Monday, January 31, 2005

A New Chapter in Biotech History is not Written in English

By IGNACIO CHAPELA
href="http://www.counterpunch.org/chapela01272005.html"
target=_blank>"It might not be self-evident why such minutiae of local
politics in a country well within the "developing world" would deserve
an English translation, let alone the attention of the English-speaking
world. But the ways of a globalized ecology, rigged as it is upon a
patchwork of political boundaries, works often delusively, rarely
inscribing itself in a single language. We believe that the complex
piece of legislative performance playing out on the Mexican stage
yields up many clues to what the future of GMOs holds in store for the
world."


posted by ryan griffis  # 11:13 PM 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, January 29, 2005

A Dr. Strangelove For The Age of Biotechnology?

The new US Senate Majority Leader, Dr. Bill Frist (yes, the same one
that seemed to have target=_blank>forgotten how HIV was transmitted) reportedly told
the World Economic Forum in Davos, that href="http://olympics.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?
type=politicsNews&storyID=7455320" target=_blank>"We need to do
something that even dwarfs the Manhattan project,"
in a call for a
large biodefense program. Yikes.

posted by ryan griffis  # 11:00 AM 0 comments links to this post

Trans-Hemisphere Battle over Stem Cell Dominance

target=_blank>Researchers in China, South Korea, and Singapore are
testing the lead taken by Western countries in the field of stem cell
research, the members of a UK government mission said on Monday
(January 24).


posted by ryan griffis  # 12:28 AM 0 comments links to this post

Shift in European Stance on GMOs

target=_blank>Newly installed European Agriculture Commissioner Mariann
Fischer Boel has signaled a major shift in European Union policies
toward genetically modified (GM) crops, telling a German newspaper last
week that she believes the European Union should issue guidelines for
acceptable distances between GM and non-GM crops.


posted by ryan griffis  # 12:27 AM 0 comments links to this post

global response to GE agriculture

href="http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?
tmpl=story&cid=1539&ncid=1539&e=1&u=/afp/20050128/sc_afp/
brazilwsfdavos_050128200809" target=_blank> article of the World Social
Forum
in Brazil.

posted by ryan griffis  # 12:21 AM 0 comments links to this post

Frankenmarkets

The claim by GMO supporters, usually connected to corporations, that
criticism of GMOs represents an anti-science position needs to be met
head on. The debate between GE apologists and critics is not a
scientific one, but a political one. The very delineation of GE things
as a commodity points to its political nature - GE crops, for example,
are both 'substantially equivalent' to naturally occurring life and yet
significantly different enough to justify their recognition as
intellectual property. If this isn't an argument that defies scientific
rationality, then I don't know what is.
This href="http://www.townhall.com/bookclub/conko.html"
target=_blank>article
(written by a former intern of the free
market think tank the Cato
Institute
) uses the work of href="http://www-hoover.stanford.edu/bios/miller_h.html"
target=_blank>Henry Miller
and href="http://www.gmwatch.org/profile1.asp?PrId=31"
target=_blank>Gregory Conko
- both people obviously invested in
furthering a specific relationship between market economics and
agricultural technologies to question the motives of critics.

posted by ryan griffis  # 12:19 AM 0 comments links to this post

Oh, there they are... the 'gay' genes

Someone should probably ask what the desire behind scientific studies
on the genetic 'location' of sexual orientation is... What exactly do
researchers propose to do with this 'information'?

Maybe a study of the genetic location of fascism would be more
useful.

href="http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/medicalnews.php?
newsid=19361&nfid=mnf" target=_blank>Genetic regions influencing male
sexual orientation identified


posted by ryan griffis  # 12:03 AM 0 comments links to this post

Friday, January 28, 2005

Invasion of the forest snatchers

href="http://www.greenpeace.org/international_en/news/details?
item_id=714618" target=_blank>All of us concerned about genetically
engineered (GE) crops have been losing sleep for a while over the
relentless take-over of traditional fields in many parts of the world.
Now, a new report reveals how thoroughly Argentina has been taken over,
and outlines previously unimagined dangers for our future when an
entire country's agricultural system is invaded by a clone-replicating
force like Monsanto


posted by ryan griffis  # 11:34 PM 0 comments links to this post

(bleeding heart) Liberal Markets

As more and more people are beginning to question the benevolence of
agri-chemical companies, the plight of the 'underdeveloped world' is
brought out as an alibi.
href="http://www.monsanto.co.uk/news/ukshowlib.phtml?uid=8329"
target=_blank> Archived article on Monsanto website

