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Those who think more analytically are less inclined to be religious believers than are those who tend to follow a gut instinct, researchers conclude.

FRANZ KAFKA wrote that “a book must be the ax for the frozen sea inside us.” I once shared this quotation with a class of seventh graders, and it didn’t seem to require any explanation.


 

Comments

RE: Study Points to Roles for Industry and Organics in Agriculture

Very interesting, and much closer to what I think the truth behind the spin actually is.

Very similar ideas to a recent Ted talk that I have been meaning to post and does a great job of summing up a pretty reasonable approach to Agricultural challenges.

http://boingboing.net/2012/04/16/how-do-you-solve-a-problem-lik.html

These come pretty close to what I think about Ag. The reality is that No tech is going to get big increases out of first world fields almost all the room for improvement are in third world fields where equipment, irrigation and basic skills are more needed than fancy seeds. And no doubt we need to find ways everywhere to produce with less water, less chemicals, and less energy consumption so we aren't enjoying a huge meal as environmental pollution and loss of drinkable water choke us out or existence.

I thought that would get at least one response....

Don't take it personally, I don't think there are many readers left.

Remarkably, the site still gets over 5000 hits a week

How many of those are Sygnas?

Could be because it's hidden in the comments...

I'm currently lurking (but not responding) between end of the semester projects. Definitely want to get back in on this discussion, but have to parse out my time.

Sorry Red Seven,

I have been preparing for the Organic Standards Board meeting, besides now the rain has stopped, I'm trying to get the fields ready for planting.

The posted article presumes that QUANTITY of a thing, is somehow, by definition "better". Whereas, in my view, "products" laced with pesticide and herbicides, using agricultural methods that pollute the water and the soil, are not food, but simply a way to create more poison. More product mascerading as food is not better.

Well, I actually took both the article and the Story to mean that we needed conventional methods to increase production and organic methods to reduce pollution and chemical consumption. so we can meet the hunger needs of the next 50 years and health needs of the next 100.

Quantity and efficiency are big deals when you are talking about just avoiding large scale hunger problems, even if the longer term goal needs to be a healthier and less polluting agriculture.

I also think its a great point made in the end of the ted talk that the real opportunity for increased yields in the 3rd world where things like tractors, and education are bigger factors than GE seeds and tons of pesticides.

Calling this spawn of Industrial Agriculture a miracle for food production is, well, only reasonable if one believes God to be evil.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/03/argentine-activist-sofia-gatica-monsanton1475659.html?ref=green

"Sofia Gatica, Argentine Activist, Faced Anonymous Death Threats For Fighting Monsanto Herbicide"

"I started seeing children with mouth covers, mothers with scarves wrapped around their heads to cover their baldness, due to chemotherapy," she told Grist in an interview, explaining what inspired her to co-found Mothers of Ituzaingó. The efforts of those half-dozen mothers, who began going from door to door collecting information on health problems in their community, led to the first epidemiological study that showed cancer rates in Gatica's hometown of Ituzaingó were 41 times the national average, with high rates of birth defects and infant mortality as well."...

Farmers and others in Argentina use weedkiller primarily on genetically modified Roundup Ready soy, which covers nearly 50 million acres, or half of the country's cultivated land area. In 2009 farmers sprayed that acreage with an estimated 200 million liters of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup and other herbicides used around the globe, which critics have argued for decades poses a serious threat to public health....

The Argentine government helped pull the country out of a recession in the 1990s, in part by promoting genetically modified soy. Though it was something of a miracle for local farmers at the time, residents in areas nearby the crops began a few years later to report health problems, including high rates of birth defects and cancers, as well as the losses of crops and livestock.

While Monsanto avers that glyphosate poses no risk to humans, the work of activists like Gatica and Argentine government scientist, Andres Carrasco, suggest a different story. Carrasco

conducted a study in 2009, "Glyphosate-Based Herbicides Produce Teratogenic Effects on Vertebrates by Impairing Retinoic Acid Signaling," which found that glyphosate causes malformations in frog and chicken embryos at doses far lower than those used in agricultural spraying. It also found that malformations caused in frog and chicken embryos by Roundup and its active ingredient glyphosate were similar to human birth defects found in genetically modified soy-producing regions.

