AP ““ Confidential contracts detailing Monsanto Co.’s business practices reveal how the world’s biggest seed developer is squeezing competitors, controlling smaller seed companies and protecting its dominance over the multibillion-dollar market for genetically altered crops, an Associated Press investigation has found. With Monsanto’s patented genes being inserted into roughly 95 percent of all soybeans and 80 percent of all corn grown in the U.S., the company also is using its wide reach to control the ability of new biotech firms to get wide distribution for their products, according to a review of several Monsanto licensing agreements and dozens of interviews with seed industry participants, agriculture and legal experts. Read Article
Newsweek – As researchers try to find ways to dispose of a massive garbage pile floating in the ocean, some question if the whole exercise is folly. Since the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the world’s biggest communal garbage dump, was discovered swirling about 1,000 miles north of Hawaii in 1997, scientists and environmentalists have dared to dream if a cleanup might be possible. Consisting of an estimated 3.5 million tons of trash and scattered over an area roughly the size of the continental United States, the garbage comes from countries all over the world, most of it flushed through waterways leading to the ocean. Once there, the Pacific gyre (a rotating system of ocean currents) traps the trash in its final resting place, where it has gathered with debris from ships and fishermen, and wreaked havoc on fish and seabirds.Â Read Article
New Scientist – When doctors disagree with each other, they usually couch their criticisms in careful, measured language. In the past few months, however, open conflict has broken out among the upper echelons of US psychiatry. The focus of discord is a volume called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM, which psychiatrists turn to when diagnosing the distressed individuals who turn up at their offices seeking help. Regularly referred to as the profession’s bible, the DSM is in the midst of a major rewrite, and feelings are running high. Read Article
Associated Press – CIA Director Leon Panetta has canceled a contract with the former Blackwater security firm that allowed the company’s operatives to load missiles on Predator drones in Pakistan. Panetta canceled the contract earlier this year and the work is being shifted to government personnel, a person familiar with the contract said Friday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the classified program. Read article
Reuters – President Barack Obama may have some tough words on Monday for executives of top U.S. banks as he pushes them to step up small-business lending and get behind legislation to overhaul Wall Street regulations. Aides said that when Obama meets with the heads of firms such as Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co and Citigroup Inc, he will call on them to take responsibility for helping the economy after benefiting from taxpayer-funded bailouts of the financial sector. Read Article
Ed – Bearing in mind that his election campaign was largely funded by the aforementioned banks, that most of his cabinet is made up by their ex-employees, and that he has recently given them a few trillionÂ taxpayers dollars as “bailouts”, do you thank that the conversation will really go like that, or do you think that this is political spin to assuage the masses anger?
San Diego Union Tribune – Along the U.S.-Mexico border, in the aftermath of the recent massive rainstorm that hit Southern California, is the debris trail “” used tires, plastic bottles, plywood, and discarded dolls. It starts in the canyons of Tijuana and ends up along U.S. beaches from Imperial Beach to Coronado, and on the ocean floor. There is no other outlet along the Pacific Coast of North America that sends more plastic, sewage and urban refuse into the ocean than the Tijuana River during a rainstorm. Thanks to the foresight and advanced planning of agencies working along the border, there has never been a greater effort to reduce the amount of sewage and garbage flowing into the Tijuana River Valley and into the Pacific Ocean. Much more still needs to be done, however, to finally put an end to the devastating flooding and cross-border pollution that plagues the communities and beaches of South County. Read Article
BBC – Scientists have produced evidence that self-awareness is a big problem for people with autism. Sophisticated scans showed the brains of people with autism are less active when engaged in self-reflective thought. The findings provide a neurological insight into why people with autism tend to struggle in social situations. Read article