GMO Rice Reduces Methane Output

On it’s face, the following story about genetically engineered rice seems much more innocuous than the vast majority of genetic engineering schemes. But one still has to question the wisdom of splicing different species of genes together. Maybe methane is necessary in order for rice to be digestible? Perhaps we don’t know all that we think we know about the biological processes of life? I mean, if I actually knew half as much as I thought I knew when I was sixteen, it would be amazing. It seems as though in our efforts to run full steam ahead into a Brave New World, we probably getting ahead of ourselves. Anyway, here is the article about a different type of GMO rice:

Genetic engineering creates rice strain that makes less methane

Rice agriculture has become one of the most powerful anthropogenic sources of methane, due to continuously growing world population. “We would get more starch, more food, and less methane”, explains Dr Jansson, now director of plant sciences at the US Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

“Until now, nobody actually achieved success in altering rice plants” the Dutch scientist said.

Already in 2002, scientists reported that the more grain carried by rice plants, the less methane they emitted. Chuanxin Sun of the Swedish university and senior author of the study added a single gene from barley to rice, then planted it in a field next to a conventional rice field in China. By reducing the size of the rice plants’ roots, the scientists hoped that they could curb the amount of methane produced in the fields. As a result, the world’s rice paddies emit between 25 million and 100 million metric tons of methane every year. Since the low-methane strain of rice isn’t bred to be herbicide or pesticide resistant, this most likely won’t be an issue with this particular strain – though the way that its root-system interacts with microbes in the soil is something to watch. With less carbon in the roots, there is less raw material for the microbes to work on, the researchers explain. Without more trials, Bodelier wrote, it’s hard to know how the genetic modification impacts the rice cultivar’s long-term chances for survival. Far fewer methane-producing bacteria hugged the roots of the new rice. Crops like Roundup-resistant soy or corn have led to a marked increase in the use of herbicides in the United States, though some studies have also shown that genetically modified crops have led to a decrease in the use of some pesticides.

The methane is a natural byproduct of the decomposition of organic matter in the rice paddies. The reduction in methane emissions was particularly effective during the summers, when they were down to 0.3 percent of total emissions from the plant’s decomposition, compared to 10 percent emissions in the conventional crop.

Unlike golden rice where a totally alien gene was introduced into the group, here the change is not major but still could have unintended consequences, Paul Bodelier, a microbial ecologist at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology in Wageningen told CSM. Therefore, a need for developing a new rice variety that reduces methane emissions was recognized. Genetically engineered rice isn’t commercially cultivated anywhere in the world, in part because of ethical and biological concerns about the spread of engineered rice pollen, experts said.

Go Green Festival— October 17th and 18th

Go Green Ozarks
Self-Reliance Festival
October 17 and 18,  2015 
Saturday 9 am – 6 pm
Sunday 10 am – 6 pm
Donations appreciated!
Thayer City Park by the Rodeo Arena, Thayer, Missouri
Supporting Preparedness, Celebrating Heritage,
Growing Our Local Economy, Promoting Self-Reliance,
Learning How to Save Lives During Disasters
Featuring 16 Expert Speakers On:
Preparing for Disasters and Emergencies, Modern Homesteading, Food Freedom, Making Your Own Biodiesel or Alcohol Fuel, Niche Farming Profits,  Steam Engines to Make  Electricity for Your Home, Solar Energy, Geothermal, Wind Power, Steam Engines for Electricity
Draft Horses, Wool Spinning Demonstrations, Herbal Medicines, Heritage Breed Hogs, Dairy & Meat Goats, Sheep, Organic Gardening, Bee Keeping, Scottish Highland Cattle, Petting Zoo, Sheep, Chickens, Turkeys, Aquaponics, Learn how to make a rocket stove
Explore How To Be Self-Reliant, Self-Sufficient and Be Prepared!
Don’t just survive, THRIVE! Strengthen family bonds through self-sufficiency, stay alive, and live a better life!
Attend This Event To Make Sure You & Your Family Will Be Prepared for:
MAN-MADE DISASTERS:    Terrorist threats, social collapse, nuclear reactor
NATURAL DISASTERS:  Tornadoes, Earthquakes, Pandemic
ECONOMIC COLLAPSE:   Do you have cash, gold, silver, barter items?
Special Outdoor Exhibits Including ATVs!
Special demonstrations covering Archery with both modern compound bows and handmade Native American style long bows, Atlatl spear throwing sticks, hunting slingshots, tactical shooting demos and self-defense tactics!
Live Music – Bluegrass, Country & Western, Gospel, Blues Performances
Carnival for the Kids with Ferris Wheel and Other Rides!!!!
Free Money in the Hay Bale Activity for Kids
Activities for the Kids
Call (417) 264-2435
Go Green Ozarks Self Reliance Festival
The Go Green Self  Reliance Festival is  dedicated to promoting and supporting the local economy, sustainable living, agriculture, alternative renewable energy, preparedness,  and positive community activities, held in Thayer, Missouri in the Ozarks on the Missouri Arkansas border. The festival averages 16 speakers, 150 vendors and 3,000 or more in attendance.
Mike Slack, the organizer is a homesteader, a writer and veteran of    US Army Intelligence. His articles on preparedness topics have appeared in several issues of The Survivalist magazine.

