Organic Universe

Organic Universe
Please bookmark our new site!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

High Fructose Corn Syrup Linked to Kidney Stones: 5 Facts to Know

© Wake-UpWorld.com
Wake-Up World | Sep 30, 2014 | Dr. Edward F. Group

High-fructose corn syrup, or HFCS for short, is a man-made sweetener commonly used in processed foods. It’s included in many foods that one would least suspect, like bread, crackers, pasta sauces, and even pickles. Groups like the Corn Refiner’s Association and companies dependent on High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) continue to market it as a safe, almost “natural” product. The truth is becoming increasingly clear, however, with studies showing the immense health issues that arise from its long-term consumption. Considering that the the majority of people today consume a diet primarily based on processed foods, it’s somewhat challenging for most people to eat it in moderation.

HFCS and Kidney Stones: What’s the Connection?

Recent research points to the fact that increases in kidney stone occurrences in men, women, and even children appear linked to regular consumption of HFCS. Research indicates HFCS encourages formation of two of the four kidney stone types, both of which are highly avoidable. Here are 5 facts you need to know to protect yourself and your loved ones against HFCS-induced kidney stone formation.

1. Eating Fructose Increases the Risk of Kidney Stones

Don’t be fooled by industry-fueled marketing campaigns — fructose consumption increases the risk of kidney stone formation. The National Kidney Foundation website states “eating too much fructose correlates with increasing the risk of developing a kidney stone.”[1] What’s more, a study evaluating data of over 200,000 people determined those who consumed the most refined fructose had a much greater chance of developing kidney stones. [2] Only the refined fructose showed the correlation, with the non-fructose carbohydrates showing no relation to kidney stones.

2. Drinking Soda Dramatically Increases Kidney Stone Formation

Keeping hydrated is an important part of avoiding kidney stones. Drinking soda to hydrate only does more damage. Sugar-sweetened sodas contain refined fructose from HFCS to make them sweet. A study from Harvard found those who regularly drank soda had a 33% greater risk of kidney stones.[3] Another study found drinking cola encouraged the formation of calcium oxalate (one type of kidney stone).[4] The study authors recommended avoiding colas as a way to reduce kidney stone risk.

3. Fructose Can Metabolize Into Oxalate

Some individuals are naturally predisposed to oxalate stones and will convert fructose into oxalate at a faster rate. This increases the amount of oxalate in the blood which can mix with calcium in the kidneys.

4. Increases Risk of Uric Acid Stones

Manufactured fructose increases the amount of uric acid excreted in urine; natural fructose from fruit does not.[5] High levels of uric acid, or hyperuricemia, encourages kidney stone formation and gout. Researchers have specifically noted elevated levels of uric acid caused by HFCS have been directly linked to metabolic syndrome, a condition identified by obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, insulin resistance, and renal failure.[6][7] Make sure to avoid fruit juices and sodas containing HFCS, corn syrup, and other artificial sweeteners to possibly reduce risk.

5. Children as Young as 3 Are Developing Kidney Stones

As unbelievable as this sounds, it’s completely true. More and more young children, and I mean under the age of 5, are developing kidney stones. Despite the increasing number of children suffering from this condition, researchers only acknowledge the modern diet of highly-processed foods as the main contributing factor. [8] However, parents and doctors both report that when HFCS is removed from the diet, the incidence of kidney stones goes away.

A Modern Problem?

Predicting the likelihood of developing kidney stones used to be simple. If someone in your family had kidney stones, you were thought to be very likely to develop them as well. But that’s changed. Traditional thought also holds men will more likely develop kidney stones; but, increasing numbers of women and children experience the pain and suffering of this terrible condition.

Reduce HFCS exposure

To prevent kidney stones, the common idea is to drink plenty of water, to avoid calcium supplements, and to decrease intake of salt, protein, and oxalate-rich foods. Of course, some of the healthiest foods around such as spinach, dark chocolate, sweet potatoes, and nuts all contain oxalates. My recommendation is to eliminate HFCS, corn syrup, and other manufactured chemical additives first. The Corn Refiners Association may not want you to hear it, but the science supports it.

Have you had kidney stones? Did eliminating HFCS from your diet help? We want to hear from you! Share your thoughts and comments with us below.

-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM

Article References:
  1. National Kidney Foundation. Kidney Stones. NKF. Fact Sheet.
  2. Taylor EN1, Curhan GC. Fructose consumption and the risk of kidney stones. Kidney Int. 2008 Jan;73(2):207-12.
  3. Ferraro PM1, Taylor EN, Gambaro G, Curhan GC. Soda and other beverages and the risk of kidney stones. Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 2013 Aug;8(8):1389-95. doi: 10.2215/CJN.11661112.
  4. Rodgers A. Effect of cola consumption on urinary biochemical and physicochemical risk factors associated with calcium oxalate urolithiasis. Urol Res. 1999;27(1):77-81.
  5. Angelopoulos TJ1, Lowndes J, Zukley L, Melanson KJ, Nguyen V, Huffman A, Rippe JM. The effect of high-fructose corn syrup consumption on triglycerides and uric acid. J Nutr. 2009 Jun;139(6):1242S-1245S. doi: 10.3945/jn.108.098194.
  6. Cirillo P1, Sato W, Reungjui S, Heinig M, Gersch M, Sautin Y, Nakagawa T, Johnson RJ. Uric acid, the metabolic syndrome, and renal disease. J Am Soc Nephrol. 2006 Dec;17(12 Suppl 3):S165-8.
  7. Bantle JP. Dietary fructose and metabolic syndrome and diabetes. J Nutr. 2009 Jun;139(6):1263S-1268S. doi: 10.3945/jn.108.098020.
  8. Tasian GE1, Copelovitch L2. Evaluation and Medical Management of Kidney Stones in Childre. J Urol. 2014 Jun 21. pii: S0022-5347(14)03821-X. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2014.04.1080.

Evidence Mounts of Hidden Fracking Hazards

A web of roads, pipelines, and fracking wells.
(Photo: Simon Fraser University/flickr/cc)
Common Dreams | Sep 26, 2014 | Deirdre Fulton

"We need strong state action to protect the public health from yet another troubling side effect of the unprecedented wave of shale gas development," environmentalist warns

A major report released Thursday exposes a hidden hazard of fracking: the mining of the special sand—known as 'frac sand,' for short—that is essential to the practice.

Frac sand mining uses significant volumes of groundwater, contributes to air pollution, and has negative socio-economic impacts, according to "Communities At Risk: Frac Sand Mining in the Upper Midwest" (pdf), produced by the the Civil Society Institute's Boston Action Research project in cooperation with Environmental Working Group (EWG) and Midwest Environmental Advocates (MEA).

