Tuesday, March 28, 2006


The Greenies won't like this:

A healthy form of bacon, ham and even pork scratchings could soon be available after the cloning of pigs genetically modified to produce beneficial fats. The piglets have been enhanced with a gene from a nematode worm to give their meat up to five times the normal level of omega 3 fatty acids. A diet rich in these fats, usually found in fish and vegetable oils, has been linked to improved brain function and a lower risk of heart disease and stroke, suggesting that the pigs' meat could be sold as a healthier option.

The pigs - three of which were named Salmon, Tuna and Trout after fish high in omega 3 fats - are the first cloned livestock that can make the beneficial compounds. The success, by a research team in the US, paves the way for a new era of animal breeding, in which animals are genetically engineered to make their meat healthier.

While GM and cloned meat is not approved for human consumption in the US or Britain, scientists are working on chicken, beef and fish with enhanced omega 3 fat content. Jing Kang, of Harvard University, said: "I think we will be eating transgenic animals in the near future. Livestock with a healthy ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acids may be a promising way to rebalance the diet without relying on diminishing fish supplies or supplements."

Meat is generally low in omega 3 fatty acids and high in omega 6 fatty acids, which do not have the same healthy properties. Fish such as salmon and tuna are omega 3 rich, but some scientists are concerned about people eating a lot of such fish because they contain toxic heavy metals such as mercury, and because of the pressure on collapsing fish stocks.

While the beneficial effects of omega 3 fats were challenged in a study published last week, the Food Standards Agency recommends that people eat at least a portion of oily fish and a portion of white fish every week.

The new research, which will be published in the journal Nature Biotechnology, suggests that GM pork could be another option. "While fish is one of the best food sources of omega 3 fatty acids, we have been warned to limit consumption because of high mercury levels," said Yifan Dai of the University of Pittsburgh, the study's lead author. "These animals could represent an alternative source." ...

As well as their potential for producing healthier meat, the GM animals have value as laboratory models for investigating the effects of omega 3 fatty acids on heart function. "Pigs and human beings have a similar physiology," Professor Prather said. "We could use these animals as a model to see what happens to heart health if we increase the omega 3 levels in the body. It could allow us to see how that helps the heart. "If these animals are put into the food chain, there could be other benefits. First, the pigs could have better cardiovascular function and therefore live longer, which would limit livestock loss for farmers. Second, they could be healthier for human consumption."

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Because attention-seeking behaviour never stops

Fred Krupp, president of Environmental Defense, has teamed with the Ad Council, which has challenged social norms with public service campaigns like "Friends don't let friends drive drunk" and Nancy Reagan's "Just say no." In a series of TV and radio spots that one publicist termed "edgy" - and that a global warming skeptic called "the ultimate triumph of propaganda over science" - the group is hoping to spawn a massive shift in social awareness that will send millions rushing to turn down their thermostats, inflate their car tires and recycle their plastic. All in an effort to reduce carbon emissions, which many scientists say contributes to global warming.

The first ads in what will be a multi-year campaign are going out to TV and radio stations nationwide Thursday. As is the norm with public service ads, stations will run them at no cost, when they choose. Krupp got the idea about a year ago. Struck by what he called a "cascade" of scientific evidence, he said he realized global warming is "the overwhelming environmental issue of our generation ... Our children's future is at stake." He called Peggy Conlon, president of the Ad Council, who was intrigued. A global warming ad campaign would be a first, she said. The council, which conducts public service ad campaigns with the help of volunteer agencies, stays away from politics. But it's big on mobilization - for seat belts, for father involvement, for youth volunteerism, against crime.

Environmental Defense had already worked with the Ad Council in the 1980s. Remember "If you're not recycling, you're throwing it all away"? Back then television and radio stations donated about $300 million worth of ad time, Krupp said. Recycling increased. Another of the ads, all done by Ogilvy New York, shows a fragile plant growing near train tracks, then a speeding locomotive. A man appears. "Global warming," he intones over the "chugga-chugga of the train. "Some say irreversible consequences are 30 years away. Thirty years? That won't affect me." He walks off. But behind him - right in the path of the train! - is a little girl, blonde curls framing her puzzled frown. The ads steer viewers and listeners to www.fightglobalwarming.com, which also debuts Thursday and includes tips on how Americans can stick to a "low-carbon diet."

James Taylor, an editor with the Heartland Institute, a public policy organization that is skeptical of global warming, said the campaign is partisan and out of line with the Ad Council's stated mission. "To the extent that the Ad Council says individuals should take advantage of opportunities to be energy-efficient in a general sense, that is quite admirable," he said. "But any implication that the scientific debate over global warming is settled ... is simply wrong." He said the campaign "amounts to nothing more than an end-run around a skeptical Congress, a skeptical president and a sharply divided scientific community." The Ad Council's Smokey the Bear "gave us advice on preventing forest fires," Taylor said. "He did not jump into the debate on national forest policy."

President Bush has declined to take action on greenhouse gas emissions, saying the case is unproven. Many scientists have found indisputable evidence that the planet is warming. The Arctic polar cap is melting, and sea levels are rising. But there's debate over what's causing it and whether it's a short-term blip or a persistent trend. Either way, is a viewing public fixated on March Madness and sitcoms really ready to confront the end of the planet as we know it and do something about it? "They're up against a huge amount of clutter," says Los Angeles marketing consultant Larry Londre.

