A NASA spokesperson has dismissed a major critique of the Science arsenic bug paper based not on the criticism’s merits, but on its venue — it appeared in a blog rather than a peer-reviewed journal. Apparently ideas are valid (or not) based not on their content, or even the reputation of the author, but on where they’re published.
NASA spokesperson Dwayne Brown expressed these rather anti-empirical notions in a CBC News story about the substantive and detailed reservations about the Science paper raised by University of British Columbia researcher Rosie Redfield in her blog, which I covered here night before last. As I noted then, Redfield’s criticisms were quickly echoed by other qualified researchers. But Brown sets aside Redfield’s critique without even referring to its substance or merits.
From “NASA’s arsenic microbe science slammed,” at CBC News:
When NASA spokesman Dwayne Brown was asked about public criticisms of the paper in the blogosphere, he noted that the article was peer-reviewed and published in one of the most prestigious scientific journals. He added that Wolfe-Simon will not be responding to individual criticisms, as the agency doesn’t feel it is appropriate to debate the science using the media and bloggers. Instead, it believes that should be done in scientific publications.
This is a call to pre-Enlighentment thinking. Brown is telling us to judge utterances not by their content, not even by the integrity, reputation, and experience of the individuals who deliver them, but by whether they’re delivered from the proper place in the proper building — in pre-Enlightenment days, the Church of Rome; in Brown’s post-arsenic days, the Church of the Peer-reviewed Journal.
It’s an extraordinary dismissal. Rosie Redfield is a full-bore member of the academy and a researcher in the field under question. She is — to extend the metaphor — a priest. But though Redfield wears the proper robes, Brown wants to dismiss her because she’s not standing on the proper altar.
Even the best peer-reviewed journals make mistakes. Hype can take over. Groupthink can rule. People screw up. And sometimes journals defend mistakes by refusing to publish sharp critiques of them. All this stuff happens, and not just once in a blue moon. Peer review — and especially so in the sort of artificially and arbitrarily constricted sense that Brown gives it here.
What he fails to see or refuses to acknowledge is that Rosie Redfield is a peer, and her blog is peer review. NASA has bungled its presentation of this paper from start to finish. It makes worse by trying to dismiss critiques this way. This is the wrong stuff.
It seems that NASA is taking some heat about its’ arsenic critters, or rather whether they’re actually arsenic at all.
My beef is that NASA sensationalized this (of course they deny it) before the study was released last week that the microbes were “alien” and could be part of a shadow ecology.
I don’t know, it seems a lot of work to jump through fiery hoops in order to prove other life exists in the Universe and a lot of work is committed to prove it only exists here on Earth. Hmm..
The above canard from an old 1970s ad campaign may sound corny now-a-days, but in this case it might apply.
That’s not a tiny man. That boulder – shot by Icelandic photographer, volcano adventurer and overall awesome guy Ragnar Sigurdsson – stands 15m high, weighs about 1000 tons, and it wasn’t there a few days ago. Who put it there?
I call him Mike, but you know him as Eyjafjallajokull. Its impact is still being felt in Iceland. This boulder came out of nowhere after the unpronounceable raging mountain melt the glacier that was trapping it. Glaciers are slow but irrepressible forces of nature that wrap and drag everything on their way. Unfortunately for the glaciers, volcano lava, win like scissors over paper.
One must remember that as we study esoteric anomalies and science, we encounter things we never considered to be reality, but are real none the less.
Here, in this particular instance, we witness the awesome power of Mother Nature approach that lofty realm and a person must also include her in our studies.
I’m not sure this is a good thing or not since I’m an ol’ country boy:
The world’s mega-cities are merging to form vast “mega-regions” which may stretch hundreds of kilometres across countries and be home to more than 100 million people, according to a major new UN report.
The phenomenon of the so-called “endless city” could be one of the most significant developments – and problems – in the way people live and economies grow in the next 50 years, says UN-Habitat, the agency for human settlements, which identifies the trend of developing mega-regions in its biannual State of World Cities report.
The largest of these, says the report – launched today at the World Urban Forum in Rio de Janeiro – is the Hong Kong-Shenhzen-Guangzhou region in China, home to about 120 million people. Other mega-regions have formed in Japan and Brazil and are developing in India, west Africa and elsewhere.
