Hacking the Planet

Some suggest that the government has been interfering with the weather for years. That belief may have started with cloud seeding to create rain when Mother Nature was being stingy with the wet stuff.

Tonight The Weather Channel initiates a series called “Hacking the Planet.” It looks at how humans can use science to control–or at least alter–the weather. Check your local listings for broadcast information. Where I am, the program airs at 8 p.m.

A question to ask is, assuming we can do it,  should we alter the weather? What are the unintended consequences? If one location benefits from weather control, does another area suffer? Could there be weather wars? So many questions, so few answers.

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Frankenfish Anyone? Coming to a Dinner Plate Near You

Author and attorney blogger Lasesana describes how Frankenfoods may end up on your plate, and you may not even be aware of it.

Last week’s mainstream media reported on fish sold in supermarkets, restaurants and other outlets that was mislabeled as to actual content as much as 87% of the time. If you thought you were eating tuna, you may actually be eating eel, and the like. Sushi bars were the culprits with the highest mislabeling percentages. Some of the substituted fish had toxic components, capable of harming the person eating it.

Add the European horse meat scandal, where horses treated with the painkiller Bute–a substance unapproved for human consumption–were slaughtered and their meat either substituted for beef or mixed with it in dishes such as pre-packaged lasagna, and one begins to wonder what animal-based food is safe to eat.

From Lasesana’s column in Communities @ Washington Times

WASHINGTON DC, February 2, 2013- Genetically modified crops have been a part of the U.S. food supply for many years.  Genetically engineered (GE) animals, however, have not.

If successful, AquAdvantage® salmon will be the first genetically engineered animal allowed into the U.S. food supply.

AquAdvantage salmon is an Atlantic salmon that has two added genes; an added gene from the Pacific salmon to make it grow faster, and an added gene from an eel that makes it grow throughout the year.  GE salmon grow in half the time – 18 months instead of three years- but do not grow larger than natural salmon. Currently AquAdvantage eggs are created in Prince Edward Island and the fish are grown and farmed in Panama.

AquAdvantage creator, Massachusetts-based AquaBounty, has been working to obtain FDA approval to market its product for human consumption in the U.S. for 17 years.  Currently in the final stages of the lengthy New Animal Drug Application (NADA) required by FDA, GE salmon could reach American plates as early as the end of 2013.

The FDA concluded in 2010 that the AquAdvantage salmon was safe for human consumption. Clearing the salmon of a final hurdle in December of 2012, the FDA’s draft environmental assessment concluded that AquAdvantage fish did not pose a threat to the U.S. environment.  This draft assessment will be open to public comments for 60 days.

By clearing this last major regulatory hurdle, it is likely that AquAdvantage will gain FDA approval despite opposition and make its way into the American food supply by the end of 2013.  While the debate over GE animals rages on, there is also a growing question concerning the labeling of these foods once they are on the market.

The controversy

There are compelling arguments on both sides of the issue of whether to allow genetically modified animals into our food supply.  Most of the arguments center on whether GE animals are safe for human consumption, whether they pose a threat to the environment, and whether they should be labeled as GE foods.

Supporters of AquAdvantage and similar products argue that genetically modified animals will produce a low-priced, high-quality protein that is not a threat to the environment and is safe for human consumption.

On the other side of the argument, Andrew Kimbrell, executive director for Center for Food Safety (CFS) says that “GE salmon has no socially redeeming value; it’s bad for the consumer, bad for the salmon industry and bad for the environment.”

In 2010, as part of the FDA investigation of the AquaBoyndy’s NADA application, the FDA tested six specimens.  Based on the results of these tests, many health professionals agreed with the FDA assessment that the salmon is unlikely to cause more allergies or harmful effects than natural salmon.

However, opponents argue that testing, especially on the possible long-term health effects of consuming genetically engineered fish, has not been adequate.  According to the Organic Consumers’ Association (OCA), “even with such limited testing, the results showed an increase in allergy-causing potential, […] AquAdvantage also contains elevated levels of the growth hormone, IGF-1, which is linked to prostate, breast and colon cancers.”

Opponents also argue that little is known about the long-term effects GE organisms have on the environment. GE fish grow twice as fast as natural salmon, eat five times as much, have less fear of natural predators, and can reproduce throughout the year. While FDA’s environmental assessment concludes that the salmon will not have a negative impact on environs surrounding the U.S., FDA did not require a similar study in the waters around Prince Edward Island, where the eggs are currently produced; or Panama, where the fish are being farmed.

