GMO Toxicity Affects Animals, Plants, and Soil

23 January, 2013 at 11:34 | Posted in Body & Mind, Environmental issues, Food, Nature, Society, sustainable development | Leave a comment
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By Louise McCoy
Epoch Times Staff

Officially California has voted “No” on Proposition 37, which required labeling of genetically modified foods GMOs, even though 96 percent were in favor of labeling before elections according to MSNBC poll.

A $46 million ad campaign by Monsanto, DuPont, and the food industry succeeded, claiming that labeling would be a major inconvenience that would raise costs and food prices.

Organic farmers, retailers, environmentalists, consumers, and other groups comprising over 10 million individuals raised $8 million. In the end, the vote was 4.8 million against Proposition 37 to 4.3 million in favor, according to Acres USA, Jan. 2013.

Because of “unexplained anomalies,” Lori Grace, head of the Institute for American Democracy and Election Integrity, has started a recount, according to independent public television station KCET.

Although it is believed that the basic premise of the majority of “Yes” voters is the desire to be able to make an educated choice regarding food, many feel that GMOs are actually toxic and look to studies done outside the industry for reliable information. One such study came out in September 2012.

According to an article in Le Nouvel Observateur, quoted in the Nation of Change, that study was considered so controversial that the researchers used encrypted emails, banned phone conversations, and even created a decoy study to prevent sabotage.

A two-year study showed increased formation of tumors and early mortality using the rat’s lifespan instead of the usual 90-day safety-testing period. The study, by Gilles-Eric Séralini, et al., was called “Long Term Toxicity of a Roundup Herbicide and a Roundup-Tolerant Genetically Modified Maize” and was published in the peer-reviewed Food and Chemical Toxicology Journal, September 2012. Research.

What Is Roundup?

Roundup is the chemical glyphosate. This herbicide is not toxic to the plant directly as previously used herbicides were. Glyphosate becomes deadly by chelating protective minerals such as magnesium, copper, and iron from plants, making the plants susceptible to pathogens that are naturally in the soil.

Dr. Don Huber, a soil biologist, in a video with Dr. Mercola, describes the weeds as having AIDS. They die, and the soil is left full of plant pathogens, as Roundup also kills off the beneficial bacteria as well.

Glyphosate itself does not break down, but accumulates in the soil, as it has been used as an herbicide for over three decades without alternating it with other herbicides. The super weeds, that take more Roundup than ever plus other herbicides to kill, have developed resistance to the soil pathogens, just as some of us have developed a natural immunity to mumps, according to a Sept. 22, 2012, article on Mercola.com.

The Study

A French study researching the effects of GMOs was conducted on 200 rats.

A New York Times opinion piece by Andrew Revkin cited the French academies of agriculture, medicine, pharmacy, technology, science, and veterinary medicine as banding together to say the study “spread fear among the public,” had “numerous gaps in methods and interpretation,” and the corn type GMO NK603 was already “proven safe.”

Out of the 200 rats, 10 of each sex were given the non-GMO variety of corn closest to GMO NK 603.

Roundup-tolerant GMO NK603 corn was given to one group of 60, and GMO NK603 sprayed with Roundup herbicide was given to another 60.

The groups were further divided into 11, 22, and 33 percent GMOs in their diets, so all diets were under 50 percent GMO. This GMO corn is a type approved for animal feed in Canada.

Three groups (60 rats) were given Roundup only in their water in the following amounts: the amount allowed in tap water, 4 parts per billion; the amount allowed in animal feed; and half the minimal amount used for spraying crops.

The first two GMO-fed males died of huge kidney tumors a year before the first control died. In the 22-percent-GM-diet group, the first female died eight months before the first female control died. Two females and three males out of the 20 controls died before their life expectancy.

Altogether, 50 percent of the females on the GMO diets died before their life expectancy. Even in the lowest concentrations, Roundup in water also claimed almost half the females.

Of the females in the GMO-grain group, 70 percent developed mammary tumors. Of the females in the Roundup-in-water group, over 90 percent got mammary tumors. Over 64 percent of the females had pituitary tumors and dysfunction.

Of the treated males, 87 percent had liver pathology, 97 percent had digestive pathology, and 82 percent had chronic progressive kidney disease.

