CARACAS, Venezuela: Venezuela’s state-run oil firm is starting to demand payment in euros a measure aimed at protecting revenues from a weakening U.S. dollar, Venezuela’s oil minister said Tuesday.
Scientists serve up leaner beef, tastier cheddar and healthier ketchup
The Annotated Hamburger: Photo by Colin Smale; Schnare & Stief/Getty Images; illustration: Mitch Romanowski Design
If the biotech industry has its way, ordering a hamburger might soon sound something like this: “one charbroiled cloned-beef patty, with genetically modified cheese, lab-grown bacon and vitamin-C-fortified lettuce, on a protein-spiked bun.” The burger of the future is delicious, nutritious and contains more engineering than a stealth bomber.
With the Food and Drug Administration ruling in January that meat and milk from cloned cows, pigs, goats and their offspring is safe to eat, the only thing keeping the superburger off your dinner plate is time. It will be a few years yet before cloned meat hits store shelves. Cloning the perfect (and tastiest) cow can cost upward of $15,000, which makes clones themselves too expensive to eat, so we’ll have to wait until they spawn enough offspring (the old-fashioned way) to feed the masses. Meanwhile, researchers are busy formulating all the fixings. Take a look at what science is doing for the burger, from bun to beef and everything in between.
Recipe for Burger 2.0
After isolating a gene in wild wheat that controls protein, zinc and iron content, scientists at the University of California at Davis spliced the gene into domestic wheat, boosting nutrient content by 12 percent.
Scientists in the Netherlands have grown minced pork in a dish by adding water, glucose and amino acids to pig stem cells. Expect artificial ground meat by 2012 and bacon within the decade.
Food engineers are boosting cheddar flavor by adding a bacterial gene that produces an enzyme that eliminates the bitter taste created during ripening.
Several companies are cloning the country’s most prized cows to produce leaner, tastier cuts of meat. Ranchers will start breeding the clones this spring, and in five years, the offspring will be ready to grill.
The ethanol boom is driving up the price of corn syrup, so Heinz is breeding a tomato that is 10 percent sweeter than those grown today. Look for naturally sweeter ketchup by 2010.
By splicing rat genes into lettuce, Virginia Tech scientists figured out how to turn on the vegetable’s latent vitamin-C-producing abilities (rats are natural C-makers). Since rodent-altered lettuce is somewhat unappetizing, the team used the data to identify plant DNA that can do the same thing.
By Rena Marie Pacella Posted 03.17.2008 at 2:55 pm
Christopher Morris / VII for TIME
Pity America’s poor civil libertarians. In recent weeks, the papers have been full of stories about the warehousing of information on Americans by the National Security Agency, the interception of financial information by the CIA, the stripping of authority from a civilian intelligence oversight board by the White House, and the compilation of suspicious activity reports from banks by the Treasury Department. On Thursday, Justice Department Inspector General Glenn Fine released a report documenting continuing misuse of Patriot Act powers by the FBI. And to judge from the reaction in the country, nobody cares.
The European Globalist Agenda Of A Middle Eastern Union Requires Sacrifice
Senator and Presidential candidate John McCain said that it would be fine with him if the military stayed in Iraq for a hundred years.
His prediction maybe be proved in the future to be correct. American men and women are being sacrificed on the alter of globalism. Your liberties are being taken from you by those you have never met. This is one of the biggest scams that have ever been run on the American people. Much like the Roman Empire our leaders are destroying our economy by borrowing more and more money to fight simultaneous wars around the world. Have you ever wondered why there are nations like China who continue to allow us to borrow money much like a degenerate gambler who doesn’t know when to quit? We will be the ones to account for the damage that has been done. Every penny of debt that you have will be collected, your social security money has been stolen and the infrastructure that our forefathers fought for has been bought out by multinational corporations and foreign governments.
Watch this BBC Report:
Tent cities much like we saw during the Great Depression are now popping up in California.
