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Thursday, March 31, 2016

More concerns that "Glyphosate is safe" studies were paid for

There are more concerns that for-profit scientists are being bought by biotech companies to claim the biotech products are safe. One example is for Roundup, aka glyphosate. There were 5 independent studies, 3 of which found glyphosate was an EDC. There were 27 studies of glyphosate paid for by industry, but not one found glyphosate was harmful to rats. Although some of the rates in some studies died, these findings were consistently dismissed. Keep in mind that Monsanto also used Sprague-Dawley rats when it used a study to get approval for GMO corn in Europe.

Just recently, the USDA stopped requiring farms to have permits when using Monsanto GMO corn.

Source: The Intercept.

Pro GMO scientist paid $25,000 to preach for Monsanto

A University of Florida scientist, Dr. Kevin Folta, was paid $25,000 in an "unrestricted" grant from Monsanto. The letter from Monsanto to Folta is below.
As a result, Folta traveled across the country, preaching to farmers, politicians and the media about the “safety” of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

CDC says neonics poison water

Source: "Water Hazard. Aquatic Contamination by Neonicotinoid insecticides in the United States."  CDC PDF here. Sep 2015. 40 pgs.

Neonicotinoids, or "neonics", have widespread use, but also as seed coatings. The neonics are water soluable, and so they are taken up by the plant that grows from the treated seed, making the whole plant toxic to almost all insects. But the neonics are not controlled, they are also dispersed in the land, air and water. Neonics include: acetamiprid, clothianidin, dinotefuran, imidacloprid, thiacloprid, and thiamethoxam. They are systemic insecticides meaning the plant absorbs the pesticide, and no matter what part of a plant an insect eats, the insect dies.

Scientists across Canada, the US, and Europe keep finding neonic levels that exceed safe levels, and which harm aquatic creatures. The hundreds of neonic products approved by the EPA are supported by sparse and incomplete studies, with huge gaps in knowledge at important areas. What's more, the FDA appears to be on collusion, with employees taking bribes, and finally a lawsuit against the FDA itself.

The report of neonics in waterways considered the most comprehensive is one from October 2014 by University of Saskatchewan toxicologist Professor Christy Morrissey. The study is called "Neonicotinoid contamination of global surface waters and associated risk to aquatic invertegrates: a review." The abstract from ScienceDirect is here.

  1. The EPA's toxicity levels are far too lax for these chemicals and lack common scientific support, especially outside the US. 
  2. Runoff cannot be controlled and neonics end up in streams, then in rivers, and in the lakes they dump into. 
  3. Even bird declines correlate to neonic contamination.  
  4. Coated seeds are exempt from pesticide polices, per EPA rules. Exemptions almost always mean a company lobbied for said exemption. 
  5. These chemicals are very persistent. They do not go away easily on their own. Thiamethoxam can degrade in water from sunlight, but degradation is almost non-existent below 3 inches of water. 
  6. Most toxicity studies are acute studies, and only look at how many animals die at a certain level of pesticide. There are almost no studies about the effects of repeated exposure or low exposure over time. 
  7. Daphnia magna, a type of water flea, is used in 116% of all neonic studies, yet D. magna is known to be resistant to neonics on the level of 200-300% more than other species. D. magna is simply a very large species of daphnia. The studies that use D. magna are inappropriate for determining toxicity. 
  8. The highest concentrations of neonics were found in the Southern High Plains states where farming is common. The highest level there was 225ppb. There is a graph in the PDF showing other states. 
  9. A 2015 report by the USGS and Michelle Hladik and Dana Kolpin, found neonics in 63% of US waterways. 
  10. The same report finds that neonics were found in all 79 water samples from Iowa. 
  11. A 2011 California study report found imidacloprid in 89% of 67 samples.
  12. 15 million households rely on well water taken from aquifers. Some aquifers can span 2-5 states. Once neonics get into an aquifer it spreads to household wells of other counties and states.


  1. Van Dijk, Tessa C., Marja A. Van Staalduinen, and Jeroen P. Van der Sluijs. Macro-Invertebrate Decline in Surface Water Polluted with Imidacloprid. PLOS ONE. 2013; 8(5). e62374.  Full PLOS ONE study here. Link to NIH study here
  2. Morrissey, Professor Christy, et al. Neonicotinoid contamination of global surface waters and associated risk to aquatic invertegrates: a review. Environment International. 2014. Abstract herePDF of full study here.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Bakey edible cutlery from India, it's vegan

There are 4 flours, mainly sorghum flour, and they have gluten-free options too. If you throw it away, animals and birds can eat it too. I have no idea if this is available in the US or not.

It started from a crowdfunding campaign on

Article here.

There is also an edible water bottle. Made from sodium alginate and calcium chloride. There is also a tutorial video on how to make these.