Analysts estimate that fracking operations will use 95 billion pounds of sand this year, up 30 percent from last year and 50 percent higher than initial forecasts. The sand, which must be uniform in shape and the grains able to withstand enormous pressures at great depth underground, is currently mined most heavily in Wisconsin and Minnesota, though the report identifies sand deposits in 12 others states (including New York, North Carolina, Maine, and Virginia) that could be affected as fracking demand grows. Wisconsin alone is on track to extract 50 million tons of frac sand a year—the equivalent of 9,000 semi-truck loads a day.

The mining process, which involves blasting off the soil, rock, and vegetation above a sand deposit, then washing, drying, and storing the excavated sand, uses between 420 thousand and 2 million gallons of water per day, according to the report, potentially drawing down groundwater supplies. In addition, the use of added chemicals when processing the sand could lead to contaminated run-off in nearby streams and wetlands.

Even more troubling is the release of fine particulate matter, such as silica dust, at mining sites and in the surrounding areas. Frac sand mining produces "very small and very dangerous dust particles," the report reads, which have been linked to respiratory infections, lung cancer, and cardiovascular disease. While air samples have shown particle pollution around mining sites exceeds safe levels, there is little regulation of these emissions. "[M]onitoring of this rapidly expanding industry has been outpaced by the rate of development," the authors note.

"None of the states at the center of the current frac sand mining boom have adopted air quality standards for silica that will adequately protect the tens of thousands of people living or working near the scores of recently opened or proposed mining sites," said EWG's executive director Heather White. "EWG's mapping research found frac sand sites in close proximity to schools, hospitals and clinics, where children and patients may be exposed to airborne silica. Chronic exposure can lead to emphysema and lung disease. We need strong state action to protect the public health from yet another troubling side effect of the unprecedented wave of shale gas development."

Other economic impacts are harder to measure but no less important to consider. The report raises questions about how frac sand mining operations affect property values, infrastructure costs, and demands on health care providers, cautioning towns and local communities to "exercise precaution" when evaluating potential sites in their region.

"Citizens living near frac sand mining in Wisconsin are witnessing a massive destruction of their rural landscape," said MEA executive director Kimberlee Wright. "Elected officials and our states' natural resources protection agency have largely dismissed local citizens' concerns about their health, the health of their environment and their quality of life. Without a clearer view of the big picture of frac sand mining's impact, laws that protect our communities' air and water aren't being developed or enforced."

The other end of the shale gas extraction cycle is no less toxic. A separate peer-reviewed study, published earlier this week in the American Chemical Society journal Environmental Science and Technology, suggests fracking wastewater can endanger drinking water even after it has passed through treatment plants and been diluted.

According to UPI:
Most fracking operations store their wastewater in holding ponds. Eventually, that water is filtered through municipal or commercial treatment plants and emptied into rivers, lakes and ponds.

But new research suggests that wastewater contaminants, when subjected to traditional treatment methods like chlorination or ozonation, encourage toxic byproducts.

Researchers with the American Chemical Society found that even extremely diluted wastewater can still produce these byproducts during the treatment process. Scientists say their findings suggest regulators and energy officials should be more careful about which surface waters treated wastewater is emptied into.
The scientists and engineers from Duke and Stanford Universities used water samples from Pennsylvania and Arkansas frack sites.

“The drinking water facilities should be aware of this,” said Bill Mitch, a lead author on the study and an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford. “You need a lot of dilution to make these discharges no longer matter.”

Navajo Nation Sacrificed for US Nuclear Obsession

Breaking the Set | Sep 29, 2014

Abby Martin talks about a $500 million settlement between the government and Navajo nation over destruction of tribal land due to uranium mining and how this amount will do nothing to alleviate the pain and suffering caused by this industry.

Monday, September 29, 2014

350.org caught up in fossil fuel ‘divestment’ hypocrisy


Watts Up With That | Sep 25, 2014 | Anthony Watts

In a blast of publicity, the Rockefellers Brothers Fund (RBF) announced it would “begin” divesting all fossil fuel investments. The Rockefellers brothers, offspring of the founder of the industry, were said to be marking a major turning point in the great trajectory of climate change. Except, they still have holdings they aren’t talking about.

Note that RBF and 350.org are refusing to comment about the findings of Oil Sands Fact Check today.
First, two must read pieces on RBF, published in the past 24 hours.
And now this, the natives are getting restless:

KXL backers question timing of Rockefeller divestment
Manuel Quiñones, E&E reporter
Published: Thursday, September 25, 2014

Backers of the Keystone XL oil pipeline are questioning the timing of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund’s decision to divest from most fossil fuel holdings.

The website Oil Sands Fact Check, an industry-backed repository of information in favor of the transboundary pipeline, noted that the fund has significant fossil fuel holdings at the same time it was funding anti-fossil-fuel activities. The fund announced its change of investment strategy earlier this week (Greenwire, Sept. 22).

“Given that board members of RBF are heirs to the Rockefeller oil fortune, the media was led to believe that divestment from fossil fuels was a drastic change in practice for the foundation,” says a new post.

“Yet anyone who knows the least bit about RBF is well aware that the foundation has given millions to groups that oppose fossil fuels for years,” the post says.

KXL backers are focusing on the fund’s longtime support for the group 350.org, which has been a major force in opposition to the pipeline.

RBF has given 350.org $800,000 in recent years and almost $2 million to the 1Sky Education Fund, now part of 350.org, according to foundation records.

And beyond 350.org, RBF has funded other groups critical of fossil fuel interests through its sustainable development program. Its mission statement is to advance “social change that contributes to a more just, sustainable and peaceful world.”

But Oil Sands Fact Check says,

RBF said the fossil fuel divestment process has been an ongoing effort to better align its finances with its goals. “Our immediate focus will be on coal and tar sands, two of the most intensive sources of carbon emissions,” it said.

The group 350.org did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.

Fossil fuel interests have made similar claims about billionaire climate activist and political donor Tom Steyer, who invested heavily in fossil fuels during his time as a hedge fund manager (Greenwire, July 15).

Steyer took to the pages of Politico to respond, saying the threat of climate change altered his thinking. “The past is the past,” he wrote, “and I am working as hard as I can to change our collective future.”

Source: http://www.eenews.net/greenwire/2014/09/25/stories/1060006453

Massive 5000 Year Old Stone Monument Discovered


Collective Evolution | Sep 26, 2014 | Arjun Walia

Imagine missing something this big for so long. It makes one wonder, what else has archaeology missed? Has all that’s been discovered so far been revealed to the public? What else remains undiscovered? One who has peered into the world of secrecy would be inclined to think, ‘probably not.’ After all, there is sufficient evidence to suggest that the United States alone spends trillions of dollars on ‘black budget’ programs that go beyond government, have no oversight from congress and involve projects that the human race knows nothing about. You can read more about that here.

A lunar crescent shaped stone monument has recently been discovered in Israel. It dates back approximately 5000 years, between 3050 B.C. and 2650 B.C., which means it is most likely older than the pyramids of Egypt, and built before the Stonehenge was constructed.

