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n2doc

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Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 12:08 PM
Number of posts: 37,358

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Environmental Scientist

Journal Archives

Not the Onion: Monsanto Tries Patenting Natural Tomatoes

BY CHRISTINA SARICH


Many individuals are aware that biotech has developed a seed monopoly largely by patenting genetically modified organisms, but not everyone realizes that Monsanto tried to patent a tomato that had no biotech traits. Now, the European Patent Office (EPO), with help from an international coalition, No Patents on Seeds!, has revoked Monsanto’s fraudulent patent and claim to tomatoes that are naturally resistant to a fungal disease called botrytis.

These natural, non-GMO tomatoes, like many healthy plants, have a natural resistance to certain pests. In this case, a fungal disease, but this is not a novel phenomenon. Why Monsanto would try to claim they created it is about as believable as Syngenta or Dow saying they invented the sun.

Though plant breeders can help plants develop this natural pest resistance, much of it is innate – the same as our own immune systems. When individual plants reproduce, they pass along exceptional combinations of genes to their offspring. Varying environments (such as cold, or dry, moist or breezy) favor individuals with different physical and behavioral traits. Individual plants with genes that improve their survival will be more likely to pass along these genes compared to the rest of the population.

- See more at: http://naturalsociety.com/new-level-monsanto-tries-patenting-natural-tomatoes/

49 Tremendous Things That Florida Men Accomplished This Year

By Sophie Kleeman

You'd be hard-pressed to find a more perfect caricature of America's wildest, bawdiest and most unintelligible impulses than Florida Man.

As the Internet's most notorious citizen, Florida Man isn't a single person, let alone a single resident of Florida. He's an amalgamation of the characters who populate the ridiculous news stories that often trickle out of the Sunshine State. Florida Man is a raunchier version of the Onion's mild-mannered Area Man, a caricature, with a wink and a nod, to our fellow Americans.

Florida Man is best known for his outlandish conduct, which ranges from the bizarre (carrying a meth lab in his pants) to the terrifying (trying to ignite a "race war" near Disney World). His batshit crazy antics are frequently documented on the Twitter account @_FloridaMan with headlines like "Hospital Nearly Burns Down After Florida Man on Oxygen Tank Tries to Smoke Crack in ICU" and "Florida Man Firebombs Boss' Truck Because Meth."

In short, Florida Man is America's id. And although he hails from the nation's wang, Florida Man embodies America's deepest and darkest desires — and does so with reckless abandon. Jalopnik's Patrick George described him best as "America's worst superhero" in 2013: "Whoever this Florida Man is, he's clearly insane and unstoppable. He feels no pain, has no ethics, and is capable of feats far beyond that of normal American man. It almost sounds like Florida Man is a superhero — just a really terrible one."

As 2014 comes to a close, it's time to salute the best and brightest of this year's class of Florida Men.

1. Florida Man attempts to smoke crack in ICU, almost burns down hospital.

more

http://mic.com/articles/107372/49-tremendous-things-florida-men-accomplished-this-year

Play-Doh Is Doing Damage Control for Accidentally Manufacturing a Dil-Doh

Thought you were too old to play with Play-Doh? Think again, because their latest toy is fun for all ages! It’s a fun-sized plastic dildo with an identity crisis, claiming on the box to be a “Cake Mountain icing topper.” Clearly those dirty liberals running Cake Mountain are all about starting sex ed early.

Now parents have their panties in a twist because obviously three-year-olds are going to immediately recognize this icing piper’s resemblance to male genitalia. Play-Doh’s Facebook managers are exercising some serious damage control, though not in the way they teach you in Social Media 101. They’re just deleting every angry comment about how Play-Doh’s major manufacturing diddle has totally RUINED CHRISTMAS.

Luckily Twitter exists. And for now, so does the Dil-Doh. If size doesn’t matter and you’re a lady on a budget, it’s a helluva lot cheaper than the Crave Duet Lux — and, for the record, far less terrifying than Teddy Love.



more

http://www.styleite.com/news/play-doh-is-doing-damage-control-for-accidentally-manufacturing-a-dil-doh/

College student-athlete unionization now illegal in Michigan

LANSING — It’s now illegal for student-athletes at Michigan’s public universities and colleges to join a union after Gov. Rick Snyder signed Public Act 414 into law Tuesday.