More Educated Idiocy- Cloud Whitening

Since chemtrails have helped so much with the geoengineering, Bill Gates gave $300k to a group of retired Silicon Valley people to study the feasibility of lightening clouds to fix global warming. And they are ready to give it a go in the real world now.

Sometimes things are so foolish it just boggles the mind. This is one of those times for me. You can read the article excerpt below and click on the title to go and read the full thing.

Cloud brightening experiment tests tool to slow climate change


Aqua Metrology Systems’ Armand Neukermans, 73,  background left, and engineer Jack Foster, 79, right, check the operations of a cloud condensation

Aqua Metrology Systems’ Armand Neukermans, 73, background left, and engineer Jack Foster, 79, right, check the operations of a cloud condensation nuclei droplet spraying system prototype during a test to measure droplet particles at Aqua Metrology Systems in Sunnyvale, Calif., on Wednesday, June 24, 2015. (LiPo Ching/Bay Area News Group) ( LiPo Ching )

SUNNYVALE — A team of elder Silicon Valley scientists is building an audacious device that might solve one of humanity’s most profound dilemmas — a “cloud whitener” designed to cool a warming planet.

The men — retired physicists, engineers, chemists and computer experts from some of Silicon Valley’s top tech companies — have been meeting four days a week for seven years in the Sunnyvale lab of the Marine Cloud Brightening Project to design a tool that creates perfectly suspended droplets of water resembling fog.

Their goal is to launch the nation’s first open-air field trial of controversial “geoengineering” at a still-unidentified site in Moss Landing. There, they would test the ability of an energy-efficient machine to hurl tiny seawater droplets into a graceful trajectory — the first step of a research project to boost the brightness of clouds to reflect rays of sunlight back into space.


More Bird Flu Coming?

Bird Flu Cost the US $3.3 Billion and Worse Could Be Coming

It’s been almost a month since a case of avian influenza was detected in poultry in the central United States. So it might seem that the epidemic—which over several months caused the destruction of 49.5 million chickens and turkeys—can safely be considered over.

But in fact, it may have only taken a break. And if it returns, as some experts predict it will, what one government official calls “the largest animal-health emergency in this country’s history” may turn out to be just an opening act. At risk, the next time, will be not just the egg and turkey farms of the Midwest, but the billions of birds being raised in the poultry-producing centers on the east and west coasts—effectively, most of the poultry economy of the United States.

And attempts to prevent it, by developing a vaccine, may paradoxically turn out to be almost as devastating—because international trading partners say they will bar imports of any birds vaccinated against the disease.

The dire uncertainty that surrounds bird flu emerged last week at a hearing held by the Senate Committee on Agriculture to examine how the epidemic unfolded and why it spread. (Here’s my earlier post from when the epidemic was still going on.) Just the numbers are jaw-dropping: To stop the movement of the disease, Dr. John Clifford, deputy administrator of the federal Animal Plant Health Inspection Service, testified that 42 million chickens and 7.5 million turkeys were killed. Those numbers equal 10 percent of the egg-laying hens in the entire United States, and 3 percent of the turkeys.

The cost of those lost birds, according to economist Thomas Elam of the Indiana-based consulting group FarmEcon, was $1.57 billion—but the further costs to businesses that support farms, to egg and poultry wholesalers, and to food service firms, pushed the loss to $3.3 billion. In addition, Clifford said, the US Department of Agriculture committed $500 million to emergency efforts to block the disease, and paid out $190 million to farmers whose birds were destroyed.