The trend helped the world pass a tipping point in the last year, with more than half the world’s people now living in cities.
The UN said that urbanisation is now “unstoppable”. Anna Tibaijuka, outgoing director of UN-Habitat, said: “Just over half the world now lives in cities but by 2050, over 70% of the world will be urban dwellers. By then, only 14% of people in rich countries will live outside cities, and 33% in poor countries.”
The development of mega-regions is regarded as generally positive, said the report’s co-author Eduardo Lopez Moreno: “They [mega-regions], rather than countries, are now driving wealth.”
“Research shows that the world’s largest 40 mega-regions cover only a tiny fraction of the habitable surface of our planet and are home to fewer than 18% of the world’s population [but] account for 66% of all economic activity and about 85% of technological and scientific innovation,” said Moreno.
“The top 25 cities in the world account for more than half of the world’s wealth,” he added. “And the five largest cities in India and China now account for 50% of those countries’ wealth.”
The migration to cities, while making economic sense, is affecting the rural economy too: “Most of the wealth in rural areas already comes from people in urban areas sending money back,” Moreno said.
The growth of mega-regions and cities is also leading to unprecedented urban sprawl, new slums, unbalanced development and income inequalities as more and more people move to satellite or dormitory cities.
“Cities like Los Angeles grew 45% in numbers between 1975-1990, but tripled their surface area in the same time. This sprawl is now increasingly happening in developing countries as real estate developers promote the image of a ‘world-class lifestyle’ outside the traditional city,” say the authors.
To quote Jameske of the Daily Grail, “Judge Dredd soon to follow.”
“I am de la-aw!”
Sly Stallone will always have a job I guess.
UFO activity has long been associated with volcanic and earthquake activity, especially in Mexico, Central and South America.
Here we have photos of UFOs that were taken after the recent 8.8 R quake in Chile:
Long-time researcherLiliana Núñez Orellana(formerly with AFLA)sent us a video clip from Chilean television displaying some of the truly startling images captured before, during and after the 8.8 magnitude earthquake in that country. Interviewed for this presentation were Rodrigo Fuenzalida and Alberto Urquiza. Mr. Fuenzalida was asked to provide an analysis of the situation, and he shared an interesting theory: that UFOs, regardless of their nature or origin, vacate their underground or underwater lairs before an earthquake much in the way that our own surface ships set out to sea before a hurricane.
This might be evidence of Mac Tonnies’ cryptoterrestrial theory in that in the shear numbers of these objects that vacate geological volatile areas of the planet before, during and after these events.
Are you seeing this Mac?
In the NASA FY2011 Budget, there is $2.5 billion $macker$ assigned to the closure of Constellation Program contracts.
Au contrare says Elizabeth Robinson, the former Office of Management and Budget career official appointed by President Barack Obama as the space agency’s chief financial officer:
the funds are not intended to cover contract termination liability — the cost to a contractor and NASA of shutting down contractor facilities, terminating leases and the like.
Instead, they will go for the cost to the government of pulling Constellation equipment out of its own facilities, environmental remediation at those facilities, and keeping civil servants on the payroll until new work can be found for them, Robinson said.
“The program termination costs and the civilian transition costs are the primary things in the $2.5 billion,” she said.
NASA has spent about $9 billion on Constellation to date — largely to develop the Ares I crew launch vehicle and the Orion crew exploration vehicle just completing preliminary design review. The Fiscal 2011 budget includes $1.9 billion in Fiscal 2011 and $600 million in Fiscal 2012 for the program termination and civilian transition costs associated with stopping it.
Robinson said NASA is developing a plan for managing the requested funds and handling the additional contract termination liability. She conceded the $2.5 billion has quickly become a potential cash cow within the agency as NASA struggles to change direction in human access to orbit from Constellation vehicles to a purely commercial approach.
“Everyone says that line will take care of it,” she said. “I think it will be oversubscribed.”
Boy, even in dying the Constellation Program is going to end up being a pig roast. The tax-payers really took it up the…well, we’ll leave it to your imagination.
