Science in Society Archive

Science in Society #53 - Letters to the Editor

Science in Society 53

Shut down Wall Street & Reclaim Mainstreet

Re “Shut Down Wall Street!” (SiS 53), “Give a man a gun and he can rob a bank, give a man a bank and he can rob the world!” How can the entire globe be in debt? Who is it owed to? Mars?

Debt based fiat money coupled with fractional (fictional) reserve banking is simply the vehicle for wealth transfer (theft) from the masses to the vested interests. Exponentially increasing interest paid, through austerity fascism, on loans made from nothing is legalized fraud.

Derivatives have simply accelerated this process of siphoning off wealth into dark pools of capital.  Not mentioned in this article and truly key to the “crisis” is the role played by Credit Default Swaps - fraudulent insurance policies riding on top of the fake rated, securitized mortgages and triggered in the event of the inevitable default. The contracts could be taken out many times over on the same asset of which ownership was not required. Coupled with insider knowledge it was like burning down your neighbours’ house and collecting fifty times the insurance.

The image of bankers and politicians scratching their heads is a play for your distraction. A bank robber who has succeeded in robbing a bank has not failed.

Apply the same scam to countries and you have the Euro crisis. It’s a joke that one country such as Greece can threaten the whole of Europe through “irrational exuberance". This time they are using countries instead of sub-prime mortgage holders. The “bail out” money simply goes to pay off the fraudulently induced interest on the bonds.  When (not if) the defaults occur, we know where the insurance money will go.

And what are they doing with all these stolen digits? They are buying up all the world’s resources - land, commodities, food, water, and gold at bargain basement prices, which will turn into an avalanche of hyperinflation of which the world has never seen.
Dylan Jones, Main Street Preacher, Birmingham, UK.

Re New Economy Now (SiS 53), as an Englishman I was not aware of most of this and am greatly heartened by this report. In Europe we have a number of similar banks and building societies especially Triodos Bank, the Co-operative bank and The Ecology Building Society all of which I support.
Amyan Macfadyen, Professor Emeritus of Biology, University of Ulster, past president of British Ecological Society, Sheffield, UK

Truth about French Nuclear Power

Re French Nuclear Power Not Safe (SiS 53), Greg Palast, former lead investigator in several government nuclear plant fraud and racketeering investigations, has written an alarming article on nuclear safety - apparently the backup diesel generators supposed to prevent a meltdown if the plant is unexpectedly shut down are for show only - they never actually work -
David Hodges, Auckland New Zealand

The True Costs of French Nuclear Power (SiS 53) starts with a clear bias against nuclear power. Not surprisingly, it marshals quite a body of “evidence” in support of that position. Third generation reactors now entering service will prove to be even safer and more productive than current units and at lower cost. The generation after that, patterned on the proven US IFR (Integral Fast Reactor) design will be able to power the world for millennia at lower cost than anything currently running and are incapable of experiencing meltdowns or dangerous accidents. They also consume the dangerous wastes existing reactors have produced to date leaving a small residue that is radiologically safe in 300 years and thus needs no expensive and uncertain permanent waste disposal sites. The IFR design can also burn up 99 % plus of the reactive elements in their fuel vs. 0.7% for current reactors, which extends the useful life of fuel by over 100 times, and in turn means (combined with burning up 60 years of accumulated waste from current reactors) a dramatic reduction in uranium mining and fuel costs. In the end, nuclear power is the only currently known way to generate the massive amounts of power modern societies require in a clean, safe and environmentally benign manner. Just research the alternatives carefully, dispassionately, and without preconceptions or bias and you will see that this is true.
John Hart, retired securities analyst, Portland CT, USA

Susie Greaves replies
My article is fully referenced, much of the information coming from the French nuclear industry itself.

Integrated Fast Reactors do not represent new technology. They are the latest version of the fast breeder reactor which has appeared in various forms since the dawn of the nuclear age. After vast amounts of money into research and development (50 billion dollars world wide) they have been abandoned by the US, the UK, Germany and France, and of the handful in operation, none has been commercially successful because the technology is dogged with safety problems. Any interested reader should investigate the Super Phenix project in France (abandoned in 1996 after ten years in operation, producing electricity at full power for only 174 days, at a cost of 11.7 billion euros to the French tax payer) or Monju, in Japan (achieved criticality in 1994, sodium leak and fire in 1995, and still not operational).

Their main attraction was to provide (supposedly) an endless supply of uranium, but this is no longer a relevant concern, as the demand for uranium was hugely overestimated by the nuclear industry. The technology has not solved problems of nuclear waste storage and conventional reprocessing has proved cheaper. A February 2010 report of the International Panel on Fissile Materials on the history and status of fast breeder technology (available at ) concludes with this sentence, regarding the reason why the US stopped funding the Integrated Fast Reactor and other fast breeders. “Although there are safety issues generic to liquid metal fast reactors, it does not appear that they were the predominant reasons for the demise of the breeder program in the United States. More important were proliferation concerns and a growing conviction that breeder reactors would not be needed or economically competitive with light-water reactors for decades, if ever.”

Don Huber’s pathogen new to science in GM crops: publish or perish?