Brad Moline, a third-generation turkey farmer from Manson, Iowa, used the impact of the epidemic on his family’s farm as an example of what turkey growers face from avian flu. The Molines were forced to destroy their entire flock, 56,000 turkeys housed in 12 barns, wiping out at least two-thirds of their income for the year. Once a flock is destroyed, the birds have to be composted and the barns disinfected, and farmers cannot restock with baby birds (“poults,” if they are turkeys) until they get the all-clear. That’s if they can find birds to grow at all: Unlike poultry producers, turkey farms grow just one crop per year, and the hatcheries that supply the poults aim to hatch them only when they are needed—which was much earlier in the year than now.  “If we are lucky, we will be able to salvage this year with one flock, which we hope to repopulate sometime around August 1,” he told the committee.

As I reported earlier, animal-health authorities suspected—and virus analysis is now confirming—that while the flu was originally brought to the US by wild birds migrating down from Canada, most of the spread within the US was due to people and vehicles inadvertently carrying the virus from farm to farm. Rob Knecht, president of the Michigan Allied Poultry Industries, said that preventing that from happening again if the virus returns will be complicated and costly. Some examples he ticked off: requiring farms to book the episodic crews they use for short but labor-intensive tasks such as moving large flocks from barn to barn, and not sharing them with other farms. Creating worker “locker rooms” at local hotels, with clothing and boots provided, and driving them back and forth in disinfected vans. Constructing new shower facilities on farms, for every worker to use, or procuring mobile shower units that are delivered to farms by truck. Building disinfecting troughs and tire sprayers at every farm entrance and assigning workers to monitor the gates so that every vehicle goes through disinfection. “The financial investment on these changes,” he said, “can be very high.”

Producers are looking seriously at making those investments, though, because federal authorities are predicting the flu will come back. “There is the very real possibility of another major outbreak later this year,” Elam said. Clifford expanded on that: “USDA is treating the threat of more infections in the fall with the utmost seriousness,” he said. “It’s very likely that wild birds will carry the virus with them when they begin migrating south in the fall.”

The major chicken-producing states—Georgia, and the Delaware-Maryland-Virginia peninsula—should be particularly watchful, he added: “Although states in the Atlantic flyway have not been affected by this outbreak, it’s important that our state and industry partners begin preparations should the disease occur there.” That’s true for the Pacific Flyway as well; the first 2014 cases occurred there.

Possibly the most dismaying thing is that—unlike human flu—there’s no vaccine available, and while a USDA research unit is crashing research on a formula, using it could end up losing producers just as much money as letting the flu rampage. Currently, because of the outbreak, 18 countries have blocked imports of any American poultry or eggs, and another 38 countries have blocked imports from the states that were affected. But because of suspicions of the vaccine—which can suppress birds’ symptoms while still allowing them to pass the virus along—many countries won’t accept vaccinated birds for import.

“USDA believes that if a vaccine were used, some additional trading partners would ban all U.S. exports of poultry and eggs and not necessarily just those from the states currently affected by HPAI,” Clifford testified. “The loss of these markets could cost U.S. producers at least $3 billion in trade revenue.”

With a vaccine off the table, producers may have no option but to guard their farms’ borders, watch for new outbreaks, and wait. They may not have to wait long. Last week, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced it had found a similar strain of virus in a chickadee, its second find in a wild bird so far—and the fall migration season hasn’t even begun.

Monsanto Doing Own Study on Heels of WHO Round Up Cancer Link

Monsanto. One of the most evil corporations on the face of the planet. When they get slammed by a pseudo governmental agency, they just have to find their own paid for scientists to refute the others. The marvel I see here is that Monsanto didn’t have enough money to pay off the WHO. It’s likely that the cat is too far out of the bag for the WHO to keep pretending it isn’t there.

Monsanto says panel to review WHO finding on cancer link to herbicide

By Carey Gillam

(Reuters) – Monsanto Co, whose Roundup product is one of the world’s most widely used herbicides, said on Tuesday it has arranged for an outside scientific review of a World Health Organization finding that the weed killer’s key ingredient probably causes cancer.

The WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) said in March that it had concluded that the ingredient, called glyphosate, was probably carcinogenic after reviewing a range of scientific literature. [ID:nL2N0WM2I4]

Monsanto reacted to the finding by demanding a retraction, labeling the findings by a team of international cancer scientists as “junk science.” [ID:nL2N0WP0UM]

On Tuesday, Monsanto said it had hired Intertek Scientific & Regulatory Consultancy to convene a panel of internationally recognized scientific experts to review IARC’s work. The experts include medical doctors, cancer experts, and individuals with doctoral degrees who are specialists in public health, the Creve Coeur, Missouri-based company said.

