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Showing posts from March, 2012

The Pace is Quickening

March 26, 2012 - Here in Loveland (Ohio), Spring started about March 1.  That's actually the beginning of meteorological Spring, but much earlier than Spring typically begins in southwest Ohio.  We actually had over a week of temperatures in the low- to mid-80's.  Needless to say, everything is in bloom, forsythia blooming simultaneously with redbud trees, which is highly unusual.  Since I already had my cool-weather vegetable seeds, I quickly got them stuck in the ground.  I planted potatoes yesterday.  We've had substantial rain, though no gentle showers.  The rain comes down heavily, sometimes for hours at a time.  The Little Miami River - the one closest to my house - is running higher than usual right now because of heavy rain last week.  I understand the pollen count is very high.  Fortunately, I don't suffer from hayfever, and have only sneezed a few times.  My husband has suffered from allergies in the past, but doesn't seem to be feeling them much, in all …

Ah, to be in Denmark

March 19, 2012 - The World Health Organization (WHO) announced last week that antimicrobial resistance (AMR) to antibiotics could well put an end to the practice of modern medicine.  Dr. Margaret Chan, WHO's Director-General, told participants at an EU health conference that AMR is exacerbated by three current global conditions: inappropriate use of antibiotics in humans and animals, increasing world travel, and lack of development of new drugs.  Rates of death among patients infected with drug-resistant germs is on the rise.

In 2010, there were 650,000 cases of drug-resistant tuberculosis worldwide.  (If I am remembering correctly, the increase in tuberculosis was first observed in Russian prisons, and in Russian AIDS victims.)  As a result, only an extremely expensive, prolonged battle is capable of curing as many as 50% of these cases.  The drugs used are toxic, and in constant short supply.  Other illnesses are drug resistant as well, in some cases unresponsive to all availabl…

OSGATA et. al. vs. Monsanto

March 13, 2012 - I suspect a lot of you already know that U.S. Federal District Judge Naomi Buchwald, of the Southern District of New York, tossed out the lawsuit that had been brought against Monsanto by organic farmers.  The suit was filed last March, and the dismissal took place late last month.  It would appear Monsanto got to Judge Buchwald before she rendered her dismissal, since the case was a substantive one.

Let's review.  This was a patent infringement lawsuit, brought with the legal backing of the Public Patent Foundation, a nonprofit that works to reduce abuses of the U.S. patent system.  Organic farmers were represented by an organization called the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA), along with 82 other plaintiffs representing as many as 300,000 farmers.  Farmers sought a declaratory judgment against Monsanto, because Monsanto has sued hundreds of farmers over the years whose crops accidentally wound up being cross-pollinated with Monsanto's pate…

What Goes Around

March 5, 2012 - I want to share information with you that I gleaned from an article about how climate change is affecting seismic activity.  It's really pretty fascinating.

For instance, did you know that permafrost acts as the glue that holds mountains together?  Not all mountains, obviously, but in northern Europe and North America, that's how it works.  I never knew they needed holding together, but then again, I'm no geologist.  The permafrost in some areas of Alaska and Canada (and probably northern Europe) is melting, and that's why we're hearing more about avalanches on the news these days.  Rockslides, landslides, and snowslides are all on the increase, in mountainous areas throughout the world.

Then there's the earth's crust.  During the Earth's Ice Ages, the crust was pinned down by the weight of ice and snow.  Seismic activity was, for this reason, reduced, because crust movement is necessary for the triggering of earthquakes.  As ice and sno…