It is incredible to see the rampant devaluation of the U.S. Dollar. The Federal Reserve just hours ago made a rare cut of 25 basis points during the weekend which will cause even more inflation. Gold immediately moved up $20 an ounce and the U.S. Dollar Index plunged under 71 in international trading. If this type of market activity continues the U.S. Dollar will have no value in a few months. While it is probably unlikely that we will see a hyper-inflationary collapse of the U.S. Dollar within the next few months, these policies are entirely unsustainable. If the Federal Reserve does not move to defend the value of the U.S. Dollar we will eventually see a hyper-inflationary collapse and worldwide financial turmoil. This view is also shared by other well respected financial analysts. Peter Schiff recently raised concerns about a hyper-inflationary collapse of the U.S. Dollar, Robert Reich a former Clinton cabinet member believes we are facing a depression and Alan Greenspan the man who caused this whole mess wrote in the Financial Times stating that we are facing the worst financial crisis since World War II. What’s amazing is that the Federal Reserve isn’t even trying to protect the U.S. Dollar because all they care about is saving the power of their private banking cartel. They don’t care about the U.S. Dollar nor do they care about the country itself. They are destroying this country through their actions and there needs to be an investigation into the controllers of this bank.
Alan Greenspan saying that we are facing the worst financial crisis since World War II is like a killer returning to the scene of their crime and explaining the results of their crime. Greenspan recently told nations in the Gulf to drop their currency pegs to the U.S. Dollar which encouraged a further drop in the U.S. Dollar. Greenspan’s Financial Times article will cause an even greater acceleration in the collapse of the currency. As the former head of the Federal Reserve, his comments still hold a great deal of importance with people around the world. This means that his comments can literally move the value of the U.S. Dollar one way or another. It is incredibly sick how Greenspan can get away with creating the current crisis we face with his low interest rate policies earlier this decade and analyze the problems that are occurring today that were a result of his own policies with no criticism from the corporate controlled media.
Wall Street is bracing itself for another week of roller-coaster trading after more than $300bn (£150bn) was wiped off the US equity markets on Friday following the emergency funding package put together by the Federal Reserve and JPMorgan Chase to rescue Bear Stearns.
One UK economist warned that the world is now close to a 1930s-like Great Depression, while New York traders said they had never experienced such fear. The Fed’s emergency funding procedure was first used in the Depression and has rarely been used since.
A Goldman Sachs trader in New York said: “Everyone is in a total state of shock, aghast at what is happening. No one wants to talk, let alone deal; we’re just standing by waiting. Everyone is nervous about what is going to emerge when trading starts tomorrow.”
TOKYO (Reuters) – The dollar’s sharp slide to 13-year lows against the yen and fresh all-time lows versus the euro on Monday is stoking jitters about the possibility of joint central bank intervention to prop up the dollar.”The speed of the slide in the dollar/yen is so rapid that U.S. action alone can no longer stop the dollar’s downward trend,” said Koichi Ogawa, chief portfolio manager at Daiwa SB Investment.
“The time is ripe for coordinated intervention by U.S., European and Japanese authorities.”
As feared, foreign bond holders have begun to exercise a collective vote of no confidence in the devaluation policies of the US government. The Federal Reserve faces a potential veto of its rescue measures.
Asian, Mid East and European investors stood aside at last week’s auction of 10-year US Treasury notes. “It was a disaster,” said Ray Attrill from 4castweb. “We may be close to the point where the uglier consequences of benign neglect towards the currency are revealed.”
Primary school children should be eligible for the DNA database if they exhibit behaviour indicating they may become criminals in later life, according to Britain’s most senior police forensics expert.Gary Pugh, director of forensic sciences at Scotland Yard and the new DNA spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), said a debate was needed on how far Britain should go in identifying potential offenders, given that some experts believe it is possible to identify future offending traits in children as young as five.
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Financial firms face a “new world order” after a weekend fire sale of Bear Stearns and the Federal Reserve’s first emergency weekend meeting since 1979, research firm CreditSights said in a report on Monday.
More industry consolidation and acquisitions may follow after JPMorgan Chase & Co on Sunday said it was buying Bear Stearns for $236 million, or $2 a share, a deep discount from the $30 price on Friday and record share price of about $172 last year.