See
Frances Moore Lappe's response to such claimshref="http://www.foodfirst.org/pubs/backgrdrs/1998/w98v5n1.html"
target=_blank> here
. Also href="http://www.foodfirst.org/pubs/backgrdrs/1998/w98v5n1.html"
target=_blank>Raj Patel/Alexa Delwiche's notes of the 'profits of
famine'
.

posted by ryan griffis  # 6:25 PM 0 comments links to this post

Animal-Human Hybrids Spark Controversy

href="http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/01/
0125_050125_chimeras.html" target=_blank>Chinese scientists at the
Shanghai Second Medical University in 2003 successfully fused human
cells with rabbit eggs. The embryos were reportedly the first
human-animal chimeras successfully created. They were allowed to
develop for several days in a laboratory dish before the scientists
destroyed the embryos to harvest their stem cells.


posted by ryan griffis  # 6:03 PM 0 comments links to this post

Sunday, January 23, 2005

'Living' robots powered by muscle

target=_blank>The devices were formed by "growing" rat cells on
microscopic silicon chips, the researchers report in the journal Nature
Materials. Less than a millimetre long, the miniscule robots can move
themselves without any external source of power. The work is a dramatic
example of the marriage of biotechnology with the tiny world of
nanotechnology.


posted by ryan griffis  # 3:20 PM 0 comments links to this post

Safety fears raised over biosecurity lapse

target=_blank>Three researchers at the Boston University Medical Center
fell ill in 2004 after being exposed to a potentially deadly bacterium
in a Level 2 biosecurity lab. Yet city and university officials kept
the news quiet until after the centre's application to build a more
high-level biosecurity lab (Level 4) in a densely populated part of
Boston was accepted by the city this January.


posted by ryan griffis  # 2:54 PM 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Outcry over creation of GM smallpox virus

href="http://news.independent.co.uk/world/science_technology/story.jsp?
story=603456" target=_blank>Senior scientific advisers to the World
Health Organisation (WHO) have recommended the creation of a
genetically modified version of the smallpox virus to counter any
threat of a bioterrorist attack.


posted by ryan griffis  # 11:41 AM 0 comments links to this post

Monday, January 17, 2005

Monsanto pays up

href="http://www.greenpeace.org/international_en/news/details?
item_id=704677" target=_blank>What do you do if you're trying to plant
genetically engineered cotton in a hurry, but the government wants to
make sure there won't be any environmental damage from doing so? If
you're the giant Monsanto corporation, one answer might be: bribe
somebody to skip over that pesky environmental assessment. Who knows
how many times this tried and true practice has worked before? This
time, they've been caught red-handed in Indonesia, and fined US$1.5
million.


posted by ryan griffis  # 4:44 PM 0 comments links to this post

Group Reports Increase in Biotech Harvest

href="http://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/13/business/13biotech.html?
ex=1263704400&en=a4caf76534e79a54&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland"
target=_blank>Farmers around the world planting genetically engineered
crops had another bumper harvest last year even as political and
financial pressure mounted from skeptical consumers in Europe and in
pockets of the United States, an industry-supported group said
Wednesday.


posted by ryan griffis  # 10:12 AM 0 comments links to this post

Saving Seed Is Latest Tech Piracy

Finally, more of the tech community is connecting the intellectual
property assaults of the record industry and the href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_rights_management"
target=_blank>DRM
objectives of the computer industry to the
attacks on biological and agricultural autonomy by "life sciences"
corporations like Monsanto. Only for the farmers discussed in this href="http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,66282,00.html"
target=_blank>Wired article
, it's as if someone is pirating
software containing a virus that alters computers in unknown,
irreversible ways.


posted by ryan griffis  # 4:42 AM 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Federal Indifference to Laboratory-Acquired Infections

target=_blank>With the advent of bioterrorism, and the emergence of
various infectious diseases (from HIV, to E. coli O157:H7 and SARS),
public consciousness and the level of research activity on human
pathogens are at an all time high.  It is therefore predictable that
the frequency of laboratory-acquired infections has risen in
proportion.  No one really knows for sure because data are lacking.

posted by ryan griffis  # 9:05 PM 0 comments links to this post

Pentagon sexes up the battle

target=_blank> It was 1994. Some creative thinkers at a Wright
Patterson Air Force Base lab were brainstorming on possible non-lethal
weapon projects. Someone hit on this:  ``Category # 3: Chemicals that
affect human behavior so that discipline and morale in enemy units is
adversely affected. One distasteful but completely non-lethal example
would be strong aphrodisiacs, especially if the chemical also caused
homosexual behavior.''