It’s located approximately 8 miles northwest of the Sea of Galilee, and is massive. It measures approximately 14,000 meters, which is about 500,000 cubic feet.

Ido Wachtel, a Doctoral student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem said:
“The proposed interpretation for the site is that it constituted a prominent landmark in its natural landscape, serving to mark possession and to assert authority and rights over natural resources  by a local rural or pastoral population.” (source)
Again ,the structure is about 150 meters (492 feet) long and 20 m (66 feet) wide at its base. According to Wachtel:
“The estimation of working days invested in the construction [of] the site is between 35,000 days in the lower estimate [and] 50,000 in the higher.” (source)
It’s remarkable how much time was put into constructing various magnificent structures that even to this day, have construction methods that cannot be explained. Theories have ranged from advanced extraterrestrial races to massive amounts of man and brain power.

For example, most Egyptologists estimate between 2.3 and 2.6 million blocks of stone were used to build the great pyramid. What power could have moved these stones? Each stone has been estimated to weigh approximately between 2 and 20 tonnes each. Think about that, that’s 2.5 million blocks of stone that weigh between 2 and 20 tonnes each. How did they cut the blocks with laser like precision and fit them perfectly in place? How did they lift and transport the rocks from their original position? How did they move across the terrain, dessert, water and sand and then lift them on top of each other in order to build the pyramid?

Perhaps one of the greatest mysteries is the fact that the Great Pyramid is positioned exactly at the latitude and longitude lines that contain more land and less sea than any other place on Earth. It’s right in the ‘geographical’ center of the Earth. This fact alone (out of many) suggests that the builders also knew a great deal about the geography of our planet. It’s hard to imagine they could complete all of this without some sort of aerial view. Don’t forget about the Orion mystery. How this knowledge was obtained remains a mystery. Think about it, how is this possible?

You can read more about the many mysteries regarding the great pyramids in Egypt HERE.

Although this monument in Israel is not as complex (low estimates are a team of 200 ancient workers would have needed more than five months to construct the monument) it’s still a task that would be difficult for people who depended on crops for their livelihood.

According to Live Science:
“Other large rock structures have been found not far from the crescent-shaped monument. One structure, called Rujum el-Hiri, isin the Golan Heights (an area to the east of the Sea of Galilee) and has four circles with a cairn at its center. The date of this structure is a matter of debate; recent research by Mike Freikman, an archaeologist with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, suggests it may predate the crescent-shaped structure by several centuries.

Another stone monument, a giant cairn that weighs more than 60,000 tons, was discovered recently beneath the waters of the Sea of Galilee. Its date is unknown, but like the crescent-shaped structure, it is located close to Bet Yerah.”
I found this to be pretty cool:

The moon god Sin (also called Nanna and Suen) may be the key to understanding the monument. A lunar crescent served as his symbol and the name of Bet Yerah suggests that he may have been revered there. This image shows an ancient seal (from another site) mentioning him with the lunar crescent engraved on it.

Our ancient worlds continue to be a mystery, but there is a lot of evidence to suggest that they were far more advanced than we were, and that they might have had some help.

Sources:

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Green Lake, WI latest in long line of school districts dissatisfied with Michelle Obama's lunch program

SOTT | Sep 25, 2014 | Kyle Olsen

© Eagnews.org
The Green Lake School District is the latest the join a number of schools reevaluating their participation in the National School Lunch Program.

The Ripon Press reports the district is dissatisfied with the new school lunch and snack rules championed by First Lady Michelle Obama. "When I walk through the school cafeteria, I see multi-colored fruits and vegetables and whole-grain pasta or wraps on the trays of our students. The food looks really good, but the students aren't eating it," principal Mary Allen says, according to the paper. "... The limited salt, whole-grains, vegetable substitutes for meat, and unfamiliar foods such as 'quinoa' and 'jicama' are not being embraced. Although the food looks good and is undeniably healthy, it is unflavored and tasteless."

Students reportedly gave the school board a 31-page report produced in math class, which studied the question: "Will the Green Lake School District better serve its students without the National School Lunch Program?" Green Lake isn't alone.

The Windham and Salem school districts - both in New Hampshire - are also mulling opting out.
"It has been much more restrictive and prescriptive than in the past with the intention of serving healthy snacks and food," Windham superintendent Winifried Feneberg says, according to the Eagle-Tribune.
Opting out would mean more flexibility and local decision-making, the superintendent tells the paper. "We're considering opting out because of the program rules and a decline in participation," Salem finance director Deborah Payne says. "There's not a lot of choice for students."

Meanwhile, others aren't quite to that point yet, despite growing alarm over the shrinking portion sizes. The Bangor, Pennsylvania district has cut its chicken finger serving size from six to three.

"Going from six chicken fingers down to three of them is not what we should be doing," school board member Kenneth Brewer tells 69 News.

Source:  Eagnews.org

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Unique organic molecule discovered in deep space

AFP Photo / NASA
RT | Sep 26, 2014

A new kind of organic molecule has been discovered in a giant gas cloud in interstellar space, indicating that more complex molecules – the very core building blocks of life – can potentially form outside of the Earth and even be widespread in space.

The analysis of a star-forming gas cloud some 27,000 light years away from Earth, published in the journal Science, detected an iso-propyl cyanide molecule with a unique structure that is common in life-forming molecules, such as amino acids.

While finding a simple organic chemical in space is nothing new, a carbon-bearing molecule with a branched structure has been discovered for the first time, indicating that biologically crucial molecules can form not only on Earth, but in deep space too.
 
“This detection suggests that branched carbon-chain molecules may be generally abundant in the ISM [interstellar medium],” the study’s abstract reads.

The scientists – Dr Arnaud Belloche of the Max Planck Institute for Radioastronomy and his colleagues – found the molecule in a gas cloud called Sagittarius B2 – the “star factory” near the center of the Milky Way where many new stars are formed.

The team used the 12 telescopes of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), in Chile, to make its observations.

Reuters/ESA/Hubble & NASA
“Amino acids on Earth are the building blocks of proteins, and proteins are very important for life as we know it. The question in the background is: is there life somewhere else in the galaxy?” Belloche told the BBC.
 
“Our goal is to search for new complex organic molecules in the interstellar medium,” he said.
And the evidence suggests their presence could actually be widespread.
 
“The enormous abundance of iso-propyl cyanide suggests that branched molecules may in fact be the rule, rather than the exception, in the interstellar medium,” stated Robin Garrod, an astrochemist at Cornell University and a co-author of the paper, according to astrobiology.com.

Previously discovered organic molecules, like vinyl alcohol and ethyl formate, all shared a major structural characteristic: the atom carbons they consist of are arranged in one, more or less, straight line. So the finding of iso-propyl cyanide – the largest and most complex molecule discovered to date – is significant according to a Cardiff university astronomy professor.
 