Besides, if people haven't turned down their thermostats by now, what's going to make them start? The public has heard most of this stuff for years - to spare not only the planet, but also their wallets.....

The ads remind Tom Hollihan, associate dean of the Annenberg School of Communications at the University of Southern California, of the 1964 presidential campaign ad that featured a little girl plucking petals off a daisy. An unseen man spoke about the threat of nuclear holocaust if Barry Goldwater were elected. "They're borrowing from the same playbook," Hollihan said. "The notion of a ticking clock, irreversible harm. It's a time-tested, persuasive strategy."

More here


When the link between "mad cow" disease and vCJD was established a decade ago, Britain looked to have a mass outbreak on its hands. Projections suggested that the condition might kill up to 500,000 people for whom nothing, barring a great medical breakthrough, could be done.

As time has gone on, it has become clear that this worst-case scenario is not going to happen. To date, 154 people have died of vCJD, and six are ill. The number of deaths reported annually has fallen steadily since a peak of 28 in 2000, with five last year and one so far in 2006. Last year the most definitive epidemiological research, by Paul Clarke and Azra Ghazi of Imperial College, London, predicted that no more than 70 more people were likely to die. Another 3,000 are probably infected, but will die of other causes before showing symptoms of the brain-wasting disease.

The Lancet study fits squarely within this picture, but adds a new twist. The mouse experiments appear to confirm that, for most people, the incubation time for vCJD is so long that they are unlikely to develop the condition even if they are infected with the rogue prion proteins that cause it. The research, however, also shows that people with all three of the genetic variations that affect susceptibility to vCJD can be infected, even though only one seems vulnerable to the clinical disease. The implication is that the disorder is almost certain to cause a few new infections every year.

More here


Facing a worsening crunch in the supply of electricity, soaring prices, and rolling blackouts, top New England utility officials are thinking about some once-unthinkable solutions: more coal and nuclear power.

Officially, no proposals for new nuclear reactors or coal-fueled power plants are in the works. But in an interview with the Globe, Gordon van Welie, chief executive of Independent System Operator New England, which runs the six-state power grid, broached the idea of coal and nuclear plants -- along with better conservation and wind power -- as steps the region, overly reliant on natural gas, must consider to stave off a power crisis.

''We don't want coal. We don't want nuclear power. We don't want windmills off the coast of Massachusetts. We don't want windmills in Vermont," van Welie said. ''We don't want any of that stuff, but then once you've made that decision, acknowledge what the costs are. You can't have it both ways."

To many environmentalists, coal and nuclear remain nonstarters. But as ISO New England girds for the possibility of having to impose Third World-style rolling blackouts as soon as the summer of 2008 to stretch out insufficient electric supplies, van Welie said, regional officials must "start tackling the resource mix issue." That refers to New England's much heavier reliance on gas and oil and less on coal and nuclear power than other regions, for producing electricity.

About $6 billion worth of new electric plants began operating in New England between 2000 and 2004 -- almost all built to run on natural gas. Had this winter been colder, ISO New England foresaw rolling blackouts, because demand for gas for heat and electricity could have outstripped supply.

Van Welie is not specifically urging the construction of coal- or nuclear-powered plants, nor does he have any authority to build or approve them. But he is the region's top official responsible for keeping the lights on, and he has thought in detail about where and how coal and nuclear plants could be built.

"There are several sites where you could go" for nuclear generation, van Welie said, including the Seabrook, N.H., nuclear site -- in the 1970s, there was a plan for a second reactor there -- and two decommissioned plants, Millstone I in Waterford, Conn., and Maine Yankee in Wiscasset, where new reactors could be built.

"If we're going to go down the path of coal in New England, you'd want to keep it near the water" for barge delivery of coal, van Welie said, to avoid "all the problems you're having in the Midwest," where congested railroads struggle to deliver Wyoming and Appalachian coal to power plants. New coal plants here would have to use "gasification," warming the solid fuel to yield clean-burning methane gas, he added.

Van Welie doesn't underestimate the hostility that burning coal or generating nuclear power would provoke. ''You know there's going to be a lot of opposition for anything that's big and ugly. We can't even get wind power built in New England," he said, referring particularly to the controversy-mired 130-tower Cape Wind proposal in Nantucket Sound.

Alan Nogee, clean energy program director for the Union of Concerned Scientists, a Cambridge environmental group that has criticized unsafe nuclear industry practices, said he understands van Welie's job ''is to say everything's on the table."

But, Nogee said: ''Coal and nuclear face enormous challenges trying to expand in this region. I would be really surprised to see any serious nuclear proposals anywhere in the Northeast."

''Building a new nuke up at Seabrook is not a good idea," said Seth Kaplan senior attorney with the Conservation Law Foundation, a Boston environmental group. ''What is a legitimate conversation is to say: If we aren't going to do things like that, what are we going to do?"

Good options, Kaplan said, include better ''demand response" efforts to encourage power conservation on hot days and super-efficient ''distributed generation" of electricity on site by businesses, industries, and institutions.

Kaplan said van Welie's group is ''honestly trying to be agnostic" about how to do it, but his comments reflect the fact that ''the ISO is a bunch of engineers who are paid to keep the lights on."

Boston Globe, 23 March 2006


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

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