Not sure what to say about this. Interesting to note that they are more popular among the ladies, the men apparently thinking that drinking horse semen might make them gay for horses or something.
It’s probably bribery to bring them a snack, although science clearly shows it would work.
What one always hears is that salt = necessary for life, but from the far corners of the natural foods/health nut world comes a contrary minority view: not just that too much salt will give you high blood pressure, but that ZOMG SALT IS TEH TOXXXIC!!
Salt eating is an addiction begun prenatally and shortly after birth as the parents force salt into the baby to the extreme repulsion and disgust of the child. After a few weeks of forced eating the baby’s body becomes so weakened that it forms a craving and addiction. This continues throughout its life.
I think of them as the “Eek! Salt!” crowd.
They will be irritated to learn of this paper, “Can Dietary Sodium Intake Be Modified By Public Policy?”
The complexity and sophistication of the central control of sodium appetite offers compelling support for the proposition that vertebrates evolved a mechanism to assure that their physiologic needs for sodium are defended when dietary access to it is limited or when excessive amounts of sodium are lost under conditions of stress …
In other words, people want their goddamned salt, and they will never eat below a certain threshold, resisting all health guidelines and governmental efforts.
It does appear however, that a couple of this paper’s authors have worked for the Salt Institute in the past … And here’s an “Eek! Salt!” person slamming the Salt Institute:
So would most Americans be better off if they consumed a lot less salt as most public health organizations suggests? Not if you believe the Salt Institute.
The Salt Institute has long maintained that “Healthy persons with normal blood pressure have no problems with sodium or salt intake” . If you listen to the Salt Institute it is easy to come away with the impression that only about 1/3 to 1/2 of those who already have hypertension (HTN) need cut back on dietary salt because they are “salt sensitive”. They argue that since 75% of the U.S. population does not have HTN (currently defined as a blood pressure (BP) of more than 140/90 mmHg) only a small minority of Americans should be concerned about their salt intake. Of course, largely those who profit directly or indirectly from the use of excessive dietary salt fund the Salt Institute.
Is the Salt Institute a reliable source of information about salt? The now defunct Tobacco Institute was hardly a credible source for the health problems caused by cigarette smoking because they had an obvious conflict of interests. Over time even the news media (which seems wedded to the notion that there are two sides to every issue) came to dismiss the veracity of claims coming from the Tobacco Institute and this is what eventually doomed that institution. However, the Salt Institute�s press releases and pronouncements about the safety of dietary salt or even the dangers of too little salt often escape much critical commentary in the news media. At best, the news media will present the Salt Institute�s position as if it warrants as much credibility as that of scientific researchers. Given the economic incentives of those that support and speak on behalf of the Salt Institute it would be wise to take everything they say with a grain of salt.
Not sure what to believe now.
South Korean Octopus-head industry goes to war:
the Seoul city government enraged restaurateurs and the fishing industry when it announced octopus heads contained hazardous amounts of cadmium, a carcinogen that poisons the liver and kidneys.
It advised against eating more than two heads a day.
Enraged fishermen threatened to sue the government and their cause caught the imagination of the public when lawmakers representing their constituents took an octopus into a national assembly session, causing laughter as it tried to escape the jar.
…Related: Chinese Live Crab Vending Machine
Munich - A recent Testbiotech survey shows that DNA fragments from transgenic plants are increasingly found in animal tissue such as milk, inner organs and muscles. Most recently, in April 2010, scientists from Italy reported DNA sequences stemming from genetically engineered soy in milk from goats. These DNA fragments are presumably, entering the blood stream from the gut and then from there reaching the udder and the milk. Traces of specific DNA were also identified in kids fed with the goat’s milk. These findings are not the first to be reported after DNA fragments have been found in the tissue of animals fed with transgenic plants.
The BBC elevates patronizing to the level of art with this wretchedly titled bit of pap “Fussy Eaters- Whats wrong with GM food?”
Some fear GM food is bad for health. There are no data that support this view.
In the US, where many processed foods contain ingredients derived from GM maize or soy, in the most litigious society in history, nobody has sued for a GM health problem.
Some fear GM is bad for the environment. But in agriculture, idealism does not solve problems. Farmers need “least bad” solutions; they do not have the luxury of insisting on utopian solutions.
It is less bad to control weeds with a rapidly inactivated herbicide after the crop germinates, than to apply more persistent chemicals beforehand.
It is less bad to have the plant make its own insecticidal protein, than to spray insecticides.
It is better to maximise the productivity of arable land via all kinds of sustainable intensification, than to require more land under the plough because of reduced yields.
Some say GM is high risk, but they cannot tell you what the risk is…
Your pals at New Scientist never took up the challenge after we dropped this house on them. Perhaps you all will be a bit more sporting, wot?
