Monthly Archives: February 2011

Genetically modified bentgrass continues to spread

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Article reads: Having escaped from a field the GMO bentgrass has spread to canals and drain ditches, because it grows best where there is a lot of water, according to David Bunker, a local applicator who is involved in identifying the spread and efforts to control the bent grass.

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Dump truck owners take on California Air Resources Board

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Article reads: The group alleges that the economic recession has led to hard hits against the dump truck industry and that most of its members “do not have the financial resources to purchase and install retrofit technology for their trucks, and will likely lose their business.” Adding insult to injury, those owner-operators who can comply with the Air Resources Board requirements will notice that “retrofit technology makes the truck less efficient, less able to run for long periods of time, and prone to mechanical breakdowns.”

Spiritually transmitted diseases

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Disease #3: Although our desire to grow is genuine and pure, it often gets mixed with lesser motivations, including the wish to be loved, the desire to belong, the need to fill our internal emptiness, the belief that the spiritual path will remove our suffering and spiritual ambition, the wish to be special, to be better than, to be “the one.”

A mind of one’s own

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http://www.newstatesman.com/books/2011/02/mind-self-consciousness-brain

Article reads: The idea of consciousness as a “show” is ultimately derived from the bankrupt representational theory of the mind – a notion that things are present to us by virtue of being “represented” or “modelled” in the brain. You cannot get to representation, however, without prior (conscious, first-order) presentation, so the latter cannot explain the former. Neuroscientists of consciousness try to elude this obvious objection by asserting that representations are not (necessarily) conscious. In fact, all sorts of aspects of consciousness are not conscious after all. According to Humphrey, “before consciousness ever arose, animals were engaged in some kind of inner monitoring of their own responses to sensory stimulation”. What is “inner” about unconscious processes, material events in the material brain? And how can they amount to monitoring? These questions are not silenced by the author’s reassurance that consciousness is “the product of some kind of illusion chamber, a charade”. Nor does Humphrey tell us how he awoke from his consciousness to discover that it is an illusion.

Christianity is not against legitimate self-interest

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Opinion reads: There is a difference between selfness and selfishness. The first involves proper Biblical love and care for oneself as God intends. The latter is based on ego and pride. Christianity is not against legitimate self-interest. We are created in God’s image so, of course, God would want us to love ourselves as well as to love others.

Wallace and Darwin

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Article reads: Darwin and Wallace were very different men. But I think the defining difference between them is that, while Darwin focused on understanding the mechanism of evolution, Wallace considered its legacy. He knew that that legacy includes our minds, our societies and the totality of our living planet, and that by virtue of its complex interactions, it is far greater than the sum of its parts. Wallace was the greatest holistic thinker of his age, and he deserves to join Darwin in the scientific pantheon.

Fungus kills malaria in mosquitoes

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Article reads: What St. Leger’s genetically engineered fungus does is rid the mosquito of the parasite. “So the fungus acts like a little hypodermic syringe, and when it’s in the blood of the insect, the fungus then produces the anti-malarial protein, and within a couple of days it basically cures the mosquito of malaria,” he says.

Charging the barricades

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Opinion reads: Wisconsin is the epicenter. It began with economic issues. When Gov. Scott Walker proposed that state workers contribute more to their pension and health-care benefits, he started a revolution. Teachers called in sick. Schools closed. Demonstrators massed at the capitol. Democratic senators fled the state to paralyze the Legislature.

Darwinian evolution has no place in high school biology classes

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http://blog.nj.com/njv_george_berkin/2011/02/the_teaching_of_darwinian_evol.html

Opinion reads: In natural science classes – chemistry, physics, biology – you do an experiment, you get a predictable result. Combine two certain chemicals, a predictable reaction occurs. Drop a ball, it falls at a specific acceleration. Place a seed in dirt, add water and sunlight, a plant sprouts. You can’t do that with evolution.

Northern Spotted Owl

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http://washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/opinion-zone/2011/02/left-and-owls

Opinion reads: It all started in 1986 when an environmentalist group got the Northern Spotted Owl listed on the endangered species list. They then went to work trying to shut down logging in Oregon because they claimed this would destroy the only possible habitat of this owl, thus hastening its demise. The logging industry fought hard but in the end, President Clinton’s Northwest Forest Plan shut down most logging in the state, ending tens of thousands of jobs and shutting down entire towns.