"The findings in the lab are compatible with malformations observed in humans exposed to glyphosate during pregnancy," wrote Carrasco, director of the Laboratory of Molecular Embryology at the University of Buenos Aires. "I suspect the toxicity classification of glyphosate is too low.”

How about this: if you like Round-up, then what about Agent Orange in your corn?

Heck, why not? GMO is Science! it's gotta be good.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/26/enlist-dow-agent-orange-cornn1456129.html

"'Agent Orange Corn' Debate Rages As Dow Seeks Approval Of New Genetically Modified Seed

WASHINGTON -- A new kind of genetically modified crop under the brand name of "Enlist" -- known by its critics as "Agent Orange corn" -- has opponents pushing U.S. regulators to scrutinize the product more closely and reject an application by Dow AgroSciences to roll out its herbicide-resistant seeds.

The corn has been genetically engineered to be immune to 2,4-D, an ingredient used in Agent Orange that some say could pose a serious threat to the environment and to human health. Approval by the United States Department of Agriculture and Environmental Protection Agency would allow farmers to spray it far and wide without damaging their crops, boosting profits for the agribusiness giant.

Dow and its allies have insisted that their product is well tested, while industry regulators have so far overlooked critics' concerns.

"This is going to be a solution that we are looking forward to bringing to farmers," Dow's Joe Vertin told Reuters." ... "The scientific community has sounded alarms about the dangers of 2,4-D for decades," wrote opponents in their letter to Vilsack. "Numerous studies link 2,4-D exposure to major health problems such as cancer, lowered sperm counts, liver toxicity and Parkinson's disease. Lab studies show that 2,4-D causes endocrine disruption, reproductive problems, neurotoxicity, and immunosuppression."

Some farmers have argued that the new herbicide, a combination of 2,4-D and glyphosate -- the active ingredient in Monsanto's bestselling Roundup weed killer -- is necessary to combat weeds that have become resistant to glyphosate alone."

2,4D has been the active ingredient in consumer level weed control products for over 40 years. Virtually every yard in the US that is weed free is because of 2,4D. They've added some adjuncts over the years to speed up the process, but the broad leafs are still killed by 2,4D.

I have a 25% white clover/75% fescue lawn that is gorgeous to everyone that hasn't been conditioned to believe clover is a weed. How do I control dandelion, chickweed, oxalis etc...? 2,4D! Believe it or not, you can still buy 2,4D from farm suppliers, and if it's applied when the clover isn't in bloom, it won't kill clover.

Is it toxic to humans? I suppose if you drank it, or sprayed it on your skin, it's probably pretty bad, but then so are most other salts - even table salt can kill you - just ask Dr. Oz!

What was the main ingredient in Agent Orange? Dihydrogen Monoxide - which is also the main chemical used in pool maintenance, and directly responsible for killing over 3000 people (mainly children) in the US every year! Why doesn't the environmental activist community care about dihydrogen monoxide? Easy - it's classified as 'natural'. Tell that to the millions of parents of children it has killed since it was brought on the market.

I think your fears of 2,4D and glyphosate are unfounded.

I don't know a lot about Agent Orange, but as I recall it wasn't the 2.4-D or the 2,4,5-T that made it most toxic. It was a dioxin impurity in the 2,4,5-T.

re:What was the main ingredient in Agent Orange? Dihydrogen Monoxide - which is also the main chemical used in pool maintenance, and directly responsible for killing over 3000 people (mainly children) in the US every year!

comment: see: wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dihydrogenmonoxidehoax

Dihydrogen monoxide hoax

water (H2O) is only unhealthy when it is contaminated with poison. what are you talking about???

That's the problem with the vanguard of the Organic movement, they are not above using scare tactics. Agent Orange Corn, I'll give them credit it is effective PR, but it's fundamentally dishonest. I get it when they don't have the evidence they resort to mocking and scare tactics. If it's dangerous present the evidence in the form of peer reviewed studies, and for heavens sake don't use the same old studies that have been reviewed by their peers and found wanting.