“Last evening the Bear Stearns situation reached a crescendo, as JPMorgan agreed to acquire the wounded broker for a token amount of $2 per share,” CreditSights said. “The reality check is that there are many challenged major banks, brokers, thrifts, finance/mortgage companies, and only a handful of bona fide strong U.S. banks.”
In the face of a possible escalation with Syria and Iran’s efforts to obtain a nuclear weapon, parts of the country will shut down next month in what security officials say will be the largest emergency exercise in Israel’s history.The drill, which is being organized by the newly-established National Emergency Authority, will take place over five days starting on Sunday, April 6.
A boy being taken by force along a street in the Tibetan capital Lhasa
China blocks internet access over coverage of protests
Dozens of Tibetan prisoners were paraded on military trucks in Lhasa yesterday, with their heads bent and wrists handcuffed behind their backs, as soldiers from China’s People’s Liberation Army tightened their grip on the Tibetan capital.
Pressure is mounting on central banks in the Gulf to fight surging inflation when they meet on Wednesday by severing the link between their currencies and the tumbling US dollar.Officials in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have denied rumours of an imminent decoupling, but investors are betting on reform and are rushing to buy local currencies as investment banks issue fresh calls for revaluation.
Jan. 30 (Bloomberg) — Barton Biggs has some offbeat advice for the rich: Insure yourself against war and disaster by buying a remote farm or ranch and stocking it with “seed, fertilizer, canned food, wine, medicine, clothes, etc.”
The “etc.” must mean guns.
“A few rounds over the approaching brigands’ heads would probably be a compelling persuader that there are easier farms to pillage,” he writes in his new book, “Wealth, War and Wisdom.”
Biggs is no paranoid survivalist. He was chief global strategist at Morgan Stanley before leaving in 2003 to form hedge fund Traxis Partners. He doesn’t lock and load until the last page of this smart look at how World War II warped share prices, gutted wealth and remains a warning to investors. His message: Listen to markets, learn from history and prepare for the worst.
“Wealth, War and Wisdom” fills a void. Library shelves are packed with volumes on World War II. The history of stock markets also has been ably recorded, notably in Robert Sobel’s “The Big Board.” Yet how many books track the intersection of the two?
LAGOS, NIGERIA (31 January 2008)-Twenty-one boxes filled with 7,000 unique seed samples from more than 36 African nations were shipped to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a facility being built on a remote island in the Arctic Circle as a repository of last resort for humanity’s agricultural heritage.The vault is being built by the Norwegian government as a service to the global community, and a Rome-based international NGO, the Global Crop Diversity Trust, will fund its operation. The vault will open on 26 February 2008.
The shipment, which was sent by the Ibadan, Nigeria-based International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), consists of thousands of duplicates of unique varieties of domesticated and wild cowpea, maize, soybean, and Bambara groundnut. The seeds from the IITA genebank in Ibadan, Nigeria, were packed in 21 boxes weighing a total of 330 kg. The processing by IITA staff took several months, and the boxes were packaged over a three-day period, with 10 staff checking the accession list, reporting errors, and adjusting the inventory, as needed.
The seeds were shipped on to Oslo on route to the village of Longyearbyen on Norway’s Svalbard archipelago, where the vault has been constructed in a mountain deep inside the Arctic permafrost.
Jan. 10, 2008: Hang on to your cell phone, a new solar cycle has just begun.
“On January 4, 2008, a reversed-polarity sunspot appeared-and this signals the start of Solar Cycle 24,” says David Hathaway of the Marshall Space Flight Center.
Above: Images of the first sunspot of Solar Cycle 24 taken by the NASA/ESA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO).
Solar activity waxes and wanes in 11-year cycles. Lately, we’ve been experiencing the low ebb, “very few flares, sunspots, or activity of any kind,” says Hathaway. “Solar minimum is upon us.”
The previous solar cycle, Solar Cycle 23, peaked in 2000-2002 with many furious solar storms. That cycle decayed as usual to the present quiet leaving solar physicists little to do other than wonder, when would the next cycle begin?
The answer is now.
