Friday, July 16, 2010

Thoughts about Genetically Modified Foods and such

I’m no chemist or scientist but I have stayed in a Holiday Inn Express. So consider this when reading anything I print.

Over at We just had a subject brought up about Genetically modified foods or GMO. I started to reply and ended up with too much to put on the board off subject so I place it here for all to see. Some may find my thought interesting ….. or not. Besides it’s my blog so you will have to just deal with it or ignore it if you come here.
Monsanto manufacturers a weed killer called Roundup (glyphosate). It’s been around for years and you can pick it up at any Home Depot or any place that sells garden supplies. I have used it myself years ago to kill pesky weeds around the house. It works, just spray it and it kills whatever weed it gets on.

Only as I advanced in years have I ever considered to look at things differently just for the sake of having another view, one not so boring or ho-hum and I guess that may be a product of at some point finding life mundane and uninteresting after years of excitement and discovery. Nonetheless, I try to do something different everyday even if it’s only altering the order in which I put my clothes on and I was just thinking …. Again! The first consideration or obligation any living thing has is towards its survival and then procreation. I think this applies from the lowest amoeba all the way to man. Weeds, virus’, pest are all no different in this respect.

I think there is a natural order to things, which no one can ever fully understand but that’s another subject, creation, God and such. But as all life struggles for survival, there enters competition. I never really thought I was competing against some bug or amoeba but after eating some bad food in a noodle shop in Hong Kong once, I got a first- hand experience with competing with a bug I could not even see. At one point, the bug was winning and thanks to medicine I over came it and destroyed those little bastards. (Maybe, because it’s entirely possible they merely went dormant and are hiding safely somewhere in my belly. Maybe we have some mutual agreement beyond any comprehension and are now cohabitating peacefully together.)

As humans, we are naturally concerned with our own survival as opposed to some microscopic life-form and rightfully so. In every competition there’s a winner and a loser. If the smallpox loses, fine it’s a threat to my survival. However, every time we monkey with anything in nature there just has to be a chain reaction and possibly unintended consequences. There is ample proof for example that using antibiotics in excess will cause certain viruses to mutate in order to survive and the antibiotic becomes useless to fight off infection. Note: (I just killed a fly that somehow got into the house. There was fly juice all over my desk. Who knows what turd he was munching on just an hour ago. I killed him simply because he was annoying me, but again, could he have become a threat to my existence?)

I cleaned up the fly splatter so back to Monsanto. They have a product that kills weeds. They also experiment in genetically altering seed in many food items. Having developed a way of taking DNA from one life form and placing it into another we can see the ability to completely alter a life form by combining small parts of the whole. I think there was one experiment where they have taken the DNA of a cold water fish and put it into tomatoes, which resulted in a tomato that can withstand much colder temperatures. Amazing stuff this genetic modification.

Now, it seems they have gone several directions in seed modification. Monsanto, since it owns Roundup has developed seed which is immune to the active ingredient glyphosate. This makes perfect business sense. Now you can use their corn seed for instance, and apply as much roundup as you wish to abate weed growth in the field without damaging the crop. They say it can save 450 hours of labor and around 3500 gallons of fuel on a thousand acres. Of course, we all know that will vary but sound business sense again. But there are now problems showing up in people living downwind of these farms. They have even taken it further and I understand there is a corn seed which produces a plant the actually emits the glyphosate relieving the farmer of even the labor to spray the crop. Now we have a case in which who knows how much of the chemical is being released into the air and what concentrations depending on the size and growth rate of the field. People living near these fields are reporting all sorts of weird health problems. This is not restricted to corn but soybeans and just about anything that grows. Much of this is going on in India, and as SS suggested, experiment in other countries who are unable to produce enough food is not an original thought so don’t blame SS. There is a history of this; remember Bhopal?

There are so many things to discuss about this process there is not time or room to just skim the surface on what may be a very serious problem going forward. This is all in the name of producing more and better food to feed starving peoples of the world but the bottom line is, this is a business and the first consideration is to profit from capital investment. There is the conflict. You will get nothing but glowing rhetoric from those who stand to profit. You will get a different story form those opposed to any alteration of natural products. The truth is likely somewhere in between. I sort of look at it as the whole point of genetic engineering on Monsanto’s part as a way to increase sales of its products, and that’s exactly what a for-profit company is supposed to do. On the other hand, if there is ample evidence of unintended consequences which do more harm in the long run then this practice needs to stop until those questions are answered.

