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Submission + - Hidden Viral Gene CaMV IV in GMO Crops Discovered by Researchers (

Jeremiah Cornelius writes: Researchers with the European Food Safety Authority discovered variants of the Cauliflower mosaic virus 35S in the most widely harvested varieties of genetically-modified crops, including Monsanto's RoundupReady Soy and Maze. According to researchers, Podevin and du Jardin, the particular "Gene IV" is responsible for a number of possible consequences that could affect human health, including inhibition of RNA silencing and production of proteins with known toxicity. The EFSA is endorsing "retrospective risk assessment" of CaMV promoter and its Gene VI sequences — in an attempt to give it a clean bill of health. It is unknown if the presence of the hidden viral genes were the result of laboratory contamination or a possible recombinant product of the resultant organism. There are serious implications for the production of GMO for foodstuffs, given either possibility.

Submission + - Japanese Mayor: Radioactive Lunch Serves Educational Purpose ( 2

Jeremiah Cornelius writes: In Japan's Miyagi prefecture, harmful levels of cesium-137 were detected in compulsory school lunches served to Elementary and Middle School students, as recently as August.

In response to the public disclosure of the radioactive school lunches, Takao Abe, The Mayor of Kawasaki City, said having to eat radioactive food serves an educational purpose. "Students need to know they live in (a world with) danger by consuming radioactive school lunches. It’s wrong to educate children to be conscious about this level of radiation. There is a risk of being hit by car, there is also a risk of being stabbed by a passerby."

Kawasaki City is some 130km from Tepco's failed Fukushima nuclear plant. On August 30, 12 Bq/kg of cesium were detected in the lunches served to Nakaniida junior high school. Similar levels have been recorded in frozen tangerines and canned apples served in prefecture school lunches, since at least April.


Submission + - X51A Hypersonic Research Flight "A Failure" (

Jeremiah Cornelius writes: According to Associate Press, the Air Force announced the failure of the X-51A Waverider, after being dropped by a B-52 bomber off the California coast. The unmanned experimental aircraft was designed to reach Mach 6, or 3,600 mph. suffered a control failure during an attempt to fly at six times the speed of sound. But the Air Force said that a faulty control fin prevented it from starting its exotic scramjet engine and the craft was lost. The first Boeing-designed X-51A achieved Mach 5 for about 140 seconds in 2010. A second Waverider flight last year ended prematurely with the craft trying to restart its engine until it plunged into the Pacific.

Submission + - Why Are Cells Powered by Proton Gradients? (

Jeremiah Cornelius writes: Virtually all cells "breathe" by pumping protons, in the form of hydrogen ions, across a membrane. Molecular biologist Leslie Orgel considers this the single most counterintuitive idea in biology after Darwin's, and the only one to bear comparison with the concepts of Heisenberg, Schrödinger, and Einstein. Brainchild of biochemist Peter Mitchell, the concept was controversial for a twenty year period now known as the "ox-phos wars". The wars drew to an end only after Mitchell received the Nobel Prize in 1978. Complex life is dependent on this process, but only now are the pertinent questions being asked, about why this is so.
Sun Microsystems

Submission + - Sun Cooling, Soon to Have Four Poles, Say Japanese Astrophysicists ( 1

Jeremiah Cornelius writes: Officials of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan and the Riken research foundation said on April 19 that the activity of sunspots appeared to resemble a 70-year period in the 17th century. Known as the Maunder Minimum, temperatures are estimated to have been about 2.5 degrees lower than in the second half of the 20th century. The researchers also found signs of unusual magnetic changes in the sun. Normally, the sun’s magnetic field flips about once every 11 years. The solar observation satellite Hinode found that the north pole of the sun had started flipping about a year earlier than expected, with no noticeable change in the south pole. It's possible the north pole could complete its flip in May 2012 but create a four-pole magnetic structure in the sun, with two new poles created in the vicinity of the equator of our closest star.

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Enzymes are things invented by biologists that explain things which otherwise require harder thinking. -- Jerome Lettvin