“There seems to be quite a lot of it, which would indicate that this more complex organic structure is possibly very common, maybe even the norm, when it comes to simple organic molecules in space,” Professor Matt Griffin, head of the school of physics and astronomy at Cardiff University said.

The finding is already a breakthrough, but what scientists really hope to discover is actual amino acids.
 
“It's a step closer to discovering molecules that can be regarded as the building blocks or the precursors… of amino acids,” Griffin said.

Aerial Japan volcano footage: Mt Ontake spews giant ash cloud, locals flee

RT | Sep 27, 2014

The Ontake volcano on the border of Nagano and Gifu prefectures, 200 kilometers west of Tokyo, started erupting at about 11:53 local time (02:53 GMT). More than 250 people were left stranded near the top of the volcano, police told NHK, adding that one hiker was rescued after being buried in ash near the volcano. He remains unconscious.


FULL STORY: http://on.rt.com/hbi2yi

Rosetta Update: Dirty Snowball is "Dry like Hell" | Space News

Thunderbolts Project | Sep 27, 2014


The European Space Agency’s Rosetta Mission to the comet 67/P may be rewriting everything astronomers thought they knew about the nature of comets. The latest high-resolution images of the comet nucleus have astonished scientists around the world, revealing a remarkably jagged, pitted, black as coal surface. It is nothing like the so-called dirty snowball or fluffy ice ball that mainstream astronomers have long envisioned. Most astonishingly, scientists have reported they have not found a single trace of water ice on the comet surface. It is, in the words of mission scientist Holger Sierks, "dry like hell."

Source story: http://news.yahoo.com/rosetta-spacecr...

The Electric Comet documentary: Episode 3 Symbols of an Alien Sky: The Electric Comet (Full Documentary)

"Water" from Deep Impact: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1f99R...

Looking for a fast track to comprehensive education on the Electric Universe? Those most eager to learn are invited to the EU Workshop, November 14-16, 2014 at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown. This event will be led by Wal Thornhill and Dave Talbott, who are preparing full summaries of their life’s work, something that has never been presented publicly. Wal’s talks will be complemented by additional material from electrical theorist Dr. Donald Scott, and Dave’s presentations will be reinforced by Ev Cochrane, author of several essential books on the ancient sky. Seating will be limited. Check out: https://www.thunderbolts.info/wp/2014...

[...]

Much of Earth's Water Is Older Than the Sun

Planets form in the presence of abundant interstellar water
inherited as ices from the parent molecular cloud.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt (SSC-Caltech)/ESO/J.
Emerson/VISTA/Cambridge Astronomical Survey Unit
Live Science | Sep 26, 2014 | Mike Wall

Much of the water on Earth and elsewhere in the solar system likely predates the birth of the sun, a new study reports.

The finding suggests that water is commonly incorporated into newly forming planets throughout the Milky Way galaxy and beyond, researchers said — good news for anyone hoping that Earth isn't the only world to host life.

"The implications of our study are that interstellar water-ice remarkably survived the incredibly violent process of stellar birth to then be incorporated into planetary bodies," study lead author Ilse Cleeves, an astronomy Ph.D. student at the University of Michigan, told Space.com via email. [7 Theories on the Origin of Life]

"If our sun's formation was typical, interstellar ices, including water, likely survive and are a common ingredient during the formation of all extrasolar systems," Cleeves added. "This is particularly exciting given the number of confirmed extrasolar planetary systems to date — that they, too, had access to abundant, life-fostering water during their formation."

Astronomers have discovered nearly 2,000 exoplanets so far, and many billions likely lurk undetected in the depths of space. On average, every Milky Way star is thought to host at least one planet.

Water, water everywhere 

Our solar system abounds with water. Oceans of it slosh about not only on Earth's surface but also beneath the icy shells of Jupiter's moon Europa and the Saturn satellite Enceladus. And water ice is found on Earth's moon, on comets, at the Martian poles and even inside shadowed craters on Mercury, the planet closest to the sun.

Artist's concept showing the time sequence
of water ice, starting in the sun's parent
molecular cloud, traveling through the
stages of star formation, and eventually being
incorporated into the planetary system itself.

Credit: Bill Saxton, NSF/AUI/NRAO
Cleeves and her colleagues wanted to know where all this water came from.

"Why is this important? If water in the early solar system was primarily inherited as ice from interstellar space, then it is likely that similar ices, along with the prebiotic organic matter that they contain, are abundant in most or all protoplanetary disks around forming stars," study co-author Conel Alexander, of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C., said in a statement.

"But if the early solar system's water was largely the result of local chemical processing during the sun's birth, then it is possible that the abundance of water varies considerably in forming planetary systems, which would obviously have implications for the potential for the emergence of life elsewhere," Alexander added.
 
Heavy and 'normal' water 

Not all water is "standard" H2O. Some water molecules contain deuterium, a heavy isotope of hydrogen that contains one proton and one neutron in its nucleus. (Isotopes are different versions of an element whose atoms have the same number of protons, but different numbers of neutrons. The most common hydrogen isotope, known as protium, for example, has one proton but no neutrons.)

Because they have different masses, deuterium and protium behave differently during chemical reactions. Some environments are thus more conducive to the formation of "heavy" water — including super-cold places like interstellar space.

The researchers constructed models that simulated reactions within a protoplanetary disk, in an effort to determine if processes during the early days of the solar system could have generated the concentrations of heavy water observed today in Earth's oceans, cometary material and meteorite samples.

The team reset deuterium levels to zero at the beginning of the simulations, then watched to see if enough deuterium-enriched ice could be produced within 1 million years — a standard lifetime for planet-forming disks.

The answer was no. The results suggest that up to 30 to 50 percent of Earth's ocean water and perhaps 60 to 100 percent of the water on comets originally formed in interstellar space, before the sun was born. (These are the high-end estimates generated by the simulations; the low-end estimates suggest that at least 7 percent of ocean water and at least 14 percent of comet water predates the sun.)

While these findings, published online today (Sept. 25) in the journal Science, will doubtless be of interest to astrobiologists, they also resonated with Cleeves on a personal level, she said.

"A significant fraction of Earth's water is likely incredibly old, so old that it predates the Earth itself," Cleeves said. "For me, uncovering these kinds of direct links between our daily experience and the galaxy at large is fascinating and puts a wonderful perspective on our place in the universe."

Follow Mike Wall on Twitter @michaeldwall and Google+. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook or Google+. Originally published on Space.com.

USDA to Approve MORE Pesticide-Laden GE Crops

© Natural Society
Natural Society | Sep 26, 2014 | Christina Sarich

What a surprise – the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) plans to make a decision to fully deregulate Dow Chemical’s Enlist corn and soybeans, genetically engineered to be repeatedly sprayed with the herbicide 2,4-D and glyphosate. When does this agency ever choose to protect our food supply? Now, the Center for Food Safety (CFS) is condemning this action, though it isn’t much different from all the other ridiculous actions the USDA and FDA usually make.

Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of CFS, says:
“2,4-D resistant crops pose a monumental threat to our nation’s agricultural, environmental and human health. With this approval comes millions of more pounds of toxic herbicides dumped onto our land; it’s an unacceptable outcome. . .Center for Food Safety will pursue all available legal options to stop the commercialization of these dangerous crops.”
2,4-D (2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid), produced by Dow Chemical, was once a chemical combination used in Agent Orange, which was heavily sprayed in Vietnam. Unfortuantely, 2,4-D and other herbicides are in a class of toxins which cause deadly immune system cancers, Parkinson’s disease, endocrine disruption, and reproductive problems.

The only reason to use this group of chemicals as at all is because Monsanto’s RoundUp is basically ineffective on its own. It is no longer controlling weeds, and farmers who once counted on RoundUp are now growing more weeds than edible crops. Instead of first generation GE crops becoming immune to RoundUp, the weeds have.

Experts already agree that way too much glyphosate has been sprayed around the world on every conceivable crop – GMO and non-GMO. And though Dow claims 2,4-D crops are the solution to weed resistance, a recent peer-reviewed study published in the prestigious journal Bioscience concludes that these new GE crops will instead pour oil on the fire by triggering still more intractable weeds resistant to both glyphosate and 2,4-D.

Dow says one thing, food experts like kimbrell say another:
“This is not the solution to our superweed problem and will only spur the evolution of yet more herbicide-resistant weeds. We need a new direction for our agricultural system, not increased reliance on chemicals.”
Even the USDA reports without any seeming concern that the approval of 2,4-D resistant corn and soybeans will lead to an unprecedented 7 fold increase in spraying of 2,4-D chemicals by 2020, and this will be compounded with the glyphosate and RoundUp chemicals already heavily in use. As much as 176 millions lbs of 2,4-D will be in use per year. That doesn’t sound very safe, for anyone or anything.

Are they trying to grow crops, or freakish plants and poison people?

Friday, September 26, 2014

Water discovered in a small, warm exoplanet’s atmosphere for first time


Guardian | Sep 24, 2014

The planet is a ball of gas with surface temperatures of 600C, but future studies of alien atmospheres may reveal signs of life

Astronomers have detected water vapour in the atmosphere of a planet that orbits a star far beyond our solar system.

Observations of the Neptune-sized planet, which lies 120 light years from Earth in the constellation of Cygnus, revealed that its atmosphere was mostly hydrogen with around 25% made up from water vapour.

Until now, researchers have been frustrated in their efforts to study the atmospheres of planets much smaller than Jupiter because their skies were thick with clouds. The problem was so persistent that astronomers had begun to think that all warm, small planets formed with substantial cloud cover.

But writing in the journal Nature, scientists in the US describe how they found a Neptune-sized planet with cloud-free skies, enabling them to make detailed measurements of a small planet’s atmosphere for the first time.

The planet, named HAT-P-11b, is about four times the diameter of Earth. It orbits so close to its star that surface temperatures reach more than 600C and a year passes in five Earth days. Like our own Neptune, the planet lacks a rocky surface – it’s a ball of gas – and is thought to be lifeless.

Scientists from the University of Maryland used Hubble’s wide field camera to analyse light from HAT-P-11b’s host star through the planet’s atmosphere. They found that light with a wavelength of 1.4 micrometres was absorbed, matching the absorption spectrum of water molecules.

“Although this planet is not classically habitable, it reveals to us that when we find Earth 2.0, we will be able to use this technique, transmission spectroscopy, to understand its atmosphere and determine the quality of life available on its shores,” said Jonathan Fraine, a graduate student and first author on the study.

If cloud cover were widespread on smaller planets beyond the solar system, astronomers would need radically different approaches or far more advanced technology to probe their atmospheres. “Now we know that not all warm Neptunes form with high-altitude clouds, we can again explore the diversity of planet formation and gain greater context for our own creation,” said Fraine.

Future studies of alien atmospheres may detect proportions of gases that point to life below. On Earth, methane, ammonia and nitrous oxide are produced mostly by bacteria, while oxygen comes from plants and other photosynthesising organisms. Because the gases are not made in large amounts by anything else, they are considered “biosignatures”, or signs of life.

“Biosignatures are much harder to find, but with bigger, exoplanet-specific telescopes and precise instruments, we should be able to start looking for them too,” said Fraine. “We may be far from analysing an Earth analogue, but now we know that our train is on the right tracks.”

In 2018, Nasa is due to launch its successor to Hubble, the James Webb Space Telescope. The observatory has been designed to pick up signals much fainter than Fraine’s team spotted with the Hubble camera.

In an accompanying article, Eliza Kempton at Grinnell College in Iowa praised the breakthrough. “Searching for water vapour absorption in the atmosphere of an exoplanet passing in front of its host star is akin to looking for a tiny insect passing in front of a bright coastal lighthouse lamp,” she wrote.

“By first pinpointing and studying those planets that provide a clear window into their atmospheres, researchers will ultimately be able to extend the search for water and other molecules to smaller planets, perhaps even Earth-sized planets, with the James Webb telescope and beyond.”

Seattle to fine residents, businesses for wasting too much food

Dumpsters in Seattle (Reuters/Marcus Donner)
RT | Sep 25, 2014

Seattle wants its residents to compost food scraps so much the city will begin fining homes, apartment buildings and businesses that throw away too much food mixed with their garbage, according to new rules passed by the city council.

Starting in January, trash collectors “can take a cursory look each time they dump trash into a garbage truck,” the Seattle Times reported. From the start of the year until the end of June, residents whose trash consists of at least 10 percent food waste or certain paper products will receive a warning from Seattle Public Utilities (SPU), the Associated Press said.

On July 1, the fines will begin.

Single-family homes will face a $1 fine on their next garbage bill if they don’t comply with the new rules. Trash collectors will enter the violation into a computer system their trucks already carry, and will leave a ticket explaining the details of the fine on the garbage bin.

Apartment buildings and businesses must also comply with the 10-percent-or-less threshold, but commercial properties will receive two warnings before they are hit with a $50 fine on their next bill. Inspectors will check dumpsters on a random basis, the Times reported.

The city is issuing the fines to meet its self-imposed goal of recycling 60 percent of all waste in 2015. Seattle’s recycling rate in 2013 was 56 percent, a slight increase over 2012’s rate.

“Compostables are about 30 percent of what is still in the garbage and they are the largest target we have to help us reach our goals,” Timothy Croll, solid waste director of the utilities commission, told Q13.  

“Also, composting food waste reduces emissions of methane, which is a strong cause of climate change.”

The fines aren’t intended to raise revenue in Seattle. Neither was a nine-year-old prohibition on recyclables in the trash. The city has collected less than $2,000 from those fines, Croll told the Times.

