Update: Lufa Farms

An article published in Saturday’s edition of LaPresse, a local newspaper from Montreal, shed new light onto the Lufa Farms project, which was discussed in a previous post. As reported in the article, many prominent chef’s from Montreal’s top restaurants visited the rooftop greenhouse with high hopes of finding a new source of fresh, local produce available year round. Many were impressed and even excited by what can be produced ecologically in an urban environment, even during the harsh winter months.
As great as this effort might seem, the technology should be pushed further. In fact, the article unfortunately praises the production of genetically modified produce and does not acknowledge technological novelties or flaws.

Consulting the Lufa Farms website, the agriculture being used is that of biologically certified farming, without the certification. In the twenty-first century, many technologies exist which could boost efficiency, ecology and output (hydroponics, aeroponics, hyrdoponics, vertical farming and genetically modified organisms come to mind). There is no scientific data previously published which suggests any health risks with genetic modifications of plants such as longer shelf life, faster growth or larger size of produce.

The way the concept has been developed today will not have the capacity to provide an abundance of fresh, local produce to market. The technology currently applied will provide locally produced fruits and vegetables otherwise not available during the winter months, granted, but it cannot provide a solution to the larger problem, being the scarcity of produce which drives prices and prevents many people to eat healthily. By incorporating more sustainable and ecological agricultural methods, it is possible to grow most of the produce consumed in northern countries in such abundance that prices would drop, many people without access to fresh produce year round would gain access, the importation of goods would surely decrease, etc.

Here are the links to the article and the Lufa Farms website:

http://www.cyberpresse.ca/environnement/201102/19/01-4372029-une-serre-geante-amenagee-sur-un-toit.php

http://www.lufa.com/

Please leave your comments! More insights, better ideas!

Cancer Therapy: Targeting Aneuploidy

Trisomy 21 or Down Syndrome: three copies of chromosome 21

Aneuploidy is defined as an abnormal number of chromosomes within a cell. In humans, a lack of chromosomes has never been identified (monosomy) and trisomies are very rare. However, many cancer types have been found to have aneuploidy and many of these have a majority of aneuploid cancerous cells (1). This abnormality leads to the death of the cells or severe developmental deficiencies in most living organisms, whether it be humans or yeast.

By therapeutically targeting aneuploidy markers, it would be possible to treat a broad range of cancers. However, toxicity to cells dividing normally in the organism (hemopoetic cells) has yet to be determined. Tang et al. (2011) have identified three possible therapeutic targets (2). These are implicated in the death of aneuploid cells by apoptosis (cellular suicide) and are not present in healthy cells. In fact, targeting these compounds reduced the proliferation of trisomic cells and more intensely in cells having more than one extra chromosome. The discovery suggested in this paper effectively slowed down tumor growth in mice, which were implanted with human colon cancer cells.
This seems to be a hot research topic at the moment, and many more interesting papers should be published soon. I will follow up on this topic and update this post once new discoveries have been made!

(1) Riccardo Colombo & Jurgen Moll, Targeting aneuploid cancer cells, Expert Opin. Ther. Targets, ISSN 1472-8222
(2) Identification of Aneuploidy-Selective Antiproliferation Compounds, Cell, Volume 144, Issue 4, 18 February 2011, Pages 499-512, Yun-Chi Tang, Bret R. Williams, Jake J. Siegel, Angelika Amon
(3) Eusebio Manchado, Marcos Malumbres, Targeting Aneuploidy for Cancer Therapy, Cell, Volume 144, Issue 4, 18 February 2011, Pages 465-466

Please leave your comments below!

Reintroducing The Venus Project and The Zeitgeist Movement

As The Venus Project (TVP) and The Zeitgeist Movement (TZM) pick up steam following the release of Zeitgeist: Moving Forward, the third documentary of the Zeitgeist film collection, the number of supporters and detractors or debunkers, for whom the movement is either new and scary, or a wing of the New World Order (NWO), grows. The fear, criticism and hatred towards the project will be explained and used to reintroduce its concept.

1) A resource based economy (RBE) and the mechanization of labor is communism all over again and people will lose their freedom.

To briefly explain a RBE, for all the planet’s people to have access to all the necessities of life, humanity must declare all the earth’s resources as the common heritage of the world’s people and apply the scientific method to society. By doing so, it would be possible to determine where all the natural resources are on the planet, what is available and in what quantity, in order to determine what the carrying capacity of the earth is in terms of people.