Simple DIY LED lights

This post is about making simple LED light circuits. LEDs are Light Emitting Diodes, and as such, they use DC power (batteries) to create light. If you plug an LED light into an AC wall plug, you will need to convert the AC electricity to DC, which gets more complicated. LEDs use less power, so they last longer on batteries, and many systems use solar power to charge the batteries, so they are a lower power option which use less energy, and therefore create less pollution.

Do remember to recycle batteries whenever you can.You can recycle batteries at Batteries Plus, or do a Google search for a place in your town.

There are a few light movements to provide solar-charged LED lights to kids in Africa so they can actually do homework at night with these lights. These lights are often inexpensive, and effective.

  • LEDs have a negative and positive leg. Do not mix them up or your LED will go "poof"! Actually you can mix up the legs, and it just won't work. But if you apply too much voltage, then the LED will go "poof". This page has an image showing you that the LED has a flat side, which is the negative side.
  • If you add a switch, you can add it anywhere in the circuit to cut power.  
  • If you get a brighter LED, 1 watt or larger, it will generate a lot of heat and you might need a heatsink. 

LED flashlight runs on dead batteries

Here on Etsy.

 DIY LED lights, beginner

- 9v LED light. This one is easy because it tells you exactly which resistor to use. And 9v batteries are sold at the US Dollar Tree.

- How to choose resistors for an LED light. Nice clear picture.

- Another page with a simple drawing of a basic LED circuit, designed for beginners.

- The LED throwy is one of the simplest LED projects. It is just an LED taped to a coin cell battery, taped to an optional magnet. It has no switch.

More fun with LEDs

- The top 30 LED projects includes: LED bench, solar powered tree decoration, LED ping pong balls, LED chess set, LED swing, and more.

- The Instructables LED page, a collection of LED projects. One can use those UPS batteries for all kinds of things, especially because they are rechargable.

- Glowing mushroom log from Yukio Takano.

- LED Lights for beginners. From Instructables. This is a good one which shows you how to calculate resistor values. Resistor values vary depending on how much power is in your power source. A 9v battery (9vdc) requires a different resistor than 2 AA batteries (3vdc).

- 9v LED light "lamp" made from credit card plastic parts.

Simple commercial lights and concepts

Since Africa is leading this movement, sometimes I call these "African lights".

- shows some interesting lighting and battery concepts.

- The Blocklite sits on a 9v battery. It has high and low modes.
- Here's a variation on the 9v blocklite, the Pak-lite.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Lawsuit against FDA alleges fraud and crimes, here are the 24 PDFs

Lawsuit Unleashes Documents Alleging FDA Covered up Risks of GMOs since 1991. (This article is free and open source.)

Steven Druker filed the lawsuit against the FDA and now has 44,000 emails from the FDA. His website, Alliance for Biointegrity, has 24 PDFs of emails and memos showing how the FDA knew GMOs were dangerous, and made policy assuming GMOs were safe anyway. What's more is Druker puts on his website all the laws the FDA has broken.

There is even a torrrent for the 24 PDF files but torrent links are not allowed on

Here's the TOC.txt file:

FDA Scientists Discuss Various Safety Concerns

1.  Comments from Dr. Linda Kahl, FDA compliance officer, to Dr. James Maryanski, FDA Biotechnology Coordinator, about the Federal Register document “Statement of Policy: Foods from Genetically Modified Plants.”  Dated January 8, 1992. (3 pages) View Document

2.  Memorandum from Dr. Edwin J. Mathews to the Toxicology Section of the Biotechnology Working Group. Subject: “Analysis of the Major Plant Toxicants.” Dated October 28, 1991. (2 pages) View Document

3.  Memorandum from Dr. Samuel I. Shibko to Dr. James Maryanski, FDA Biotechnology Coordinator.  Subject: “Revision of Toxicology Section of the Statement of Policy: Foods Derived from Genetically Modified Plants.” Dated January 31, 1992. (3 pages) View Document

4.  Comments from Dr. Louis J. Pribyl re: the “Biotechnology Draft Document, 2/27/92.” Dated March 6, 1992. (5 pages) View Document

5.  Comments from Dr. Louis J. Pribyl re: “… the March 18, 1992 Version of the Biotechnology Document.” Dated March 18, 1992. (1 page) View Document

6.  Comments from Division of Food Chemistry and Technology and Division of Contaminants Chemistry. Subject: “Points to Consider for Safety Evaluation of Genetically Modified Foods.  Supplemental Information.”  Dated November 1, 1991. (3 pages) View Document

7. Memorandum from Dr. Mitchell Smith, Head, Biological and Organic Chemistry Section, to Dr. James Maryanski, Biotechnology Coordinator.  Subject: “Comments on Draft Federal Register Notice on Food Biotechnology, Dec. 12, 1991 draft.”  Dated January 8, 1992. (2 pages) View Document

8.  Letter from Dr. James Maryanski, Biotechnology Coordinator, to Dr. Bill Murray, Chairman of the Food Directorate, Canada.  Subject: the safety assessment of foods and food ingredients developed through new biotechnology. Dated October 23, 1991. (2 pages) View Document