Life on ice?
How about under it?
Like 600 feet:
In a surprising discovery about where higher life can thrive, scientists for the first time found a shrimp-like creature and a jellyfish frolicking beneath a massive Antarctic ice sheet.
Six hundred feet below the ice where no light shines, scientists had figured nothing much more than a few microbes could exist.
That’s why a NASA team was surprised when they lowered a video camera to get the first long look at the underbelly of an ice sheet in Antarctica. A curious shrimp-like creature came swimming by and then parked itself on the camera’s cable. Scientists also pulled up a tentacle they believe came from a foot-long jellyfish.
“We were operating on the presumption that nothing’s there,” said NASA ice scientist Robert Bindschadler, who will be presenting the initial findings and a video at an American Geophysical Union meeting Wednesday. “It was a shrimp you’d enjoy having on your plate.”
Cool. Like really cool.
This looks like the chances of finding life under the ice sheets of Jupiter’s moon Europa and Saturn’s moon Enceladus has increased dramatically.
All we need are money and a way to melt through their ice.
In spite of all our travails on this small, blue water world in this huge daunting Universe, nature shows us beauty everywhere:
The rings of Jupiter, as explained by Stephen Smith of Thunderbolts.info:
Conventional theories assume that the universe is electrically neutral, so when observational evidence confirms electrically active plasma for instance, localized phenomena no matter how improbable are invoked. Tidal forces and volcanoes are presented as the cause for the activity seen on Io and the evidence for electric circuits is ignored. In the case of Jupiter’s rings, the same thing is happening. The ring charge is said to be caused by sunlight and shadow rather than by an electrically active circuit between Jupiter and the Sun.
Jupiter is connected with the Sun and the Sun is connected with the Milky Way – and the Milky Way is probably connected with the Local Group and then with the Cluster and so on and so on. That idea is what forms the basis of Electric Universe Theory that all things throughout the cosmos are composed of electrically quasi-neutral conducting plasma – extremely diffuse on the large-scale but capable of transmitting currents powerful enough to energize stars and the galaxies.
An electrical interaction between Jupiter and its moons means that they are charged bodies and are not electrically neutral. Jupiter exists in a dynamic electrical relationship to the Sun and it is now known that charged particles from the Sun and not “electric dynamos” power the planetary aurorae. Just like the aurorae, the ring system on Jupiter is probably behaving in similar fashion to what is seen on Saturn, so a similar explanation is most likely correct.
The more I read from these Electric Universe guys, the more sense they make.
But they have a tough row to hoe if they think they’re gonna usurp Hawking’s black hole theories any time soon, especially since the guy just beat the Reaper again! (No, I didn’t wish the guy dead, I have the utmost respect for someone who thumbs his nose at Death numerous times!)
But they’ll have their day soon I suspect!
Oh hell, might as well add this ring for extra measure:
The submitter states that:
“That thing went miles in a matter of seconds. Just doesn’t seem to wanna go away, what a pest.”
The post also goes on to mention that this could be a hoax.
Oh well. I thought it would be fun.
Blame my dry sense of humor.
The economy remains much in the news this past week as the Big Three automakers are still holding their collective hands out to the US government for some Monopoly money. As of this writing, the White House is granting them a $17.4 billion bail-out from the TARP Fund.
God forbid the CEOs running these dinosaurs are going to go without their golden parachutes at Christmas time, eh?
That won’t do, that wouldn’t be the American Way, would it?
In science news, scientists discover that Mars has mineral evidence of a past water environment; http://www.reuters.com/article/scienceNews/idUSTRE4BH7IV20081218 and could Mr. Obama’s Green Agenda be already starting?; http://blogs.reuters.com/environment/2008/12/18/green-jobs-really-on-the-way-new-us-solar-plants-announced-this-week/.
As always, Jeff Renses’ site has a take on the Zionist/NWO agenda; http://revisionistreview.blogspot.com/2008/12/talmud-stock-market-and-bernie-goniff.html , http://www.rense.com/general84/d22er.htm and my pal gfish at Weird Things writes about NASA, bureaucracy and why US space exploration will likely languish during the Obama Administration; http://worldofweirdthings.com/2008/12/18/nasa-vs-the-bureaucrats/#comments.