Washington, Jun 21 -
Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), a long-time advocate of family farmers and organic foods, today made the following statement after the Supreme Court voted 7-1 to allow the experimental planting of genetically modified alfalfa seed before an environmental review is completed:
“Today the Supreme Court ruled that when it comes to genetically modified organisms, we as consumers, have to wait until the damage is done and obvious, before we can act to protect health and the environment, even if that damage could be irreversible.
“Haven’t we learned from the catastrophe in the Gulf of the dangers of technological arrogance, of proceeding ahead with technologies without worrying about the consequences? Why do we continue to throw precaution to the wind?
“Tomorrow I will introduce three bills this week that will provide a comprehensive regulatory framework for all Genetically Engineered (GE) plants, animals, bacteria, and other organisms.
Call your reps.
In a move that surprises no one, the Supreme Court has overturned a ban on genetically engineered alfalfa. At this time, we are waiting for a press release from The Center for Food Safety.
‘’This Supreme Court ruling is important for every American farmer, not just alfalfa growers,'’ said David F. Snively, Monsanto’s senior vice president and general counsel. ‘’All growers can rely on the expertise of USDA, and trust that future challenges to biotech approvals must now be based on scientific facts, not speculation.'’
Opponents of the genetically-engineered seeds also claimed victory.
‘’The ban on the crop will remain in place until a full and adequate EIS (environmental impact statement) is prepared by USDA and they officially deregulate the crop. This is a year or more away according to the agency, and even then, a deregulation move may be subject to further litigation if the agency’s analysis is not adequate,'’ said Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of the Center for Food Safety. ‘’In sum, it’s a significant victory in our ongoing fight to protect farmer and consumer choice, the environment and the organic industry.'’
Whether (strong growth in the organic sector is) a good or a bad thing depends on whether you think the environmental benefits of organic farming outweigh the long-term downsides of defining good farming not with science, but with what feels natural.
Hey asshole - there is a science of organic farming, and a science of anti-gmo sentiment. You might want to get your head out of your ass before making love to your own strawman. Here’s where to start:
You want to side with the soil chemists over the soil biologists that’s fine with me, but don’t go saying this is all about feeling natural. This is a science vs. science story, and as usual, idiots like you are labeling the opposing side unscientific while supporting your own POV with logical fallacies. Real scientific of you. I guess being an asshat just feels natural to you.
…here’s a bullet-point summary of my findings:
- If anything, President Barack Obama appears to be warmly in favor of genetic engineering, although there is some wiggle room with his campaign statements.
- President Obama’s picks for Ag Secretary, campaign advisers, and other cabinet positions further suggest that he is positively disposed to GE crops. Given his emphasis on plant-based biofuels, he may also see it as a means to achieve his domestic renewable fuel goals.
- Obama did not make a written campaign statement promising to require mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods.
did not respondto mailingsfrom The Campaign to Label Genetically Engineered Foods, nor did his presidential campaign contact them.
- Obama’s declared agenda, now housed at the White House website, indicates that these labels are not on his agenda.
- The claim that he will “fast track” GE food labeling appears to be an invention or the result of miscommunication.
- President Obama only once expressed a desire for GE food labeling, but has not made a campaign promise or pledge that he will “require mandatory labeling” for GE food.
There is no evidence that Barack Obama ever made a statement strong enough to be considered as a campaign promise to label GE foods.
Don’t get me wrong - I love me some Obama. He knows what science is and everything. So that’s great and I can work with that. But this unwelcome news about the US trying to squash GMO labeling worldwide is the kind of stuff that’s worth fighting about.
Contact the White House here. (Phoning is always more effective than email; scroll down for phone number.)
And in case you aren’t sure why GMOs are bad, our epic smackdown of hapless pro-GMO science writer Michael Le Page is here.
Of course to GMO-friendly New Scientist magazine, the thoughtful, lucid, data-rich folks running the pro-organic Rodale Institute are an unhinged, irrational people.
Shit hits fan in India:
Monsanto’s former managing directior of India operations is talking, and it’s not pretty for the behemoth of genetic modification. Tiruvadi Jagadisan is accusing his former employer of faking scientific data with the intent of evading the government’s regulatory requirements.
The 84 year-old Jagadisan is quoted as saying, “I retired from the company as I felt the management of Monsanto, USA, was exploiting our country.” Jagadisan had been with Monsanto for almost 20 years.
India rejects genetically modified crop. I especially like this paragraph about it from Beyond Pesticides:
Advocates of genetically engineered crops have argued that they are the only way to meet the world’s growing demand for food, and that they reduce the need for pesticides, while increasing yields. Studies have shown these claims to be false. The widespread adoption of GE crops in the United States has actually increased pesticide use but failed to increase yield. Recent studies have also linked GMO consumption to organ failure.
Those are the facts. God forbid the press - and the scientific press - should be so objective.
