A polling agency survey last year concluded that nearly 80
percent of the French are afraid of eating genetically-modified food
which makes me wonder why in this country the anti-GMO crowd is in the
minority. I really don’t understand it other than Agribusiness has both
parties locked under their thumb.
One anti-genetically-modified-food poster in
France shows a man with his eyes shut tight, his mouth pursed, a gun
pressed to his temple. It is made of an ear of GMO corn.
This isn’t new in France. They have been locked in a battle with
the European Union since 2008, when the EU food safety authority ruled
that there was no “specific” scientific evidence that genetically
modified crops were unsafe.
The French were up in arms and many French
environmental activists routinely destroy genetically modified foods
imported and used for animal feed. An example is last November,, 100
protesters climbed a grain silo and poured the highly toxic RICIN oil
over the GMO soy feed.
Ricin is from the castor oil plant and is a highly toxic, naturally occurring protein.
A dose as small as a few grains of salt can kill an adult human. Oral
exposure to ricin is far less toxic and a lethal dose can be up to
20–30 milligrams per kilogram.
I think that's rather extreme and don't support the destruction of private property though it should be noted that there are some US-based bioterrorists like the Osho group in Oregon as well.
Posted by Sigo
@ 07:04 AM EDT
WE had a German Shepherd but she died. Still having grown up with them I enjoyed this book review very much. I really liked the 2nd paragraph that says "there is something uniquely noble...about the look of the German shepherd dog". Yes I have found that to be true. They are loyal creatures...and to some degree we have seen that with our chickens.
The roosters are like guard dogs, telling us about intruders (namely the construction workers and the mailman), warning us of predators (a raccoon) and not really wandering all over the place -- though one did once, apparently having gotten lost, but his Speckled Brothers called him home. So I would have to say, the chook is a poor man's watchdog.
from the Economist
Posted by Sigo
@ 06:52 AM EDT
- Image via Wikipedia
This fictional story was originally written for a publication called The Sunday School Advocate and was reprinted in the September, 1917 issue of the American Bee Journal.
It has since been reprinted by several authors in articles detailing the history of American beekeeping.
While obviously a fictional account of how our honey bees "Saved America," it
makes for entertaining reading for this 4th of July weekend. Enjoy!
The brave patriots of the American Revolution were having a particularly hard time of it in the summer of 1780. General Washington and his ragged, half-starved soldiers were in camp just outside of Philadelphia, where it was certain that the enemy was getting ready to make an important move.
after man had risked his life trying to get their secret, but so far no
one had been able to give Washington the important news without which
he dared not risk his small force in battle.
But the great
Washington, himself, scarcely took the independence of the colonists
more seriously to heart than did little Mistress Charity Crabtree.
Despite her prim Quaker ways,
no eyes could spark with greater fire at the mention of freedom than
those that smiled so demurely above her white neckerchief and plain
Charity was a soldier’s daughter, and though his
patriotism made her and her brother John orphans, when the boy also left
to fight for his flag, Charity did not shed a tear, but handed him his
sword and waved him godspeed. Though she was all alone now and only
twelve years old, the little maid kept a stout heart.
“If I hold
myself ready to serve my country, I know the time will come,” she said,
as she walked back from the gate through the fragrant lane, honeycombed
with beehives. “Meanwhile, I must keep my bees in good order.”
father had bee a bee farmer, and he kept all these hives at the
entrance of his lane, so the bees could search the highway for
wildflower sweets. One of his last acts was to send a beautiful comb of
their honey to General Washington, where-upon the General had smacked
his lips and said: “Those bees must be real patriots. They give the best
that is in them to their country.”
Charity stopped now to notice
how well the bees were swarming. They seemed particularly active this
morning, but she was not afraid of these little creatures who do not
sting unless they are frightened or attacked.
“I shall have a great many pots of honey to sell this fall,” she thought. “It is good Providence who inspires the bees to help me keep our little white house all by myself, until brother John returns.”
suddenly the little Quaker maid turned pale. She stopped for a second
with her hand to her ear, and then she ran quickly to the highway. These
were terrible times, when, at any moment, bullets might whizz about
like hailstones, and every good colonist lived tensely, in fear the little American army would be captured and their brave fight for independence lost forever.
was a man in citizen’s dress who galloped down the road. His hat was
blown off and he pressed his left hand to his side. When he saw Charity
he just was able to rein in his horse and, falling from his saddle, draw
her close so she might catch the feeble words he muttered between
“You are Patriot Crabtree’s daughter?” he murmured, and the girl nodded, as she raised his head on her arm.
am shot, I am wounded,” he gasped. “Leave me here, but fly on my horse
yonder to General Washington’s camp. Give him this message: ‘Durwent
says Cornwallis will attack Monday with large army.
