“Voracious Worm Evolves to Eat #Biotech Corn Engineered to Kill It” [#geekgirl]
[From this article at Wired] ‘One of agricultural biotechnology’s great success stories may become a cautionary tale of how short-sighted mismanagement can squander the benefits of genetic modification.
After years of predicting it would happen — and after years of having their suggestions largely ignored by companies, farmers and regulators — scientists have documented the rapid evolution of corn rootworms that are resistant to Bt corn.
Until Bt corn was genetically altered to be poisonous to the pests, rootworms used to cause billions of dollars in damage to U.S. crops. Named for the pesticidal toxin-producing Bacillus thuringiensis gene it contains, Bt corn now accounts for three-quarters of the U.S. corn crop. The vulnerability of this corn could be disastrous for farmers and the environment.
“Unless management practices change, it’s only going to get worse,” said Aaron Gassmann, an Iowa State University entomologist and co-author of a March 17 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences study describing rootworm resistance. “There needs to be a fundamental change in how the technology is used.”’
GM contamination test case [#geekgirl]
[Via the ABC's Radio National] “The West Australian Supreme court will commence hearing a test case that has farmers around Australia and even across the world on the edge of their tractor seats.
It involves a farmer Steve Marsh who lost his organic certification when GM canola seeds from his neighbour’s crop sprouted on his land.
Steve Marsh has sued his neighbour for the economic loss that accompanied his loss of certification.”
Announcing “#PRISOM”, A Synthetic Reality Surveillance Game [#geekgirl]
So we (meaning Mez Breeze Design) can finally let the (Schrödinger’s?) cat out of the very tightly zipped bag: we’re *extremely* excited to officially announce our latest co-production with Dreaming Methods: “#PRISOM“. #PRISOM is a Synthetic Reality Game where a player is set loose in a Glass City under infinite surveillance. Will you be brave enough to enter?
The project is making its début at (and is funded by) the “MARart4 Transreal Topologies Exhibition” as part of #ISMAR2013, the International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality in conjunction with SA Uni’s Wearable Computer Lab. So if you’re keen to don a HMD (Head-Mounted Display) and throw yourself into #PRISOM, head to the Adelaide City East Campus of the University of South Australia on October 1-4th.
The #Science Of Addictive Food [Video] [#geekgirl]
I’m always wary when a sense of individual agency is nullified or scapegoated by/through a simplistic “well-it’s-an-addiction-so-it’s-not-my-fault” justification. This video resists falling into that trap, thankfully, and it’s worth watching for the fascinating science behind food-engineering terminology such as “Sensory Specific Satiety” and “Vanishing Caloric Density”.]
#Relativity Paradox [#geekgirl]
A fabulous video summation regarding just what happens when travelling near [approaching] the speed of light.
World Congress on Animal Testing Alternatives
I just started following the Humane Society on Twitter + stumbled across the fact they’ve just wrapped up this conference [yay them!]:
“From August 30 through September 3, 2009, scientists and others committed to the advancement of alternatives to animal testing and experimentation—including senior staff from Humane Society International and our sister organizations—will gather in Rome, Italy for the Seventh World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences.
The motto for this Congress is “Calling on Science,” a title that emphasizes the fact that scientific advances are the foundation of progress towards the ultimate replacement of animals in safety testing and other types of laboratory experiments. This year marks a number of key milestones and setbacks along the road to replacement, including the 50th anniversary of the book that launched the modern alternatives movement, the second phase of the European Union marketing ban on animal-tested cosmetics, and first wave of testing under the EU’s “REACH” chemicals regulation, which is projected to spell suffering and death for up to 20 million animals.”
Adorable Microbial Plushies
Museum of Animal Perspectives
“The Museum of Animal Perspectives sticks cameras on the heads of animals and uploads the resulting videos to Flickr. Wolfcam. Cowcam. Pigcam (hamcam). Goatcam. One wishes for catcam.”
Rapid Protoyping in Ice
“At McGill University (Montréal, Québec) engineers and architects are working together to explore the possibilities of rapid prototyping (RP) systems for construction with ice.
In 2006, Professors Pieter Sijpkes (School of Architecture) and Jorge Angeles (Department of Mechanical Engineering and Centre for Intelligent Machines) received a three-year $173,000 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) research creation grant for a project entitled New Architecture of Phase Change: Computer-Assisted Ice Construction. Based in the School of Architecture, this three-year study focuses on computer-controlled techniques for constructing objects at varying scales out of ice.”
Read more about the Computer-Assisted Ice Construction Project here.
Bee Genome Linked To Colony Collapse Disorder
Colony Collapse Disorder is a devastating disease that’s been wiping out bees colonies all over the world. As yet there is no clear-cut scientific explanation as to the cause of this disorder. However, good news may be on the scientific-horizon:
“Now insights from the honeybee genome could overthrow guesswork in the effort to diagnose the cause of the die-offs.May Berenbaum at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and her colleagues looked for genetic differences between bees from US colonies that have suffered CCD and bees that were sampled before colony collapses shot up in 2006. CCD killed off about a third of US honeybees in 2007 and 2008. The team found 65 genes that were distinctly different in CCD bees. They also discovered unusual snippets of genetic material that are typical of infection with the RNA viruses known as picorna-like viruses. They found no evidence to suggest that pesticides or bacterial infection are the primary cause of CCD. Berenbaum thinks picorna-like viruses may be the root cause, making the bees highly vulnerable to other viruses, pesticides and bacteria.”
Read more about this research: http://u.nu/9iu33