The FDA assessment concluded that it is unlikely the fish will escape their farms and pose a threat to natural species, including the endangered Atlantic wild salmon.  This is because the fish “will be grown as sterile, all-female populations in land-based facilities with redundant biological and physical containment,” according to AquaBounty and the FDA. AquaBounty also claims that even if some individuals manage to escape, they will not survive the salty warm waters surrounding the Panamanian facility.

Critics note, however, that an escaped fish could impact local populations.  Only 95% of the fish are actually sterile, and even though theoretical studies suggest the fish are unlikely to survive should they escape, there is no proof that they will not survive.  Neither the FDA nor AquaBounty performed an environmental assessment in Panama to determine the impact if an escaped salmon does survive, so the effect of escaped fish is relatively unknown.

Moreover, despite AquaBounty’s claims that their GE faming methods are safer than traditional aquaculture, CFS provided evidence that AquaBounty’s Canadian production site was contaminated by a new strain of Infectious Salmon Anemia, an untreatable virus that affects salmon. However, CFS claims that information about the facility’s contamination with this deadly fish flu was not considered by the FDA and was hidden from the public.

The labeling issue

Once approved, which is very likely, AquAdvantage salmon will not require special labeling identifying it as genetically engineered.  Under current FDA regulations, GE foods are only required to be identified as such when they are substantially different from the natural version.  The FDA stated that AquAdvantage salmon is not substantially different from its natural counterpart, and therefore will not require special labeling.

Without special labeling of GE salmon, consumers will lack information to allow them to choose whether to consume and financially support a completely new kind of food and food industry—one that we know very little about.

Additionally, FDA approval of AquAdvantage salmon is likely to set precedent for other GE foods.  Firms that produce GE cows, chickens, and pigs are eagerly awaiting the results and are poised to petition for approval if AquAdvantage wins FDA authorization. If AquAdvantage ultimately does gain approval, it should be easier for these products to do so as well.

As FDA regulations stand, none of these genetically engineered foods would require special labeling identifying them as GE foods, and consumers will have no clear way of knowing whether they are eating food from a GE animal.

Writer Peter Murray calls the move toward genetically engineered food a “grand experiment.” Shouldn’t American consumers have the right to decide – and the information to make a choice about — whether they want to be part of that experiment?

Source: http://lasesana.wordpress.com/2013/02/06/frankenfish-genetically-engineered-salmon-close-to-winning-fda-approval/

Tour a Bit of Britain Right Here in the USA

Are you an Anglophile who wishes to travel to the UK? Airfare and foreign travel can be pricey and dicey. But guess what? Now you can tour a bit of Britain here at home in America. I found a web site that offers help for Anglophiles whose budgets won’t let them travel abroad.

For example, the genuine London Bridge was dismantled and is on American soil in Lake Havasu, AZ, ready to be your next vacation destination. And there are other fun things, such as:

Gordon Ramsay’s Pub & Grill in Las Vegas

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This is one of the newest restaurants in Las Vegas and features an authentic English pub experience in Las Vegas, as only a native UK chef can provide. Located in Caesar’s Palace, they serve a full range of British dishes in a British themed restaurant. The center piece of the restaurant is a striking bar with an array of beer taps and a backdrop reminiscent of iconic British telephone booths. Sounds like a ton of fun!

Want to know more? Read here: http://www.anglotopia.net/anglophilia/your-complete-guide-to-british-themed-tourist-attractions-located-in-the-united-states/

Follow the Money

What is all the hubbub about gold? Most people don’t know and don’t care. But I will tell you this much: if you are smart, you will do what those who do know are doing.

What is that, you ask? They are gathering up their gold and sitting on it. If they loaned any out, they are getting it back under their own control.