’ Do not fail him!” cried the man. “Be off at once! The enemy is pursuing close.”
Charity had just time to repeat the message and assist the fainting man
to a grassy place under the elm tree’s shade, when the air thundered
with a thudding of hoof beats, and before the terrified girl could gain
her horse, a dozen soldiers leaped over the garden wall at the back of
“For my country!” the plucky maid cried, and leaped to
the saddle. But even then she realized that if once the British saw her
they could easily remount their own horses, evidently left on the other
side of the wall, and so capture her and prevent her from reaching
Washington. As it was they discovered the unconscious soldier, whom they
quickly surrounded by a guard, then spied the fleeing girl and
immediately gave chase.
“Ho, there!” they cried. “Stop, girl, or by heaven we’ll make you!”
crowded after her into the mouth of the lane, while Charity cast about
hopelessly for some way of escape. Suddenly, with the entrance of the
soldiers, the bees began to buzz with a cannon’s roar, as if to say,
“Here we are, Charity! Didn’t Washington say we were patriots, too? Just
give us a chance to defend our country!”
Like lightning, now,
Charity bent from her saddle, and seizing a stout stick, she wheeled
around to the outer side of the hedge that protected the hives like a
low wall. Then, with a smart blow, she beat each hive until the bees
clouded the air. Realizing from experience that bees always follow the
thing that hits them rather than the person who directs it, she threw
the stick full force at her pursuers.
As Charity galloped off at
high speed she heard the shouts of fury from the soldiers, who fought
madly against the bees. And, of course, the harder they fought, the
harder they were stung. If they had been armed with swords the brave
bees could not have kept the enemy more magnificently at bay.
Charity was riding furiously miles away, down the pike, past the
bridge, over the hill, right into Washington’s camp, her would-be
pursuers lay limply in the dust—their noses swollen like powder horns.
When the little maid finally gained admission to Washington’s tent, for
to none other would she trust her secret, the great general stared at
her gray dress torn to ribbons, her kerchief draggled with mud and her
gold hair loosened by the wind. But Charity had no time for ceremony.
have a message for thee, sir,” she said, standing erect as a soldier
beside the general’s table. “I have ridden these many miles while a
dozen of the enemy have been kept at bay so I might bear it.”
When she gave Washington the message he sprang from his seat and laid his fatherly hand upon her shoulder.“
little Quaker maid has saved us,” he said, and his voice rang while he
looked deep into her gray eyes, lighted with honest loyalty.
brought the message only as I was directed, sir,” she said. “It was my
bees that saved their country.” You can imagine Washington’s surprise
and that of his officers who crowded in with warm praise for the girl,
when Charity told them of the story of the patriot bees.Washington
“It is well done, Little Miss Crabtree,” he cried, warmly.
you nor your bees shall be forgotten when our country is at peace
again. It was the cackling geese that saved Rome, but the bees save
Posted by Sigo
@ 06:46 AM EDT
One prehistoric flying reptile, the Pterodaustro guinazui, has been found with a cargo of gravel in its guts. For most bird owners, budgies, chickens, guinea fowl, this is grit.
For reasons unknown to me this gravel eater has gotten a lot of attention. Since birds are one of the few survivors of the the Mesozoic era, the other being the incredible alligator/crocodile, I would have figured that flying dinosaurs did the same. Perhaps all dinos did that? I honestly haven’t figured that far and the article I saw this tidbit in, New Scientist, did not postulate that far either. Well, it’s something to chew on.
Back to the P. guinazui. It seems that this flyer is a reptilian version of the flamingo because its unusually long skull gave it a beak-like snout head down and bill underwater, stirring up organic matter with their webbed feet and instead of the flamingo's ridges which run along the sides of its beak, the P. guinazui is thought to have hundreds of long, thin teeth to do the same.
Now here's the grit part. Luis Chiappe, the researcher from the Natural History Museum of LA County, who published this in Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, DOI: 10.1080/039.033.0508 , (the original link is no longer valid) says that the pterosaurs may have used the stones to help grind up the tiny crustaceans it ate just like " modern filter-feeding birds like flamingos" or, I may add, chickens who use grit to break up their food in their gizzards.
Posted by Sigo
@ 06:37 AM EDT