People fear how this would be conducted. The survey of the world’s resources and their monitoring can be automated and be conducted by machines. Today, arable land and farming is conducted by farmers, privately, who care for their small parcel of land. They tend to a very small portion of the world’s food. However, they know the proportion of arable land they own and how much food can be produced on it. The problem is obvious, how do farmers from all over the world get together to determine how much food they can produce and how many people they can feed. Well, they don’t. They are in the business of producing food for profit and personal gain. This concept can be generalized to corporations as well. A survey of the arable land by placing sensors in the earth to determine moisture, the concentration of minerals, and so forth, would allow for the cultivation of crops in the best conditions and the knowledge of how many people can be fed.

In contrast, a communist would go about this very differently. Communism has social stratification, politicians, police and army. Someone who opposes the establishment is removed from the establishment. The objective is ultimately for the State to provide goods and services for the citizens. How can one country do this alone? Can one country have access to or develop enough technology to create abundance for all its citizens? Does one country have all the natural resources necessary to support its population? No. Therefore, a communist society must live in scarcity and fear to keep control over the population. This is the reason why the first step is to remove all divisions between nations, religions, beliefs and dogmas through education. A RBE does not have politicians or police or army, because there is no need for them. Once goods are provided in abundance, private property dissolves, social stratification dissolves, and most importantly, poverty and the need to steal disappear.

Another popular issue is the loss of freedom by automation and robots. Do people today have a say in how the seams of their t-shirts are sown? Do people with pacemakers implanted in their hearts want a say or have an opinion on how the machine will make their heart beat or at how many beats per minute it will beat? Robots conduct more and more surgeries requiring extreme precision today. In fact, machines are everywhere and produce automatically most of the things we consume. So the fear is really about how sane will the expert programming your pacemaker be, not the fact that a human being is doing so. The technology to automate road vehicles has been developed for some time now. People should be much more afraid of a car that has a human driving it then a robot. Robots don’t drink alcohol, they don’t take drugs and they don’t get tired. They execute. 24 hours a day cars, clothing, goods are being produced automatically by machines who don’t give a damn about how many hours they worked or whether they were allowed to take their 15 minute coffee break that afternoon. Robots and other technologies developed for automobile safety today have the potential to save over a million lives and many devastating accidents every year.

2) Human nature is competitive; it’s what drives innovation.

Human nature and genetics is a topic many people have very little knowledge about, but insist they are entitled to their opinions. The human mind has no opinions; it is comprised of accumulated knowledge and experience. Should every person be entitled to whether or not it is possible to create life out of the smallest molecules that comprise a cell like assembling building blocks? No, they should not, because they have no knowledge about how life comes about and how a living organism functions. The burning question is not really is the human being naturally competitive and self-centered, but if human nature exists. If the human being is naturally a certain way, how is it that he once lived in a cave and now lives in a skyscraper? Human beings are the assembly of the smallest common denominator that composes them (atoms); the rest is the environment. If you force a child to live in the backyard with a family of dogs when the child is learning to speak or to move around, the child will walk on all fours and bark like a dog. If there is a so-called human nature, it is the ability to learn from the environment.

Competition today is based on incentive. People want to innovate to make money. They say gee that’s a good idea, but it won’t make money. How can wanting to make more money than your competitor help you turn out the best product or innovation possible? It can’t and it is actually inversely proportional to the quality of the product due to cost efficiency and the obligatory obsolescence of the product for cyclical consumption. Now, does the pressure or the need to innovate through incentive motivate human beings? Yes it does, but most of the most important innovations and the most important discoveries were made without monetary incentive. So is monetary incentive necessary for innovation? No it is not. Will human beings become couch potatoes once you take away their incentive and give them the necessities of life? No. Sources of motivation and curiosity are also part of the environment in which a child is brought up in and those are the things a child must value once they reach adulthood, not monetarism.

3) The supporters of TVP do nothing to solve problems and should get off their asses to help people today.

TVP is a model designed by Jacque Fresco, based on the knowledge and experience he has accumulated throughout his life. It is not the perfect system. In fact, the perfect system is called a utopia. In 100 years, people will look back at TVP and say what a weird system, they could have done things this or that way. TVP is not static, it is the scientific method applied to living, it is responsive to technology and evolves with it. As new innovations arise they will be incorporated into the system as to benefit all people as long as the resources permit. Innovation would not be stifled by corporate or political agendas, a lack of money (which is strangely called lack of resources today), etc.

The way people help people in need today, and for many many centuries, is either through charity, donations or humanitarian work. These are patchwork solutions to problems. The problems that third world countries have are not landmines, wars, genocides, and lack of hospitals or schools. Although those are symptoms, solving them one by one is not possible, as demonstrated by our efforts in the past. The Zeitgeist movement looks for the root cause of these symptoms. It does not prescribe medicine but it determines why a patient is sick. The system in which we live in creates social stratification. For there to be a rich person, there must necessarily be a poor person, or many poor people. Seeking monetary safety in the West is like creating poverty somewhere in the world. The two classes cannot exist without one another.

