As your humble scribe, I welcome you all to another edition of Overnight News Digest.
I am most pleased to share this platform with jlms qkw, maggiejean, wader, rfall, JLM9999 and side pocket. Additionally, I wish to recognize our alumni editors palantir, Bentliberal, Oke, Interceptor7, and ScottyUrb along with annetteboardman as our guest editor.
Neon Vincent is our editor-in-chief.
Special thanks go to Magnifico for starting this venerable series.
India Bans GMO Crop
Campaigners welcome decision to put on hold cultivation of genetically modified (GM) aubergine crop, Bt Brinjal, until 'safety of product' established
India has banned the planting of the country's first edible GM crop, a type of aubergine modified to produce Bt toxin
The seed, developed by the Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company, which is part owned by US biotech giant Monsanto, was said to be more resistant to natural pests.
'India is the origin of the brinjal family of plants, so containing the GM trait once the GM brinjal is released could prove impossible,' said GM Freeze campaigner Peter Riley.
Are genetically modified crops the way of the future ?
According to Dr. Richard Goodman, a former manager of the Allergy Program with Monsanto, who currently works as a research professor with the Food Allergy and Resource Program at the University of Nebraska, much of the talk concerning genetically modified organisms is driven by rumors, and poorly constructed scientific studies. He sees the main potential health threat in genetically modified crops to be the allergic reactions an individual may have to the new proteins inserted into the crops.
However, some organizations, such as the Non-GMO Project, point to recent shortcomings of these GM crops’ ability to repel pests, namely an insect called a corn borer. One study explained the ineffectiveness of BT maize (corn) in repelling the pests.
“Commercial GE crops have made no inroads so far into raising the intrinsic or potential yield of any crop. By contrast, traditional breeding has been spectacularly successful in this regard; it can be solely credited with the intrinsic yield increases in the United States and other parts of the world that characterized the agriculture of the twentieth century.”
Cattle raid leaves 9 dead in South Sudan
Officials in South Sudan say cattle rustlers killed nine people in the country’s most violent state.
Dau Akoi Jurkuch, a county commissioner in Jonglei state, said Friday that armed raiders in military uniform attacked a cattle camp Thursday. Jurkuch said the raiders killed eight people and that one raider was also killed. He said between 5,000 and 10,000 cattle were stolen.
Jurkuch said based on the tribal marks seen on the dead raider’s body the attackers were Murle tribesman.
The Murle are caught in a cyclical campaign of violence with the Lou Nurle. A Murle official said Thursday that more than 325 Murle died in a July attack by Lou Nurle in Jonglei.
Searching for the Truth About California's Prison Hunger Strike
Hundreds of hunger-striking inmates in California have now gone one month without food in a stated effort to end the state's controversial solitary confinement practices. Everyone agrees on that much. But prison advocates and state officials disagree about virtually everything else related to the strike – including who bears responsibility for the death of one incarcerated participant.
Billy Sell, 32, was found dead in his ultra-restrictive Security Housing Unit (SHU) cell at Corcoran State Prison on July 22nd. The California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation (CDCR) initially denied his participation in the ongoing hunger strike, but later acknowledged that by July 11th Sell, who had reportedly been in solitary for five years, had missed the requisite nine meals needed to count as a hunger striker, and had only resumed eating a day before he died. Inmate advocates say Sell was heard screaming for medical attention in the days leading up to his death. Prison officials deny this claim.
"There is no evidence that his suicide, which was a tragic event, was related to the hunger strike," says Terry Thornton, CDCR's deputy press secretary. When CDCR first acknowledged Sell's death, she said that advocates for striking prisoners "are shamelessly exploiting a man's death to mislead the public about a hunger strike orchestrated by violent gang members."
Mysterious Lights In Afghanistan Caused By Fractoluminescence
When certain helicopters in Afghanistan touch down on sandy ground, raising dust they cause mysterious arcs of light to loop and dance through the air.
It is believed to be Fractoluminescence - the emission of light from the fracture (rather than rubbing) of a crystal where the fracturing often occurs with rubbing.
In other words, the fracturing of the quartz sand is causing the illumination.
creativevisualart.com (h/t &♥ crose)
If We Landed on Europa, What Would We Want to Know?
Most of what scientists know of Jupiter's moon Europa they have gleaned from a dozen or so close flybys from NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft in 1979 and NASA's Galileo spacecraft in the mid-to-late 1990s. Even in these fleeting, paparazzi-like encounters, scientists have seen a fractured, ice-covered world with tantalizing signs of a liquid water ocean under its surface. Such an environment could potentially be a hospitable home for microbial life. But what if we got to land on Europa's surface and conduct something along the lines of a more in-depth interview? What would scientists ask? A new study in the journal Astrobiology authored by a NASA-appointed science definition team lays out their consensus on the most important questions to address.
The paper was authored by scientists from a number of other NASA centers and universities, including the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Md.; University of Colorado, Boulder; University of Texas, Austin; and the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. The team found the most important questions clustered around composition: what makes up the reddish "freckles" and reddish cracks that stain the icy surface? What kind of chemistry is occurring there? Are there organic molecules, which are among the building blocks of life?
"Landing on the surface of Europa would be a key step in the astrobiological investigation of that world," said Chris McKay, a senior editor of the journal Astrobiology, who is based at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. "This paper outlines the science that could be done on such a lander. The hope would be that surface materials, possibly near the linear crack features, include biomarkers carried up from the ocean."
Tweeting Is Big in Turkish Town, but Not the Kind Done on Twitter
KUSKOY, Turkey—Many people aren't connected to the Internet in this remote hilltop village. But tweeting is a very big deal.
Residents here have for centuries communicated with one another using a series of elaborately trilled whistles known as "bird language."
Living on the fertile slopes above Turkey's Black Sea coast, they have honed an earsplitting warble that can reverberate for nearly a mile.
"Technology can be a killer of the arts and this case is no different," said Mahmut Salcan, an official from Turkey's Culture Ministry, who attended the festival with a troupe of folk dancers from Azerbaijan. Old-school tweeting, he said, "is unlikely to survive for too long."
London 'fatbergs' burned to generate power
Fat and oil clogging up London's sewers is set to be used to supply a power station and the national gird.
Grease and fat will be collected from sewers and restaurants before being burned to create about 130 Gigawatt hours (GWh) of power each year.
The fat-fuelled plant at Beckton, east London, will be run by 2OC and sell 75 GWh to Thames Water to power a nearby sewage works and desalination plant.
Bill Moyers and Company Richard Wolff (Economist)