#OneTermAbbott’s Burial of a Pharmaceutical Review [#geekgirl]
[From an article at the ABC's Drum] “While Treasurer Joe Hockey is complaining that Australia is running out of money to fund the health system, the Coalition Government has buried a report with recommendations for large-scale savings on drug costs.
Not long before the Gonski Review website vanished in late 2013, a less well known but potentially equally important review also quietly disappeared from view. Unlike the Gonski Review, this particular disappearing act barely made a ripple on the public’s consciousness. But the burial of the findings and recommendations of the Review of Pharmaceutical Patents has huge economic, social and health implications for Australia.
The review began in 2012 and released a highly controversial draft report in April 2013. The final report was delivered in May to the previous government, but still has not been released.
The Minister for Industry Ian Macfarlane recently indicated in Parliament that the current Government was not planning to release the final report, and was not even considering the recommendations in the draft report. And some time in the second half of 2013 the website for the review was taken offline along with all of the submissions. The draft report and background paper are still available through the IP Australia website.“
“Total ban on GM food production mulled in Russia” [#geekgirl]
[From an article at RT.com] “A group of Russian MPs have prepared a bill severely restricting imports of genetically modified agricultural produce, and completely banning its domestic production.
The initiative is backed by Evgeny Fyodorov of the parliamentary majority United Russia and a group called Russian Sovereignty, which unites MPs from various parties and parliamentary factions.
The politicians want to amend the existing law On Safety and Quality of Alimentary Products with a norm set for the maximum allowed content of transgenic and genetically modified components. The powers to establish that norm go to the government and products with excessive content of GMO components should be banned for turnover and imports.”
“The Body that Meditation Built” [#geekgirl]
[As reported by SBS] “…a group of scientists in America, Spain and France has shown mindfulness meditation can create specific molecular changes. The study compared experienced meditators after an eight hour mindfulness practice with untrained control subjects engaging in “non-meditative” pursuits. According to the study, dedicated meditative time resulted in “a range of genetic and molecular differences, including altered levels of gene-regulating machinery and reduced levels of pro-inflammatory genes, which in turn correlated with faster physical recovery from a stressful situation.” These rapid changes are truly staggering.”
Carl Nathan’s History of Medicine [via Imgur] [#geekgirl]
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) = Nationally Sanctioned Corporate Monopoly [#geekgirl]
As the above video outlines, the hyper-secret Free Trade Agreement being currently brokered by the Trans-Pacific Partnership has nothing to do with Free Trade and is, in actuality, the inverse of it. The 12 countries involved in the TPP (which include Australia, Brunei-Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam) are currently secretly negotiating to allow:
- Drug Companies to increase prices and extend the term of their patents (thereby increasing dramatically the time before generic versions of the patented pharmaceuticals can hit the market)
- Restrictions on buying local goods and services, with individual countries being denied the ability to implement systems that mandate support of locally based product(s)
- Making Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) labelling illegal
- Weakening of environmental regulations
- Severe restrictions on digital copying and electronic transfers, with significant interference with the basic functioning of the Internet
- Radical enforcement of a system that would make SOPA look weak by comparison
- Added secrecy to corporate and government alliances, including a deliberate lack of transparency regarding institutionalised information
- A substantial negative impact regarding the regulation of Financial Services
- The ruling out of Capital Controls
- Dampening of national law implementation in favour of Partnership rulings (as Yves Smith says: “The language in [the TPP Agreement]…goes something along the lines of ‘All signatories are required to make their laws and regulations conform to the standard of this agreement.’ They are literally required to make their nation-based laws subordinate to the laws of these agreements [with] liberalised capital flows and minimal restrictions…One of the things to extends…is the [idea of] special panels that companies can go to to get matters adjudicated if they believe that regulations have led them to lose profit. And it’s not even necessarily that they’ve currently lost profit, but it’s that they have potentially lost profit.“)
- The isolation of China
- Stigmatisation and removal of worker’s rights, labour agreements and employment protections/support (superannuation, pensions, retirement ages etc).
So if, like us, you’re preddy much shocked and appalled by the TPP and want to stop it dead in its tracks, watch the video below and take appropriate action.
Animals/Pets = Encouraging Empathy Formation + Positive Pathogen Exposure (Yay Immunity!) [#geekgirl]
More than #Honey – Markus Imhoof (Official Trailer) [#geekgirl]
“Searching for answers for the global bee declines director Markus Imhoof takes us on a trip around the world to meet people living with and off honeybees: almond growers in California, a Swiss mountain beekeeper, a German neuroscientist investigating bee brains, a pollen dealer in China, and bee researchers in Australia. We enter the fascinating world of a bee hive, encounter fighting queens and dancing workers face to face and experience their highly sophisticated swarm intelligence, where the individual constantly serves the requirements of the community. The film will have its world premiere on the 11th of August 2012, concluding the biggest film festival in Switzerland. It will be officially released in Europe end of October 2012 and will be distributed internationally in early 2013. More info: http://www.ciber.science.uwa.edu.au/blog/.”
Cultured Meat, You Say? On A Burger, You Say? [#geekgirl]
The hamburger, assembled from tiny bits of beef muscle tissue grown in a laboratory and to be cooked and eaten at an event in London, perhaps in a few weeks, is meant to show the world — including potential sources of research funds — that so-called in-Vitro meat, or cultured meat, is a reality.
“Let’s make a proof of concept, and change the discussion from ‘this is never going to work’ to, ‘well, we actually showed that it works, but now we need to get funding and work on it,’ “ Dr. Post said in an interview last fall in his office at Maastricht University.”
Need a Spare Human Organ? Print It! [#geekgirl]
“Researchers at Melbourne’s St Vincent’s Hospital and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES) are working on developing human organs by building body cells layer by layer using a 3D printer.
The team has used the 3D printer to make body cells, including muscle cells, nervous systems cells and cartilage. Professor Mark Cook, director of neurosciences at St Vincent’s Hospital, said 3D body part printing was like ‘bubble jet printers’.
“Instead of putting in ink for printing, you can put in these new materials which will grow tissues successfully,” he said.
ACES director Professor Gordon Wallace said he believed it would be possible to manufacture living tissues like human skin, cartilage, arteries and heart valves which could be used in transplants and other operations within five years. By 2025, scientists could fabricate complete functional organs, tailored for an individual patient.”
Swags for the Homeless #Australia #homeless #gifts #geekgirl
I was really impressed to see that finally some worthwhile effort, design, technology and thought had been put into something comfortable, portable and practicle for Homeless people.
With a compelling headline of cardboard box, cement … or dignified backpack. The Swag may yet take on .. and at least serve to create some temporary comfort zone.
The statistics for homeless people are staggering, and as we draw closer to the holiday season perhaps we can all spare buying those expensive and futile gifts and give to people who really need it.