It is unlikely that the alleged benefits of GMOs can outweigh their potential harm. There is no way to avoid GMOs,because the FDA and USDA do not require these foods to be labeled. A recent poll shows that 53% of Americans say they won’t purchase foods that have been genetically modified, but most are unaware that they already do. More than 90% of U.S. soybean crop is genetically modified. More than three quarters of all corn planted in the U.S. is genetically modified. Up to 70% of all antibiotics in the U.S. are given to healthy livestock. Overall, more than 65% of all grocery store products have genetically modified ingredients. Organic foods can’t contain more than 5percent GMOs by law, but even that is not completely effective today. Once a GMO is out there, there is no taking it back. There has been cross-breeding of natural crops and species with those that have been genetically engineered, which results in mainly GEs and loss of organic crops.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved three new kinds of genetically engineered foods: alfalfa (which becomes hay), a type of corn grown to produce ethanol,and sugar beets. The FDA approved a super-fast-growing salmon, the first genetically modified animal to be sold in the U.S., but probably not the last. You can blame Monsanto, a multinational biotech corporation that’s out to control the world’s food supply, starting with seeds and herbicides, and ending with shutting down hundreds of small farms. The biotech industry has spent over half a billion dollars on G.M.O. lobbyists in the last decade, and Michael Taylor, the F.D.A. deputy commissioner for foods, was once vice president for public policy at Monsanto.
We seem to have it backwards. In Europe, GE crops are barely grown. There are strict bans on imports, and most foods containing more than 0.9 percent GMOs must be labeled. The surge in suicides among Indian farmers has been attributed by some, at least in part, to GE crops. GE products may grow faster, require fewer pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides, and reduce stress on land, water and other resources, but these same goals may be achieved by simple advances in conventional agriculture, such as drip irrigation. What’s needed to feed world hunger is not new technology, but a better distribution system and a reduction of waste. We are the guinea pigs of today’s GMO regulators, mainly Monsanto.
If big corporations had their way, the air we breathe would be way more polluted than it is now, as if it’s not polluted enough. It’s a wonder that people don’t throw up most of the things they eat, given the amount of hormones and toxins put into our food and water supply. We come into contact with harmful chemicals and toxic food and water every day, due to sewage contaminated water, hydrofracking, pesticides, and genetically modified foods. New Yorkers currently produce about 1.3 billion tons of wastewater daily. Gas drilling, using both hydraulic fracturing to release gas and horizontal drilling techniques that can snake underground far from the actual bore holes, is now moving into closer proximity to American population centers than in the past. Two years after hydraulic fracturing fluids were legally spread on a section of the Fernow Experimental Forest in West Virginia, more than half of the trees in the affected area were dead.
Every ton of carbon dioxide pollution causes around $20 of damage to economies, ecosystems and human health. That sum times 20 implies $400 worth of damage per American per year. Five chemicals that we come across every day are linked to a host of ailments, including cancer, behavioral issues, and sexual problems. They are bisphenol A, or BPA; phthalates; PFOA; formaldehyde; and polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or PDBEs. We encounter them every day in plastic bottles, storage containers, food wrap, cans, cookware, appliances, carpets, shower curtains, clothes, personal care products, furniture, television sets, electronics, bedding, cushions, mattresses, etc. Studies on birth defects and pregnancy issues are finding hundreds of toxic chemicals in the bodies of mothers, and subsequently, in their babies after birth. The amount of chemicals measures in babies’ cord blood affects their IQ levels. Among these are plastics, mercury, and pesticides. All of this boils down to a simple statement: what is good for business is not always good for us.
What do 28 Days Later, Dawn of the Dead, Planet Terror, and Resident Evil all have in common?: They are all zombie movies and may be farther from fiction than you think. In fact, spiders, cockroaches, worms, crabs, and even, cats have all been found to fall prey to parasites who take over their brain and turn them into zombies. Although these prey are not technically “the living dead”, as is the classical definition of zombie, their bodies become nothing more than a host for the control of the parasite. Scientists are still uncertain exactly how these creatures achieve mind control.
One example of a living zombie is the spider Plesiometa argyra. Although usually an expert builder of perfectly round webs, just one sting from a parasitic wasp is enough to strip it of this vocation. The wasp immediately deposits its larvae inside the spider’s body causing the Plesiometa argyra to spend the last night of its life constructing a silk cocoon, which becomes a home for the wasp. No longer of use, the larvae kill the spider upon the sack’s completion.
Pill bugs normally spend their entire lives under logs, hiding from predators. Upon ingesting a parasitic worm, however, the bug will behave erratically, crawling out into the open where a starling can claim it as a snack. This allows the worm to enter the bird’s stomach, an optimal environment for reproduction.
Even more shocking is the fate of the cockroach should it come into contact with a green jewel wasp. In this scenario, the latter will essentially perform brain surgery on the cockroach, injecting a venom that blocks octopamine, the neurotransmitter which allows alertness and movement. Only then is the wasp is able to plant its larvae inside the roach’s body, where they live for a week before eating the roach from the inside out.
