The amendment shot down by the Senate would have allowed states to make their own decisions on whether or not GMO foods should be labeled – without mandating any action. Supporters originally believed that this measure was non-controversial, and simply gave states an option. But the Senate voted 71 to 27 against it on Thursday, days before Saturday’s March Against Monsanto.
“The concept we’re talking about today is a fairly commonsense and non-radical idea,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the bill’s sponsor, told the Huffington Post before the vote. “All over the world, in the European Union, in many other countries around the world, dozens and dozens of countries, people are able to look at the food that they are buying and determine through labeling whether or not that product contains genetically modified organisms.”
Sanders also explained that the Food and Drug Administration requires more than 3,000 ingredients to be labeled on food products, but that GMOs are not on this list.
But opponents of the measure argued that GMOs should not be labeled, since the FDA has not made scientific conclusions that would require it. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), chair of the Agriculture Committee, said the amendment that was shot down was not relevant to the farm bill. She also emphasized the importance of Monsanto in providing foods at lower prices that help feed people around the world – an argument often made by supporters of the biotech giant.
“I believe we must rely on the FDA’s science-based examination before we make conclusions about food ingredients derived from genetically modified foods,” she said. “They currently do not require special labeling because they’ve determined that food content of these ingredients does not materially differ from their conventional counterparts.”
On Thursday, Senate Republicans also objected to an attempt to repeal a provision that critics call the “Monsanto Protection Act”, which allows Monsanto and other biotech giants that use GMOs to plant and sell their products, even if legal action is taken against them. The provision protects Monsanto from financial damages and has generated petitions and a nationwide outcry from critics who claim the legislation allows the company to bypass the court system and dominate the seed industry.
“The provision [strips] federal courts of the authority to halt the sale and planting of an illegal, potentially hazardous GE crop while the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) assesses those potential hazards,” dozens of food businesses and retailers wrote Congress before the “Monsanto Protection Act” was passed in March.
The Senate vote against the GMO labeling provision comes as the Vermont House and Connecticut Senate this month voted to force food companies to declare GMO ingredients on their packages – moves that indicate a growing support for GMO labeling while Congress continues to side with Monsanto.
The vote also occurred just two days before 200,000 people in 40 countries and 48 US states are expected to take to the streets to rally against the biotech giant. The global “March Against Monsanto” will occur in cities including New York, Chicago, Montreal, Berlin, Paris, Brussels, Moscow, and Melbourne.
Protesters will demand a ban on GMOs, which many believe have detrimental health effects. They will also rally against Monsanto’s patenting rights, which allow the corporation to monopolize the seed industry.
“For too long, Monsanto has been the benefactor of corporate subsidies and political favoritism,” states the Facebook page of the March Against Monsanto, Washington, D.C. “Organic and small farmers suffer losses while Monsanto continues to forge its monopoly over the world’s food supply, including exclusive patenting rights over seeds and genetic makeup.”
The global march initially began as a grassroots event, but has quickly garnered support from tens of thousands of people on Facebook pages and Google Documents. Kirsten Neus, a Washington, D.C. resident who starkly opposes Monsanto’s actions, told RT that she is trying to convince all of her friends to attend the protests and learn about the evils of the corporate biotech giant.
“I’m going because I want Monsanto’s leaders to know that we know who they are and what they’re doing, and we won’t sit back and watch as they collude with our elected officials to destroy our planet and our future in the pursuit of profit,” said Neus, in anticipation of Saturday’s march.
With Congress against him and tens of thousands of supporters rallying in support of his goals, Sen. Sanders will continue to push the GMO labeling provision in the Senate.
“The people of Vermont and the people of America have a right to know what’s in the food they eat,” Sanders told AP.
The House Agriculture Committee approved a version of the farm bill last week, which is expected to be voted upon this summer.
PC makers are expected to launch plenty of new laptops, tablets, and hybrid devices featuring Intel Haswell processors at the Computex trade show in Taiwan in June. But some Haswell-powered devices are starting to show up a bit early.
The Asus VivoBook V551 is an ultrabook with a 15.6 inch display and an Intel Core i7-4500U Haswell chip and an NVIDIA graphics card. It’s expected to sell for around $1000, and several retailers are already taking orders.
Detailed specs include NVIDA GeForce GT740M graphics, 8GB of RAM, a 1TB hard drive, and 24GB solid state cache disk. The notebook measures just 0.83 inches thick, but it packs a DVD burner, as well as WiFi, Bluetooth, HDMI, 3 USB ports (including 1 USB 3.0 port), and a 65 Whr battery.
It also features a touchscreen display. Unfortunately, it’s a 1366 x 768 pixel screen, which seems kind of out-of-step with what’s otherwise a pretty high-end laptop.
