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by Fran on Wed Apr 22nd, 2009 at 01:56:45 PM EST
Genetic Modification: Is Demonizing Monsanto Blocking Real Progress? - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

Germans are celebrating the fact that the government has banned genetically modified corn. But the country's almost blanket opposition to genetic modification ignores the fact that it might just help scientists find a solution for feeding a swelling global population.

 Will opposing genetically modified plants ultimately lead to more people starving? All's well again in the world of Bavaria's conservative Christian Social Union (CSU) party, an outspoken opponent of genetic engineering and genetically modified (GM) plants. German Agriculture Minister and CSU member Ilse Aigner has slapped a ban on MON 810, a type of GM corn seed produced and marketed by the American agricultural corporation Monsanto, and opponents of the technology are celebrating the victory. Germany's governing Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the CSU's sister party, opposed the ban at first but eventually supported it. Now the CDU hopes that its support will lead more Bavarians to return the favor by voting for the CSU in the upcoming German and EU parliamentary elections.

The inhabitants of rural Bavarian towns, whose fields have become battlegrounds for people for and against genetic engineering, can now breathe a sigh of relief. But the real problems are just beginning -- only in other places.

by Fran on Wed Apr 22nd, 2009 at 02:06:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
find a solution for feeding a swelling global population

Blah blah blah, falling for the propaganda or issuing it on own motivation?... The problem of feeding the global population is one of distribution, not total production; and GMO doesn't benefit subsistence farmers in hungering countries, it benefits agrobusiness for export (and, of course, holders of genetic copyright).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Apr 23rd, 2009 at 04:48:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed.

And didn't someone recently link to a study showing that GM crops are not really more productive in practice?

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Thu Apr 23rd, 2009 at 05:43:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, we did:
Union of Concerned Scientists: Failure to Yield: Evaluating the Performance of Genetically Engineered Crops (2009)


Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Apr 23rd, 2009 at 05:45:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Aliens exist and UFOs are covered-up by US government, says ex-astronaut - Telegraph
Alien life does exist but the truth is being covered up by the United States government, former NASA astronaut Edgar Mitchell has claimed.

Mr Mitchell, who was part of the 1971 Apollo 14 moon mission, made the claims in a talk to the fifth annual X-Conference - a meeting of those who believe in UFOs and other life forms.

He also said he had attempted to investigate the 1947 'Roswell Incident', which some believe was the crash-landing of a UFO, but had been thwarted by military authorities.

by Fran on Wed Apr 22nd, 2009 at 02:09:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That explains how I got here.  Now, how the hell do I get out of here?  This place is borrrrring.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Wed Apr 22nd, 2009 at 03:22:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
they dumped you here as punishment. You know, what the Brits used to do in Australia.
by Nomad on Thu Apr 23rd, 2009 at 03:47:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Stupid UFO dumpers, but if I know me, I actually volunteered for this duty.  Idiot!

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Thu Apr 23rd, 2009 at 08:54:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And we know how that worked - the criminals got pristine beaches and almost endless sunshine, and the lawful types got industrial smog and Charles Dickens.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Apr 23rd, 2009 at 08:56:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
God, imagine if they had deported Dickens.

"It was the best of barbies, it was the worst of barbies...

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Thu Apr 23rd, 2009 at 09:43:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Students Find Jupiter-sized Oddball Planet

ScienceDaily (Apr. 22, 2009) -- A team of astronomers from University College London (UCL), including undergraduate students, have discovered that an exotic world passes directly in front of the Sun-like star it orbits, revealing for the first time that it is about the same size as Jupiter.

And rather than travelling to one of the major observatories in Hawaii or Chile, the students made the discovery with a telescope at UCL's University of London Observatory (ULO) in the capital's northern suburb of Mill Hill.

The work was partly funded by a grant from the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) and will be presented on Tuesday 21st April at the European Week of Astronomy and Space Science conference by ULO astronomer Dr. Steve Fossey; Ingo Waldmann, a final-year undergraduate and David Kipping, a PhD student working in the field of exoplanet science.

The team were alerted by the exoplanet science website http://www.oklo.org, run by Greg Laughlin of the University of California Santa Cruz. Using infrared space observations, Greg predicted that a planet (HD 80606b) would pass in front of its parent star (HD 80606) in a so-called transit event.

On the evening of 13th February, prompted by his alert, Dr Fossey and five UCL undergraduate observers started monitoring the brightness of HD 80606, and some 10 hours later at just after 4 am they discovered they had found the planet's transit.

[...]

The planet, called HD80606b, is unusual in that it travels in a highly elliptical orbit about its parent star. At its furthest point, it is almost as far from its star as the Earth is from the Sun. But every 111 days it is briefly a scorching 10 times closer to its star than Mercury is to the Sun. A hypothetical observer above the cloud tops of the planet would see its parent star swell to 30 times the apparent size of the Sun in our own sky.

HD80606b now holds the record for both the longest orbital period and most eccentric orbit of all transiting planets and with such extreme variations in heating it presents a fascinating object for further study.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Apr 22nd, 2009 at 02:49:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I note highly elliptical orbints aren't that exceptional among the hot jupiters discovered in the past decade and half.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Apr 23rd, 2009 at 04:49:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That is an artifact of doppler detection methods as only a highly eccentric planet will produce a measurable wobble in the star's location.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Apr 23rd, 2009 at 04:53:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Caribbean At Risk Of Tsunami, Disaster Experts Warn

ScienceDaily (Apr. 21, 2009) -- Up to 30,000 residents and tourists could be under threat from a newly discovered tsunami risk in the Caribbean, according to experts in disaster risk management.

The heavily populated coast of Guadeloupe will have little warning if a tsunami is triggered by the collapse of a volcano on the nearby island of Dominica.

A team of geologists, led by Dr Richard Teeuw from the University of Portsmouth, have discovered that a flank of the volcano Morne aux Diables ("Devils' Peak") shows signs of collapse and if so, a million-ton chunk of rock could crash into the sea, producing tsunami waves up to almost 3 metres (10 feet) high.

Such a rock fall could also weaken three million tones of rock upslope, potentially resulting in much larger landslides and waves of up to five metres. 

Dr Teeuw said: "It's not a case of if this landslide and tsunami will happen, but when. The trigger will probably be a major earthquake, occurring after the heavy rain and coastal erosion of the hurricane season.  It could happen in a hundred years or it could happen next week. 



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Apr 22nd, 2009 at 02:51:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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