Humans are not exempt from the potential dangers of parasites. Parasites are so alarming because they are able to quickly spread through vast populations and tend to be extremely resistant to antibiotics. Scientists claim that at least half of us carry the parasitic protozoa Toxoplasma gondii (usually due to raw meat consumption) which is carried for life once contracted. Toxoplasmosis, researchers have found, might make people more likely to be schizophrenic, and can change personality in subtle ways. Other parasites have also been proven to threaten human functioning. This has to leave one wondering what the possibilities of a viral parasite could mean for the future.
Considered the third most intelligent animals in the world, after humans and chimpanzees, dolphins have long been praised by scientific communities for their superior cognitive abilities. They have been shown to utilize intricate patterns of communication, develop distinct personalities, recognize themselves in a mirror, and perform complicated tricks. The U.S. Navy has even trained them for the use of rescuing lost naval swimmers and locating underwater mines and purportedly, carrying toxic dart guns. Upon learning all of this I had to ask myself what else can they do? Although “extremely high cognitive abilities” may sound positive upon initial mention, further thought leads to the consideration of darker implications; further research proves these implications to be true.
Marine experts are calling it “porpicide”: dophins off the coast of California have been observed and videotaped ganging up on porpoises, ramming them underwater, and drowning them for no apparent reason other than sadism. Ironically, identical injuries have been observed on dead dolphins that have recently washed up on shore.
So, yes, now you know that dolphins can be murderers – but did you also know they could be rapists? In 2003, an incident occurred involving three male dolphins chasing a female dolphin and forcibly taking her out to sea with them where they then proceeded to take turns violating her. This is not an isolated incident. In the late 1980’s researchers in Shark Bay, Western Australia, recorded abductions of female bottlenose dolphins by male bottlenoses, usually in groups of three, for the specific purpose of forcing copulation on them. Dr. Richard Connor, a marine biologist studying dolphins in Western Australia, has also documented cases of male kidnappers and holding females captive, sometimes for months at a time.
This can come as no suprise. If dolphins are really supposed to be nearly as smart as man, then they must possess almost all of human intelligence: both the good and bad. Needless to say, I will be sticking with the pool this summer.
It has become almost an instinct. Whenever I feel any sort of irregularity in my general well-being (e.g.: my knee hurts, I have a headache, I am depressed), I never hesitate to search my symptoms on google. Try it. Type in “my knee hurts” and the first results on Google will present “Meniscus tear”, “Arthritis”, “Stress”, “Tendinitis”, and “Gout” from medical websites such as “medicinenet.com” and “webmd.com”. Subsequently there is the (very comical) search result “mykneehurts.info” which also attempts (rather poorly) to provide insight as to possible causes of the knee pain.
Using all of these sources, I deduced I either had Chrondomalacia or a premature form of Arthritis. I used the latter when explaining to my mom why it was necessary to enslave my younger sister, using her to constantly bring me things I needed to wherever I was sitting/change the television channel. Hoping to stop the injustice, my mom took me to an Orthopedic surgeon who told me I simply “bumped my knee against something” and I needed to grant my sister her freedom.
First coined in the 1990s, “cyberchondria” results “when someone with little or no medical training tries to diagnose him or herself by reviewing symptoms online”. Oftentimes their diagnosis is much worse than what would be determined by a true diagnostic process. Sometimes patients prove to be in perfect health, and merely demonstrating symptoms of this specific form of hypochondria usually accompanied by high anxiety over the prospect of being sick. Cyberchondria is highly annoying to medical practitioners because patients tend to assume the role of doctor and use their imaginarily attained medical degree (from the University of Google) to misdiagnose themselves, mistreat themselves, and argue with someone with an actual medical degree (from the University of Pennsylvania).
What do you guys think of cyberchondria? Do you also use google to diagnose yourselves? Feel free to share any stories!
Ever wonder why you were overwhelmingly outgoing, painfully shy, prudently responsible, skillfully creative, or uncommonly generous? Your neurotransmitter level may indicate more about your personality than you can imagine. Although often attributed to genetics and life experiences, your mood and weight may actually be the personified effects of one of the four main neurotransmitters: Acetylcholine, Dopamine, Gaba, and Seratonin. Acetylcholine and Dopamine are described as “excitory”, increasing brain function. In contrast, Gaba and Seratonin, are referred to as “inhibitory”, slowing the brain down. Both characteristics are necessary for normal brain functioning.
Each neurotransmitter is secreted in a different lobe of the brain, controlling either it’s speed, voltage, rhythm, or synchrony. Even just a minor imbalance in one of these four neurotransmitters can strongly affect appetite, sleeping patterns, sex drive, mood disorders, attention deficit disorders, and depression. Due to the dearth of knowledge about neurotransmitters and their functions many people suffering from these disturbances often turn to pharmaceutical drugs and crash diets. Neurotransmitters levels, however, can be easily altered by dietary intake. Yet, because of insufficient public education people tend to turn to pharmaceutical drugs, illicit drugs, and fad diets for the panacea to their physical and mental problems.
I think this is especially interesting after reading the “Gene Screens for PTSD” post because it leads us to wonder what other disorders/syndromes can be explained and subsequently, aided, through studying neurotransmitters.
To self- test for both your dominant-neurotransmitter nature and deficiency visit: http://www.forresthealth.com/braverman-personality-assessment/
I do not have the credentials to assert or refute the validity of such a test, but think that it is an interesting expirement in personally exploring personality-based transmitters.