While the Asus VivoBook V551 is a reasonably thin laptop, it’s not particularly light. It weighs about 5.3 pounds, which isn’t surprising given the large screen, disc drive, and other components.
Asus VivoBook V551 ultrabook with Haswell CPU coming soon is a post from: Liliputing
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
The Simonsound, Simon James's '60s space age-inspired experimental music project, has issued a fantastic "radiophonic ride" aboard an imaginary World's Fair monorail. The two tracks on this Simonsound Tranist Authority release are compelling collages of electronic experimentation and oscillations made from vintage synths, manipulated tape, and acoustic sources. There are multiple versions of the release, including a 10" color vinyl, digital download in numerous formats, and also the limited edition "pilot pack" seen above that is, sadly, sold out. You can listed to the first track, "The Beam," right here. Like a souvenir record from a mid century World’s Fair, ‘The Beam’ follows in the footsteps of early electronic composers such as Raymond Scott, Tristram Cary and Tom Dissevelt.
The B-side, 'In the Shadow of the Skylon' is an oscillating ode to a long lost London landmark and futuristic structure created for the Festival of Britain in 1951. Hovering over the South Bank like a UFO, the Skylon pointed into space like a sign post for what was to come. Sadly the Skylon never got to see the future it aimed to represent as it was torn down at the end of the Festival by a petty Conservative government. ‘In the Shadow of the Skylon’ celebrates its short optimistic life. The Simonsound Transit Authority: "The Beam" b/w "In the Shadow of the Skylon"
Artist Lauren Ryan creates incredible animal sculptures entirely from pipe cleaners. My favorite is her palm-sized thylacine, a Tasmanian "tiger." The last confirmed thylacine died in 1936 but some crytpozoologists think they may not be extinct after all. Lauren Ryan's "Chenille Stems" (via The Anomalist)
“My brain, I can feel it starting. I’m blasted by the signals, every couple of minutes,” Shao told CBS Sacramento. “I yell and I scream, ‘Stop it, I don’t need this,’ but they never listen.”
According to the news report, police promise to arrest Shao again if he continues to call 911, and that they "may look for some counseling to get him some help."
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Lately Jane and I have been playing a game called IceDice. It consists of a bunch of plastic pyramids of various sizes, and a pair of dice with special markings, which are stored in a cute pyramid-shaped cloth zipper bag. You can play a lot of different games with the dice and pieces, the object of all them being to collect the right combination of sizes and colors of pyramids.
Our favorite game is Launchpad 23. The object is to assemble a rocket from pieces manufactured by a factory that manufactures random rocket parts.
The pyramids, made of hard plastic, are very pointy. I imagine you could poke one right through your hand if you slapped it hard enough. The danger factor enhances the enjoyment of this versatile game set.
The symptoms of these diseases may differ, but the people who suffer from them share many experiences. Rare diseases frequently go undiagnosed, or misdiagnosed, for years. Once people do find out that they suffer from a rare disease, many discover that medicine cannot help them. Not only is there no drug to prescribe, but in many cases, scientists have little idea of the underlying cause of the disease. And until recently, people with rare diseases had little reason to hope this would change. The medical-research establishment treated them as a lost cause, funneling resources to more-common ailments like cancer and heart disease. "The Girl Who Turned to Bone"
Google’s annual developer conference came and went this month without the launch of a new version of the Android operating system. But web publishers (including this one) have noticed a growing number of visits from folks using mobile devices identified as running Android 4.3 in recent weeks… and now a member of the xda-developers forum has published a few pictures of a phone that appears to be running the next version of Google’s mobile OS.
A Google Nexus 4 with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean and the build number JWR45B was spotted at the Thailand Mobile Expo.
At this point there’s not much to report in the way of new features. But the phone does appear to have a new version of the camera app, bringing the menu buttons a little closer to the shutter button, which should make it a little easier to adjust camera settings on your phone or tablet.
While Google hasn’t officially launched the update yet, the company did recently roll out a major update to Google Play Services, as well as Google Play Games for synchronizing your data across devices and making gaming more social. Google also launched new versions of a number of core apps including Google Drive, Google Play Music, Google Play Books, Google Play Movies, and more. A Gmail app update is possibly on the way as well.
In other words, some of the biggest updates to the Android platform this year are being distributed without a major update to the operating system itself. And that’s a smart way to deal with the “fragmentation” problem that’s affected Android for the past few years.
Since Samsung, HTC, LG, Motorola, and other device makers push out OS updates to phones and tablets, it can sometimes take months or years before a new version of Android makes it to those devices… if it ever does. By pushing updates to individual apps and services instead, Google can offer many improvements without updating your device’s firmware at all.
Still, a lot of folks are looking forward to the next version of Android, and it looks like Android 4.3 might be coming soon.
via Droid Life