The military adventurers of the George W. Bush administration have much in common with the corporate leaders of the defunct energy company Enron. Both groups of men thought that they were the “smartest guys in the room”, the title of Alex Gibney’s prize-winning film on what went wrong at Enron. The neo-conservatives in the White House and the Pentagon outsmarted themselves. They failed even to address the problem of how to finance their schemes of imperialist wars and global domination.
(CNN) — A Florida scientist has developed a “brain” in a glass dish that is capable of flying a virtual fighter plane and could enhance medical understanding of neural disorders such as epilepsy.
The “living computer” was grown from 25,000 neurons extracted from a rat’s brain and arranged over a grid of 60 electrodes in a Petri dish.
The brain cells then started to reconnect themselves, forming microscopic interconnections, said Thomas DeMarse, professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Florida.
DeMarse's "brain in a dish" contains 25,000 living neurons.
The Financial Tsunami, Part IV.What had emerged going into the new millennium after the 1999 repeal of Glass-Steagall was an awesome transformation of American credit markets into what was soon to become the world’s greatest unregulated private money creation machine.
The New Finance was built on an incestuous, interlocking, if informal, cartel of players, all reading from the script written by Alan Greenspan and his friends at J.P. Morgan, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and the other major financial houses of New York. Securitization was going to secure a “new” American Century and its financial domination, as its creators clearly believed on the eve of the millennium.
Today, more than 23,000 representatives of private industry are working quietly with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. The members of this rapidly growing group, called InfraGard, receive secret warnings of terrorist threats before the public does-and, at least on one occasion, before elected officials. In return, they provide information to the government, which alarms the ACLU. But there may be more to it than that. One business executive, who showed me his InfraGard card, told me they have permission to “shoot to kill” in the event of martial law.
InfraGard is “a child of the FBI,” says Michael Hershman, the chairman of the advisory board of the InfraGard National Members Alliance and CEO of the Fairfax Group, an international consulting firm.
Microsoft is developing Big Brother-style software capable of remotely monitoring a worker’s productivity, physical wellbeing and competence.The Times has seen a patent application filed by the company for a computer system that links workers to their computers via wireless sensors that measure their metabolism. The system would allow managers to monitor employees’ performance by measuring their heart rate, body temperature, movement, facial expression and blood pressure. Unions said they fear that employees could be dismissed on the basis of a computer’s assessment of their physiological state.
Phone makers own scientists discover that bedtime use can lead to headaches, confusion and depressionRadiation from mobile phones delays and reduces sleep, and causes headaches and confusion, according to a new study.
The research, sponsored by the mobile phone companies themselves, shows that using the handsets before bed causes people to take longer to reach the deeper stages of sleep and to spend less time in them, interfering with the body’s ability to repair damage suffered during the day.
Are you at all suspicious? Does it sound too good to be true? Here we are, plunging into a recession. The proximate cause is irresponsible mortgage loans made to people who can’t pay the money back. The deeper cause is, at least in part, years of too much borrowing and spending by Americans, both as individuals and collectively through the government. But behold: there is-oh, joy!-bipartisan agreement on a solution. Although quibbling over the details, everyone-Republicans and Democrats, the White House and Congress, all the presidential candidates-agrees that what we need is a “fiscal stimulus.”In other words, the government should go out and borrow even more money and pass it around for us to spend. The experts caution that for maximum stimulus effect, we must be sure to spend it immediately. No squirreling it away for a rainy day. In drinking circles, they call this hair of the dog: to cure a hangover, you have another drink.
Last May, a Saudi Arabian conglomerate bought a Massachusetts plastics maker. In November, a French company set up a new factory in Adrian, Michigan, adding 189 automotive jobs to an area accustomed to layoffs. In December, a British company bought a New Jersey maker of cough syrup.For much of the world, the United States is now on sale at discount prices. With credit tight, unemployment growing and worries mounting about a potential recession, American business and government leaders are courting foreign money to keep the economy growing.
Foreign investors are buying aggressively, taking advantage of American duress and a weak dollar to snap up what many see as bargains, while making inroads into the world’s largest market.
Last year, foreign investors poured a record $414 billion into securing stakes in U.S. companies, factories and other properties through private deals and purchases of publicly traded stock, according to Thomson Financial, a research firm.