Again, an early post, no ‘Tubes connection yet except for work or library. If anyone wishes to write me, use my GooglePlex account, firstname.lastname@example.org or leave something here. I will try to respond in an appropriate time during the week, Monday through Friday. No weekends until I get reconnected.
Have a good week and Yule folks!
Many ways of communicating with and detecting ETI ( extra-terrestrial intelligence ) have been proposed for over fifty years. Mainly these consist of using radio telescopes, either a huge one as in Arecibo, or a vast array such as the Allen Array at the University of California at Berkley.
So far SETI ( Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence ) has come up with only one possible signal ( the WOW! signal in 1977 ) and many false ones. Very discouraging for everyone involved, especially the mainstreamers.
Which leads the mainstreamers ( mistakingly ) to assume that no ETI exists, or that they are too far away to detect our primitive smoke signals. This could be the case, but very unlikely in my view. Dr. Seth Shostak and his mainstreamers haven’t given themselves enough time to scan the skies if they really are convinced in the belief that ETIs are still using radio signals to communicate within our own little corner of the Galaxy. The chauvinistic belief that ETIs use radio just because we still do is narrow-mindedness writ large. Also it keeps astronomers, exobiologists and astrophysicists employed through shrinking university grants and increasing DoD funding ( DARPA anyone? ). In a way I can’t blame them for poo-pooing any other form of communication with ETI, or other related ( unrelated ? ) phenomena that doesn’t fit the present SETI paradigm ( serious scientific study of UFOs ).
This is about to change I believe. I have ranted in past posts that mainstream scientists wouldn’t recognize advanced ETI cultures in the Universe if one fell out of the sky on top of them because they wouldn’t resemble Star Trek or Star Wars objects ( Death Stars and dreadnaught Starships ), but in fact resemble objects in nature. The following excerpt from this paper by John G. Learned, R-P. Kudritzki, Sandip Pakvasa and A. Zee makes an interesting case for a ” Galactic Internet ” that uses variable stars:
[…] we propose that the well studied Cepheid variables might provide an easily and likely to be monitored transmitter, which would be seen by all societies undertaking serious astronomy.
Cepheid variable stars was first observed in 1595. They were first recognized as having the marvelous property of having a relationship between period and luminosity by Henrietta Swan Leavitt in 1908, permitting the establishment of a distance ladder on the galactic scale. The nearest stars could be ranged via parallax. Using the Cepheid scale one could move outwards up to stars in galaxies 20 megaparsec distant, and these stars have played a crucial role in the determination of the Hubble constant. Cepheids are generally bright stars with significant modulation and are easily observed. We expect that any civilization undertaking astronomy would soon discover them. Nor are there a daunting number of these, there being only of order 500 such stars presently tallied in our galaxy, and relatively few that are excellent standards.
The general picture for the Cepheids of Type I is that of a giant yellow star of population I with mass between five and ten times that of our sun, and 10^3 to 10^4 times the solar luminosity. A dozen or so of these stars are visible to the naked eye. The period of the brightness excursion ranges between 1 and 50 days, and is generally stable.
Finally, a real debate on whether advanced ETIs would communicate using stellar engineering to send long lived signals that could be easily translated if a culture as primitive as us took time to investigate the possibility.
Even if this proves to be unfeasable for some reason, perhaps it’ll rouse the dozing sheeple scientists out of their hypnosis ( and knowledge filter ) long enough to consider options other than radio.
Or maybe, just maybe, invest some serious scientific inquiry to the UFO phenomena.
I’m not too optimistic about that though!
Courtesy of Posthuman Blues:
Seemingly, people in the space community have a tendency to push the boundaries of thought about all the possibilities that await us in the universe. Case in point: Geoffrey Landis. Landis is a scientist at NASA’s Glenn Research Center who writes science fiction in his spare time. Last week Landis shared with us his ideas for using a solar powered airplane to study Venus.Venus. Yes, Venus, our hot, greenhouse-effect-gone-mad neighboring planet with a crushing surface pressure that has doomed the few spacecraft that have attempted to reach the planet’s mysterious landscape. Landis knows Venus’ surface itself is pretty much out of the question for human habitation. But up about 50 kilometers above the surface, Landis says the atmosphere of Venus is the most Earth-like environment, other than Earth itself, in the solar system. What Landis proposes is creating floating cities on Venus where people could live and work, as well as study the planet below.
