Saturday, November 09, 2013

Nov 9, 2013

Nov 9, 2013

Outreach table 2013 at Philcon 2013

Outreach table 2013

Monday, September 09, 2013

GMO foods

I like the discussion about professions in space. I am sure there will be lawyers and new law in space. Just as I am sure on the moon there will be farmers and dairy men and cheese makers and people raising beef cattle. They may not look a lot like Earth farms in the distant future with a lot of food including meat being grown in vats instead of on animals or coming out of machines like on Star Trek, but there will be food being produced in space.

I have been threatening to write something on GMO foods for a while now but my computer is misbehaving badly and won't let me get on the free internet at the library at all. I think my computer doesn't respect me. For those of you who haven't been paying attention to anything about GMO foods or don't want to know please go ahead and skip this article too unless you want to give me a job and then just email me.

What are GMO foods? GMO foods are Genetically Modified Foods or foods that have had their genetics played with in the new and modern fashion where the genes of different unrelated species are inserted in food crops creating strange and wonderful or perhaps horrible combinations.

In general I am in favor of genetically modified organisms. I want to have a new and wonderful olive trees I can grow in Minnesota or Maine mixed in with my grapefruit and apple orchards. I want to own one of those cats that glows in the dark and yes they already exist even though the cold adapted grapefruit and olive trees don't. They took the genes that made sea plankton or maybe jelly fish glow in the dark and inserted it into harmless little kittens. From that they got cats when they grew up they still glowed in the dark and have a harder time sneaking up on mice at night but don't trip you in a dark bedroom because they do glow in the dark. The cats that glow in the dark made headlines in Science magazine, I think it was. But I don't want to eat corn or corn syrup or beets that give me cancer.

This doesn't seem to be a hard choice. Glowing kitty cats and olives that will grow in cold climates, yes. Cancer causing corn no.

But so far it seems like the large corporation who actually invented corn that causes cancer is winning. I have read serious articles by serious scientists who said that GMO food is not bad for you but they didn't cite any scientific articles published by anybody. How can you have a serious discussion about any scientific subject and not quote any published scientific articles? You might as well give up on a serious discussion and just yell, “YOUR MOTHER.” Articles have showed the GMO corn kills 100% of male rats with cancer in two years who eat GMO corn as one third of their diets. Those are bad odds. It looks worse when you realize one third of a person's diet is the equivalent of about two cups of corn a day or about 4 or 5 tacos or less than half a bag of chips.

And what is worse is food producers are refusing to label the GMO containing foods at all. Only two state so far have passed legislation that mandates labeling foods for GMO content.

That's what I want. You can look at a kitty cat that glows in the dark and know they are not natural and wonder if someone was painting the cats. But I can't look at a box of cornbread and tell if the corn in my cornbread is organic or regular or GMO and will kill me with cancer if I eat it as often as every Saturday. I just want a choice to be able to avoid GMO foods and the risk of cancer from them.

It isn't a hard choice for me. I tasted GMO beets by accident and they tasted foul and gave me a stomach ache. I used to love regular beets. Maybe it was a bad can of beets but I wonder. I would not want to eat them again or any sugar made from them.

I really don't want to eat GMO foods ever. Now that means only eating organic foods as they are the only ones guaranteed not to contain GMO foods.

If you think only rats have a problem, there were some stories on the net that some cows were allowed to eat the leaves and stems of GMO cotton after the cotton was picked. The stories were from India where they usually let cows eat all the left over stems and leaves from cotton fields. But when the cows ate the GMO cotton plants the cows all died in a couple of days. The cows were eating the cotton plants as 100% of their diet until they all died.

There was another story on the net. There was a field of wheat that was contaminated by a cross breeding in the fields with some experimental GMO wheat and I believe was harvested and sold as food. When this was discovered the Japanese immediately put a ban on importing U.S. wheat totally and Korea demanded all wheat they imported from the U.S. be checked for contamination with GMO wheat. I understand completely the Japanese attitude. They like their traditional foods that are healthy and nutritious and they have no reason to let any questionable foods into their country to poison them and their children.

But what bothers me is that the company who designed and created the corn that causes cancer just didn't pull it off the market and admit they made a horrible mistake with that food. Why didn't the FDA pull that corn off the market? I always thought if the FDA discovered any food additives like the genes added to GMO corn caused cancer in any rats, the food would be immediately pulled off the market. Isn't there anybody out there these days who is looking out for the consumers? Isn't there any regulatory agency out there that cares that the U.S. consumers and their children are consuming large quantities of food that causes cancer and is willing to do something about it?

If there was one guy out there feeding one small child food contaminated with cancer causing chemicals, that guy would be arrested and promptly thrown into jail. But when one large company poisons thousands of American children and potentially kills dozens maybe hundreds of them with cruel cancers there is no agency that does anything. Why? And to bring the discussion back to the level it started on, your mother.

By Janice Guidotti, M.D.


[1] Elsevier free copy of Gilles-Eric Seralini original research article on GMO foods published in Food and Chemical Toxicity, Volume 50, Issue 11, November 2012, pgs. 4221 - 4231 published on the net as free access at

[2] Daily Mail article available from

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Space Opportunities

Lawyering on the High Frontier

By Michael J. Stewart

Having a professional astronaut who's also trained as a space lawyer with accessibility to the moon, near earth asteroids, and the asteroid belt, could be quite fruitful. Living and working on the high frontier would allow, not only the opportunity for financial/economic growth and scientific scrutiny, but the opportunity to create laws, legal systems, and even government based upon the immediate environmental and cultural context.