One thing is certain you will get no protection from any government until after the fact. That’s just the way they operate. And frankly, I firmly believe governments operate from a profit basis also. That is, profit for those who have been able to convince the people to place them in authority. It is just a matter of time due to human nature, that, those who assume, seize, get elected, or in some way gain power over other humans will act solely in their own self-interest. This invariably results in untold death and suffering at some point. As a small example Google [Inslaw Promis] when you have some time and you can see how upright government can be especially those charged with the law itself. If you dig deep enough in to this ONE thing it will make you sick. And it’s not just about the software theft.

From a purely Machiavellian position I could care less what goes on outside my little world other than that which affects me. Therein lies the problem. I would simply like to live my life peacefully and with few interactions with others. Another problem, aggressive or zealous individuals perhaps half a planet away interfere with my peace, so like it or not, simply because I am a human I must pay attention and at times take action to insure that I am simply left alone. I spent the first 1/3 of my productive life as a warrior, the second 1/3 enforcing the law and finally got to do what I want to do for the final 1/3. The final 1/3 was the most rewarding and productive. What does that tell you.

My main concern now is that soon we will have nothing left but genetically modified seed. It won’t take that long and if you worry about a monopoly then a monopoly on the world’s food supply is something that should be front and center to any free person. This has not just suddenly come about it has been progressing towards this point for over 50 years.

I know this is not about stock but what use is amassing a pile of assets and end up exhausting all of it on food in short order. You may in effect be prevented for growing and surviving on your own food supply by default, because the seed you will be able to purchase is, by design, sterile and cannot produce seed which can be used in the next planting season. This has the potential to place all humanity at the mercy of very few people who can deny the first right and obligation of men, and that’s the right to life and survival.


  1. I have tried to post here in the past with little success. My post haven’t shown up in the past after I’ve submitted them (is it because I am in England?). I am a tryer and as everyone knows “God Loves A Tryer.” God must really love me because people tell me I that am very trying.

    Fingers crossed as I post this test piece to see if I can break my duck.

    I expressed my opinions about GM on Buy-High-Sell-Higher.;msg13782#msg13782

    Nice place you’ve got here SW.



    Can I post pictures or graphics on this site or not?

  2. I have been growing food crops without the use of chemicals for about 10 years. There are so many organic alternatives on the market now too. I use organic fertilisers, but I hardly ever need to resort to pesticides (even organic ones) now. Nearly every year I have had less pest damage and a bigger crop. This year is in on track to be the best of all.
    The birds play their part in keeping down pests. They eat some of my produce but its small beer in comparison to the money they’ve save me on pest control, and watching them is pleasure too. A few weeks ago I found a grass snake in the strawberries. That’s a sight that I had never witnessed in the garden before (33 years). Its presence seems to have reduced the amount of pest damage even further.
    I have a small patch of just 3 wheat plants which have self seeded in part of the garden. To the best of my knowledge there are no wheat fields for many miles near where we are. There are stables down the road and some live stock farms in the immediate area. The seeds probably came out of straw bedding or feed and then carried there by the birds etc. Whether it is by nature or by man it just goes to show how easy would be to carry GM modified plants and those genes for miles, and how difficult it would be to halt the spread if any problems occurred.

    My approach isn’t good news for the Agrichemical industry though.
    Although I accept that commercial growers with their mono culture fields face problems that would probably be difficult to resolve using a totally organic approach. I think they could/should do more though.

    I am all for progress, and I am definitely I’m not one of the “Beard and Sandals Brigade,” but we’re tampering with the building blocks of nature here. Can we really understand all the long term implications? Profits first, and then face the consequences later territory (much like the approach BP and the banks have done)?

    The longer criminals get away with their activities the more crimes they commit and adventurous they become.

    “Don't it always seem to go,
    That you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone.
    They paved paradise put up a parking lot

    They took all the trees, put 'em in a tree museum,
    And they charge the people a dollar and a half just to see 'em

    Hey farmer, farmer, put away the DDT now
    Give me spots on my apples, but leave me the birds and the bees.

    Regards SS.


  3. Not sure if you can post a picture on the comments but worth a try. I attempted to by not able here.

    Not sure why you were unable to post in comments I have left it open to all and no censorship that I know of.

    Thanks SS.... I guess that's you. Not sure if you sign up as a follower you can post under you own name otherwise it appears a anonymous.