Monsanto President Brett Begemann said his company is confident in the safety of its herbicide products, and the review is being done primarily to reassure consumers and others.

“It has created a lot of confusion,” Begemann said of the IARC cancer link finding. “This panel is going to review the data thoroughly, and they are going to make their findings available to everyone for review.”

Monsanto said the process and the findings will be independent and will be transparent. But the company said it would be involved in providing information and data for the review.

Farmers have been using glyphosate in increasing quantities since Monsanto in the mid-1990s introduced crops genetically engineered to withstand being sprayed with Roundup.

Genetically modified corn, soybeans and other crops branded as “Roundup Ready” are popular because of the ease with which farmers have been able to kill weeds. But weeds have developed resistance to glyphosate, prompting farmers to use more herbicide.

Agricultural use of glyphosate in 2012, the most recent year for which data is available, was more than 283 million pounds (128 million kg), up from 110 million pounds (50 million kg), in 2002, according to U.S. Geological Survey estimates.

The United States and other international regulatory bodies have said glyphosate is safe when used as directed. But the WHO cancer research unit’s report found that several studies have raised concerns about glyphosate and its health impacts.

(Reporting By Carey Gillam in Kansas City; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jonathan Oatis)

Some Greeks are on the Ball!

When the first rattlings about the Greek financial melt down began, well over a year ago now, there were some articles about how the new thinking in the nation went to food production and many young people were heading back to familial farming lands to be able to weather the coming storm. Now that the crush has begun, another article about this has come across my desktop.

The concept is simple. CIVILization, with the operative word being civil, requires that people have enough food to live. If we can’t, or won’t, help others, we will lose the ability to treat each other in a civilized and humane fashion.

Greek villagers’ secret weapon: Grow your own food

KARITAINA, Greece (AP) — Ilias Mathes has protection against bank closures, capital controls and the slashing of his pension: 10 goats, some hens and a vegetable patch.

If Greece’s financial crisis deepens, as many believe it must, he can feed his children and grandchildren with the bounty of the land in this proud village high in the mountains of the Arcadia Peloponnese.

“I have my lettuce, my onions, I have my hens, my birds, I will manage,” he said, even though he can no longer access his full pension payment because of government controls imposed six days ago. “We will manage for a period of time, I don’t know, two months, maybe three months, because I also want to give to our relatives. If they are suffering, I cannot leave them like this, isn’t that so?”

(Read the whole thing here)

Maybe Bees Will Get a Break?

U.S. EPA proposing temporary pesticide-free zones for honeybees

By Carey Gillam

(Reuters) – U.S. environmental regulators on Thursday proposed a rule that would create temporary pesticide-free zones to protect commercial honeybees, which are critical to food production and have been dying off at alarming rates.

The restrictions would cover times when specific plants are in bloom and when commercial honeybees are being moved through certain areas, EPA officials said.

Honeybees are needed to pollinate plants that produce a quarter of the food consumed by Americans, and beekeepers travel around the country with managed hives to help the process.

The rule, due to be published in the Federal Register on Friday, includes a class of insecticides knowns as neonicotinoids, which some have blamed for the demise of honeybee colonies.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said that honeybees had disappeared at a staggering rate over the last year. Losses of managed honeybee colonies hit 42.1 percent from April 2014 through April 2015, up from 34.2 percent for 2013-2014, and the second-highest annual loss to date, according to the USDA.

Beekeepers, environmental groups and some scientists say neonicotinoids, or neonics – used on crops such as corn as well as on plants used in lawns and gardens – are harming the beess.

But Bayer, Syngenta and other agrichemical companies that sell neonic products say mite infestations and other factors are the cause.

The White House has formed a task force to study the issue, and the EPA has been studying the effects of neonics on bees.

Lori Ann Burd, environmental health director for the

Center for Biological Diversity, applauded the proposed rule, but said neonics, which are commonly used as seed treatments on crops like corn, need to be banned. In seed treatments, the pesticide is applied to the seed before it is planted.

“EPA needs to take the next step and ban these poisoned seeds,” Burd said in a statement.

(Reporting By Carey Gillam; Editing by Peter Galloway and Jonathan Oatis)

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