The insult of homophobia meets the insult of non-lethal weapons.

posted by ryan griffis  # 9:05 PM 0 comments links to this post

U.S. BioDefense

i just received this spam, probably as a result of subscribing to other
biotech industry lists:
target=_blank>"U.S. BioDefense Signs Agreement with DuPont Director of
Technology Commercialization and TechIAConnect as Stem Cell Technology
Transfer Consultants"

According to their href="http://www.usbiodefense.com/" target=_blank>website, US
BioDefense is a private company that "is a Department of Defense
central contractor that researches, develops, and commercializes
leading edge detection, disinfection and vaccination related biodefense
technology patents. US BioDefense is focused on investigating and
transferring technology from Government Agencies, Research Labs and
Universities."
Sounds like "We profit from publicly subsidized
labor and facilities. Twice."
They specialize in "homeland
security related businesses," and are part of the href="http://www.usbiodefense.com/products.php" target=_blank>Project
Bioshield Initiative
.

posted by ryan griffis  # 4:04 PM 0 comments links to this post

Friday, January 14, 2005

Fundamental Question Of Cell Death Answered

Who knew... Death's name is Bruce.
href="http://www.bio.com/newsfeatures/newsfeatures_research.jhtml?
cid=7100028" target=_blank>Chunying Du, Ph.D., Assistant Investigator
at the Stowers Institute, has published findings that reveal a
previously unknown pathway of Bruce, the gene encoding a protein that
inhibits apoptosis, or programmed cell death.

posted by ryan griffis  # 3:07 AM 0 comments links to this post

Friday, January 07, 2005

Probe Dugway plans

The
Army plans to double its biological and chemical weapons defense
testing over the next seven years at the remote and secretive base in
Tooele County. It also apparently is seeking to add to the size of the
base by acquiring adjacent federal lands.
Trouble is, public
information about these activities is scarce. While it is
understandable that the Army does not wish to advertise exactly what
biological and chemical agents or countermeasures it is testing at
Dugway, the Utah government has a duty to protect public health and
safety.


posted by ryan griffis  # 2:53 PM 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, January 06, 2005

We need nanotech for that?

href="http://news.com.com/Nanotechnology+aims+to+cure+smelly+feet/2100
-7337_3-5384442.html?tag=nl" target=_blank>Nanotechnology aims to cure
smelly feet

More Nanonews:href="http://news.com.com/
Nanotech+will+tap+natures+potential%2C+investor+says/2100-7337_3
-5322550.html?tag=nl" target=_blank>Nanotech will tap nature's
potential, investor says

href="http://news.com.com/Intel+sketches+out+nanotechnology+road+map/
2100-1006_3-5424766.html?tag=nl" target=_blank>Intel sketches out
nanotechnology road map


posted by ryan griffis  # 12:05 PM 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

In Conversation with Steve Kurtz

InterAccess is
pleased to present a lecture and discussion with Steve Kurtz, founding
member of Buffalo-based Critical Art Ensemble (CAE). Kurtz's appearance
in Toronto offers the public the opportunity to hear Kurtz and Gregg
Bordowitz, spokesperson for the CAE Defense Fund, speak about the work
of CAE and the importance of creative freedom and privacy rights to
educate and enlighten the general public about the effects of
"militarized" biotechnology practices. A moderated open discussion
period will follow Kurtz's talk, led by Sally McKay.


posted by ryan griffis  # 6:40 PM 0 comments links to this post

BIOTECH ART WORKSHOP

Call for Proposals to join:
The Arts Catalyst and SymbioticA's href="http://www.artscatalyst.org/projects/biotech/bioworkshop.html"
target=_blank>BIOTECH ART WORKSHOP

Workshop: Mon 28th March -
Fri 1st April 2005
Public discussion: Saturday 2nd April 2005
/>Old Operating Theatre, 9a St Thomas Street, London SE1, UK

posted by ryan griffis  # 11:57 AM 0 comments links to this post

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