Ahh, cities in the sky, long a dream of many a science-fiction author. This is the first time I’ve seen it applied to Venus though.
Blogging biologist Peggy of Biology in Science Fiction goes on a small rant about stories that help, and hinder understanding of real biology:
In any case, the issue of public perception of science and scientists is an important one, if only because that public perception influences politics and funding. Part of the problem, as I see it, is that the anti-science stories actually ring true to many people who have a deep distrust (and dislike) of corporations, the government, and anyone who is an “expert”. It can be satisfying to see arrogant establishment types who believe themselves to be very clever shown up as bumbling and foolish, even if it does mean death and disaster as a result. Hell, I often enjoy those kind of stories, and I like science.
So what’s the solution? More positive SF? That certainly couldn’t hurt. But there’s no guarantee that any particular novel or movie will become popular enough to really make a difference in public perception. I suspect that education is really the key. Part of what feeds people’s fear of scientific progress is that they don’t understand it. I’m not sure how we can go about that, though, beyond ensuring kids get a thorough science education in school. Public lectures are a possibility, as are entertaining exhibitions at science museums, and maybe blogs too. I’d like to think that anyway.
I’m guilty of being ignorant of biology in science, and science-fiction. My last exposure to it was college long ago (my grade was pretty good actually) and my own biases of being a tech and historian.
Peggy makes valid points. I should read up on it more.
(The post referenced doesn’t have its own link. Click on the link at the beginning of this one, then scroll down at her site.)
Ever heard of the eBay $150,000 Bigfoot hunter? Neither have I, but apparently this guy is for real:
TPeterson6969 is Tim Peterson, the owner of Hawk Creek Taxidermy in Maynard, Minnesota. The business address of Hawk Creek Taxidermy & Archery is technically 12640 890 St. Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55401 , a mere 25.4 miles from Young America…
When asked for a comment for an interview, Tim Peterson briefly told me that he is a “big game hunting guide” for A Double J Outfitters in Buffalo, Wyoming. He claims to “have been hunting big game for 34 years” and is “experienced in the back country.”
If Tim Peterson helps you bag a Bigfoot, it is obvious he can mount it for you. He can also help you with the skull too. According to the links on his taxidermy website, it appears a relative of his, Rorri Peterson, runs Beetle My Bones Skullworks, a business preparing heads for trophy animal skulls displays.
Well, you hafta admit that a hunter/taxidermist would be the ideal person to track and bag a Bigfoot, that would settle it once and for all about the damn things.
I wonder what Peggy the Biologist thinks about Bigfoot?
Here is a subject I might know a little about, farming.
I grew up on a dairy farm in the 1960s and 1970s. I saw a lot of changes during that time, tractors getting larger, haying and grain equipment getting larger and cows getting larger.
See the pattern here?
But my Dad didn’t believe in that philosophy. Mainly because he couldn’t handle a business worth a shit, but some of what we did at that time had wisdom to it. Like breeding a first calf holstein heifer with a small breed like a Jersey so the calf wouldn’t be so big and cripple the heifer while she was giving birth. Or saving some of the previous harvests seed, like corn, oats or winter wheat for planting the next year. People call that ‘organic farming’ now, but back then it was SOP.
Let’s take a look at organic farming for instance. To be certified ‘organic’, a farmer must prove that he/she hasn’t used any kind of chemical or artificial hormone on their livestock and feedstock for three years. Any and all seed must be of the heritage variety, no Monsanto, Dow Chemical or Bayer GM crap at all. And that’s a tall order now because these corporations have the seed market monopolized to the point where almost all farmers if they want to plant any crop, they have to use the dangerous GM stuff.
I have four cousins who farm organically, one has done it for twenty years. There’s a market for it and the prices are high for organic commodities, thus they are able to make pretty decent livings from it despite the planned destruction of the family farm. Amish communities in Pennsylvania have been able to make good livings from classical farming methods for over three hundred years. It’s only been during the past twenty years they’ve had difficulties because their young people are leaving for the big city and corporate farms buying up all the good cropland.