The Michigan Legislature passed the law, formerly House Bill 6074, during the "lame-duck" session, which ended on Dec. 19. Rep. Al Pscholka, R-Stevensville, introduced the bill in early December.

Detractors criticized the ban as a solution without a problem, as there has been no talk from athletes at the University of Michigan, Michigan State University or the state's other public colleges and universities of unionizing. Supporters said the ban would simply reinforce the idea that student-athletes are students first and should be focused on the classroom rather than their athletic pursuits.

Public Act 414 officially “excludes college athletes from the definition of ‘public employees’ who are entitled to collectively bargain,” according to a release from Snyder’s office.

http://www.mlive.com/lansing-news/index.ssf/2014/12/college_student-athlete_unioni.html

Same day UM hires Jim Harbaugh for 37 million…..
http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/12097742/jim-harbaugh-introduced-michigan-wolverines-football-coach

The Politics of Drinking Water

On January 9, 2014, American Water warned 300,000 customers in and around Charleston, West Virginia, that local tap water was no longer safe. Ten thousand gallons of 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol (MCHM), a chemical used to clean coal, had leaked from a rusty holding tank into the Elk River, upstream of the water treatment facility. State officials warned that exposure to the licorice-scented solvent could cause “burning in throat, severe eye irritation, non-stop vomiting, trouble breathing or severe skin irritation such as skin blistering.” Given the paucity of information on MCHM’s effect on the human body, no one could predict the long-term consequences of exposure.

Within 24 hours, a mayor’s convention was cancelled, restaurants were shut down, and public schools were closed. Traffic clogged around the South Charleston Recreation Center, where the fire department distributed free cases of water, limited to one per vehicle. Its cache was depleted within hours. Bottled water supplies vanished. The National Guard delivered tanks of potable water and FEMA promised additional truckloads. When water shipments arrived at a local Wal-Mart, demand was so high that nervous employees called the cops, requesting guards to stand by while they restocked shelves.

It’s no surprise that the West Virginia leak, the more recent Duke Energy coal ash spill, or the newest BP oil rupture rile consumers. Hydration isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity. Providing access to clean water is a fundamental measure of effective government. When water goes bad, so do political relations. After the MCHM spilled, West Virginia officials made a series of conflicting statements. Two days after Governor Earl Ray Tomblin began lifting the do-not-use order on local taps, the U.S. Center for Disease Control advised that pregnant women continue to avoid Charleston water. In response, Gov. Tomblin back-pedaled: “It’s a very complicated issue,” he said. “I’m not a scientist.”

more

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/12/the-politics-of-drinking-water/384081/

“Bernie Sanders for President? You Frickin’ Kidding Me? "


There were a few changes in that same speech Bernie ­Sanders freely admits he’s been giving for the past four decades, give or take a j’accuse or two.

Beginning in 1981, when he was first elected as the democratic-socialist mayor of Burlington, a.k.a. “the ­People’s Republic of Burlington,” the only U.S. city then maintaining a pro–Nicaragua-­Sandinista foreign policy, Bernie, as he is universally known there, often railed against “the ruling class.” These days, with the condition-red Republican hegemony hard upon the land, the 73-year-old U.S. senator has upped the ante, going with “the billionaire class.” Likewise, well-worn jeremiads against the Rockefellers, big oil, and the Bush neocon cabal have been replaced by broadsides decrying corporate media and the moneybag Koch brothers, Chuck and Dave, wielders of the Citizens United truncheon.

“The Koch brothers say, ‘Oh, you want to run for the Senate?’ ” Sanders thundered during a recent speech in New Hampshire, the early presidential-primary state where prospective candidate Sanders has been spending a good deal of time of late. “ ‘Okay,’ ” Sanders continued. “ ‘Here’s your hundred million dollars. Here’s your speech. … You’re not an elected official, you’re an employee.’ …Does their greed know any bounds?”

The question is rhetorical. Almost everything Bernie Sanders says, in his incongruous Brooklyn-deli-man accent that dates to his 1940s Flatbush upbringing, is rhetorical. Small talk and false ­ingratiations are not his thing.

more

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2014/12/bernie-sanders-for-president-why-not.html

Ted Cruz is billed as a Passover vacation attraction

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a likely Republican presidential candidate and a vocal pro-Israel hawk, is being advertised as a featured attraction at a string of ritzy resort vacation getaways catering to religious Jews.

