9 Pervasive Myths About Biotechnology

Published by Jennifer on April 06, 2010

Biotechnology is a controversial subject, for sale and depending on your point of view, viagra these myths might be dangerous or hold the seeds of truth.

Myth #1: Genetically engineered produce will eliminate the need for toxic pesticides.

Fact: Most engineered plants have been genetically altered to withstand herbicide so it can be used, or to produce their own insecticides. Example: Roundup Ready soybeans are literally created to withstand Roundup weed-killer.

Myth 2: Biotechnology will benefit Third World Farmers

Fact: Genetically engineered plants are patented and under corporate control, making them more expensive than indigenous crops.

Myth 3: Biotechnology benefits farmers in the US and other First World countries

Fact: Innovations in agriculture are largely profit-driven and the focus of genetic engineering is to create profitability. Farmers become dependent on industrial inputs that are patented and copyrighted and can’t even share, store or reproduce seeds.

Myth 4: Biotech produce has been rejected by consumers

Fact: According to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications, 222 million acres in 21 countries were used to grow biotech crops. That means farmers were buying them.

Myth 5: Biotechnology leads to the conservation of biodiversity

Fact: Biotech can create a variety of commercial plants, thus contributing to biodiversity, but it’s more advantageous to the patent-holders of biotech seeds to create international markets for their few, specialized products. In other words, it could happen, but it won’t.

Myth 6: Biotech crops will transfer herbicide resistant genes to nearby weeds, creating Superweeds!

Fact: It’s possible – some of the more problematic weeds are genetically close to the crops growing near them and cross-pollination could happen. Corn and canola cross-breed especially easily.

Myth 7: Genetically engineered crops will have a higher yield

Fact: According to Iowa State University economist Mike Duffy, who has conducted several studies on the economics of engineered crops, there are no findings that support an economic advantage to planting GE seeds (unless you’re a GE seed manufacturer or pesticide company).

Myth 8: Genetically modified corn kills butterflies

Fact: This myth came from a study at Cornell University that reported Monarch caterpillars in a laboratory setting died due to pollen from Bt corn. However, the researchers stress that the study was done in a lab, and therefore the findings are inconclusive regarding how Monarch butterflies are affected in the field.

Myth 9: Genetic engineering can make food taste better, last longer, and be more nutritious.

Fact: Yes, and no. Yes, the purple potato is a wonder of science – and thanks to the purpleness, it is a little healthier than your average spud. Melons at UC Davis are currently being engineered to smell better to entice people to buy them in the stores. But that’s the catch – Biotech companies will create what sells, not out of altruism, but out of economics.

Top 6 iPhone Apps to Learn About the Nature Around You

Published by Jennifer on January 21, 2010

Here we present six iPhone apps to learn about the nature around you. These are sure to excite nature lovers moved by flitting butterflies, prescription mooing cows, cheap rising moons, search flowing tides, and such stuff. These are for you if you are given to mull over the imponderables of our existence, if you’re the kind that can hold eternity in the palm of your hand (which you metaphorically can with these iPhone applications) and see heaven in a wild flower – then most assuredly these applications will add to your joy, bring a spring to your step, put a smile on your face, and work wonders for your digestion.. .okay, just kidding about the last one.

Here we go –

1. Star Walk – IYA2009 OFFICIAL PRODUCT – You are very likely to learn something new and fascinating about the skies above your head every time you use this application. The application automatically detects your location and loads the stars and heavenly bodies as they appear at that point in time above your head. A very handy and accurate web app for the amateur astronomer who can spend hours looking up and charting the universe over time. You can zoom in to get a better view of an object and seek out stars far away. Find out about the size, composition, and surface temperatures of the heavenly bodies that show up.

2. Peterson Field Guide to Backyard Birds – For ornithology lovers – a great application for those that care for our feathered friends. No longer do you have to call a bird a wee thing when describing it to your friends, now when you see a tit, you’ll know it. The Peterson Field Guide loads your iPhone with information on 122 species of birds commonly found in America. Start your kid on a journey to getting love and respect nature with the help of this application which filters birds by zip code. You will gradually learn to recognize birds by sight and sound aided by the clear images and beautiful bird sounds.

3. Aristotle’s complete works (with search) – This iPhone application presents to you everything that Aristotle ever wrote. What do applications on nature have to do with the works of one of the greatest thinkers that ever lived? A lot!! If you have the sensibilities to be moved by scented night air and the grace of a tip-toeing wild cat then you owe it to yourself to refine your ideas and thoughts and there can be no better companion to turn to than old man Aristotle – the venerable Greek whose words speak to us across the chasms of time. His thoughts on birds, animals, nature, physics, math, philosophy available on this application give you an opportunity juxtapose present-day knowledge on these subjects and learn.

4. Tide Graph – The sun and moon influence tides and tides influence us…in a big way. You know the quote on tides in the affairs of men, right? Okay, so that’s metaphorical. But the application we are talking about has some very real and objective uses for the nature nut that wishes to find out the times for sunrise, sunset, moonrise, moonset, and also different moon phases. This, apart from the core use of the application to show tide timings for your region via interactive graphs.

5. CampgroundsNearMe – A nice application for camping lovers, great for using along with other cool iPhone apps meant for nature lovers, such as the stargazing application mentioned above. For example, you can use this app for locating recreational vehicle parks and camp grounds near your location within a radius of 100 miles. You are supplied with address information and you can link up with Google apps for driving directions to reach the place.

6. Botany Buddy – A great resource for all information that plant-lovers can ever require. The application features a growing list of plant species and more than 4,500 images. Simple and advanced search features to locate plants by common or botanical names. Information on plants is covered under a very impressive 25 fields that include size, habit, exposure, seeds, age, and much more.