9.  Comments from Dr. Carl B. Johnson on the “draft statement of policy 12/12/91.” Dated January 8, 1992. (2 pages) View Document

10. Memorandum from Dr. Gerald B. Guest, Director of the Center for Veterinary Medicine, to Dr. James Maryanski, Biotechnology Coordinator.  Subject: “Regulation of Transgenic Plants–FDA Draft Federal Register Notice on Food Biotechnology.”  Dated February 5, 1992. (4 pages) View Document

Specific Objections to the Use of Antibiotic-Resistant Marker Genes

11. Memorandum from Dr. James Maryanski, Biotechnology Coordinator, to Dr. Murray Lumpkin.  Subject: “Use of Kanamycin Resistance Marker Gene in Tomatoes.”  (1 page) View Document

12. Memorandum from Dr. Murray Lumpkin to Dr. Bruce Burlington.  Subject: “The tomatoes that will eat Akron.” Dated December 17, 1992. (7 pages) View Document

13. Memorandum from Dr. Albert Sheldon to Dr. James Maryanski, Biotechnology Coordinator.  Subject: “Use of Kanamycin Resistance Markers in Tomatoes.” Dated March 30, 1993.  (3 pages) View Document

Safety Questions Raised by Tests on the Flavr Savr Tomato™–the First Bioengineered Plant that Came to Market

14. Memorandum from Dr. Fred Hines to Dr. Linda Kahl.  Subject: “FLAVR SAVR Tomato:” … “Pathology Branch’s Evaluation of Rats with Stomach Lesions From Three Four-Week Oral (Gavage) Toxicity Studies” … “and an Expert Panel’s Report.”  Dated June 16, 1993. (3 pages) View Document

15. Memorandum from Robert J. Scheuplein, Ph.D. to the FDA Biotechnology Coordinator and others. Subject: “Response to Calgene Amended Petition.” Dated October 27, 1993. (4 pages) View Document

16. Memorandum from Dr. Carl B. Johnson to Dr. Linda Kahl & Others. Subject: “Favr Savr(TM) tomato; significance of pending DHEE question.” Dated Dec 7, 1993. (1 page) View Document

17. Memorandum from Dr. Fred Hines to Dr. Linda Kahl.  Subject: “FLAVR SAVR Tomato”… “Pathology Branch’s Remarks to Calgene Inc.’s Response to FDA Letter of June 29, 1993.”  Dated December 10, 1993. (3 pages) View Document

Additional Evidence of Improprieties In The Formation Of FDA Policy On Bioengineered Foods

18. Note from Dr. James Maryanski, Biotechnology Coordinator, to Mr. Michael Taylor.  Subject: “Food Biotechnology Policy Development.”  Dated October 7, 1993. (1 page) View Document


20. Memorandum from Dr. James Maryanksi, Biotechnology Coordinator, to the Director of the Center for Applied Nutrition.  Subject: “FDA Task Group on Food Biotechnology: Progress Report 2.” Dated August 15, 1991. (1 page) View Document

21. Memorandum from David Kessler, Commissioner of Food & Drugs. Subject: “FDA Proposed Statement of Policy Clarifying the Regulation of Food Derived from Genetically Modified Plants–DECISION.” Dated March 20, 1992. (4 pages) View Document

22. Letter from Terry Medley, J.D. (of USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service), to Dr. James Maryanski, Biotechnology Coordinator.  Subject: “Comments on FDA Draft Statement of Policy on foods derived from new plant varieties, including plants derived by recombinant DNA techniques. Dated April 2, 1992. (5 pages) View Document

23. Note from Eric Katz (Dept. of Health & Human Services) to John Gallivan. Subject: “Food Biotechnology Policy Statement.”  Dated March 27, 1992. (2 pages) View Document

24. Memorandum from James B. MacRae, Jr. (of the Office of Management and Budget), for C. Boyden Gray (President Bush’s White House counsel).  Subject: “FDA Food Biotechnology Policy.”  Dated March 21, 1992. (2 pages) View Document

Update 4/7/16: More groups sue FDA. Case 3:16-cv-01574 PDF here. Plaintiffs include Center for Food Safety and Earthjustice.

Cost of living in a new city: what equivalent do you need to earn in your new city?

I just thought this was neat.

Are you moving and getting a new job somewhere else? Want to compare what salary you would need in the new town to maintain your lifestyle? Go to You enter your old and new cities, your position name, and your current salary, and using cost of living data, it calculates the minimum salary you need to get in the new city to be equivalent to the old town.

Go here.

Investopedia has a similar site but it breaks down COL into more categories like taxes, housing, and food.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

DIY wind power

This post is about various types of DIY wind power, from small systems for the very beginner, to more advanced systems. I'm trying to find some very simple wind systems for beginners, that means, fewer parts is better. But sometimes a person needs a larger generator for serious use. Wind power is not reliable in all weather so people usually end up using wind power to charge up a battery bank for use later, like at night.