TZM and TVP do not seek to help 100 or 1000 people by building a hospital in Sudan or a school for all the children of Kenya, although that is a great and charitable thing to do for those people. There are over 2 billion people to build schools, hospitals, sustainable agriculture and energy systems, potable water sources, and the rest for. That is the objective of TZM and TVP. It is therefore impossible for them to be associated with the NWO because there is no leader, no dictator, or individual who could benefit from abundance, except for the masses.

For more information, the websites of the projects are easy to find on google and informative videos are available to be critiqued on youtube.

Sexy title: A Molecule Found in Tomatos Could Prevent Cardiovascular Diseases

Not so sexy title: 9-oxo-10(E),12(E)-octadecadienoic acid derived from tomato is a potent PPAR α agonist to decrease triglyceride accumulation in mouse primary hepatocytes

A new article out of the Kyoto University in Japan, published in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, has shown the beneficial role of 9-oxo-ODA (9-oxo-octadecadienoic acid) in dyslipidemia, a gateway disease to many cardiovascular diseases. The molecule’s target, PPARα, has been known to decrease the concentration of fatty acids in the bloodstream. This is important for hyperlipidemia, a form of dyslipidemia mostly present in developed countries, which consists of a high concentration of fats in the bloodstream. Therefore, by decreasing the fatty acid concentration in the bloodstream, it would be possible to decrease the incidence of many cardiovascular diseases such as arteriosclerosis and cirrhosis.

The researchers therefore probed for the most potent PPARα activator, via liquid chromatography, mass spectrometry, and NMR analyses, which churned out 9-oxo-ODA as the best candidate. This molecule was found to increase PPARα’s gene expression and hence effectively reduce fat concentration in the bloodstream of their mice.

9-oxo-ODA is found in high concentrations in tomatoes, the world’s third most cultivated crop. For future consideration, the genetic modification of other plants which could be cultivated on a more massive scale such as potatoes could help reduce cardiovascular diseases through nutrition. In relation to the previous post about potatoes expressing a higher concentration of proteins, a genetically modified potato could eventually diminish our overconsumption of red meat and lower fat concentration in the blood stream. Sounds like killing two birds with one stone to me…

References:

http://www.alphagalileo.org/ViewItem.aspx?ItemId=93137&CultureCode=en

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/mnfr.201000264/abstract

Will Birth Control Solve Climate Change? (and possibly more)

A recent article published in Scientific American proposes birth control as a tool for reducing carbon emissions. Reducing the global population to 8 billion people, as opposed to the projected 9 billion by 2050, could save 29% of green house gas emissions, according to the study.

The question that is left unanswered is how? Conspiracy theorists can insert their concerns here. There have been discussions about the use of vaccines to control population growth in the past, and let’s face it, educational campaigns will not reduce the global population by 1 billion people in 40 years.

Another aspect that has not been discussed here is how many people can our planet support and how can it support more people efficiently. This is were technology and knowledge will have to be shared between nations if this global problem is to be solved. The planet will reach it’s capacity, wether human beings destroy it first or not.

An additional 150 people join the ranks of humanity every minute, a pace that could lead our numbers to reach nine billion by 2050. Changing that peak population number alone could save at least 1.4 billion metric tons of carbon from entering the atmosphere each year by 2050, according to a new analysis—the equivalent of cutting more than 10 percent of fossil fuel burning per year.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/blog/post.cfm?id=will-birth-control-solve-climate-ch-2010-10-11

Location:Chemin de la Tour,Montreal,Canada

GMOs, Sustainable Farming and Urban Agriculture

I was dying to get my first post out so this might seem somewhat unfinished and premature. Here are two articles published over the past month or so.

 

The first, a research article discussing the possibilities for expressing all essential amino acids for the human body in transgenic organism easily produced in many countries around the world. This may, as the authors suggest, provide relief for the malnourished and undernourished third world countries, as their protein needs could be met without the need for foods naturally high in protein, which are usually much more difficult to produce, or raise. Scientific article abstract and link to article on Ars technica:

Next-generation protein-rich potato expressing the seed protein gene AmA1 is a result of proteome rebalancing in transgenic tuber

http://arstechnica.com/science/news/2010/10/genetically-engineered-protatoes-boost-yield-nutrition.ars?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rss

 

The second, an article published in Montreal’s local newspaper “The Gazette”, suggests an alternative for urbanites to have access to local, fresh produce even during the treacherous Canadian winter months. Rooftop greenhouses, sitting on atop residential and commercial buildings, can provide produce with technology such as hydroponics and possibly aquaponics in areas that do not have land to cultivate crops, in a sustainable and ecological way. Here is the above mentioned article from The Gazette:

http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/Commercial+rooftop+garden+world+first/3737649/story.html

 

Location:Chemin de Polytechnique,Montreal,Canada