The Telegraph’s James Delingpole points out:

Back in the mid-1920s, the head of the German Central Bank, Herr Hjalmar Schacht, went to New York to see Germany’s gold. However the NY Fed officials were unable to find the palette of Germany’s gold bullion. The Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Benjamin Strong was mortified, but to put him at ease Herr Schacht turned to him and said ‘Never mind, I believe you when you when you say the gold is there. Even if it weren’t you are good for its replacement.’ (H/T The Real Asset Company)

But that was then and this is now. In the eyes of the Germans – and who can blame them? – America has lost its mojo to such a degree that it can no longer be trusted honour its debts, even in the unlikely event that it were financially capable of doing so. Which is why, following in the footsteps of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez (who may be an idiot but is definitely no fool), Germany is repatriatriating its gold from the US federal reserve.  It will now be stored in Frankfurt.

You and me, we aren’t central bankers. But if we pay attention, we will see that China, Germany, Venezuela, several mideastern countries and more are asking the United State, France and the United Kingdom to give back the gold that those countries have placed in protective vaults–the equivalent of a safety deposit box for you and me. The central bankers of the world are losing trust in each other. That means we should be wary of those “safekeeping” our “gold,” too.

Twelve Steps for Government Addiction to Overspending

If you read my January post “A

Greek Tragedy,” I bet you’d find

today

that the Greek citizens wish they

had

applied the following solution to

their personal lives as their

government went over its own fiscal

cliff.

hedgeless_horseman's picture

Submitted by hedgeless_horseman on zerohedge.com

The Twelve Steps

  1. We came to understand that our government is powerless over its spending – that our nation’s debt had become unmanageable.
  2. We came to believe that a power greater than our fiat currency could restore us to sanity.
  3. We made a decision to turn our savings and our investments over to the care of gold, as we understand gold to be a physical asset – not a paper promise.
  4. We made a searching and fearless inventory of our wealth.
  5. We converted to gold, to Krugerrands, and to Maple Leafs, the fiat paper assets of our wealth, thus eliminating our counterparties.
  6. We were entirely ready to have gold remove all risk of default.
  7. We humbly asked the coin dealer to reduce our exposure to The Inflation Tax.
  8. We made a list of those politicians that expose us to The Inflation Tax, and became willing to work against them all.
  9. We gave direct support to Libertarians whenever possible, except when no Libertarian is on the ballot, and then we voted against the incumbent.
  10. We continued to create wealth through our own industry, and then we converted it to gold, and promptly buried it.
  11. We sought through silver coins to increase our contact with precious metal, as we understand silver to be a physical asset – not a paper promise, paying for as many day-to-day transactions with silver as possible, using our credit card (not debit) for what was not, and paying off the entire balance each month.
  12. We, having had a fiscal awakening as the result of these steps, tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Couple Has Lived Under a Rock for Thirty Years

from Yahoo, by Rusty Weston:

For many people the idea of living under a rock might seem like the punchline of a joke. But for one Mexican couple, a hut wedged below a 130-foot boulder in Coahulla, Mexico has been home for the past 30 years.

A reporter recently visited the couple, Benito Hernandez and Santa Martha de la Cruz Villarreal, in their primitive desert home 50 miles south of Texas. Hernandez is a farmer who plants and collects the Candelilla plant used in making Candelilla wax.

He first saw this boulder 55 years ago, when he was eight, and decided to make it a home one day. Twenty years later he was able to secure rights to the land.

For photos of the family home built from sun-dried bricks and cement, click here:

http://homes.yahoo.com/blogs/spaces/couple-living-under-rock-quite-literally-230218154.html

Update to Lights in the Night Sky over Arizona

In the previous post, I reported on Karen Gadient’s photograph and story about unidentified lighted objects flying in the night sky over her home in Arizona. I decided to do a You Tube check for similar sightings about the same time. There are several. Based on comments I clipped from one video posting, Karen isn’t alone in spotting these strange events in the dark. Read a few of the comments below:

Published on Jan 15, 2013

UFO/Lights In Casa Grande Arizona, 1/15/2013,Hope you guys like it,Please comment like and rate, Favorite.

 joobly Boo              1 month ago           

  • We saw lights like this from Apache Junction AZ on the 14th 15th and 16th all between 7:30 and 8:15 the same spot each night! Everyone is seeing this yet the news is not covering it? HHHmmmmm We will be looking to the Southwest tomorrow night !

    Christian Hernandez              1 month ago           

  • I’m happy that a lot of people are seeing them too and it’s not just me. i live in casa grande and i have been seeing these lights all week. some crazy shit is going on. i have i have some video of lights from tonight so i will be putting it up soon.