. Dr. Thomas Kosten, who came up with this idea as a student, has spent the last 20 years working with his wife, Therese, who has a Ph.D. in psychology and neuroscience, making this simple idea into a reality. That’s right – a cocaine vaccine has been developed and is currently in a Phase II trial that is set to complete in 2014.

But Drs. Kosten and Kosten have a not-so-simple problem: No pharmaceutical companies in the U.S. will manufacture the vaccine and that means it can’t get FDA approval.

To unravel this story, we have to consider how vaccines work. The human immune system cannot recognize small molecules, such as drugs. These substances basically slip under the radar, which is one reason why they are so effective. But the immune system will recognize larger structures, like free-floating foreign proteins or viruses, and create antibodies that help mark them for destruction.

The strategy then to get small drug molecules to show up on this radar is to chemically bond them to a carrier protein or a virus that can trigger antibody production. Dr. Kosten’s approach is to link the cocaine molecule with an inactivated cholera virus, which means that the genetic material inside the virus has been removed so it’s effectively “dead.” The body then produces antibodies against both cholera and cocaine.

As with other addictive substances, the euphoric feelings of cocaine are due to it binding in dopamine receptors in the brain. These receptors are important in the brain’s reward system. While dopamine is the natural way for the brain to experience pleasure, drugs like cocaine bind to the receptors much more strongly, and over time, the natural highs from dopamine just don’t cut it anymore. Hence with repeated use, larger amounts of cocaine are required to experience the same kind of high. Furthermore, the large quantities of dopamine floating around from the action of cocaine can reach toxic levels and kill brain cells.

A cocaine user who has been inoculated with Dr. Kosten’s vaccine, called TA-CD, has antibodies that will bind to cocaine in their bloodstream. Not only is the cocaine captured, the cocaine-antibody complex is too large to pass through the blood-brain barrier. Now the vaccine itself doesn’t remove the craving; it just removes the effectiveness of cocaine at producing the desired result.

So far so good…what’s the problem?

It turns out that during the Phase I clinical trial, which successfully helped some of the volunteers who were inoculated build immunities to cocaine, some still tried to get their fix and that requires having more cocaine in their blood stream than antibodies. Those antibodies are built up after five booster shots and antibodies are around for about three months. Researchers found some of the volunteers had 10 times the amount of cocaine in their blood compared to before, and a few of them admitting that they had gone broke trying to buy more. However, a number of volunteers soon realized that cocaine just wasn’t going to give them the high they wanted anymore and stopped using.

A Phase III trial for the cocaine vaccine cannot proceed unless a company’s supports it. But the dilemma is clear: What would happen if the media got wind that inoculated drug users were buying even more coke than before. It would be a public relations nightmare for any business. Kosten also believes that the pharmaceutical industry lacks a focus on preventative medicine, so they are just not interested in supporting this product. Interestingly, back in 2000, a pharmaceutical company, Cantab Pharmaceuticals, had opted to develop the vaccine, but experienced some drug failures and ultimately was bought out, somehow leaving TA-CD lost in the shuffle. So Dr. Kosten has been looking for a long time to find a company that will step up to make it in the U.S., but to no avail. Kosten admits that he is now considering finding a manufacturer in China.

For anyone who recognizes that the United States has lost the “War on Drugs,” the knowledge that a cocaine vaccine exists but no one will make it is beyond frustrating. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, over 1 million people were identified as cocaine abusers in 2009. Even taking a small dent out of the cocaine user population could have some serious economic impacts.

But what’s really promising is that this vaccination strategy works for other addictive substances too. In fact, Dr. Kosten has developed a nicotine vaccine that is moving into Phase III trials. Other drugs are being looked into as well by other researchers using the same strategy. Beyond that, the dopamine reward system is implicated in a host of other behaviors that may be able to be inoculated against down the road.

TA-CD has time yet to find another home after years of waiting in the wings. As the world waits for someone to make this into a reality, the Kostens will keep trying to think of new groups of addicts that they may be able to vaccinate.

Read more at singularityhub.com
 
the social network 2
Hot Enough to….
Amplify’d from www.neatorama.com

Bake cookies in a car? You betcha! In Amarillo, the temperatures have soared to over 100 degrees, and about 200 degrees in a closed car. Brittany Nunn of the Amarillo Globe-News baked chocolate chip cookies in her car. They took quite a while to bake, but the car smelled wonderful afterward. Link -via reddit

Read more at www.neatorama.com
 
This is Steampug
Amplify’d from robinlatkovich.com

 In the approximate month-and-a-half since Steampug rode his zeppelin into the strange aether of the internet, he has cropped up on a number of sites, including tumblr, where he has received 2,044 loves/reblogs (as of yesterday).  This is more than the total hits to date for this website, and probably more people than have seen any one of my “serious” pieces.

Read more at robinlatkovich.com
 
Murdoch Pied at Hearing
Amplify’d from www.thedailybeast.com
Murdoch Pied at Hearing

Rupert and James Murdoch’s testimony before Parliament was halted Tuesday after a man in the audience assaulted Rupert with a foam pie. The man—he has not been officially identified, although an activist going by Jonnie Marbles has claimed responsibility on Twitter—calmly walked up the aisle and planted the pie in Murdoch’s face. Murdoch’s wife, Wendi, who was sitting behind him in the front row, then stood up and clocked the assailant. He has since been arrested.

Read more at www.thedailybeast.com
 
Previous post LulzSec Defaces Murdoch Paper With Mogul’s Fake Death Notice

Love these guys, LulzSec rocks the scum Murdoch

Amplify’d from www.wired.com

They’re back. The hacker gang LulzSec, after declaring retirement last month, cracked the Rupert Murdoch–owned New Times on Monday and used it to host a fake news story declaring that the embattled media mogul had been found dead at his home.

The web defacement took the form of a mock article from Murdock’s The Sun, with the headline “Media moguls body discoverd” [sic]. The text goes on to claim falsely that Murdoch “ingested a large quantity of palladium before stumbling into his famous topiary garden late last night.”

“We have owned Sun/News of the World – that story is simply phase 1 – expect the lulz to flow in coming days,” the announced on its Twitter feed.

At the same time, some visitors were redirected from The Sun’s home page to the fake story, which appeared to have been blocked within an hour.

Murdoch’s news empire has been badly shaken in the last month by a massive voice-mail hacking scandal involving reporters at the UK-based News of the World, which Murdoch recently shuttered.

In May, LulzSec made news for the the first time with a similar attack against the website of PBS Newshour, in which it posted a false news story announcing that deceased rapper Tupac Shakur had been found “alive and well” in New Zealand. By then the gang had already hacked Sony’s Japanese website, and before that Fox.com, where the group stole and posted 363 employee passwords, the names, phone numbers and e-mail addresses of 73,000 people who had signed up for audition information for the Fox talent show The X-Factor.

Subsequent hack targets included the Arizona Department of Public Safety. By late June, though, web vigilantes and rival hackers had exposed what they said were the real identities of LulzSec’s members, and on June 25 LulzSec announced its retirement. Group leader “Sabu” started a new outfit called AnonymousIRC, which continued targeting corporations and users, including the defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton.

Read more at www.wired.com