“We care more about reminding people to separate their materials,” he added.

Residents are torn on the usefulness of the rules.

“Personally, I’m a fan of composting,” Colin Hearn, 28, a Seattle resident who works at a marijuana dispensary, said to Al Jazeera America. “I think it’s kind of hypocritical not to compost. But in terms of regulating it, I’m not sure about that.”

Marty Bisch, 59, a retired police officer and lifelong Seattle resident, said he would have preferred a reward to a fine, noting the city’s anti-establishment tendencies.

“I realize that things are either a carrot or a stick mentality, but I would rather see someone get a reward than a fine,” he said. “I don’t think that’s going to be a big incentive for people who aren’t composting.”

The new law is expected to generate an additional 38,000 tons of compost material every year. SPU contends that the garbage inspections and the issuing of fines will have “minimal costs” and will save money in the long run by reducing landfill usage, Q13 reported.

But Todd Myers, environment director for the conservative Washington Policy Center, thinks the money could be put to better use.

“There are a lot of ways to spend this money to actually do good for the planet. … Seattle is very good at doing things that feel good, but very bad at doing things that do good for the planet,” he told the Fox affiliate.

The nine members of the Seattle City Council passed the new rules unanimously on Monday.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Fracking Nightmare: US shale oil drillers flaring and venting billions of dollars in natural gas

Flaring the Bakken shale with cows, North Dakota.
Photo: Sarah Christianson / Earthworks via Flickr.
The Ecologist | Sep 20, 2014 | Sharon Kelly

In Texas and North Dakota, where an oil rush triggered by the development of new fracking methods has taken many towns by storm, drillers have run into a major problem.

While their shale wells extract valuable oil, natural gas also rises from the wells alongside that oil. That gas could be sold for use for electrical power plants or to heat homes, but it is harder to transport from the well to customers than oil.

Oil can be shipped via truck, rail or pipe, but the only practical way to ship gas is by pipeline, and new pipelines are expensive, often costing more to construct than the gas itself can be sold for.

So, instead of losing money on pipeline construction, many shale oil drillers have decided to simply burn the gas from their wells off, a process known in the industry as 'flaring'.

Wasteful and destructive - $854 million up in smoke

It's a process so wasteful that it's sparked class action lawsuits from landowners, who say they've lost millions of dollars worth of gas due to flaring. Some of the air emissions from flared wells can also be toxic or carcinogenic.

It's also destructive for the climate - natural gas is made primarily of methane, a potent greenhouse gas 30 times more powerful than CO2 over a century. Even when methane is burnt, every molecule produces a molecule of CO2.

Much of the research into the climate change impact the nation's fracking rush - now over a decade long - has focused on methane leaks from shale gas wells, where drillers are deliberately aiming to produce natural gas. The climate change impacts of shale oil drilling have drawn less attention from researchers and regulators alike.

A new report from Earthworks finds that drillers in North Dakota alone have burned off over $854 million worth of gas at shale oil wells since 2010, generating 1.4 billion pounds of CO2 in 2013 alone.

The 1.4 billion pounds of CO2 produced by flaring equal the emissions from 1.1 million cars or light trucks - roughly an extra 10 cars' worth of emissions per year for every man, woman and child living in the state's largest city, Fargo (population 113,000).

The Bakken shale area is lit up at night like a city

Flaring at shale oil wells is now so common that satellite images of the largely rural state at night are dotted with what appear at first to be major metropolises but are instead the flares burning round-the-clock in the Bakken shale drilling patch. (see photo, right)

But while the highly visible flaring in North Dakota has drawn the most media attention, the practice is on the rise in Texas, particularly in the state's Eagle Ford shale.

"The Eagle Ford produces considerably more natural gas than the Bakken", Earthworks noted. "In June 2014, the Eagle Ford Shale produced seven billion cubic feet per day, while the Bakken produced 1.3 billion cubic feet per day."

In 2013, nearly a third of the gas in North Dakota's Bakken was flared - but the numbers coming from Texas seem a bit more murky, in part because unlike North Dakota, Texas does not tax flared gas.

Widespread violations unpunished

And according to a new four-part investigative report by the region's newspaper, the state has failed to track or control flaring adequately.

The year-long investigation by the San Antonio Express-News recently uncovered striking problems with the regulation of flaring in Texas, including:
  • Texas law forbids drillers to flare past 10 days without a permit - but out of the 20 wells that had flared the most gas in the state, the paper discovered that 7 had never obtained required permits. State law calls for fines of up to $10,000 a day for flaring violations, but regulators have issued a total of less than $132,000 in fines in the Eagle Ford since the boom began, despite over 150 "possible flaring or venting violations" found by state inspectors in the region between 2010 and 2012.
  • Statewide, 33 billion cubic feet of natural gas were flared or vented in 2012 - a 400 percent rise from 2009, when the shale oil rush arrived. The Eagle Ford was responsible for two thirds of the state's wasted gas in 2012, totaling 21 billion feet for the year. Eagle Ford drillers burned off gas at ten times the combined rate of drillers in the state's other oil fields.
  • That much gas produces enormous amounts of airborne pollution. "In the early days of the boom, flaring released 427 tons of air pollution each year. By 2012, pollution levels shot up to 15,453 tons, a 3,500 percent increase that exceeds the total emissions of all six oil refineries in Corpus Christi", the paper wrote. "Moreover, flaring and other oil industry activity in the Eagle Ford released more ozone-creating pollution in the summer of 2012 than two dozen Texas oil refineries."
  • Despite concerns over how these emissions can affect human health, the state operates just seven air monitoring stations in the region. It can take regulators up to 10 days to arrive to take samples when citizens complain about potentially hazardous fumes.
  • Texas's environmental agency, the Railroad Commission, is run by a 3-member panel of elected officials. "The three Railroad Commissioners have raised $11 million from campaign donors since 2010", the paper found. "At least half that money came from employees, lobbyists and lawyers connected to the oil and gas industry, according to campaign finance records."

Rising fury at flaring - but no end in sight


Flaring has angered environmentalists, landowners and even many in the oil and gas industry itself.

"The Railroad Commission is statutorily required 'to prevent waste of Texas's natural resources'", said Earthworks Texas organizer Sharon Wilson. "I don't see how the Railroad Commission isn't breaking the law by allowing drillers to waste natural gas by flaring it off rather than capturing it."

"Nobody hates flaring more than the oil operator and the royalty owners", Ron Ness of the North Dakota Petroleum Council, an industry trade group, told Reuters last year. "We all understand that the flaring is an economic waste."

But the problem is projected to get worse not better. An environmental report from the Alamo Area Council of Governments predicted that by 2018, emissions of volatile organic compounds - which the EPA warns can have "short- and long-term adverse health effects" - could quadruple in the Eagle Ford.