Anything that produces rotational movement can be used to turn a DC motor and generate power. Some people use wind power, but others use water power. Water  power is more complicated because you have to have a way to keep parts from getting wet and rusting. Rust can damage or seize parts.

  1. You can use the fan blades and fan blade hub from a small, cheap house fan, and hook it up to a DC motor, and stand. 

- Pringles wind tunnel. You can reverse this and use the DC fan to generate power. Very creative!

- This wind generator uses wind coming out of an air conditioner, so that energy doesn't go to waste.

- A small wind generator suitable for kids to make age 10-18. It uses PVC and a DC motor. You can use almost any DC motor. If you apply DC electricity (batteries) to a DC motor, the axle will spin. If you spin the axle, you get power out of the leads.

- This page contains several wind generators. The bigger ones get more expensive.

- Another wind generator (MotherEarth news) which uses 4 basic parts. It looks like 2 parts are an auto cooling fan and an alternator. With fewer parts, this one would be good for beginners.

- This simple generator from the UK will help illustrate how the basics work.

- Solar Generator in a toolbox for about $200.

- Info on wind generators including output, graphs, tables you might find handy. Also, avoiding scams,

- Vertical axis wind generator. If you don't like the vanes you can make them simpler somehow.

- Pringles can generator. Eat the chips while you build it.

- Dandelion wind generator. This is a bit more complicated for beginners, but you can adapt the parts to make it simpler.

That's it for now! Maybe I'll do a post on simple solar power setups with battery banks.

Where to find cheap or free DC motors (to generate power)

  1. CD players, including computer CD players
  2. Treadmills
  3. Old VHS players. 
  4. DC computer fans. 
  5. Old computer tape drives. 
  6. Clothes dryers. 
  7. Car starter. 
  8. A DC powered fan, like this one for $15usd. 
  9. Old remote control toys, cars, boats, etc.
  10. Look for these items at Goodwill.
  11. Look at electronics surplus stores. Google "electronic surplus DC motor".
  12. Ask on There is a Freecycle site for most major US cities. Find your local Freecycle here.  
  13. If you want to buy a small DC motor go to a hobby shop.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

EDC and BPA master study list moved here

The first post I proposed was a master list of studies about BPA and how it affects bodies. I made it more general and included all EDCs. This master list is now a web page here. Thanks to for providing web pages too!

Have a good Easter!

USDA accused of selectively censoring anti-Monsanto science

The USDA is accused of watering down science, and even punishing scientists, who don't comply with the USDA's notions of safety, paid for by big corporations.

Top USDA officials are linked to biotech companies.
  • USDA Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack is a vocal supporter of GMOs. 
  • Roger Beachy recently headed the USDA's main research department, is a leading GMO advocate with Monsanto ties.
Another conflict of interest. Someone should check their bank accounts to see where money is coming from.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Friendly divers free puffer fish, mate never leaves its side

Poor thing got scared and puffed up.

Endocrine Society statement on EDCs

This is a summary of the statement made by the Endocrine Society about Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals. EDCs are a major concern because 1. The effects can be pretty broad, 2. they change how the body works (usually for the worse), 3. they can stay in the body for decades, causing problems continuously, 4. low doses have subtle but terrible effects.

What is a cell receptor? A cell receptor is a hole, like a "jack" for your headphones. Only one size headphone "plug" can fit in this "jack".  There are many, many types of receptors on various cells. Normally, when a hormone is in the area of a cell, it will plug into this hole, and that tells the cell to do something. Other hormones can prevent the cell from doing other somethings. But Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals act exactly like hormones. They fit in certain receptors, making the cell think there is a hormone giving them a specific instruction!

This can lead to all kinds of bad effects, from cancer to neurological problems.

A summary of the Endocrine Society's executive summary (Aug 2015) about EDCs in the environment and how they affect human health. The full summary is called EDC-2, it is the second statement on EDCs. The first statement is from 2009 and is called EDC-1. (See Links.)

