miércoles, diciembre 04, 2013
martes, diciembre 03, 2013
Leaf art by my friend Lorenzo Duran Silva
That should rustle up interest: From a praying mantis to a skull, the amazing art made by cutting into LEAVES (that can sell for £2,400)
Lorenzo Duran Silva, 43, was inspired after watching a caterpillar make holes in a leaf by eating it
Each piece takes between a week and two months to complete
By NICK ENOCH
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2219024/Leaf-art-Lorenzo-Duran-Silva-From-praying-mantis-complex-patterns-amazing-art-cutting-LEAVES.html#ixzz2mRjCK7KF
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Monsanto Targets the Heart of Science: The Goodman Affair
THE SIERRA CLUB SPONSORS AND PARTICIPATES IN THE AMERICAS LATINO FESTIVAL, by Javier Sierra
From left to right, organizer Irene Vilar, presenters Adrianna Quintero, Pati Romero Lankao and Javier Sierra (Photo: ALF)
Lejos de la soberanía alimentaria la nueva cosecha de arroz en Guánica, por Ian Carlo Pagán Roig
La elección de un modelo agrícola alternativo, integral y verdaderamente sustentable es necesario y perfectamente realizable. Ahí es que se vuelve protagónico e impostergable el accionar de los que insistimos en un desarrollo sustentable y agroecológico de la agricultura. Tenemos que levantar la voz, debatir con fundamentos y demostrar con ejemplos exitosos la urgencia del desarrollo de un sistema agrícola alternativo. La posibilidad de un rumbo diferente en la agricultura está en nuestras manos y no en la posibilidad de que espontáneamente germine la conciencia agroecológica en mentes blindadas de agricultura industrial y revolución verde altamente dependiente de insumos industriales.
Si pretendemos producir todas nuestras tierras basándonos en monocultivos extensos en manos de unos pocos y altamente dependiente de insumos costosos provenientes de lugares lejanos podremos aumentar la producción pero no estaremos cambiando sustancialmente nuestra situación alimentaria. Se ha demostrado que la verdadera soberanía alimentaria con beneficios sociales y ambientales plenos subyace en un modelo de pequeña y mediana escala de cultivos diversificados que maximicen los recursos locales disponibles donde el ecosistema represente no un obstáculo sino un recurso amigo. El aumento en producción no necesariamente equivale a un aumento en soberanía alimentaria. Podremos producir más pero esa producción puede estar sujeta a exactamente la misma vulnerabilidad que las cadenas de alimentos importados de la actualidad. Puede que el fertilizante del arroz cultivado en Guánica llegue en la misma barcaza que llega el arroz importado. Y sin fertilizante no hay producción bajo el sistema industrial de monocultivo.
domingo, diciembre 01, 2013
Retraction of Séralini study is illicit, unscientific, and unethical
Statement by GMWatch
Thursday 28 November 2013
The editor of the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology (FCT), Dr A. Wallace Hayes, has decided to retract the study by the team of Prof Gilles-Eric Séralini, which found that rats fed a Monsanto genetically modified (GM) maize NK603 and tiny amounts of the Roundup herbicide it is grown with suffered severe toxic effects, including kidney and liver damage and increased rates of tumours and mortality.
GMWatch believes FCT’s retraction of Prof Séralini’s paper to be illicit, unscientific, and unethical. It violates the guidelines for retractions in scientific publishing set out by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), of which FCT is a member.
COPE guidelines state that the only grounds for a journal to retract a paper are:
•Clear evidence that the findings are unreliable due to misconduct (eg data fabrication) or honest error
•Plagiarism or redundant publication
Prof Séralini’s paper does not meet any of these criteria and Hayes admits as much. In his letter informing Prof Séralini of his decision (available at:http://earthopensource.us7.list-manage.com/track/click?u=50141f121d7b3fbaa04918d11&id=f877f8de47&e=24cd323b03), Hayes concedes that an examination of Prof Séralini’s raw data showed “no evidence of fraud or intentional misrepresentation of the data” and nothing “incorrect” about the data.
Hayes states that the retraction is solely based on the “inconclusive” nature of the findings on tumours and mortality, given the relatively low number of rats used and the choice of rat strain, which Hayes says naturally has a “high incidence of tumours”.
Crucially, however, inconclusiveness of findings is not a valid ground for retraction. Numerous published scientific papers contain inconclusive findings, which are often mixed in with findings that can be presented with more certainty. It is for future researchers to build on the findings and refine scientific understanding of any uncertainties.
