The Century Of The Self

The legacy of famed psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud informs the lives of people throughout the world even to this day, though it’s a phenomenon to which most are unaware. The Century of the Self, written and produced by Adam Curtis, is an exhaustive examination of his theories on human desire, and how they’re applied to platforms such as advertising, consumerism and politics. This four-hour odyssey is divided into four distinct segments.

Happiness Machines. The first episode concerns Edward Bernays, Freud’s nephew and one of the most influential pioneers in public relations. Appealing to what his uncle believed were the aggressive and prurient forces hidden inside of all mankind, Bernays manipulated these inner desires to promote group thinking – first in drumming up the patriotic support of U.S. citizens during World War I and later in the realm of advertising.

The Engineering of Consent. Perhaps the darkest illustration of Freud’s philosophy can be found in Nazi Germany during the Second World War. The film’s second segment recounts the efforts of Bernays and Freud’s daughter Anna, who collaborated alongside the American government to devise methods for suppressing the barbaric potential of the human mind. It was only through these activities, the government believed, that a harmonious democracy would be possible.

There is a Policeman Inside All of Our Heads, He Must Be Destroyed. Segment three takes place during a vastly different period of American history: the 1960s. As dissenters of Freud began to come to prominence, so too did a younger generation who were determined to fully embrace and flaunt their inner desires. Following on their lead, corporations and their advertisers morphed their message from one of conformity to a celebration of the individual. In so doing, they showed that the tenants of Freud’s theories could be successfully manipulated regardless of the temperature of the times.

Eight People Sipping Wine In Kettering. The final section takes us full throttle into the universe of politics. During the 1990s, in a desperate measure to regain the White House, the Democratic Party enlisted the assistance of Matthew Freud, a public relations expert and the great-grandson of Sigmund. With a determined reliance on focus groups, the party recalibrated their campaigns to fulfill the innermost desires of the American people. Shortly thereafter, Bill Clinton became the 42nd President of the United States.

Whether these tactics were employed for reasons of nobility or perversion is for viewers to decide. Regardless, The Century of the Self unlocks many essential human truths; chiefly, our vulnerability to influence and our need to be controlled.

LINK: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Century_of_the_Self

IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0432232/

Glyphosate pathways to modern diseases V: Amino acid analogue of glycine in diverse proteins

spray

Glyphosate, a synthetic amino acid and analogue of glycine, is the most widely used biocide on the planet. Its presence in food for human consumption and animal feed is ubiquitous. Epidemiological studies have revealed a strong correlation between the increasing incidence in the United States of a large number of chronic diseases and the increased use of glyphosate herbicide on corn, soy and wheat crops. Glyphosate, acting as a glycine analogue, may be mistakenly incorporated into peptides during protein synthesis. A deep search of the research literature has revealed a number of protein classes that depend on conserved glycine residues for proper function. Glycine, the smallest amino acid, has unique properties that support flexibility and the ability to anchor to the plasma membrane or the cytoskeleton. Glyphosate substitution for conserved glycines can easily explain a link with diabetes, obesity, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pulmonary edema, adrenal insufficiency, hypothyroidism, Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson’s disease, prion diseases, lupus, mitochondrial disease, non- Hodgkin’s lymphoma, neural tube defects, infertility, hypertension, glaucoma, osteoporosis, fatty liver disease and kidney failure. The correlation data together with the direct biological evidence make a compelling case for glyphosate action as a glycine analogue to account for much of glyphosate’s toxicity. Glufosinate, an analogue of glutamate, likely exhibits an analogous toxicity mechanism. There is an urgent need to find an effective and economical way to grow crops without the use of glyphosate and glufosinate as herbicides.

LINK: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/305318376_Glyphosate_pathways_to_modern_diseases_V_Amino_acid_analogue_of_glycine_in_diverse_proteins

MORE INFO: https://people.csail.mit.edu/seneff/DC2016/AnthonySamsel_DC2016.pdf

STUDY: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Anthony_Samsel/publication/305318376_Glyphosate_pathways_to_modern_diseases_V_Amino_acid_analogue_of_glycine_in_diverse_proteins/links/5787f09f08aecf56ebcb5741.pdf

Glyphosate Causes Liver Disease?

spraying-pesticides

A new cutting edge study from Kings College, London has found that residues of popular weedkiller glyphosate found in food can cause fatty liver disease. This is another huge blow for glyphosate, but is it the final nail in the coffin?