It is the Day of the Triffids - not the genetically modified plants themselves as alluded to in John Wyndham’s novel - but “super weeds that can’t be killed” , created by the planting of genetically modified HT crops, as seen on ABC TV news.
The scene is set at harvest time in Arkansas October 2009. Grim-faced farmers and scientists speak from fields infested with giant pigweed plants that can withstand as much glyphosate herbicide as you can afford to douse on them. One farmer spent US$0.5 million in three months trying to clear the monster weeds in vain; they stop combine harvesters and break hand tools. Already, an estimated one million acres of soybean and cotton crops in Arkansas have become infested.
The palmer amaranth or palmer pigweed is the most dreaded weed. It can grow 7-8 feet tall, withstand withering heat and prolonged droughts, produce thousands of seeds and has a root system that drains nutrients away from crops. If left unchecked, it would take over a field in a year.
Meanwhile in North Carolina Perquimans County, farmer and extension worker Paul Smith has just found the offending weed in his field , and he too, will have to hire a migrant crew to remove the weed by hand.
The resistant weed is expected to move into neighbouring counties. It has already developed resistance to at least three other types of herbicides.
Herbicide-resistance in weeds is nothing new. Ten weed species in North Carolina and 189 weed species nationally have developed resistance to some herbicide.
Amazing that a technology designed to eliminate hand-weeding and mechanical cultivation will bring about the triumphant return of: hand-weeding and mechanical cultivation.
The shrimp pond preparation begins with urea, superphosphate, and diesel, then progresses to the use of piscicides (fish-killing chemicals like chlorine and rotenone), pesticides and antibiotics (including some that are banned in the U.S.), and ends by treating the shrimp with sodium tripolyphosphate (a suspected neurotoxicant), Borax, and occasionally caustic soda.
But they’re so tasty…
Despite ractopamine’s dangers and the falsified approval documents, the FDA approved ractopamine the following year for cattle–and last year for turkeys.
Bonobo group eats dead infant, causes media kerfuffle:
Though uncommon, the behaviour may not be aberrant, says the scientist who witnessed it.
But it does further challenge a widely perceived notion that bonobos are an especially “peaceful” ape species.
Poppycock. We’re with this guy:
However, says Dr Fowler: “I am not sure there are wider implications from a scientific point of view.”
“I don’t see that occasionally consuming dead infants, however distasteful it might seem to us, is a sign of pathology or aberration per se.”
“I don’t think it necessarily says anything about ‘empathy’ or ‘morality’,” he adds.
“It had been suggested in the past that bonobos might feel more sympathy for victims, which is why they didn’t hunt monkeys, for example.
“But we now know they do hunt monkeys. So I think eating an already dead baby says little about bonobos in that respect.
“Bonobos are often used in a symbolic way, held up as the sexy, peaceful ‘Hippy Chimps’.
“The fact that they eat monkeys and consume their own dead offspring may not accord with this view, but I personally don’t see this as a problem.”
“The idea of the ‘Hippy Chimp’ is more a metaphor than a scientific argument,” he continues.
“I think the major implication is that we don’t need to see it as an aberration among other apes.
…i.e., no one should be getting the vapors about this.
Let’s see. We love the Center for Science in the Public Interest (or CSPI) for their Integrity in Science Database, where you can cross-reference scientists and universities with their corporate cash. It’s one of the best resources on the web for Gonzo Scientists concerned about corporate bias in science and that’s why we link to it in our sidebar under “Critical Thinking”.
But CSPI ain’t perfect. For instance they are still bashing coconut oil for being heart-stopping “artery-clogging” saturated fat, even while a consensus appears to be building that coconut oil has been the vicitm of a US industry-led smear campaign, and is actually crazy healthy.
CSPI also sucks when it comes to genetic engineering of food - while not embracing GE food full-heartedly, they provide an awful lot of cover for this out-of-control industry, in their zeal to be “balanced”. For instance, in their Biotechnology FAQ page, they spout this excrement about the safety of GE food:
GE food companies and others have conducted a number of tests to determine food safety and that testing has not uncovered any evidence of harm. Those tests have included short-term high-dose animal feeding studies of the GE protein, determining whether and how quickly the GE protein is broken down in the stomach (which prevents exposure to the rest of the body), and testing the levels of a number of naturally occurring plant components to make sure they have not been changed in the GE crop. While some of the tests have not always used the best available methods, together the results indicate that current GE crops are safe.
That is demonstrably total crap, and if that’s their idea of the public interest, they can keep it - not a word in there about the health hazards continually popping up in independent research. Why would the Center for Science in the Public Interest throw these independent researchers an anchor? There’s also this entirely outdated, sanitized version of the GE contamination of Mexican landrace corn:
Further tests are being conducted to determine whether the original results about the presence of GE genes in Mexican corn are correct.