It is important that scientists do not overstate their findings or draw conclusions that are not justified by the data, but Prof Séralini’s paper does not do this. Because Prof Séralini’s study was a chronic toxicity study and not a full-scale carcinogenicity study, which normally requires larger numbers of rats, he conservatively did not do a statistical analysis of the tumours and mortality findings. Instead he simply reported them, without drawing definitive conclusions. This is in line with the OECD chronic toxicity protocol, which requires that any “lesions” (including tumours) observed are recorded.
The criticisms of the low number of rats and choice of rat strain have been addressed by Prof Séralini’s team in a comprehensive response to critics that was published in FCT, as well as by independent scientists writing in support of the study.
Experts in statistics writing in support of the study have pointed out that large numbers of animals are only required in safety studies to avoid false negative error, where a toxic effect exists but is missed because too few animals are used. In the case of Séralini’s study, this was not an issue. The toxic effects of the test substances were so pronounced (there was a “large effect size”) that smaller numbers of animals were sufficient for statistical significance.[7,8,9]
Regarding the Sprague-Dawley strain of rat that was used, all strains of rodents develop spontaneous tumours with age, as do humans. The fact that there is a low level of spontaneous tumour occurrence in the control group in Séralini’s study mimics the human condition. For this and other reasons, most toxicology studies use this strain of rat.
Hayes fails to address these responses and arguments in support of the study, raising questions about the expertise, balance, and objectivity of his anonymous review panel. In addition, the legitimate peer reviewers had previously considered these aspects of Séralini’s study and nevertheless decided that “the work still had merit” and should be published.
In a highly irregular process, Hayes now contradicts the outcome of the peer review and editorial process and decides to retract the paper over a year after it was published. His decision is not made on the basis of new data, but on a secret and non-transparent review by unnamed persons, who evidently do not feel able to stand behind their decision publicly or disclose any conflicts of interest they may have.
Hayes’ decision will tarnish the reputation of FCT and will increase public mistrust of science in general and genetically modified foods in particular.
The Goodman factor
Hayes’ decision to retract the paper follows FCT’s appointment of Richard E. Goodman, a former Monsanto scientist and an affiliate of the GMO industry-funded group, the International Life Sciences Institute, to the specially created post of associate editor for biotechnology at the journal, early this year.
Goodman’s appointment in turn followed an orchestrated campaign by GMO supporters to persuade FCT to retract the study. Some critics even accused Prof Séralini of fraud, without presenting any evidence. Many of the critics had undeclared conflicts of interest with the GMO industry.
After Goodman was installed, FCT withdrew a separate study by Brazilian researchers that also raised questions about GM crop safety. The study showed that Bt insecticidal toxins similar to those engineered into GM Bt crops were not broken down in digestion, as is claimed by the industry and regulators, but had toxic effects on the blood of mice. The Brazilian paper, like Prof Séralini’s, had been peer-reviewed and published by FCT prior to Goodman’s arrival. After Goodman’s arrival, the paper was withdrawn without explanation from FCT – only to be immediately published in another journal.
There is no proof that Goodman was responsible for the retraction of Prof Séralini’s study. But his appointment, coming so soon after the “Séralini affair”, along with FCT’s failure to list the interests of its editors, raises questions about corporate influence on the editorial board at the journal.