  1. Small doses matter. A fact industry continues to deny despite reliable, peer-reviewed studies to the contrary. "Like hormones, EDCs exhibit complex dose-response curves, and they can act at extremely low concentrations." That makes sense because cell receptors believe these chemicals actually ARE hormones. 
  2. When a person is exposed to an EDC, the effect might be immediate, or delayed. The simpleton, outdated, and dangerous, FDA protocols do not require long term studies on any chemicals, the study requirements only look at immediate responses. Thus the disagreement between the FDA and CDC on how dangerous EDCs really are. 
  3. "There are hundreds, if not thousands, of papers showing that EDC exposures affect expression of genes and proteins in different cells, tissues, and organs."
  4. "Recent evidence suggests that some EDCs may cause molecular epigenetic changes, including in the germline, which in turn may lead to transgenerational effects of EDCs on numerous organ systems." Epigenetics is a bit different from core DNA. Epigenetics is when a substances turns on or off a specific gene. The genes are already there, but they may not be on. If your grandfather was exposed to nasty chemicals, an epigenetic effect could be passed down several generations. This means children pay the price for exposure to chemicals where gov't regulations have not caught up with reality
  5. While causation is very hard to prove, many laws are based on high correlation. Except when it comes to EDCs, industry continues to fight against more regulations to keep the public safe. 
  6. KEY POINT!! "...we did exclude studies that did not utilize adequate positive or negative control groups or populations or experimental work that was conducted at unrealistically high dosages." This statement is being extra vigilant to find solid studies, regardless of outcome.
  7. EDC exposure show correlation with obesity and heart disease. 
  8. They have recommendations for what to study in the future.
    we did exclude studies that did not utilize adequate positive or negative control groups or populations or experimental work that was conducted at unrealistically high dosages - See more at:
Like hormones, EDCs exhibit complex dose-response curves, and they can act at extremely low concentrations. - See more at:
Thank you for reading. Stay healthy, stay safe. 


  1. EDC-1. 2009 (the original EDC statement). Diamanti-Kandarakis E, Bourguignon JP, Giudice LC, et al. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals: an Endocrine Society scientific statement. Endocr Rev. 2009;30:293–342. , Google Scholar Abstract, Medline, ISI. Link here.
  2. EDC-2. DOI copy of Executive Summary. Aug 2015.
  3. EDC-2. ES copy of Executive Summary. Aug 2015. 
  4. EDC-2, full text. Aug 2015. 150 pages. Thanks to  I was able to download the PDF for free without signing in.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Prof Krimsky looks at biotech companies funding universities

Krimsky, the author of 14 books on biotech and possible adverse health effects, talks about conflicts of interest between biotech companies supporting GMOs and the universities who do studies on GMOs.

In one case Krimsky came up with a link between the people who write the DSM (which details mental illnesses) and the pharma industry.

Go to the article and read more how big industry controls honest science for its own personal gain.

Source: GMOWatch. Mar 18, 2016.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Pollinators being killed by pesticides

Carpenter bee, notice flat abdomen.
IBPES has released a report ( that shows how pollinators are being killed off by over 57 agricultural chemicals. 75% of the world's food relies, at least in part, on pollinators including moths, wasps, butterflies, bats, beetles, and birds.

US$235 billion and US$577 billion worth of annual global food production relies on  pollinators.  

The bee Colony Collapse Disorder is believed to be from a deadly cocktail of pesticides that eventually overwhelms the bees' systems and kills them, often in a very short time. Neonicotinoids are especially harmful to invertebrates like bees.

Blue orchard bee
But neonics are not the only culprit. The theory is various chemicals act in concert, making the bees susceptible to illness and Varroa mites.

Scientists cannot agree on a single factor which causes CCD. Scientists thinking one dimensionally is major problem in many areas of science. The world is not that simple anymore where one factor explains everything. The world is a complex mix of factors, each factor affecting an individual differently. This is no longer the 1800s where the scientists just have to identify one bacteria which causes an illness, then develop one medicine to kill that bacterium.

Other factors adding to the likelihood of CCD are: Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus, a fungus called Nosema, a common anti-fungal used to treat Nosema, fumagillin. From Wikipedia:
In 2013, researchers collected pollen from hives and fed it to healthy bees. The pollen had an average of nine different pesticides and fungicides. Further, the researchers discovered that bees that ate pollen with fungicides were three times more likely to be infected by parasites. Their study shows that fungicides, thought harmless to bees, may actually play a significant role in CCD.
This is an example of sub-lethal effects. The fungicides do not kill the bees, they likely weaken the bees, which leads to an increased rate of sickness among the colony.

Some people are also concerned that selective breeding of bees for rent (to pollinate crops) has lead to less diversity, and less flexibility in the bee population. It's sort of like monocropping: it's possible you can get one pathogen that can affect the majority of bees.

How can I encourage bees? 

  1. Plant flowers that attract bees.
  2. Do not use pesticides in your garden. Look for organic solutions instead. 
  3. Make bee houses. 

Links to DIY bee houses

  1. Bee house from NWF.They say place on the (sunny) south side of the house. I hope larva are not
    Leaf cutter bee. Notice funky elongated eyes, fuzzy abdomen.
    inside the house in the peak of summer temperatures!
  2. Living Green and Frugally bee house. More ideas for a mason bee house. 
  3. Mason bee house in an old log, just drill various sized holes. 
  4. Leaf cutter bee house. Leaf cutter bees are lively, curious, and cut leaves to line their individual nests. Leaf cutters are not dangerous but they will zip around your head once or twice to check you out. Do not mistake curiosity for aggressiveness.

