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Farmer’s use of genetically modified soybeans grows into Supreme Court case - Washington Post (2013)

Farmer’s use of genetically modified soybeans grows into Supreme Court case - Washington Post (2013) | my universe | Scoop.it

Bowman’s unorthodox soybean farming techniques have landed him at the center of a national battle over genetically modified crops. His legal battle, now at the Supreme Court, raises questions about whether the right to patent living things extends to their progeny, and how companies that engage in cutting-edge research can recoup their investments.

 

What Bowman did was to take commodity grain from the local elevator, which is usually used for feed, and plant it. But that grain was mostly progeny of Monsanto’s Roundup Ready beans because that’s what most Indiana soybean farmers grow. Those soybeans are genetically modified to survive the weedkiller Roundup, and Monsanto claims that Bowman’s planting violated the company’s restrictions.

 

Those supporting Bowman hope the court uses the case, which is scheduled for oral arguments later this month, to hit the reset button on corporate domination of agribusiness and what they call Monsanto’s “legal assault” on farmers who don’t toe the line. Monsanto’s supporters say advances in health and environmental research are endangered.

 

And the case raises questions about the traditional role of farmers. For instance: When a farmer grows Monsanto’s genetically modified soybean seeds, has he simply “used” the seed to create a crop to sell, or has he “made” untold replicas of Monsanto’s invention that remain subject to the company’s restrictions? ...

 

Farmers who buy seeds with the Roundup Ready trait sign an agreement that says they may be used for one planting only. Even though the gene exists in the new beans they grow, farmers cannot save them for a second planting, nor sell them to others for that purpose. But they are allowed to sell the beans to giant grain elevators, like those that are the most prominent feature on the flat landscape in Bowman’s corner of southern Indiana. 

 

From 1999 to 2007, Bowman purchased Roundup Ready seeds for his first planting of soybeans and abided by Monsanto’s restrictions. But like some farmers, he also plants a second crop later in the growing season; such crops are highly dependent on the weather, which makes them more hit-or-miss.

It is too risky to pay the high price of Monsanto’s Roundup-resistant seeds for the second crop of the season, Bowman said, so instead he purchased cheaper commodity grain from the local elevator, which is usually used for feed. He planted it, and when he sprayed the crop with the herbicide, almost all survived. That wasn’t surprising, because 94 percent of Indiana soybean farmers grow Roundup Ready beans. 

 

Bowman told Monsanto exactly what he was doing, and Monsanto told him to stop. The farmer was in effect “soybean laundering,” according to some of the companies supporting Monsanto at the Supreme Court — selling Roundup Ready progeny beans to the grain elevator and hoping other farmers were too, then buying them back and planting them...


Via Alexander J. Stein
Norman Warthmann's insight:

this will be an interesting lawsuit to follow :)

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Embryonic lethality of Arabidopsis abp1-1 is caused by deletion of the adjacent BSM gene

Embryonic lethality of Arabidopsis abp1-1 is caused by deletion of the adjacent BSM gene | my universe | Scoop.it
Auxin-binding protein ABP1 has been characterized as a secreted receptor for the hormone.
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Rescooped by Norman Warthmann from Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education)
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Achilles' Heel - the story of cassava presented by CIAT

Achilles' Heel - the story of cassava presented by CIAT | my universe | Scoop.it

This is really cool - you have to check it out. The future of storytelling?

 

"What’s in your noodle soup? You may never have heard of it before. Cassava - or tapioca - is a root crop like sweet potato originally from South America, where it is steamed or boiled and eaten as a source of carbohydrate. It appears that Spanish traders introduced the species from Mexico to Southeast Asia in the 19th Century, where it survived drought and high temperatures. It’s still eaten as a root crop in some areas, especially in mountainous areas where few other crops will grow. But today it’s also used in a wide range of other foods and markets, and cassava starch is used to make everything from noodles to sweeteners. "

 


Via Mary Williams
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A Battery Revolution in Motion

A Battery Revolution in Motion | my universe | Scoop.it
The first prototype of a sodium-ion battery has just been revealed by the RS2E, a French network bringing together researchers and industrial actors. This technology, inspired by the lithium-ion batteries already used in portable computers and electric vehicles, could lead to the mass storage of intermittent renewable energy sources.
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Your (Unhashable) Fingerprints Secure Nothing

Your (Unhashable) Fingerprints Secure Nothing | my universe | Scoop.it
Passwords are crap. Nobody picks good ones, when they do they re-use them across sites, and if you use even a trustworthy password manager, they'll get hacked too. But you know what's worse than a pas...
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If GMOs aren’t the problem with our food system, then what is?

If GMOs aren’t the problem with our food system, then what is? | my universe | Scoop.it
UNEARTHED | Food leaders make their case for what needs fixing, and how we might try to fix it.
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The Battle Over Genome Editing Gets Science All Wrong

The Battle Over Genome Editing Gets Science All Wrong | my universe | Scoop.it

eallFraming the battle over credit for CRISPR as Berkeley v. MIT is wrong.