Federal regulation ineffective

Nonetheless, the EPA has decided to consider air emissions from each shale well, pipeline compressor or other piece of equipment individually when deciding whether there's enough pollution for federal regulators to get involved - meaning that even though the Eagle Ford's wells collectively pollute more than multiple oil refineries, the flaring escapes federal oversight.

New federal regulations, aimed at cutting down on the release of climate-changing carbon dioxide and methane from the wells and scheduled to go into effect in 2015, will require many drillers to use a process called a 'green completion', rather than flaring the gas or venting it to the atmosphere as raw unburned methane.

Green completions can help reduce leaks by up to 99%, according to a study by the Environmental Defense Fund that has was heavily touted by the drilling industry and its advocates.

But those requirements only apply to wells whose purpose is to produce natural gas, not oil. This means the regulations will have little impact on shale wells in Texas's Eagle Ford, the Express-News pointed out.

Adverse health impacts

More than 1 million Texans live near the Eagle Ford, some of whom say they have suffered a litany of health effects that they suspect are tied to flaring.

"We went from nice, easy country living to living in a Petri dish", Mike Cerny, who lives within a mile of 17 oil wells, told the Center for Public Integrity. "This crap is killing me and my family."
There's a simple way to spot a poorly-performing flare. "If you see a smoking flare that's not complete combustion", Neil Carman, a former state scientist who now works with the Sierra Club, told the Express-News. "If it's not completed, you get a smorgasbord of chemicals."

At times, the gas is simply released unburned directly to the atmosphere - a practice labeled 'venting' by the industry. Given the very high global warming potential of methane, this practice has a huge impact on climate change.

Texas state regulators fail to distinguish between flaring and venting in their public production database, the newspaper pointed out, making it impossible to know precisely how bad the impacts of the pollution might be.



Sharon Kelly is an attorney and freelance writer based in Philadelphia. She has reported for DeSmotgBlog, The New York Times, The Nation, National Wildlife, Earth Island Journal, and a variety of other publications. Prior to beginning freelance writing, she worked as a law clerk for the ACLU of Delaware.

Twitter: @SharonKellyEsq

This article was originally published on DeSmogBlog.

Electric Sparks Shape Lunar Surface | Space News

Thunderbolts Project | Sep 25, 2014


According to a recent paper, scientists are now exploring whether so-called “electrical sparking may occur on the moon, altering the lunar soil. The scientists have developed computer models to explore how strong electric fields might accumulate in permanently shadowed regions on the moon, creating electrical sparking that fragments soil grains. Wal Thornhill offers a brief overview of the evidence of vastly greater, high-scale electrical discharge events that shaped the lunar surface.

Source story: http://www.space.com/27009-electric-m...

Previous Space News on electrical scarring on planets and moons: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DEvb...

Looking for a fast track to comprehensive education on the Electric Universe? Those most eager to learn are invited to the EU Workshop, November 14-16, 2014 at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown. This event will be led by Wal Thornhill and Dave Talbott, who are preparing full summaries of their life’s work, something that has never been presented publicly. Wal’s talks will be complemented by additional material from electrical theorist Dr. Donald Scott, and Dave’s presentations will be reinforced by Ev Cochrane, author of several essential books on the ancient sky. Seating will be limited. Check out: https://www.thunderbolts.info/wp/2014...

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Mega Corporations Buy out Invention that would put OIL and GAS OUT OF BUSINESS

We Are Change | Sep 24, 2014

In this video Luke Rudkowski travels to Barcelona Spain to meet Miguel Celades who was the offical representatives for the MDI Air Car. The technology and car were shelved after government pressure and a corporation buying out the company.

Black market for water now thriving in California as ultra-rich pay huge premiums for covert water deliveries

© Natural News
Natural News | Sep 23, 2014 | Ethan A. Huff

Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink. This is quickly becoming the new state motto in California, where epic drought conditions are affecting even the highest echelons of society, including ultra-rich areas near Santa Barbara where celebrities, CEOs, and other "one-percenters" are now having to truck in water from unknown sources just to keep their laundry washed and their dishes clean.

We're no longer talking about extravagant things like swimming pools and polo fields, many of which are now dry, brown and decaying in the plush Santa Barbara suburb of Montecito. No, one of the richest zip codes in the entire U.S. is struggling just to maintain enough water for its residents to live, according to reports.

Water has become such a scarce commodity throughout the region that it may even be more valuable than gold, at this point. The Telegraph reports that it is now a regular occurrence for large tanker trucks to be seen trudging up and down the coastal enclave, delivering fresh supplies of water from... somewhere, the sources of which are mostly undisclosed.

Montecito fining residents millions for using too much water 

It may seem primitive, but with fines ranging in the tens of thousands up into the millions, it makes sense for the well-to-do to ship their water in from elsewhere rather than pay the piper. A recent Politico report highlights how TV talk show queen Oprah Winfrey, for instance, racked up $125,000 in charges last year for using too much water at one of her lavish estates. And others, according to The Telegraph, have faced similar fines for excessive use during a single month.

"It doesn't matter how much money you have, if you run out of water you're screwed. It's a great leveler," stated Larry Reiche, an area resident, as quoted by The Telegraph. "Gone are the days in California when you could throw water around. This is a desert and people have to realise if we run out of water it's going to return to desert."

Reiche's property is small compared to the Pat Nesbitt's 71-acre estate, complete with a polo field. One of the heavier users in the area, Nesbitt's water allocation was cut by more than 90 percent, meaning he faces fines of up to $140,000 per month if he consumes in excess of this. As a result, he has had to make some major lifestyle changes.

"We cut back," he told The Telegraph. "We don't water anything any more. The polo field is brown. We are still able to play but it doesn't play as good."

Are Montecito residents shipping in stolen water?

Such fines make it cost-prohibitive to use municipal water, even for the rich, which is why many Montecito residents are now paying up to $80 per unit of water shipped in on mystery trucks. A unit is the equivalent of about 748 gallons, a quantity that under normal conditions would only cost about $7.00 from the city.

But nobody knows where this water is coming from, at least not officially. Meanwhile, areas of California's Central Valley near Fresno, for instance, have been seeing surges in water thefts from trucks with "mounted tanks," according to The Daily Mail. Though these trucks differ from the types of tanker trucks delivering water to Montecito residents, the question remains as to where this possibly stolen water is coming from.

"California suffers not having a coherent statewide water management policy... [and] a severely antiquated patchwork water storage and delivery system," wrote one Politico commenter about the dilemma.

"Many families in the Central Valley region have no water, completely shutoff, not even a trickle from a kitchen faucet. Meanwhile the wealthy are using millions of gallons of water to keep their private estate ducks quacking happy."