The results have been in for a while now: they found ‘em! supporting the original study! - but not a peep from CSPI, who act like the GE controversy somehow can’t be decided one way or the other. Choose a side already - the truly scientific side is against GE.
Verdict: good watchdogs, but could be great, if they can stop being overly influenced by industry.
…that trick you into feeling full:
Their analysis found that aroma release during chewing does contribute to the feeling of fullness and possibly to consumers’ decisions to stop eating. The report cites several possible applications, including developing foods that release more aroma during chewing or developing aromas that have a more powerful effect in triggering feelings of fullness.
I’m sure food companies will really embrace this emerging food technology that, if properly working, makes people consume less product. Could work for a specialty diet line of food products I suppose - but here at Gonzo Science we really don’t think the best scientific approach is to assume there’s something wrong with food that needs to be fixed. There’s plenty of good food around, people just have to eat it.
Who wouldn’t sign up to chow down on forbidden synthetic human meat out of a futuristic food tube?
The fish were originally categorised separately, but an influential study in 1926 recognised only one valid species - Dipturus batis. This classification has been unchallenged since.
The 80-year error has ensured that fisheries have not been catching what they thought, explained Dr Dulvy, who is also co-chair of the World Conservation Union’s (IUCN) shark specialist group.
….Dr Dulvy added: “As far as we can tell, [humans have] not yet driven anything fully to extinction by over-fishing.”
But closing fast on the flapper skate (dipterus intermedia).
Some marine mammals not doing so well either I hear.
Might want to think twice about picking up that can of soup:
Consumer Reports’ latest tests of canned foods, including soups, juice, tuna, and green beans, have found that almost all of the 19 name-brand foods tested contain measurable levels of Bisphenol A (BPA) […] which has been used for years in clear plastic bottles and food-can liners [and] has been restricted in Canada and some U.S. states and municipalities because it has been linked to a wide array of health effects including reproductive abnormalities, heightened risk of breast and prostate cancers, diabetes, and heart disease. […] Several animal studies show adverse effects, such as abnormal reproductive development, at exposures of 2.4 micrograms of BPA per kilogram of body weight per day, a dose that could be reached by a child eating one or a few servings daily or an adult daily diet that includes multiple servings of canned foods.
This is over an hour long but worth it - recommended. Smith is the guy that New Scientist writer Michael Le Page referred to, in a comments section on this very blog, when he wrote:
“The actual examples all seem pretty dubious, to say the least, but let’s assume they are true for the sake of argument. If so, there is clearly a failure of the testing and regulatory system supposed to make sure GM food is safe - but this is not an argument against GM crops per se. You don’t ban all medical drugs because some turn out to be harmful, any more than you would ban all conventional crops because some turn out to be harmful (look up the lenape potato).
“As for the idea that GM is inherently dangerous, genetic studies have revealed that the genomes of all species are constantly being ‘genetically engineered’. Hundreds of mutations can occur in each new individual, jumping genes (transposons) can cause havoc, viruses insert foreign DNA all over the place, etc, etc. If you think these processes pose a risk to food safety then all crops need better safety testing, not just GM crops.”
Smith destroys Le Page’s arguments in this video.
Of course we’ve also done so ourselves.
Organic farming cools the globe? These people can’t be rational.
During the 1990s, results from the Compost Utilisation Trial (CUT) at Rodale Institute – a 10-year study comparing the use of composts, manures and synthetic chemical fertiliser – show that the use of composted manure with crop rotations in organic systems can result in carbon sequestration of up to 2,000 lb/acre/year. By contrast, fields under standard tillage relying on chemical fertilizers, lost almost 300 lb of carbon per acre per year. Storing – or sequestering – up to 2,000 lb/acre/year of carbon means that more than 7,000 lb of carbon dioxide are taken from the air and trapped in that field soil.
Clearly a bunch of wackos.
Wanted to make sure everybody saw this from Scientific American:
In the 1990s scientists such as himself, he explains, were too caught up in the promise of gene therapy to realize that they did not know enough about it to warrant human testing. “We were drawn into the simplicity of the concept. You just put the gene in,” Wilson says.
He may as well be talking about GM crops, and it’s still going on. Short version: The very premise of genetic engineering is a simplistic, reductionist, mechanistic model of genetics that is now known to be incorrect and is the source of biotech’s mounting problems.
More on that here in our definitive takedown of New Scientist writer/biotech booster Michael Le Page.
[Not displaying the entire screen in IE - sorry fans I gotta learn how to fix that]
SAN FRANCISCO - September 22 -In a case brought by Center for Food Safety and Earthjustice representing a coalition of farmers and consumers, a Federal Court ruled yesterday that the Bush USDA’s approval of genetically engineered (GE) “RoundUp Ready” sugar beets was unlawful. The Court ordered the USDA to conduct a rigorous assessment of the environmental and economic impacts of the crop on farmers and the environment.