Archive for July, 2010

July 22, 2010

Roundup Ready Corn 2

Roundup is the brand name of a herbicide produced by Monsanto that contains the active ingredient glyphosate. Glyphosate is the most used herbicide in the USA, and Roundup has been the number one selling herbicide worldwide since at least 1980. Several weed species, known as superweeds, have developed Roundup resistance largely because of repeated exposure.

Monsanto also produces seeds which grow into plants genetically engineered to be tolerant to glyphosate, which are known as Roundup Ready crops. The genes contained in these seeds are patented. Soy was the first Roundup Ready crop, and was produced at Monsanto’s Agracetus Campus located in Middleton, Wisconsin in 1996. As of 2005, 87% of U.S. soybean fields were planted with glyphosate resistant varieties. The Roundup Ready line of seeds has grown to include corn, canola, cotton, and other crops. The latest iteration is Roundup Ready Corn 2.

July 22, 2010

Golden Rice 2

golden rice 2

Golden rice is a variety of  rice produced through genetic engineering to biosynthesize beta-carotene, a precursor of pro-vitamin A in the edible parts of rice. The scientific details of the rice were first published in Science in 2000.  Golden rice was developed as a fortified food to be used in areas where there is a shortage of dietary vitamin A. In 2005 Syngenta, a biotechnology company announced a new variety called Golden Rice 2 which produces up to 23 times more beta-carotene than the original variety.

Neither variety is currently available for human consumption. Although golden rice was developed as a humanitarian tool, it has met with significant opposition from environmental and anti-globalization activists.

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July 22, 2010

Intermittent Explosive Disorder

do it live

mark it zero

Intermittent explosive disorder (IED) is a behavioral disorder characterized by extreme expressions of anger, often to the point of uncontrollable rage, that are disproportionate to the situation at hand. It is currently categorized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as an impulse control disorder. Impulsive aggression is unpremeditated, and is defined by a disproportionate reaction to any provocation, real or perceived.

Individuals diagnosed with IED report their outbursts were brief (lasting less than an hour), with a variety of bodily symptoms (sweating, chest tightness, twitching, palpitations). Violent acts were frequently accompanied by a sensation of relief, and in some cases, pleasure, but accompanied by remorse after the fact.

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July 22, 2010

Solar Puffing

Solar puffing

Solar puffing refers to the act of using a magnifying lens to heat cannabis for consumption. Utilization of this method avoids residues left by butane or other propellants used in lighters and matches, and a greater amount of THC is extracted due to a lower heating temperature as opposed to that of combustion. This method is similar to that of vaporization.

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July 22, 2010

Sun Tea

sun tea

Unsweetened iced tea is sometimes made by a particularly long steeping of tea leaves at lower temperature (one hour in the sun versus 5 minutes at 80-100°C). Some people call this ‘sun tea.’ In addition, sometimes it is also left to stand overnight in the refrigerator. Sun tea is easy to make, but can be toxic if not made carefully. If there are ropy-looking strands in the tea, or any other unusual-looking particles, or if the tea looks thick or syrupy chances are it has become a bacterial hotbed. A very clean container (including the spigot if there is one) and a caffeinated tea will deter bacterial growth for a few hours. Sun tea should be discarded after that period.

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July 21, 2010

HapMap

gene hunting

The International HapMap Project an organization that aims to develop a haplotype map (HapMap) of the human genome, which will describe the common patterns of human genetic variation. Haplotypes are contiguous strings of DNA. HapMap is a key resource for researchers to find genetic variants affecting health, disease, and responses to drugs and environmental factors. The information produced by the project is made freely available to researchers around the world.

Unlike with the rarer Mendelian diseases, combinations of different genes and the environment play a role in the development and progression of common diseases (such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, stroke, depression, and asthma), or in the individual response to pharmacological agents. To find the genetic factors involved in these diseases, one could in principle obtain the complete genetic sequence of several individuals, some with the disease and some without, and then search for differences between the two sets of genomes. This approach is currently infeasible because of the cost of full genome sequencing. The HapMap project proposes a shortcut.

July 21, 2010

La Mexicaine De Perforation

lux

La Mexicaine De Perforation is a subdivision of a French group called the L’UX (Urban eXperiment), which holds clandestine artistic events. In September 2004, french police discovered a fully functional underground movie theatre run by La Mexicaine De Perforation in the catacombs of Paris.

When the police returned for a formal investigation, all the equipment had disappeared—all that was left was a note on the floor reading, ‘Do not search’ (‘Ne cherchez pas’). The members of L’UX are largely secret, but its spokesman is Lazar Kunstmann who published La Culture En Clandestins L’UX relating 25 years of clandestine cultural actions.

July 20, 2010

Dada

Dada [dah-dah] or Dadaism is a movement in art and literature based on deliberate irrationality and negation of traditional artistic values. It began in Zürich, Switzerland, during World War I and peaked from 1916 to 1922. The movement primarily involved visual arts, literature—poetry, art manifestoes, art theory—theatre, and graphic design, and concentrated its anti-war politics through a rejection of the prevailing standards in art through anti-art cultural works.

Its purpose was to ridicule what its participants considered to be the meaninglessness of the modern world. In addition to being anti-war, dada was also anti-bourgeois and anarchistic in nature. The movement influenced later styles like the avant-garde and downtown music movements, and groups including surrealism, Nouveau réalisme, pop art, Fluxus and punk rock.

July 20, 2010

Kilroy Was Here

Kilroy was here‘ is an American popular culture expression, often seen in graffiti. Its origins are debated, but the phrase and the distinctive accompanying doodle — a bald man with his nose and fingers peeking over a wall – is widely known among U.S. residents who lived during World War II. The British equivalent of Kilroy is called ‘Mr. Chad,’ and the Australian equivalent is called ‘Foo.’ It is not certain which variation appeared first.

July 20, 2010

Ukiyo-e

Ukiyo-e is a genre of Japanese woodblock prints (or woodcuts) and paintings produced between the 17th and the 20th centuries, featuring motifs of landscapes, tales from history, the theatre, and pleasure quarters. Usually the word ukiyo is literally translated as ‘floating world’ in English, referring to a conception of an evanescent world, impermanent, fleeting beauty and a realm of entertainments (kabuki, courtesans, geisha) divorced from the responsibilities of the mundane, everyday world.

Ukiyo-e were affordable because they could be mass-produced, and they were mainly meant for townsmen, who were generally not wealthy enough to afford an original painting. Hokusai (1760 – 1849) is among the most reknown ukiyo-e artists. His woodblock print series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji, which includes The Great Wave off Kanagawa, has been shown in galleries and museums all over the world.

July 20, 2010

Renminbi

yuan

mao

The Renminbi [ren-min-bee] is the official currency of China whose principal unit is the Yuan. The currency is legal tender in mainland China, but not in Hong Kong and Macau. Renminbi translates as people’s currency. A yuán is also known colloquially as a kuài. One yuán is divided into 10 jiao. One jiao is divided into 10 fēn.

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July 20, 2010

Platypus Plus

platypus plus

Platypus is a brand of water bottles made by Cascade Designs. Compared to a hard bottle of equal volume, they weigh 80% less and take up a mere one fifth of the space when empty. The bottles can be frozen and used as ice packs or boiled to sterilize their contents.

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