1. Séralini GE et al (2012) Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 50(11): 4221-4231.2. http://earthopensource.us7.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=50141f121d7b3fbaa04918d11&id=7711718270&e=24cd323b033. http://earthopensource.us7.list-manage.com/track/click?u=50141f121d7b3fbaa04918d11&id=23008d4439&e=24cd323b034. Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) (2009). OECD guideline no. 452 for the testing of chemicals: Chronic toxicity studies: Adopted 7 September 2009. http://earthopensource.us7.list-manage.com/track/click?u=50141f121d7b3fbaa04918d11&id=5f884d2ff0&e=24cd323b035. Séralini GE et al (2013). Answers to critics: Why there is a long term toxicity due to NK603 Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize and to a Roundup herbicide. Food and Chemical Toxicology 53: 461-468. http://earthopensource.us7.list-manage.com/track/click?u=50141f121d7b3fbaa04918d11&id=70e7e0c5c2&e=24cd323b036. http://earthopensource.us7.list-manage2.com/track/click?u=50141f121d7b3fbaa04918d11&id=30199fa686&e=24cd323b037. Deheuvels P. Étude de Séralini sur les OGM: Pourquoi sa méthodologie est statistiquement bonne [Seralini study on GMOs: Why the methodology is statistically sound]. Le Nouvel Observateur. 9 October 2012. http://earthopensource.us7.list-manage.com/track/click?u=50141f121d7b3fbaa04918d11&id=46d4f6cdc2&e=24cd323b038. Saunders P. Excess cancers and deaths with GM feed: The stats stand up. Science in Society. 16 October 2012. http://earthopensource.us7.list-manage.com/track/click?u=50141f121d7b3fbaa04918d11&id=893088f156&e=24cd323b039. Deheuvels P. L’étude de Séralini sur les OGM, pomme de discorde à l’Académie des sciences [The Seralini GMO study - A bone of contention at the Academy of Sciences]. Le Nouvel Observateur. 19 October 2012. http://earthopensource.us7.list-manage.com/track/click?u=50141f121d7b3fbaa04918d11&id=5d63a01cc2&e=24cd323b0310. http://earthopensource.us7.list-manage.com/track/click?u=50141f121d7b3fbaa04918d11&id=1bb541d8cd&e=24cd323b0311. http://earthopensource.us7.list-manage.com/track/click?u=50141f121d7b3fbaa04918d11&id=9442410b1a&e=24cd323b0312. Mezzomo BP et al (2012). WITHDRAWN: Effects of oral administration of Bacillus thuringiensis as spore-crystal strains Cry1Aa, Cry1Ab, Cry1Ac or Cry2Aa on hematologic and genotoxic endpoints of Swiss albino mice. Food Chem Toxicol. http://earthopensource.us7.list-manage.com/track/click?u=50141f121d7b3fbaa04918d11&id=3cc6af2bc8&e=24cd323b0313. Mezzomo BP et al. (2013). Hematotoxicity of Bacillus thuringiensis as spore-crystal strains Cry1Aa, Cry1Ab, Cry1Ac or Cry2Aa in Swiss albino mice. J Hematol Thromb Dis 1(1).
Diez años de transgénicos en Brasil
Inaugural Americas Latino Festival A Success Despite Low Attendance
Among the presenters were María Echaveste, former presidential advisor to Bill Clinton and current policy and program development director at the Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Law and Social Policy, UC Berkeley; Héctor Sánchez, executive director of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement; Ben Monterroso, national executive director of Mi Familia Vota, and Marcos Vilar, national field director of Mi Familia Vota. Writer Junot Díaz, winner of the Pulitzer Prize in fiction and witness to the Caribbean diaspora in the US. WriterLaura Esquivel, author of “Like Water for Chocolate.” JournalistRay Suarez, a 14-year PBS veteran and current anchor of Al Jazeera’s “Inside Story. ”Spanish artist Lorenzo Durán Silva, whose intricate leave cuttings depicting nature subjects has astonished art critics around the world. Guillermo Gómez Peña, Chicano poet, actor and political activist. Dafnis Prieto, percussionist, composer and current MacArthur Fellow, Author/comedian Rick Najera, Homero Aridjis Mexico’s most relevant poet, author of more than 50 books, and leader of the Group of 100, perhaps Latin America’s most influential environmental organization. Many more significant players in the cultural, political and environmental arena were present throughout the three days.
Organizer Irene Vilar told the Longmont Times Call News that she wants the Americas Latino Festival to unite diverse communities around the goal of environmental awareness and a sustainable future. She added that Latinos often are not credited with environmental concerns, but that’s a misperception. Many Latino communities are naturally conservationist, and Latinos are a growing segment of America, she said.
sábado, noviembre 30, 2013
Negocio redondo para el proveedor de la semilla del arroz de Lajas
ENSSER Comments on the Retraction of the Séralini et al. 2012 Study
viernes, noviembre 29, 2013
martes, noviembre 26, 2013
Victor Mestas and Sandra Wong perform at America's Latino Festival
Remembering Richard Grossman, activist and good friend
Haciendo Punto en otro Blog
November 22 2013
My good friend, activist and anti-corporate crusader Richard Grossman passed away two years ago today. What made his work unique was his research and critical thinking on the nature of the corporation. How on earth did the corporation, an entity that exists only on paper in the form of a charter of incorporation, get to have so much power? Today corporations get to decide to a very large extent the quality of the air we breathe and the water we drink, how we access the internet, our societies' transportation and energy policies, the food we eat, the contents of the news we read and watch, and much more.
