Daily Archives: April 19th, 2007

Tinfoil Hat, Bu$h Style

I was just scoping out prisonplanet.com and ran across this little diddy:

In a question-and-answer session, the president was asked by a student what he thought should be done to ensure safety in schools.

He said he didn’t want to draw conclusions from the Virginia case because “they’re still digging out the facts.” But he suggested that concerns about privacy violations, while understandable, may be preventing people from taking needed action.

The neocons really have mastered the art of doublespeak haven’t they? And they don’t miss a beat and they’re on message consistantly.

The slimy bastards never miss a photo-op either, Fearless Leader was right there in Ohio shlepping money and slipped in a classic meme straight from 1984; “Security is Freedom”.

Tragedy and neocons, one is never far from the other.

Read ’em and weep: Bush: Be Wary of ‘Abnormal Behavior’. Goddess, ya think?!

21st Century Leeches

Wow, since I’m a heart patient, I like this new one from NewScientist.com:

A device that sounds like a 21st-century version of a medicinal leech may soon be set loose inside the chests of heart patients. Resembling a robotic caterpillar, it will crawl across the surface of their beating heart, delivering treatment without the need for major surgery.

Physicians used leeches from the ancient Egyptians to the early 20th century. It was a nasty process which usually killed the patient more than it cured. Fascinating read.

Creepy-crawly robot to mend a broken heart

The Ashley Treatment

From Mercatornet via The World Transhumanist Association:

Ashley has “static encephalopathy of unknown aetiology”, a severe and permanent brain impairment. She will need intensive care for the rest of her life, which doctors say could be 60 years or more. When her parents consulted experts at Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center in Seattle they discovered that it was possible to radically retard her growth with high doses of the female hormone estrogen…

Translation; Ashley is severly mentally handicapped to the point where she will require care all of her life. Her parents made a difficult life altering decision about how to care for their daughter.

The philosophy which underlies The Ashley Treatment is that this little girl’s body is just a tool of the spirit to be reshaped and redesigned at will. The real her is trapped inside a floppy, burdensome carcass. Her parents have remodelled her body to match her mind. But this is wrong. Inseparable from our minds, our bodies are also us, not an attachment to us. We are not less dignified if our minds are impaired; we are not less dignified if our bodies are impaired.

The author does not agree with last statement of course, this is a question for transhumanism; are we our bodies, or is our consciousness a separate component of “us” and what makes us human?

This has been a question of religious philosophy for thousands of years and only recently has been taken up by science and the transhuman community. Transhumanism has been accused of being a cheap recreation of religion that caters to “techno-rapturists” and aging “new agers”.

So, what’s wrong with being a techno-rapturist?

Read the rest of the article here.

Missing Bees Redux

From Clif, a frequent commenter here, Liberally Mirth and whitenoiseinsanity;

Imidacloprid effects on bee population;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imidacloprid_effects_on_bee_population

They have known about this since 1994, but keep their pieholes shut for a few extra dollars profit, even if it destroys the food supplies right after their stock rises….

And this from Clif:

from a commenter at Sharon Astyks blog:

Mystery Disease? Sounds a lot like poison to me. The real mystery is why we are sitting by like timid dummies while the big corporations spin this one. Cell phones? Really?

I am a beekeeper in Central Massachusetts who read about Colony Collapse in February. Something in one of the reports reminded me of a description of how termites are said to be killed by a new class of pesticides known as neonicitinoids. I went to my local farmers’ coop, picked up labels from the various insecticide bottles and Googled the ingredients with ‘honeybees,’ ’sublethal’ and ‘organic.’ A product called ‘Merit’ containing the neuro-toxin ‘Imidacloprid’ came up as a soil treatment for fruit trees. Other products with other cute names were being advertised for use on turf to kill grubs (also earthworms.) The labels promise that all sorts of insects, including adult japanese beetles will be controlled for 12 months (read systemic.) Visit your local Walmart and garden center and you will find it on all the shelves. They sell more of it every year according to the Bayer Corporation. You remember Bayer, right? They gave us aspirin and other less pleasant products in WW I and WW II. More recently, BayerCropScience has given us the gift of genetically modified rice. You may have read about it.

‘Merit’ ‘Gaucho’ ‘BayerAdvanced’ ‘Admire,’ ‘Gaucho,’ ‘Genesis,’ ‘Platinum,’ ‘Provado,’ ‘Leverage,’ ‘Actara’ are catchy little trade names for Imidacloprid, a systemic insecticide that was banned in France after beekeepers staged an angry protest in Paris. Bayer CropScience paid many millions to the french beekeepers and voluntarily withdrew the product without admitting that it was the culprit. Vive La France! They take their food seriously. Shame on us. Shame on the EPA. Shame on the media for not even mentioning the history of the peoples fight against Imidacloprid in France. The more stories I hear about the mystery disease the sillier they get. Soon the media will begin to snicker at all of the alarmists who worry about GMO’s and cell towers. They will sigh, continue to wonder and finally forget about it. Already some are beginning to talk about how we can survive without bees as though it were just another problem like surviving without oil.

Imidacloprid is the most likely culprit in CCD, even thought there may be other contributing factors. This is the same class of stuff some of us put on our dogs and cats to kill fleas and ticks (see Fipronil and Frontline.) It is much less toxic to mammals than to invertebrates. ( I confess that the ticks at my place have tempted me to put it on my own neck.) Yesterday, I overheard a salesperson in the coop suggest to a customer that he put some on his chickens. What a wonderful idea. We can have it for breakfast in our locally produced eggs. This morning The Weather Channel carried a Bayer advertisement for Merit calling out to those of us who are “sick and tired of all those bugs.” If Imidacloprid were being discussed as a cause for CCD, you can be sure that the Weather Channel would be a little more concerned about those ads. That is why it is hardly ever mentioned by name. Instead, the generic term ‘pesticide’ is used in news discussions of CCD.

Direct poisoning of the bee population? This is serious business when you mess with an important life and death cycle like this in nature. Flowering plants and seeds have made this planet what it is since the days of the dinosaurs. Bees and other insects that transport pollen are not only necessary for flowering plants, but trees that blossom as well, apple and cherry just to name a couple. I’m not a plant biologist, so I’m sure the list is lengthy.

This has been my most popular thread of the week, I think I’ve gotten more hits on this subject than the rest combined. If anybody has more info and links on this, please pass them on.

Oh yeah, here’s a link to Bayer USA’s site where all the chemical stuff is for sale. If you can make heads or tails of it, let me know!   

Bayer CropScience