Cruz, along with several rabbis, is listed as a speaker at four different vacation spots, including Aspen, over Passover, the spring holiday that honors the freeing of enslaved Jews in Egypt. The Prime Hospitality Group is the company behind the offers, according to an email solicitation shared with POLITICO.

“4 Questions. 4 Cups of Wine. 4 Sons. And 4 Luxurious Prime Passover Programs,” the invitation reads. “All featuring unparalleled service and The Prime Group’s legendary cuisine.”

A Cruz adviser insisted he’s speaking at only one event, although Prime Hospitality’s ads suggest he’ll be at getaways in Westlake Village and Monarch Beach in California; Aspen, Colorado; and in Vieques Island, Puerto Rico.


Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/12/ted-cruz-is-billed-as-a-passover-vacation-attraction-113870.html

McCain's big purge

The Arizona senator’s team has been ridding the state’s GOP apparatus of his tea party foes.
By ALEX ISENSTADT 12/30/14 5:33 AM EST

Nearly a year ago, tea party agitators in Arizona managed to get John McCain censured by his own state party. Now, he’s getting his revenge.

As the longtime Republican senator lays the groundwork for a likely 2016 reelection bid, his political team is engaging in an aggressive and systematic campaign to reshape the state GOP apparatus by ridding it of conservative firebrands and replacing them with steadfast allies.

The ambitious effort — detailed to POLITICO by nearly a dozen McCain operatives, donors, and friends — has stretched from office buildings in Alexandria, Virginia, where strategists plotted and fundraisers collected cash for a super PAC, to Vietnamese-American communities across Arizona, where recruiters sought out supporters eager to help the incumbent defeat the tea party.

Team McCain’s goal? Unseat conservative activists who hold obscure, but influential, local party offices.


Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/12/john-mccain-arizona-tea-party-113849.html

Why the U.S. Really Isn't Done In Afghanistan

After 13 years of war, President Barack Obama this week declared the end of U.S. combat operations in Afghanistan. “Our combat mission in Afghanistan is ending, and the longest war in American history is coming to a responsible conclusion,'” Obama said in a statement from Honolulu, where he is spending his Christmas vacation.

But that should not be taken to mean that there will be no U.S. forces in the country, nor that they will not be engaged in warfare in the new year. Here are five reasons why.

Afghanistan wants help

American troops will remain in Afghanistan for at least two more years. A day after his Sept. 29 inauguration, Afghan President Mohammed Ashraf Ghani signed a bilateral security agreement with the U.S., extending the American military presence in his country beyond this year. Obama has announced plans for a phased withdrawal of troops over the next two years that will leave about 5,500 there by the end of 2015 and 1,000 by the beginning of 2017, when he leaves office.

Withdrawals are already delayed

The new year will begin with as many as 10,800 American troops still in Afghanistan, or about 1,000 more than Obama had planned. Departing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who announced the withdrawal slowdown earlier this month in Kabul, said delays in Afghanistan's election process and in the signing of the security agreement left allies unable to commit enough troops in time.

While the extra American troops may stay only for several months, the need for them underscores continuing tensions between military commanders worried that Afghan forces aren't ready to stave off the Taliban and a president determined to keep his promise to end the war on schedule.

more

http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2014-12-30/five-reasons-why-the-us-really-isnt-done-in-afghanistan

Secret Nazi nuclear bunker discovered in Austria by filmmaker

A network of underground tunnels and bunkers used by the Nazis to develop an atomic bomb has been discovered in Austria by a filmmaker.

The complex was discovered just outside the small town of St Georgen an der Gusen, near Linz. Its exact location was determined using intelligence reports and radiation tests, which revealed higher than normal levels of radioactivity.

Andreas Sulzer, the filmmaker who is leading the exploration, discovered a critical 1944 report by the forerunner to the CIA, from an American spy who noted the existence of a secret weapons programme in the area.

The facility was built using slave labour from a nearby concentration camp, Mauthausen-Gusen.

more

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/secret-nazi-nuclear-bunker-discovered-in-austria-9948647.html
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