It is because of these corporate farms and the massive government subsidies they receive for growing corn for ‘biofuel’ that the current world food crisis is occurring now.
And guess who’s in the thick of the biofuel debate now? That’s right, Barack Obama, Democratic Party Presidential candidate:
When VeraSun Energy inaugurated a new ethanol processing plant last summer in Charles City, Iowa, some of that industry’s most prominent boosters showed up. Leaders of the National Corn Growers Association and the Renewable Fuels Association, for instance, came to help cut the ribbon — and so did Senator Barack Obama.
Then running far behind Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in name recognition and in the polls, Mr. Obama was in the midst of a campaign swing through the state where he would eventually register his first caucus victory. And as befits a senator from Illinois, the country’s second largest corn-producing state, he delivered a ringing endorsement of ethanol as an alternative fuel.
Mr. Obama is running as a reformer who is seeking to reduce the influence of special interests. But like any other politician, he has powerful constituencies that help shape his views. And when it comes to domestic ethanol, almost all of which is made from corn, he also has advisers and prominent supporters with close ties to the industry at a time when energy policy is a point of sharp contrast between the parties and their presidential candidates.
In the heart of the Corn Belt that August day, Mr. Obama argued that embracing ethanol “ultimately helps our national security, because right now we’re sending billions of dollars to some of the most hostile nations on earth.” America’s oil dependence, he added, “makes it more difficult for us to shape a foreign policy that is intelligent and is creating security for the long term.”
Mr. Obama very noticably declines to mention the issue of the subsidies. It is a well known fact that Obama’s home state Iowa is the second largest producer of corn in the U.S. and Obama of course would be remiss if he left his clientel hanging should he be selected to be President.
So how does the world feel about corn being diverted from food to fuel production? Well, the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) makes a token attempt to protest biofuel subsidies in the U.S. and Brazil:
As was widely expected, the U.S. and Brazil’s biofuel programs came under heavy criticism at the Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) food crisis meeting yesterday in Rome. Jacques Diouf, its head, reserved most of his reprobation for the U.S.’s billions of corn ethanol subsidies (roughly $12b in 2006), which he said were depriving developing countries of food, reports The Guardian‘s Julian Borger.
He accused the U.S. of diverting close to 100 million tons of cereals from human consumption to “satisfy a thirst for fuel for vehicles.” Officials from U.S., Canadian and European biofuel industries had written to Diouf prior to the summit to warn him not to lash out against biofuels — advice he clearly (and rightly) chose to disregard. Ed Schafer, the U.S. agriculture secretary, tried to deflect blame from the ethanol subsidies, claiming biofuel production only accounted for 2 – 3% of the rise in food prices.
By comparison, the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) research estimates that it has accounted for 20 – 30% of the price increases over the last 2 years. For its part, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) believes that biofuels caused nearly 60% of the increase in the consumption of cereals and vegetable oils between 2005 and 2007.
Schafer also tried to peddle the canard that corn ethanol was an “efficient producer of energy,” despite mountains of evidence to the contrary (see this post about the significant land-use concerns).
Please note that although Brazil subsidizes their biofuel industry, they use cellulose from switchgrass to turn into alcohol fuel, which isn’t food to begin with. But wholesale clearing of rainforest to grow it is a big issue. Thus this has ecological impact as well.
So what to do? Well, quit giving corporate welfare to mega-farms for one thing. But campaign coffers are filled by corporate PAC money and Monsanto is a big player here. Not only that, Monsanto gengineers the seed for the ethanol:
No doubt Monsanto plans to come up with new, “improved” corn seed products that will target new, improved pests, and will be able to resist new, improved herbicides. That is the treadmill that the human race has put itself on, and whether we’ll ever be able to get off of it seems a highly doubtful proposition, unless food prices rise so high that biofuels become politically impossible. But that dreary quagmire is not the point of this post.