Norman Warthmann's insight:

how science really works and why noble prizes can be unfair.

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Bans on kangaroo products are a case of emotion trumping science

Bans on kangaroo products are a case of emotion trumping science | my universe | Scoop.it
Campaigners against commercial kangaroo harvesting say it's unsustainable and have convinced California to extend a ban on kangaroo imports. But are Australia's world-famous roos really at risk?
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Mi cassava es tu cassava

Mi cassava es tu cassava | my universe | Scoop.it
New research shows just how much different regions of the world rely on each other for the foods they know and love – and why it’s time to share This world is really messed up. Especially when it c...
Norman Warthmann's insight:

How Plant Genetic Resources connect the world!

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Chestnut leaves yield extract that disarms deadly staph bacteria

Chestnut leaves yield extract that disarms deadly staph bacteria | my universe | Scoop.it
Leaves of the European chestnut tree contain ingredients with the power to disarm dangerous staph bacteria without boosting its drug resistance, scientists have found.
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If everyone lived in an 'ecovillage', the Earth would still be in trouble

If everyone lived in an 'ecovillage', the Earth would still be in trouble | my universe | Scoop.it
How can we live within the means of our planet? Almost all environmental literature grossly underestimates what is needed for our civilisation to become sustainable.
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A World Without Work

A World Without Work | my universe | Scoop.it
For centuries, experts have predicted that machines would make workers obsolete. That moment may finally be arriving. Could that be a good thing?
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LibreOffice now available on Apple's Mac App Store

LibreOffice now available on Apple's Mac App Store | my universe | Scoop.it
You can get LibreOffice on OSX with automatic updates, long-term maintenance, and optional professional support, for the first time.
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newDemocracy Foundation

newDemocracy Foundation | my universe | Scoop.it
The newDemocracy Foundation is an independent, non-partisan research organisation aiming to identify improvements to our democratic process. We aim to replace the adversarial with the deliberative, and move out of the "continuous campaign" cycle.
We appreciate the public endorsement of people who have lent their names to supporting the cause of non-partisan democratic reform and encourage you to consider the results of the research we publish.
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Rescooped by Norman Warthmann from Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education)
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What’s in your herbal medicines?

What’s in your herbal medicines? | my universe | Scoop.it
Making sure that a tablet claiming to have 500 mg of paracetamol really does contain 500 mg of paracetamol is relatively easy. But how do you test for herbs?

Via Mary Williams
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Mary Williams's curator insight, December 15, 2015 2:49 AM

Here's a link to the article this article is based on, "Combined DNA, toxicological and heavy metal analyses provides an auditing toolkit to improve pharmacovigilance of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM)" http://www.nature.com/articles/srep17475 (it's open access too).

Rescooped by Norman Warthmann from Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education)
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Tomatoes taste good because we slowed down their internal clocks

Tomatoes taste good because we slowed down their internal clocks | my universe | Scoop.it
Domestication accidentally created a plant that thrives in long summer days.

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Mary Williams's curator insight, November 18, 2015 3:31 AM

This is a summary of a new paper out in Nature Genetics, "Domestication selected for deceleration of the circadian clock in cultivated tomato"

http://www.nature.com/ng/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/ng.3447.html

Rescooped by Norman Warthmann from The Great Transition
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Leading a green lifestyle could help us be more satisfied

Leading a green lifestyle could help us be more satisfied | my universe | Scoop.it
People will need to lead less materialistic lifestyles if we are to transition to a green economy, but the challenge in changing actual behaviours and lifestyles lies in overcoming our ingrained notions about consumption, success and happiness.

That's according to Ricardo García Mira from the University of A Coruña in Spain, who is leading an EU-funded project looking at how to encourage people to behave in a pro-environmental manner.

How will our individual lifestyles have to change over the next 10 years if we are serious about reducing climate change?

Via Willy De Backer
Norman Warthmann's insight:

an example of the much needed research towards behavioural change!

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Willy De Backer's curator insight, November 7, 2015 4:41 AM

Another example of the great research done by EU institutions, which never then never reaches policymakers. How can we change this?

 

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Changes in environmental impacts of major crops in the US - IOPscience

Changes in environmental impacts of major crops in the US - IOPscience | my universe | Scoop.it
the impact per hectare corn and cotton generated on the ecological health of freshwater systems decreased by about 50% in the last decade. This change is mainly due to the use of genetically modified (GM) crops
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Google Code of Conduct – Investor Relations – Google

Google 

Norman Warthmann's insight:

goolge swapped "Don't be evil" for "Do the right thing" and I don't think its the same

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Scientist says researchers in immigrant-friendly nations can't use his software

Scientist says researchers in immigrant-friendly nations can't use his software | my universe | Scoop.it
Gangolf Jobb, who developed Treefinder, has banned its use in eight European countries and the U.S.
Norman Warthmann's insight:

oh wow!