Syngas:

So you spray poison on the lawns around your home, where you and your family live, walk and play. You do so because you hate those darn broad leaf plants. Maybe, you hope, the extent of risks to health from that poison are not too high. But whatever they be, the risks to human health are worth your reward of a clover/grass lawn, free of dandylions. wow. good luck.

Norm: The Argentine studies were published in PubMed (NLM, NIH), You've heard of them I'm sure, and such a fringy group they be - those wonks at the National Institute of Health.

Read an interesting book last week: "Golden Holocaust: Origins of the Cigarette Catastrophe and the Case for Abolition" by Robert N. Proctor. (It's available on Kindle). Tis stunning the extent to which Climate change denial and Herbicide/Pesticide support programs follow in Philip Morris' footprints.

re: 2,4D I commend to your attention:

EPA United States Environmental Protection Agency, National Service Center for Environmental

Publications (NSCEP) publication "2,4-D: Chemical Summary" 2007"

In particular, note on page 1: "Children are most likely to be exposed following application of 2,4-D as a residential lawn care product. Exposure is most likely to occur via inhalation of indoor air and house dust generally subsequent to lawn care application of 2,4D, or via contact with 2,4D treated grasses. Hand to mouth activity can also contribute to exposure from 2,4D contaminated house dust."

Note page 3 for the Toxicity Summary.

"Health effects of chronic or acute 2,4-D exposure reported for adults included blood, liver, and kidney toxicity. Specific effects included a reduction in hemoglobin and red blood cell numbers, decreased liver enzyme activity and increased kidney weight. ... Experimental animal studies ... have reported adverse effects on the eye, thyroid, kidney, adrenals, and ovaries/testes."

Syngas: p.s. I've got some dandy recipes for dandelion greens should you ever decide to leave the dark side and grow a healthy lawn instead of spraying poison around your home

I think dandelions are beautiful. I have them growing all over my "lawn" along with oxalis which I also think is beautiful. Anyway, I am interested in your recipe for dandelion greens. ☺

Water is extremely dangerous when it prevents respiration.

Using the term dihydrogen monoxide is a fun way to scare the shit out of people who have been conditioned to fear 'chemicals'. Everything is a chemical, yet the environmental activist community who likes to call others anti-science love to rail against chemicals in their food, water and air.

Oxalis is actually pretty good in a salad (in small amounts). I'm willing to risk the slight toxicity of oxalic acid on occasion for the flavor it brings to an otherwise bland snack.

I've tried dandelion in a salad, and found it too strong.

I had never considered oxalis in a salad. I just thought it looked pretty cool and green and soft and enjoy looking at it. So now, I'm looking forward to you and Betty Jo sharing any recipes having to do with weeds/plants that grow voluntarily.

And Syngas, knowing what a snob you are as pertains to the overuse of the comma, please forgive the incorrect use of commas in the above comment by your humble servant.

Dandelion greens, like arugula, radicchio, baby beet and turnip leaves, kales, chicory and the like make nice accents in raw salads, but are, to my palate, best set off by sharing the bowl with milder lettuces.

Light stir frying lightens the bite of all of these greens. A bit of garlic, ginger, warm olive oil til the greens are softened. This might be served as a warm salad with any or all of sliced marinated artichokes, diced hard cooked eggs, a bit of red onion, a squeeze of fresh lemon.

A favorite brunch dish is strata, with cipollini onions and tart greens - dandelion or otherwise, stirfry onions, garlic, greens, add to half dozen eggs, 1 3/4 cup grated young asiago, 4 oz cubed french bread. Store in fridge an hour to overnight, then pour into a deep cake pan at 350 for perhaps 45 min.

I am not fond of the flavor of oxalis. I do like chive blossoms in salads.

Light stir frying lightens the bite of all of these greens. A bit of garlic, ginger, warm olive oil til the greens are softened.

Ah, so just stir fry with a combination of one's favored ingredients. Thank you.

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