Quick Takes on GMOs

A couple of articles showed up in my feed today about GMOs.

The first from an Illinois farmer describes how seed corn is raised and the care that is taken to avoid cross-pollination with neighbours’ crops.

Growing seed corn (the seed that farmers will purchase to plant the following year) whether genetically modified or not, is a complex process.

Our first priority is working with our neighbors and learning what will they be planting in adjacent fields. Cross-pollination can occur, whether you are an organic or conventional farmer or plant GM seeds. It’s not “contamination”; it’s a fact of modern farming. Agriculture with and without genetic engineering must coexist side by side.

The right measures need to be taken so that GM pollen won’t drift into other fields and fertilize conventional cultivars. We are required to plant seed corn in isolation in order to lessen the likelihood of pollen from other fields entering ours or ours entering another field. The integrity of the hybrid and the traits of that hybrid depend upon this.

Farmer’s run businesses and the vast majority are very well aware of the short and long term consequences of their decision and activities. Growing crops for seed requires much more care than growing for food, regardless of the origin of those plants. Continue reading

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Genres and labels in art are meant to be bent, broken, and fused. Otherwise, nothing new would be created. Sometimes, the fusion is of two forms that seem totally at odds, and the result is unexpectedly amazing.

In this vein, from Japan comes Babymetal, a fusion of Japanese idol music with heavy metal  The group is fronted by Suzuka Nakamoto (Su-metal), Yui Mizuno (Yuimetal), and Moa Kikuchi (Moametal); three teens who are part of the Japanese Idol industry. Continue reading

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On Being pedantic

I am often (rightly) accused of being pedantic. It’s something I try to twist into humour with varying degrees of success. However, it is something I will talk about.

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I Fucking Love Science Fucked Up on Supplements for Depression

Just like millions of other people on the internet I fucking love “I Fucking Love Science”. Their Facebook page has over 18 million likes, and much of what shows up is interesting, fascinating, and mostly on the money. Recently however, one post by Jerome Sarris titled “Health Check: five supplements that may help with depression” was way off the mark. Continue reading

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How Quacks are Created

Although the captions says that being a doctor used to be more fun, this same type of attitude is found in pseudoscientists everywhere.

For example we have the guy who is promoting homeopathic sound as a treatment or prevent the onset of Ebola. The are those who perform chiropractic adjustments on new born infants. How about removing teeth to treat cancer?

The list is virtually endless, and really can be no more effective than injecting monkey skin into your balls, and all of them based on the evidence of let me take your money.

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Liberal Catholics

I very often criticize the Catholic Church for its numerous shortcomings on human rights and paedophilia (among many others). It is important to note that most of these shortcomings are the teachings of the Church and the pronouncements from the Vatican, and not the members of the laity.

In an report issues last winter, surveys and polls have shown the majority of Catholics do not follow the Vatican on attitudes about some very important issues. The survey was conducted in preparation for a Synod on the family that occurred this past October. Continue reading

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Liberal Muslims

Many people think of Islam as a monolithic religion with two main groups, the Sunnis and Shi-ites, battling it out for fundamentalist supremacy. Just like Christianity and other religions, there are differing degrees of modernism among believers, and with some sects being very progressive and others with a total disregard for human rights, and even human life. An article earlier this year in the National Post discusses the movement towards modernity in some groups of Muslims. Continue reading

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Medical Marijuana and Pain

The arguments for legalizing marijuana are overwhelming, only being delayed by governments that get elected on a ‘tough on crime’ stance. This despite the fact that legalizing or decriminalizing pot would allow police to focus on crimes that cause more damage to individuals and society. The first step along the the way to complete decriminalization has been the approval of the use of the drug for medical purposes. Unfortunately, the evidence for the medical benefits in many areas is not particularly strong. Continue reading

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It’s always about sex

Animals reproduce. That’s their primary function, and many things they do can be interpreted through the lens of sex. Perhaps that’s just a way of anthropomorphizing.

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Pro-Choice PEI video

Here’s a new video promoting abortion access as a right for all women—including those living on PEI.

This is a basic medical service for women that the PEI government refuses to offer. Again and again we have seen that abortion has a positive impact on the lives and health of women, and still governments pander to those who care little for those women.

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