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Posts Tagged ‘Science’

Proposition 37, Labeling Lemon

Proposition 37 is plain and simply a bad law….for multiple reasons.

  1. Prop 37 would require labeling for non-harmful ingredients.
  2. Prop 37 does not require ALL products to labeled.
  3. Prop 37 is a California-only regulation on food.
  4. Prop 37 provides loopholes for imports to evade the labeling requirement.
  5. Prop 37 would increase food costs in California by over $400 per year.
  6. Prop 37 would create additional bureaucracy and cost tax payers millions.
  7. Prop 37 would open the door to frivolous lawsuits.
  8. Any proposed regulation, that will have such overreaching impact, should go through legislative and economic analysis, not through the proposition venue.

I fully support the consumer’s right to know if anything harmful is in a product that they might buy. If a product is harmful, it should be labeled, but directed from the FDA, not the state.

Labels informing consumers of the ingredients should be voluntary. There is already an organic label to identify non-GE products.

If there is strong support to identify ingredients in non-organic foods, I would encourage someone to take advantage and create a niche label. It would seem to me, to be a wonderful opportunity.

I support a NO vote on Proposition 37.

“Test-Tube Hamburger”

A friend of mine on Twitter sent me a link to an article titled “First ‘test-tube’ hamburger to be produced this year” and wanted to know my thoughts, so…

The idea of being able to take bovine stem cells, growing muscle tissue in a lab and then taking that tissue and turning it into “hamburger” is an intriguing idea. It makes me think of a science fiction movie or even Star Trek.

Those who know me and have followed my blog also know that I am a supporter of utilizing technology to improve the ability of agriculture to provide safe and wholesome food in the most efficient manner possible while also being environmentally friendly. This endeavor could potentially provide an option for people to choose, when it comes to choices of “meat.”

After being intrigued by the initial presentation of the idea, I then reached the point in the article where the author begins describing the “benefits” of having being able to create “hamburger” in a test-tube. Yes, I am putting the word hamburger in quotations…I just have a tough time calling something hamburger that comes from lab.

Some of the benefits listed included:

“Conventional meat and dairy production requires more land, water, plants and disposal of waste products than almost all other human foods.”

It is important to realize that most of the land utilized to raise cattle is of very poor quality and not land that is favorable for growing “human foods.” Particularly in the west, cattle run on mountain and dessert range, where elevation and length of growing season limits production to grasses. Additionally, where cattle have been managed properly, beneficial grasses actually increase, for both the cattle and wildlife, fuel loads are reduced and organic material in the soil is increased. Read more…

Teacher, Mentor and Friend…Rembered

Everyone can probably remember that “one” teacher that greatly impacted their life. For me, it was my Kindergarten teacher, Jane Cassidy. She was more than a teacher. She was an educator, a mentor and a friend. I was so fortunate to have Mrs. Cassidy as my first teacher. Because of her care, compassion and energy, I started off my school adventure with a love of the subjects…all of them…art, English, grammar, history, language, math, music, science, writing…I couldn’t get enough. She instilled upon me the importance of learning and developed my appetite to gain knowledge in all forms, throughout my years of schooling.

It is thinking about Mrs. Cassidy that I am reminded of the book by Robert Fulghum,

ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW I LEARNED IN KINDERGARTEN

All I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sand pile at school.

These are the things I learned:

  • Share everything.
  • Play fair.
  • Don’t hit people.
  • Put things back where you found them.
  • Clean up your own mess.
  • Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
  • Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.
  • Wash your hands before you eat.
  • Flush.
  • Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
  • Live a balanced life – learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
  • Take a nap every afternoon.
  • When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together.
  • Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
  • Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup – they all die. So do we.
  • And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned – the biggest word of all – LOOK.

Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation. Ecology and politics and equality and sane living.

Take any one of those items and extrapolate it into sophisticated adult terms and apply it to your family life or your work or government or your world and it holds true and clear and firm. Think what a better world it would be if we all – the whole world – had cookies and milk at about 3 o’clock in the afternoon and then lay down with our blankies for a nap. Or if all governments had as a basic policy to always put things back where they found them and to clean up their own mess.

And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out in the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.

[Source: “ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW I LEARNED IN KINDERGARTEN” by Robert Fulghum.  See his web site at http://www.robertfulghum.com/  ]

Mrs. Cassidy did not stop impacting my life after that first year. I continued to stop in and talk with her through my elementary years and would stop in and say hello at least once a week through high school, at lunch. During my brief time as a teacher, I thought of her as a mentor, remembering her passion for educating, ability to connect with all of the students and stressed the importance of thinking about answers and options to reach understanding.

Yesterday, I learned that my favorite teacher, educator, mentor and friend, Jane Cassidy, had passed away. I will never forget the impact that she had on my life and others. My prayers go out to her family. Mrs. Cassidy…you will never be forgotten.

Roundup Ready Alfalfa, Understanding Practices

Fresh Cut 2nd Cutting Alfalfa

Fresh Cut Alfalfa

Arguments against Roundup Ready alfalfa are flying around the internet like “flies on stink.” Ironically, that is pretty much what the arguments against GMO alfalfa are…”stink.”

We have been growing alfalfa for more than 30 years on our ranch, for personal use and for sale, averaging roughly 6.5 tons per acre on 130 acres.  I am very familiar with the attributes of alfalfa, its growing patterns, nutritive needs, life span and harvesting.

For some of those throwing out arguments against GMO alfalfa, it is very apparent that they have no understanding of the production of the forage. Here are two major points about alfalfa that need to be understood. Read more…

Response to de Vendômois et. al’s Report on GMO’s & Organ Damage

After reading a recently sited report on the relationship between GMO’s and organ damage by de Vendômois et. al., (http://is.gd/6k7mz) I did a little research on the study and came to the following conclusions.

1. de Vendômois et. al. did not use traditional statistical methodology to reassess their toxicology data resulting from their studies with the three varieties studied.

2. de Vendômois et. al’s conclusions appear to be unsubstantiated.

    a. The HCB (French High Council on Biotechnology) stated that de Vendômois et. al’s study did not contribute to the safety assessment of GMO’s.

    b. The FSANZ claims that de Vendômois et. al “distorted” the significance of the toxicology by failing to account for “other” relevant factors and overly “emphasized” the statistical treatment of the data.
http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/educationalmaterial/factsheets/factsheets2009/fsanzresponsetoseral4647.cfm

3. de Vendômois et. al failed to considered the following:

    a. Reproducibility

    b. Dose-related trends;

    c. Relationship to other findings;

    d. Variance of delta and relationship to findings in the norm; and

    e. Rate of occurrence when findings varied between sexes.

4. At first glance, de Vendômois et. al’s findings demonstrate no negative effects with the three varieties used, especially when considering normal/traditional statistical analysis.

5. Put simply: de Vendômois et. al’s study was designed to reach a pre-determined outcome and thus, utilized statistical methodology that would support that outcome.

Certainly, I’m just a farmer and rancher, but I do have a college education with ample background in statistics and science. I would be interested if anyone with a doctorate in science finds any flaws in my Common Sense approach to analyzing this study while feeding hay in the field.

Back to feeding now, I certainly am enjoying this air card for the laptop.

Categories: Education, Poor Science Tags: , ,
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