Glyphosate is the world’s most widely sold weedkiller, commonly found in Monsanto’s Roundup, and we’re fighting to ban it as a pre-harvest treatment. Glyphosate is sprayed on our wheat and other cereals just before harvest – mainly to allow machines to go a little faster. From there it follows the grain into our bread; recent testing by the Defra Committee on Pesticide Residues in Food (PRiF) found that almost two thirds of wholemeal bread sampled contained glyphosate. Supermarkets and bread manufacturers say this is quite OK as Roundup is usually below official safety levels.

However, this new peer-reviewed study, led by Dr Michael Antoniou at King’s College London, has found that weedkillers like Roundup cause non-alcoholic fatty liver disease at very low doses, thousands of times below levels permitted by regulators worldwide. This research is the first evidence of a clear causative link between consumption of Roundup – at levels that are found in the real world – and a serious disease. It follows previous findings from the World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, who concluded that glyphosate is a ‘probable carcinogen’.

It is extraordinary that glyphosate, in use for decades, has only now been recognised as a cause of the liver disease NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease), which can cause fatigue, weakness, weight loss, loss of appetite, nausea, abdominal pain, spider-like blood vessels, yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice), itching, fluid build-up and swelling of the legs and abdomen, and mental confusion.

The study was conducted over two years, where rats were administered a very low daily dose of four nanograms per kilogram of bodyweight per day. To put that into perspective that is 75,000 times below the levels of glyphosate permitted by the EU in our food. According to lead researcher Dr Michael Antoniou, previous studies on human urine found that we often consume around a thousand times the amount of glyphosate the rats consumed. Regulators globally accept toxicity studies in rats as indicators of human health risk, making this a significant, and truly disturbing, discovery.

The news about Roundup comes just as France announces an official ban on the use of all harmful chemicals in outdoor places where young children, crucial pollinators and the general public frequently gather – the ban covers all public parks, gardens and forests including famed Parisian green spaces like Jardin des Tuileries, Bois de Vincennes and Jardin de Luxembourg. Only French cemeteries and sports stadiums are exempt. In 2019, the law will be extended to private gardens. These national moves follow cities like Lyon, France’s third-largest, and Strasbourg, which have kept all their public parks and gardens (300 in Lyon alone) pesticide-free since 2008.

We need to get this poisonous weedkiller out of our bread, and out of our bodies. We are calling for an end to spraying Glyphosate on crops just before they are harvested, and you can join the fight by joining us or writing to your local MP. This new study raises serious concerns for human health and must be taken seriously by Monsanto and the government; with enough pressure we can ensure it is the final nail in the coffin for glyphosate.

LINK: https://www.soilassociation.org/blogs/2017/january/glyphosate-weedkiller-causes-liver-disease/

STUDY: http://www.nature.com/articles/srep39328

 

Pesticide Manufacturers Own Tests Reveal Serious Harm To Honeybees 

Unpublished field trials by pesticide manufacturers show their products cause serious harm to honeybees at high levels, leading to calls from senior scientists for the companies to end the secrecy which cloaks much of their research.
The research, conducted by Syngenta and Bayer on their neonicotinoid insecticides, were submitted to the US Environmental Protection Agency and obtained by Greenpeace after a freedom of information request.
Neonicotinoids are the world’s most widely used insecticides and there is clear scientific evidence that they harm bees at the levels found in fields, though only a little to date showing the pesticides harm the overall performance of colonies. Neonicotinoids were banned from use on flowering crops in the EU in 2013, despite UK opposition.
Bees and other insects are vital for pollinating three-quarters of the world’s food crops but have been in significant decline, due to the loss of flower-rich habitats, disease and the use of pesticides.
The newly revealed studies show Syngenta’s thiamethoxam and Bayer’s clothianidin seriously harmed colonies at high doses, but did not find significant effects below concentrations of 50 parts per billion (ppb) and 40ppb respectively. Such levels can sometimes be found in fields but concentrations are usually below 10ppb.