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Tuna and mackerel populations suffer catastrophic 74% decline, research shows

Tuna and mackerel populations suffer catastrophic 74% decline, research shows | my universe | Scoop.it
WWF says we risk losing species critical to human food security unless action is taken to halt overfishing and other threats to marine life
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Resolving Conflicts between Agriculture and the Natural Environment

Resolving Conflicts between Agriculture and the Natural Environment | my universe | Scoop.it

seeAgriculture dominates the planet but has many environmental costs that will escalate with global food demand. This Essay outlines a vision for a more sustainable future.

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Time to fix patents - Economist (2015)

Time to fix patents - Economist (2015) | my universe | Scoop.it

In 1970 the United States recognised the potential of crop science by broadening the scope of patents in agriculture. Patents are supposed to reward inventiveness, so that should have galvanised progress. Yet, despite providing extra protection, that change and a further broadening of the regime in the 1980s led neither to more private research into wheat nor to an increase in yields. Overall, the productivity of American agriculture continued its gentle upward climb, much as it had before.

In other industries, too, stronger patent systems seem not to lead to more innovation. That alone would be disappointing, but the evidence suggests something far worse.

Patents are supposed to spread knowledge, by obliging holders to lay out their innovation for all to see; they often fail, because patent-lawyers are masters of obfuscation. Instead, the system has created a parasitic ecology of trolls and defensive patent-holders, who aim to block innovation, or at least to stand in its way unless they can grab a share of the spoils. An early study found that newcomers to the semiconductor business had to buy licences from incumbents for as much as $200m. Patents should spur bursts of innovation; instead, they are used to lock in incumbents’ advantages.

The patent system is expensive. A decade-old study reckons that in 2005, without the temporary monopoly patents bestow, America might have saved three-quarters of its $210 billion bill for prescription drugs. The expense would be worth it if patents brought innovation and prosperity. They don’t.

Innovation fuels the abundance of modern life. From Google’s algorithms to a new treatment for cystic fibrosis, it underpins the knowledge in the “knowledge economy”. The cost of the innovation that never takes place because of the flawed patent system is incalculable. Patent protection is spreading, through deals such as the planned Trans-Pacific Partnership, which promises to cover one-third of world trade. The aim should be to fix the system, not make it more pervasive.

One radical answer would be to abolish patents altogether—indeed, in 19th-century Britain, that was this newspaper’s preference. But abolition flies in the face of the intuition that if you create a drug or invent a machine, you have a claim on your work just as you would if you had built a house. Should someone move into your living room uninvited, you would feel justifiably aggrieved. So do those who have their ideas stolen.

Yet no property rights are absolute. When the benefits are large enough, governments routinely override them—by seizing money through taxation, demolishing houses to make way for roads and controlling what you can do with your land. Striking the balance between the claim of the individual and the interests of society is hard. But with ideas, the argument that the government should force the owners of intellectual property to share is especially strong...

Governments have long recognised that these arguments justify limits on patents. Still, despite repeated attempts to reform it, the system fails. Can it be made to work better? ... One aim should be to rout the trolls and the blockers. Studies have found that 40-90% of patents are never exploited or licensed out by their owners. Patents should come with a blunt “use it or lose it” rule, so that they expire if the invention is not brought to market. Patents should also be easier to challenge without the expense of a full-blown court case. The burden of proof for overturning a patent in court should be lowered.

Patents should reward those who work hard on big, fresh ideas, rather than those who file the paperwork on a tiddler. The requirement for ideas to be “non-obvious” must be strengthened... Patents also last too long. Protection for 20 years might make sense in the pharmaceutical industry, because to test a drug and bring it to market can take more than a decade. But in industries like information technology, the time from brain wave to production line, or line of code, is much shorter. When patents lag behind the pace of innovation, firms end up with monopolies on the building-blocks of an industry...


http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21660522-ideas-fuel-economy-todays-patent-systems-are-rotten-way-rewarding-them-time-fix

 

Companion article: Patents are protected by governments because they are held to promote innovation. But there is plenty of evidence that they do not... 

http://www.economist.com/node/21660559

 


Via Alexander J. Stein
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Solar fuels: how planes and cars could be powered by the sun

Solar fuels: how planes and cars could be powered by the sun | my universe | Scoop.it
Rooftop solar power is exploding in the US but some scientists are pursuing a radically different route in renewable energy: storing solar energy as a liquid fuel.
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Resources and advice for students and postdocs | Keogh Lab

Resources and advice for students and postdocs | Keogh Lab | my universe | Scoop.it

From Scott Keough, ANU, "I have a long-standing interest in helping students develop the skills they need to be successful in science and so I have constructed this web site as a first source of information on the development of these important life skills."

You'll find advice about finding a PhD or postdoc position and funding, writing grants etc.


Via Mary Williams
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Jean-Michel Ané's curator insight, June 22, 2015 9:05 PM

Very nice resource.