In USDA Scientist Reveals All - Glyphosate Hazards to Crops, Soils, Animals, and Consumers, SiS 53, you referred to the Cattlemen’s Association statement to US Congress on the serious and puzzling rises in reproductive problems. Could you please provide a link so it can be verified? It also strikes me as odd why Huber has to wait until he has solved the question of which kind of organism this new entity is, before publishing it, if, as he claims, so much is already known about it, and it's unquestionable that it exists. Given the kind of devastation he says this entity causes, it would only make sense if the scientific community is widely alerted to its presence via formal publication, so others could study it too.
Maggie Zhou Ph.D., activist on climate justice and anti-war, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

You can imagine how difficult it is for Dr. Huber to get peer reviewed collaboration on his research when Monsanto will use any and all techniques at their disposal (which are considerable) to intimidate, pull funding from research labs, and present conflicting research performed by their own scientists (on their payroll). Is it any wonder that Dr. Huber wants to make sure all the ‘I’s are dotted, and all the ‘t’s are crossed before publishing his full research results. He has already been threatened and intimidated to the extent that would cause most of us to crumple like a cheap suit. The internet abounds with information that should be more than enough cause for concern without even taking into consideration the details of Dr. Huber’s research.
Steve Burleigh, Springfield, Maine, USA

Dr. Eva Sirinathsinghji replies
The Testimony of the Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America, to the Senate Agriculture Committee July 24, 2002, and the minutes of Prof. Huber’s meeting and his presentation can be found here:  Huber is waiting to confirm and understand fully what the entity is before he publishes. He is collaborating with other scientists on this research. Science is a slow process, and I assume he wants to know as much as possible before publishing to minimize confusion over the issue.

New genetics & health

Re Mismatch of RNA to DNA Widespread (SiS 53) I have always said that the genetic material is an interactive system in which input=output. This is evidenced by the instances of brain damage in vaccinated children and documented extensively by Harris Coulter PhD in his book, Vaccination, The Assault on the American Brain. If the genes are not interfered with, the result is much healthier children who suffer 80 % less acute diseases. This automatically translates into less cost in healthcare. Genetic determinism has never held any proper ground, regardless of claims to the contrary. Just as the germ theory is a fallacy that robs the patient of his responsibilities and makes him easy prey to Big Medicine, the genetic model has been adopted as explanation for diseases not associated with any germs for precisely the same reason.
Vaikunthanath Kaviraj, Vice President, World Homeopathic Association UK Chapter, London, UK

If genes are as fluid and dynamic as you point out, what are the implications with respect to genetic blueprinting of bacteria and its use in epidemiology?
Ken Conrad, Church Lane Farm, Chisholm, Ontario, Canada

Dr. Mae-Wan Ho replies
Good question Ken Conrad. Geneticists have indeed found rapid ‘evolution’ due to horizontal gene transfer and recombination, if not directed mutations, for example in the recent E. coli outbreak in Germany. They are so rapid and profuse that some of us suspect artificial genetic engineering may have something to do with it. In classifying bacteria, they rely on ribosomal RNA genes, of which there are multiple copies and not so much subject to horizontal gene transfer and recombination as other genes.

In praise of the Japanese knotweed

Re Plant Immune System Spawns New Biopesticides (SiS 53), Japanese Knotweed, which people work very hard to uproot and kill when it invades their property, is excellent food. When it’s 2-3 feet high, just break off the top couple of feet (hurry because in early spring Knotweed seems to grow a foot a day), chop it into manageable pieces, steam lightly over rice or in a steamer by itself, top with a tad of butter. It tastes like lemony asparagus; really quite good. Now ISIS tells us it helps our immune systems too. Excellent news! It grows all over the place. Japanese Knotweed was brought in because it’s a beautiful plant with heart-shaped leaves and gorgeous flowers late in the season, one of the last sources of food for bees before winter. I also use it as a 10-foot-high fence between my neighbours’ property and mine (crabby neighbour doesn’t like the fact that I refuse to mow my lawn, only clip little paths, and have “messy” organic gardens). Thanks, ISIS, for justifying my refusal to uproot the Knotweed; although one must pull invading roots every few days or it will take over large sections of your land. Just keep eating it. I also put quite a bit of it up for winter in glass jars so I can put it in soups all winter. Yay for Japanese Knotweed!
Nancy Oden, Director, Clean Earth Farms School of Practical Skills, Jonesboro, Maine, USA

Article first published 15/02/12

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There are 2 comments on this article so far. Add your comment above.

David Llewellyn Foster Comment left 16th February 2012 19:07:34
re new economics, I strongly recommend the work of Mary Mellor to your readers; there is an excellent Schumacher College lecture here sound, eco-feminist, provisioning logic - we don't have to put up with kindergarten toy-box banking, there are other ways to conceptualise wealth!

David R.(Canada) Comment left 16th February 2012 19:07:05
It was said that Iceland was going to bring down the world's economy. In a referendum the voters decided that banks would not get a bailout. The world's economy continued and Iceland is now well on it's way to recovery. When a referendum was suggested in Greece, the Prime Minister was quickly ushered out and replaced with an ex-Goldman-Sachs employee to oversee the bank bailout. It has been calculated that 81% of all the bailout money goes to the banks, the rest to who-knows-what, all the while putting the country deeper into debt. This will only stop when the banks get all their money back or there's a "French Revolution" event. Expect to see a lot more blood in the streets.