Notes about bee houses

  1. Do not use cedar. It is repellent and toxic to many insect species. 
  2. Use a hardwood like oak, maple, hickory. Do not use pine. Pine can repel some species of insects and it doesn't last long in the open weather. 
  3. Check to make sure the holes are for the size of bee you want to attract. 
  4. Use plastics at your own risk. They can still leach poisonous phthalates.  
  5. Don't use MDF or chip board, it will dissolve in the rain. 
  6. Angle the holes downward a bit so water will drain out. 
  7. Site the bee house away from people and traffic. Give them some privacy. High traffic areas may not attract as many bees.


Wikipedia Colony Collapse Disorder.

Master study list: BPA effects by bodily system

NOTE: This list is being moved to a static page here. All updates will appear on the web page, not in this post.  This post will no longer be updated.

BPA is a well-known endocrine disruptor. In some cases it acts like a hormone (ex: estrogen) in some cases it blocks hormones. The dangers of BPA include how common it is, multiple effects in the body, and long-lasting effects. Effects continue even after exposure stops. Most studies listed here control for various variables likes sex and age. Here is a list of studies by system, showing the effects of BPA.

It is my intention to update this as I get more information, and use this as a central source of studies by system. If you have a study to add, please cite it in the comments and don't forget to add a plain text link. I will format the study and add it to this page.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Seralini wins second lawsuit against crooked biotech!

  1. The Parisian High Court ruled that Seralini was right when his studies found GMOs are not safe for human consumption despite the claims he used rats that were prone to tumors anyway. 
  2. Marc Fellous, former chairman of France's Biomolecular Engineering Commission (BEC) has been indicted for forgery. 
  3. The BEC lied to the public, and hid scientific data, when they said GMOs were safe for humans. 
  4. Fellous had used a signature or copy of a signature of a scientist, without his consent, to smear Seralini. 

From Naturalnews, Mar 21, 2016.

In one study, both the test and control group of rats were fed GMOs, so no significant differences were seen. Seralini analyzed 13 samples of rat feeds commonly fed to rats in studies and found all the feeds contained one or more of GMOs, heavy metals, dioxins, furans, and PCBs.


Seralini's full article from 2015 here.

Mars candy company, General Mills to label all GMO ingredients

The Mars Company, the maker of M&M candy and other candies, plans to label all GMO ingredients. This really needs to be followed up on to see if they really do follow through. But why?
“In 2014, the state of Vermont passed a mandatory genetically modified (GM) ingredient labeling law that requires most human food products containing GM ingredients to include on-pack labeling as of July 2016. To comply with that law, Mars is introducing clear, on-pack labeling on our products that contain GM ingredients nationwide.”
Notice that a law was passed in one state, Vermont. Mars is not doing this out of the concern for human health. Let's just make that clear.

General Mills will also label GMO ingredients in its products. Vermont's law about GMO labeling will take effect in July 2016.

Endocrine distruptors

The endocrine system is a network of glands and chemicals that moderate and control various bodily functions such as growth. Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) are natural or man-made chemicals that act just like hormones in the body, or they interfere with hormones in the body. EDC can trigger a cell into action, or prevent a cell from an action. Soy products have an EDC that acts like estrogen, and women with breast cancer that is sensitive to estrogen are advised to stay away from all soy. Many plastics that touch food and drinks also contain BPA, another EDC. Over the past 50 years there has been an increase in plastic usage, and an increase in certain types of cancers and EDC-sensitive conditions: breast cancer, prostate cancer, ectopic pregnancies, undescended testicles, and sperm counts lowered by 42% between 1940 and 1990. (Feb 25, 2010 statement by HHS representative Linda S. Birnbaum, director of NIEHS.)

Problems continue even after exposure has ceased, and low doses also cause problems, especially in growing children. Some EDCs you are exposed to, that studies found correlated with negative effects:
  1. Aroclor 1221. 
  2. BPA and other phthalates. Found in many, many plastics including the linings of metal cans.
  3. Arsenic. Affects 5 steroid receptors: glucocorticoid, androgen, progesterone, mineralocorticoid, and estrogen hormones.
  4. Polybrominated diphenyl ethers. Fire retardant found in fabrics.
  5. Benzophenone-3.
  6. Monoethyl-phthalate. 
  7. Triclosan also showed very high activity in multiple assays. It's found in antibiotic soap.
  8. Butylparaben. A preservative used in cosmetics.
  9. Oxybenzone. A sunscreen ingredient.
  10. Supplements such as gum guggul, Dong Quai, and valerian.  
  11. Dioxin. The Endometriosis Research Center says tampons, and baby diapers contain dioxin. From the FDA: Small amounts of dioxin were found in 4 lots of tampons.
  12. PCBs.
  13. DDT and some other pesticides.
  14. DES. A synthetic estrogen given to women from the 1950s to the 1970s if they were having a threat of a miscarriage, or excessive morning sickness. It was discontinued as a pregnancy drug in 1971.
  15. Tributyltin. An anti-fouling agent used in the paint for boats.
  16. Parabens. In cosmetics, anti-perspirants.

In 2012 the WHO wrote a report with the UNEP (UN Environment Program) called "State of the Science of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals". The report said that EDCs might have to be banned to protect people. Europe is often on the forefront of positive bans like this, while America is usually the last to do so.