Sources for this article include:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk

http://www.politico.com

http://www.fresnobee.com

http://www.dailymail.co.uk

http://science.naturalnews.com

Ebola epidemic far worse than being reported: running out of space in cemeteries to bury bodies


The Extinction Protocol | Sep 23, 2014

September 2014FREETOWN, Sierra Leone — The gravedigger hacked at the cemetery’s dense undergrowth, clearing space for the day’s Ebola victims. A burial team, in protective suits torn with gaping holes, arrived with fresh bodies. The backs of the battered secondhand vans carrying the dead were closed with twisted, rusting wire. Bodies were dumped in new graves, and a worker in a short-sleeve shirt carried away the stretcher, wearing only plastic bags over his hands as protection. The outlook for the day at King Tom Cemetery was busy. “We will need much more space,” said James C. O. Hamilton, the chief gravedigger, as a colleague cleared the bush with his machete. The Ebola epidemic is spreading rapidly in Sierra Leone’s densely packed capital — and it may already be far worse than the authorities acknowledge. Since the beginning of the outbreak more than six months ago, the Sierra Leone Health Ministry reported only 10 confirmed Ebola deaths here in Freetown, the capital of more than one million people, and its suburbs as of Sunday — a hopeful sign that this city, unlike the capital of neighboring Liberia, had been relatively spared the ravages of the outbreak.

But the bodies pouring in to the graveyard tell a different story. In the last eight days alone, 110 Ebola victims have been buried at King Tom Cemetery, according to the supervisor, Abdul Rahman Parker, suggesting an outbreak that is much more deadly than either the government or international health officials have announced. “I’m working with the burial team, and the first question I ask them is, ‘Are they Ebola-positive?’ said Mr. Parker, adding that the figures were based on medical certificates that he had seen himself. The deaths are carefully recorded by name and date in a notebook headed “Ebola Burials.” A burial team supervisor who drove up with fresh bodies echoed Mr. Parker’s assertion. “Anybody we collect is a positive case,” said Sorie Kessebeh. “All the bodies that we are bringing in are positive.” Beyond the many worrisome trends in the Ebola epidemic seizing parts of West Africa — the overflowing hospitals, the presence of the disease in crowded cities, the deaths of scores of health workers trying to help — another basic problem has stymied attempts to contain the disease: No one seems to know how bad the outbreak really is. The World Health Organization acknowledged weeks ago that despite its efforts to tally the thousands of cases in the region, the official statistics probably “vastly underestimate the magnitude of the outbreak.”

Here in Sierra Leone, the government just finished an aggressive national lockdown to get a handle on the epidemic, ordering the entire country to stay indoors for three days as an army of volunteers went door to door, explaining the dangers of the virus and trying to root out hidden pockets of illness. Still, the Health Ministry spokesman insisted that the epidemic was not as bad as the flow of bodies at the cemetery suggested. “It is not possible that all of them are Ebola-related deaths,” said Sidie Yahya Tunis, the Health Ministry spokesman, saying the corpses included people who died of other causes. But as the cemetery records show, the challenge facing the government might be of a different magnitude than previously thought. The majority of the recent deaths recorded at the cemetery were young people — young adults, people in early middle age, or children — with very few elderly people on the list. Several of the deaths also occurred in a concentrated area, sometimes in the same house, suggesting that a virulent infection had struck. 

At the house of Marion Seisay — the third name on the list — her son acknowledged she was a secretary at Wilberforce Hospital, had died of Ebola and was buried on Sept. 14. The house was now under quarantine, with some of its eight residents lingering on the cinder-block porch. “The way my Mummy died was pathetic,” said the son, Michael Foday, clearly frustrated by the quarantine. “How do you expect us to get food?” Other houses in Wilberforce Barracks, the village-like compound surrounding the hospital, were on the list of the dead and placed under quarantine, marked off from the surrounding jumble of shacks and cinder-block houses by a thin line of red or blue string. In one of them, the house of Momoh Lomeh, the residents said that a total of five people who lived there had died of Ebola — yet four of them did not even appear on the cemetery list. At another, the house of Andrew Mansoray, a family member said that the disease had been ruthless and unrelenting. –NY Times

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Even ‘Natural’ Sodas with ‘Real Sugar’ Being Sold with GMO Sugar

© Natural Society
Courtesy: Natural Society | Sep 19, 2014 | Christina Sarich

It should come as no surprise that companies like Coca Cola, Pepsi, and others are putting GMO sugar in sodas, and then calling them natural. These companies are involved with the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association (the political front of biotech and food manufacturers that support GMOs). After all, they don’t even think you have the right to know what is in your food, so why should they label it as such – even if the word ‘natural’ is entirely misleading.

That’s exactly what companies like Pepsi Co are doing with the sale of ‘natural’ drinks like Sierra Mist that are full of sugar derived from GMO beets.

Sadly, food manufacturers like Pepsi Co, are not required to state that the sugar or sucrose used to sweeten their products comes from GMO sources.

Currently, over 95% of sugar beets grown in the U.S. are genetically modified, thanks to Monsanto. This has happened in part due to the complete de-regulation of the industry by our most ‘trusted’ government agencies.

Perhaps you have assumed that all those products with ‘natural’ on the label are sweetened with non-GMO, organic cane sugar. They aren’t. Is this really an improvement over high fructose corn syrup? Pepsi-Co was already sued once from calling Naked Juice ‘all natural’ when it was anything but that; should we really believe that they wouldn’t play this same marketing trick with other products they sell?


Other suspect drinks are from Blue Sky made by Hansen’s, which say on their cans ‘made from real sugar,’ meaning they aren’t using high fructose corn syrup. But they are likely using GMO beets to sweeten your favorite beverage.

There are other sodas that likely contain GMO beets as well, along with a host of other foods sweetened with this toxic crop.

And GMO beets are indeed toxic. The EPA continues to allow larger doses of glyphosate and other herbicides and pesticides to be sprayed on GMO beets and other GMO crops as the biotech industry tries to snuff out age-old agricultural practices.

Do you really want to consume glyphosate? That’s essentially what is happening when you purchase foods from these manufacturers who aren’t sourcing their beets organically.

List of Companies Using GMO Sugar in Beverages 

GMO Awareness.com lists the following sodas to eliminate if you want to be GMO-free, but realize there are other food manufacturers who also use GMO beets, so this list is not exhaustive:

Coca Cola Company

  • Coca Cola
  • Sprite
  • Cherry Coke
  • Fanta Exotic
  • Barq’s Root Beer
  • Minute Maid Orange
  • Minute Maid Grape
  • Surge
  • Ultra

Pepsi Co.

  • Pepsi
  • Slice
  • Wild Cherry Pepsi
  • Mug Root Beer
  • Mountain Dew

Cadbury/Schweppes

  • 7-Up
  • Dr. Pepper
  • A & W Root Beer
  • Sunkist Orange
  • Schweppes Ginger Ale
The best way to be GMO-free and high fructose corn syrup-free is just to omit soda and processed drinks/foods completely or at least buy organic (or actually natural) beverages from health food stores. You could even brew your soda at home using ginger and other plant roots that taste delicious.

Additional Sources:

TakePart