For some time, How the World Works has been convinced that the rush to biofuels will significantly boost the ongoing rollout of genetically modified organisms. There’s just too much money at stake in the energy business for it to be otherwise. The popularity of the latest biotech crops is a perfect illustration of this. These seeds aren’t cheap — they are top-of-the-line products. But for well-financed farmers and industrial-scale agribusinesses aiming to cash in on ethanol demand, seed costs are not a significant barrier. It seems reasonable to expect, in the not-too-distant future, quadruple- and quintuple- and sextuple-stacked hybrids that do all kinds of fancy things such as incorporate herbicide resistance, targeted pesticides, and modifications that make the corn cheaper and easier to industrially transform into ethanol
So there it is in a nutshell. Or a GM corn kernal anyway. Follow the money and you will find how the world works. I have to hand it to the mega-corps though, they have managed to ‘collectivize’ farming to the point that would’ve made the old U.S.S.R. blanch. Or bow down to them.
Well, the U.S. is due for a round of neoliberal corporate communism anyhow and the ‘green technology’ field is slated to be the next big bubble economic powerhouse. And corporate GM corn for biofuels plays a big part in it. Plus picking the wallets of the slaves to pay for it just sweetens the pot even more for these assholes.
Also, don’t expect this to create any middle-class jobs for American citizens, most of the machinery that agribusinesses use are automated, even the tractors.
And there are plenty of illegal immigrants willing to work for three dollars an hour to monitor the equipment!
From Guardian Unlimited :
Craig Venter, the controversial DNA researcher involved in the race to decipher the human genetic code, has built a synthetic chromosome out of laboratory chemicals and is poised to announce the creation of the first new artificial life form on Earth.
The announcement, which is expected within weeks and could come as early as Monday at the annual meeting of his scientific institute in San Diego, California, will herald a giant leap forward in the development of designer genomes. It is certain to provoke heated debate about the ethics of creating new species and could unlock the door to new energy sources and techniques to combat global warming.
Mr Venter told the Guardian he thought this landmark would be “a very important philosophical step in the history of our species. We are going from reading our genetic code to the ability to write it. That gives us the hypothetical ability to do things never contemplated before”.
The Guardian can reveal that a team of 20 top scientists assembled by Mr Venter, led by the Nobel laureate Hamilton Smith, has already constructed a synthetic chromosome, a feat of virtuoso bio-engineering never previously achieved. Using lab-made chemicals, they have painstakingly stitched together a chromosome that is 381 genes long and contains 580,000 base pairs of genetic code.
The DNA sequence is based on the bacterium Mycoplasma genitalium which the team pared down to the bare essentials needed to support life, removing a fifth of its genetic make-up. The wholly synthetically reconstructed chromosome, which the team have christened Mycoplasma laboratorium, has been watermarked with inks for easy recognition.
It is then transplanted into a living bacterial cell and in the final stage of the process it is expected to take control of the cell and in effect become a new life form. The team of scientists has already successfully transplanted the genome of one type of bacterium into the cell of another, effectively changing the cell’s species. Mr Venter said he was “100% confident” the same technique would work for the artificially created chromosome.
Well well, the spector of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is indeed escaping from science-fiction to science fact finally. It was only going to be a matter of time before somebody finally accomplished this. And if Venter manages to implant his artificial chromosome into a cleaned out bacterium and it reproduces, it’ll prove that artificial organisms can be manufactured.
My Christian friends will certainly not like this development and actually deny that the creatures are life at all, just some kind of simulcrum, or “golem” at best. They will certainly say that without divine blessing of spirit, there can be no life.
There is sure to be ethical questions to be answered here, one of which is “where will be the line drawn?” Meaning if certain governments aquire the means to create artificial DNA, will they make super-soldiers, super-viruses or any other super weapon of mass destruction that makes hydrogen bombs and sarin nerve gas look like firecrackers and stinkbombs in comparison?
We are walking a fine line here. Mankind is once again, as it has done in previous cycles dared knock on the door of godhood. As a blog-friend once stated when he was describing G.W. Bush, I’m going to describe the maturity level of mankind in handling these awesome technologies; “…like a drunken chimpanzee with a loaded shotgun inside a warehouse packed to the rafters with fireworks .”
Hat tip to Christopher of From the Left