But the Endocrine Society even made a statement about strong evidence for EDCs being dangerous.
The full Scientific Statement represents a comprehensive review of the literature on seven topics for which there is strong mechanistic, experimental, animal, and epidemiological evidence for endocrine disruption, namely: obesity and diabetes, female reproduction, male reproduction, hormone-sensitive cancers in females, prostate cancer, thyroid, and neurodevelopment and neuroendocrine systems. EDCs such as bisphenol A, phthalates, pesticides, persistent organic pollutants such as polychlorinated biphenyls, polybrominated diethyl ethers, and dioxins were emphasized because these chemicals had the greatest depth and breadth of available information. - See more at:
The full Scientific Statement represents a comprehensive review of the literature on seven topics for which there is strong mechanistic, experimental, animal, and epidemiological evidence for endocrine disruption, namely: obesity and diabetes, female reproduction, male reproduction, hormone-sensitive cancers in females, prostate cancer, thyroid, and neurodevelopment and neuroendocrine systems. EDCs such as bisphenol A, phthalates, pesticides, persistent organic pollutants such as polychlorinated biphenyls, polybrominated diethyl ethers, and dioxins were emphasized because these chemicals had the greatest depth and breadth of available information. - See more at:
The full Scientific Statement represents a comprehensive review of the literature on seven topics for which there is strong mechanistic, experimental, animal, and epidemiological evidence for endocrine disruption, namely: obesity and diabetes, female reproduction, male reproduction, hormone-sensitive cancers in females, prostate cancer, thyroid, and neurodevelopment and neuroendocrine systems. EDCs such as bisphenol A, phthalates, pesticides, persistent organic pollutants such as polychlorinated biphenyls, polybrominated diethyl ethers, and dioxins were emphasized because these chemicals had the greatest depth and breadth of available information. - See more at:
The full Scientific Statement represents a comprehensive review of the literature on seven topics for which there is strong mechanistic, experimental, animal, and epidemiological evidence for endocrine disruption, namely: obesity and diabetes, female reproduction, male reproduction, hormone-sensitive cancers in females, prostate cancer, thyroid, and neurodevelopment and neuroendocrine systems. EDCs such as bisphenol A, phthalates, pesticides, persistent organic pollutants such as polychlorinated biphenyls, polybrominated diethyl ethers, and dioxins were emphasized because these chemicals had the greatest depth and breadth of available information.
What they also said: "Low doses matter." This is a key concept industry continues to deny.

There is a lot of information to read, I couldn't possibly post it all here, so here are some links for you if you are interested in reading more. 


  1. Feb 25, 2010 statement by HHS rep Linda S. Birnbaum, director of NIEHS. This mentions more studies about the correlation of EDs and behavioral and growth problems.
  2. Mercola page of top 12 EDCs. 2013.
  3. State of the Science of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals. Summary is 38 pgs. WHO and UNEP. 2012. 
  4. NIH page on endocrine disruptors.  
  5. A PDF on what the NIH knows about EDCs. 4 pages. 
  6. NIH endocrine disruptor studies. 15 pages. Looks like studies from 2006-2008. 
  7. E.Hormone. A gateway website to more info on EDCs in the environment. From Tulane Univ.
  8. DES site from CDC. With links to studies for DES Sons, DES Daughters. DES was used as a synthetic estrogen therapy from the 1940s through the 1970s. It is linked to increased cancers for men and women like cervical cancer, and testicular cancer. 
  9. Executive Summary on EDCs. August 2015. Endocrine Society.

Monday, March 21, 2016

DIY water power

If you can make something rotate, you can convert that to power using a DC motor. But using water power has some caveats. What will happen if your machinery freezes during the winter? How damaged will your equipment be? Will you have to dismantle the generator during freezing temperatures?

Here are some interesting ways to generate power with flowing water.

 - Very simple generator made with DC motor and an LED. Good to understand the concept.

- USB charger and battery bank, charged by faucet water. Uses a very tiny DC motor.

- Hydropower generators in 5 gallon buckets. Easily portable.
- A page on ram pumps and small scale hydro. This is a good starting point to browse and get familiar with different technologies out there.

- More hydropower links from the UK!

GM mosquitos no danger to public

GM male mosquitoes (males don't bite) have already been released into the public, with a noticeable reduction in the mosquito population in local areas. The male mosquitoes are sterile, mate with females, who then lay eggs that never hatch.

Score 1 for the fight against malaria.

Sustainable Local Foods

I've had lettuce from several times now and I really like it. It actually tastes like lettuce. It's the buttercrunch variety, grown hydroponically. It's sold with the roots on, and it does last much longer in the fridge than other lettuce with no roots. Meijer carries it.

I enjoyed it and I think you should give it a try.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

New battery technology

Barium-titanate ultracaps. 