Although industry scientists considered the GMO corn to be as safe as regular corn, there is one small but significant difference in the chemistry of the two corns. GMO corn is lacking in the amount of ferulic and caffeic acids, two phenols found in regular corn that are cancer-protective and prevent oxidative stress in the kidneys. This study “Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize” was published in Food and Chemical Toxicology, Volume 50, Issue 11, November 2012
(Research.sustainablefoodtrust.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Final-Paper.pdf)

Eat Like a President

The chef of the Clintons and Bushes, Walter Scheib, said to Mother Jones: “Nearly all the product used was obtained from local growers and suppliers. There was a small garden on the roof of the White House where produce was grown.

“The ethic of the purchasing and the cooking at the White House under my direction and under the continuing direction of Cris Comerford [the current Obama White House executive chef] is one of respect for the pedigree of the product and manner it is grown, gathered, raised, or caught.”

We could agree with our intrepid leaders on one issue: Eat organically. As long as GMOs remain unlabeled, eating organic food is the only way to avoid GMO.

via GMO Toxicity Affects Animals, Plants, and Soil | Nutrition | Health | Epoch Times

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Gao Zhisheng Allowed Family Visit in Remote Prison

23 January, 2013 at 10:41 | Posted in China, Gao Zhisheng, human rights, persecution, slave labor camps, Society | Leave a comment
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By Irene Luo
Epoch Times Staff

It’s been over a year since human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng was detained in the remote Shaya Prison in Xinjiang Province, and only recently was he allowed to meet his family for the second time. They had not been permitted to visit since March 2012.

Gao, sometimes calling “China’s conscience,” was arrested, harassed and tortured from 2005 onwards after defending persecuted practitioners of Falun Gong, a traditional spiritual discipline, and other groups targeted by the regime.

Gao’s eldest brother told Sound of Hope (SOH) radio on Jan. 18 that he had been trying to visit his detained brother for a long time, and only after he threatened to appeal in Beijing did the authorities allow his family to visit Gao in prison.

Gao’s wife, Geng He, who currently resides in the United States with their children, maintained that Chinese communist authorities are afraid her family would expose her husband’s situation to the international community if they visited him.

His younger brother and father-in-law traveled far to see him, but were only granted a half-hour visit under strict monitoring and control.

During the short meeting, Gao could only ask about the family’s wellbeing. His only words for his wife were to raise the children well and don’t worry too much about him.

Geng told Radio Free Asia (RFA) that prior to their visit, the prison has forbidden them to ask any questions about Gao’s treatment; violating this rule would lead to immediate termination of the visit, she said.

During the meeting, Gao’s brother asked whether he could read newspapers or watch television but was abruptly interrupted before Gao was able to speak; a guard said that Gao wasn’t allowed.

Geng told RFA that the family made great efforts to get a chance to see him. The journey across the remote region of Xinjiang to the prison is harsh and takes around 10 days. The most important aspect of the encounter was to verify that Gao is still alive.

Sound of Hope Radio interviewed several well-known Chinese human rights activists after the short prison meeting.

Beijing human rights activist Hu Jia said that over the past eight years, Gao Zhisheng has constantly suffered brutal torture by the Chinese Communist authorities.

Hu said Gao is locked up in a place referred to by the Uyghur locals as a “terrorist prison.”

“The evil of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is fully implemented by the propaganda system and the politics and law system. Regardless of whether they are the Internet and media censors, or the political and local police that block petitioners, evil is being implemented through these various individuals. So when we are faced with these evil people, we must understand, fundamentally, it is the evil of the system, the evil of the CCP,” Hu said.

According to human rights lawyer Tang Jingling from Guangzhou, who is familiar with the CCP’s persecution of the prisoners of conscience, Gao has very likely been suffering from “strict control” and torture.

Tang added that “strict control” as implemented by guards is “very cruel”: the victim is forbidden to speak to anyone, or is often in solitary confinement in a small cell, or sometimes in a cage or small space, where they cannot stand up, or sit or lie down. Over time it is agonizing, Tang said.

Editor’s Note: When Chongqing’s former top cop, Wang Lijun, fled for his life to the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu on Feb. 6, he set in motion a political storm that has not subsided. The battle behind the scenes turns on what stance officials take toward the persecution of Falun Gong. The faction with bloody hands—the officials former CCP head Jiang Zemin promoted in order to carry out the persecution—is seeking to avoid accountability for their crimes and to continue the campaign. Other officials are refusing to participate in the persecution any longer. Events present a clear choice to the officials and citizens of China, as well as people around the world: either support or oppose the persecution of Falun Gong. History will record the choice each person makes.