For Grossman, regulation was not the answer. He regarded it as a red herring that distracted from the real issue: the fiction of corporate personhood. He founded the Program on Corporations Law and Democracy (POCLAD), which in its web site describes itself as "people instigating democratic conversations and actions that contest the authority of corporations to govern. Our analysis evolves through historical and legal research, writing, public speaking, and working with organizations to develop new strategies that assert people's rights over property interests." He also wrote "Fear at Work", a book about job blackmail by employers and the need for an alliance of environmentalists and organized labor, and published the newsletter "By What Authority", which questions basic assumptions about corporations.
I first met him in the summer of 1993 at the Institute for Social Ecology in Vermont (which was back then based in the campus of Goddard College) at a symposium on alternative economics that also featured Roy Morrison and Susan Meeker-Lowry. I was there just for the ISE summer session but ended up living in Vermont for a few years, enrolling in the Goddard College Social Ecology MA degree program, and hosting a radio talk show on local station WGDR.
The following year Grossman invited me to participate in an activists' meeting/retreat that he organized in order to develop new thinking around the corporate charter, the very heart of corporations' existence. In that retreat by the banks of the Hudson, just north of NYC, I met some very remarkable and committed activists, like Peter Montague, publisher of Rachel's Hazardous Wastes, an invaluable source of information on chemical pollution. Also, Phil Mattera, a giant among researchers of corporate crime; sustainable transportation advocate Charlie Komanoff; Jane Perkins, who would later go on to direct Friends of the Earth USA; technology critic and polemicist David F. Noble; Hofstra law professor Carl Mayer; Ruth Caplan, executive director of Environmental Action; and Ronnie Cummins, a veteran of Jeremy Rifkin's Foundation on Economic Trends who back then headed the Pure Food Campaign. Cummins would later found the Organic Consumers Association, which played a leading role in the 2012 campaign for California's Proposition 37, a GMO food labeling measure that was narrowly defeated by the corporate-funded opposition.
In 1996 I had him as a guest in my WGDR talk show, we talked at length about the importance of questioning corporate personhood and we took calls from the audience. We remained in touch for years after I returned to Puerto Rico. He remained a good friend and a good person to talk to at any time. We last met in person at a national conference of the International Forum on Globalization held at New York City's Riverside Church in November 1995.
Grossman was featured in the 2003 documentary "The Corporation" along with Canadian author Naomi Klein, cancer activist Doctor Samuel Epstein, Indian ecofeminist and anti-globalization campaigner Vandana Shiva, dissident extraordinaire Noam Chomsky, and free market economist Milton Friedman.
In 2011 we found each other again on the internet and talked about the recent passing of our mutual friend David Noble on December of the previous year. We exchanged some messages in the following months. His passing that November took me totally by surprise.
His ideas on corporate power and strategies to counter it seemed far-out to many in the activist world until the rise of the Occupy Movement and the unfortunate "Citizens United" Supreme Court decision. Since then, there has been a lively national dialogue in the US regarding corporations, a wide-ranging conversation that owes a lot to Grossman's pioneering research and ideas.
He will be missed. He is missed already.
lunes, noviembre 25, 2013
The Limits to growth, yesterday and today, by Carmelo Ruiz-Marrero
Originally published by ALAINET on November 8 2013
In 1972 a team of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, led by Dennis and Donella Meadows and commissioned by the Club of Rome (1), studied the interaction of population growth and economic growth with the finite resources of the planet, employing what was then a new tool: computer modelling. Employing the most powerful computers of the time, Meadows et. al. managed large quantities of variables such as human population, industrial growth, food production and environmental pollution, along with certain constants, such as non-renewable resources and the limits of the planet's ecosystems (2). The study's results were disturbing: if the rates of economic growth and natural resource use were to continue, there would be a catastrophic environmental and economic collapse sometime in the twenty-first century.
The study and its conclusions were published in the book The Limits to Growth, often referred to as the Club of Rome Report. The Limits to Growth sold 12 million copies and has been translated into 37 languages. It is the best selling environmentally themed book in history (3). Over the years it has been the object of passionate discussion, both in terms of praise and critique. After 20 years the authors revisited their study and updated it in a book titled Beyond the Limits. Then in 2004 another further updated edition was published commemorating the 30th anniversary of the original publication.
No hay consenso científico sobre la seguridad de los OMGs