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CO2 Turned Into Stone In Iceland In Climate Change Breakthrough


Carbon dioxide has been pumped underground and turned rapidly into stone, demonstrating a radical new way to tackle climate change.

The unique project promises a cheaper and more secure way of burying CO2 from fossil fuel burning underground, where it cannot warm the planet. Such carbon capture and storage (CCS) is thought to be essential to halting global warming, but existing projects store the CO2 as a gas and concerns about costs and potential leakage have halted some plans.
The new research pumped CO2 into the volcanic rock under Iceland and sped up a natural process where the basalts react with the gas to form carbonate minerals, which make up limestone. The researchers were amazed by how fast all the gas turned into a solid – just two years, compared to the hundreds or thousands of years that had been predicted.
“We need to deal with rising carbon emissions and this is the ultimate permanent storage – turn them back to stone,” said Juerg Matter, at the University of Southampton in the UK, who led the research published on Thursday in the journal Science.
Matter said the only thing holding back CCS was the lack of action from politicians, such as putting a price on carbon emissions: “The engineering and technology of CCS is ready to be deployed. So why do we not see hundreds of these projects? There is no incentive to do it.”

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Answer To Earthworm’s Ability To Digest Poisons Unearthed By Scientists

British scientists have cracked the global earthworm mystery: they have worked out how the planet’s great subterranean reprocessing system copes with the poisons that would choke most herbivores.
Earthworms underwrite almost all life on earth: they drag fallen leaves below the soil and digest them, to excrete that rich mix of loam and living things called topsoil. Every year, 35 billion tons of dead grass and leaf litter get turned over by the worms and other soil fauna. But the catch is that some plants are really poisonous, and all plants contain some toxins designed by evolution to discourage demolition by herbivores, and these toxins carry on working even after leaf fall.
But earthworms seem to have the stomach for almost anything vegetable. And Manuel Liebeke and Jakob Bundy of Imperial College in London have the answer. They and colleagues report in the journal Nature Communications that that the earthworm’s gut contains a suit of molecules that neutralise the polyphenols that give plants their colour, serve as antioxidants and discourage many ravenous grazers.

The worm’s internal defences have been identified and pinpointed by sophisticated visual imaging, and named drilodefensins. The researchers calculate that drilodefensins are so abundant that for every person on the planet there may be at least one kilogram of the molecules in the worms under their feet.
Which is why we are all here: researchers last year confirmed that the simple existence of earthworms in the soil means that crop yields may increase on average by 25% and the weight of all foliage above ground by 23%. The great biologist and evolutionary pioneer Charles Darwin called them “nature’s ploughs.”
But, the Imperial team point out, without the earthworm’s arsenal of drilodefensins, there wouldn’t be much soil to plough.

Continue reading “Answer To Earthworm’s Ability To Digest Poisons Unearthed By Scientists”

Earthworms Increase Plant Production

To meet the challenge of feeding a growing world population with minimal environmental impact, we need comprehensive and quantitative knowledge of ecological factors affecting crop production. Earthworms are among the most important soil dwelling invertebrates. Their activity affects both biotic and abiotic soil properties, in turn affecting plant growth. Yet, studies on the effect of earthworm presence on crop yields have not been quantitatively synthesized. Here we show, using meta-analysis, that on average earthworm presence in agroecosystems leads to a 25% increase in crop yield and a 23% increase in aboveground biomass. The magnitude of these effects depends on presence of crop residue, earthworm density and type and rate of fertilization. The positive effects of earthworms become larger when more residue is returned to the soil, but disappear when soil nitrogen availability is high. This suggests that earthworms stimulate plant growth predominantly through releasing nitrogen locked away in residue and soil organic matter. Our results therefore imply that earthworms are of crucial importance to decrease the yield gap of farmers who can’t -or won’t- use nitrogen fertilizer.

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