Read the original Chinese article.

via Gao Zhisheng Allowed Family Visit in Remote Prison | Democracy & Human Rights | China | Epoch Times

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In Praise of the Printed Book: The Value of Concentration in the Digital Age

23 January, 2013 at 07:29 | Posted in Body & Mind, Culture | Leave a comment
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By Nathan Hollier
Monash University

One of the best pieces of sports journalism I ever read was by Gene Tunney, world heavyweight champion of the 1920s, writing about how reading books helped him stay calm and focused in the lead-up to his most famous fight against former champion Jack Dempsey. While members of Dempsey’s camp ridiculed Tunney for his bookishness, Tunney kept calm, and went on to win.

One of the best pieces of sports journalism I ever read was by Gene Tunney, world heavyweight champion of the 1920s, writing about how reading books helped him stay calm and focused in the lead-up to his most famous fight against former champion Jack Dempsey. While members of Dempsey’s camp ridiculed Tunney for his bookishness, Tunney kept calm, and went on to win.

Most of us would feel stressed at the prospect of stepping into the boxing ring, but stress-related illnesses, especially depression and forms of anxiety and attention disorder, are becoming increasingly prevalent, especially in wealthy societies. According to a major 2006 projection of global mortality by Mathers and Loncar, by 2030, unipolar depression will be almost 40% more likely to cause death or disability than heart disease in wealthy societies.

Stress can of course have many causes, but in the most general sense, it spreads from factors that impact negatively on focus and concentration. We fear interruption or a surplus of tasks, responsibilities or options to choose, leading to heightened stress levels.

The digital age is an age of distraction.

The digital age is an age of distraction; and distraction causes stress and weakens concentration. Concentration, as the philosopher William James argued in his classic 1890 work Principles of Psychology, is the most fundamental element of intellectual development. He wrote:

“The faculty of voluntarily bringing back a wandering attention over and over again, is the very root of judgement, character, and will … An education which should improve this faculty would be the education par excellence.”

Concentration is equally important emotionally, as is being increasingly revealed by new research into “mindfulness” and meditation. The inability to focus is associated with depression and anxiety and, amongst other things, an underdeveloped sociability and human empathy. Tests have revealed that people report greater happiness from being effectively focused on what they are doing than from daydreaming on even pleasant topics.

How many memoirs include stories of the author surreptitiously reading books by torchlight underneath the blankets, with parents fearful of the child reading too much? (In my case I was reading The Hardy Boys so my mother’s objections were probably justified.)

As James Carroll has argued, at its core, reading is “the occasion of the encounter with the self”. In other words, the ultimate object of reading is not to take on information but to absorb and reflect upon it and, in the process, hopefully, form a more developed version of one’s own identity or being.

It seems likely that the concentration required and encouraged by books is extremely valuable. Reading books is good for you. And this seems especially so in the case of print books, where a reader is most completely free from distraction.

The print book may not actually have been superseded or, indeed, be supersede-able.

Ebooks, and more pertinently perhaps, the digital reading environment, are unquestionably transformative in the opportunities and experiences they offer to readers. Great oceans of knowledge otherwise only obtainable through tracking down print books or physical archives and records, have become available and, much more easily searchable. Hyperlinks mean readers no longer have to read in a straight line, as it were, but can follow innumerable paths of interest.

Web2 technologies enable “talking back” to publishers and media, the formation of groups of readers with common interests, easy (sometimes too easy) sharing of files and other information. Stories can be enriched by animated graphics and interactivity. And so on.

No one in their right mind would imagine that the e-reading environment can or should somehow be wound back.

Nonetheless, by their nature e-reading devices facilitate and encourage the constant, inevitably distracting consideration of other reading options, more or less instantly attainable. This is probably their main selling point.

Maryanne Wolf has even asked: “If the assumption that ‘more’ and ‘faster’ are necessarily better (will) have consequences that radically affect the quality of attention that can transform a word into a thought and a thought into a world of unimagined possibility?”

It is interesting to consider, in light of this possibility that the greatest benefit of reading may come from its capacity to assist in the development of focus and concentration, that the print book may not actually have been superseded or, indeed, be supersede-able.

This, I think, is what the novelist, critic, philosopher and communications historian Umberto Eco means when he argues: “The book is like the spoon, scissors, the hammer, the wheel. Once invented, it cannot be improved.”

This article was originally published at The Conversation.

via In Praise of the Printed Book: The Value of Concentration in the Digital Age | Viewpoints | Opinion | Epoch Times

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