2007, MIT Technology Review:

A new ultracapacitor technology by EEStor is claimed to store 10x the power of a lead-acide battery at half the cost and is superior in terms of energy density, price, charge time and safety. Ultracaps, as they are sometimes called, can store and release energy an almost unlimited number of times, or more times than current rechargable batteries anyway. It uses barium-titanate powders.

Energy cost comparison to drive 500 miles:
  1. Gasoline: $60
  2. New EESU ultracap: $9
Alas, Wikipedia says the claims were 100x what the actual results were.

Bloom energy cell

Google has been testing the Bloom Energy cell which takes natural gas (and oxygen from the air) as input. Google has been testing it since 2008. The BEC does not use combustion to create energy. It's being tested by other large companies all over the world like Johnson and Johnson, AT&T, Nokia, Bank of America, Caltech, Adobe, Dreamworks, Ebay, Honda and Panasonic.

An "energy cell" can be combined into an "energy stack", and these can be combined into an "energy server". Energy servers are installed onsite so electricity doesn't have far to travel in order to be used.

Here's model UMP-571, which weights 5000 lbs and outputs 200kw at 480vac. It seems a bit big for home use as US homes take 120vac.

Lithium air battery could have big gains

Extreme Tech, Oct 2015. There's a chart here which shows on one axis, energy density by liter of volume, and the other axis shows energy density per kilogram. Lithium batteries have their advantages (no recharge memory) they also have disadvantages (sudden explosions or fire).

Quantum batteries

ExtremeTech, Aug 2015. Go and read it. Two entangled qubits can actually store energy. Neat.

Friday, March 18, 2016

The failure of the scientific establishment

The scientific establishment, that is, the majority of those who decide what is science, what is not, and what gets published and disseminated to the public, has a long history of being wrong, sometimes with great risk to life and limb. Industry, even the biggest companies, want profit at the expense of the people and their health. A few examples:

  1. Cigarettes are healthy. See this blog post.
  2. Asbestos is harmless. See this blog post.
  3. Lead pipes are safe. Detailed here in this blog post.
  4. Glyphosphate is harmless. The CDC and EPA disagree on whether glyphosphate, aka Roundup, is safe or not. Even Monsanto has been charged with crimes against humanity by a Monsanto Tribunal.
Be careful when a company or industry spends millions of dollars in marketing, instead of studies, to claim something is safe. It probably isn't. Have an open mind about new research to try and find what works for you. Don't always believe the mainstream scientific establishment.Protect your health as much as you can.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

A history of "safe" products, cigarettes

"Tobacco is safe!"

For decades the US cigarette industry claimed cigarettes did not cause cancer. There were even TV ads where "doctors" said cigarettes were good for such things as asthma. Here's one old black and white TV ad. Cigarette smoke is actually a cocktail of 5000 chemicals. This list only shows the carcinogens.

There were actually a series of lawsuits that started in 1992. Memos show that cigarette company execs knew cigarettes caused cancer but refused to warn the public.
  1. June 2002: A District Court in Kansas awarded $15 million in punitive damages against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco after calling the company's conduct "highly blameworthy and deserving of significant punishment." (David Burton vs. R.J. Reynold's Tobacco)
  2. June 2002: A Miami jury held three cigarette companies liable for $37.5 million in a lawsuit involving an ex–smoker who lost his tongue to tobacco–related oral cancer. (Lukacs vs. Philip Morris)
  3. October 2002: A Los Angeles jury issued $28 billion in punitive damages against Philip Morris. This was later reduced to $28 million. (Betty Bullock vs. Philip Morris)
  4. 2003: A Madison Country, Illinois jury awarded $10.1 billion against the tobacco company Philips Morris for deceptive cigarette advertising in a class action led by attorney Stephen Tillery (Price v. Philip Morris)
Eventually a consortium of cigarette companies were forced to pay into a fund to make ad campaigns in the US to publicize the effects of smoking, and to fund stop smoking programs. The cigarette companies now focus their marketing in developing countries. This settlement was called the Tobacco Master Settlement caused cigarette companies to pay for tobacco-related Medicaid expenses forever.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Who says BPA is ok and not ok

Different governments are taking different stances on the BPA issue. Some governments are acting conservatively, and banning BPA in some products that contact food. Some governments simply assume BPA is safe without actual evidence.

Who says BPA seems "safe enough"

  1. CDC. "Human health effects are unknown." Technically true, but it's not the whole truth. Animals studies have been an acceptable tool for decades as a model for how a chemical will affect humans, but for one chemical, animal studies suddenly are not good enough?
  2. European Food Safety Authority (archived page).  Tolerable Daily Intake should be limited to 0.05 milligram/kg body weight (bw). The EFSA studied glyphosphate alone, and not actual glyphosphate formulations used in the field. Others scientists consider the additives to Roundup formulations might be even more dangerous to humans.
  3. FDA, 2014-06-06. BPA a-ok in small amounts. "We reassure consumers that current approved uses of BPA in food containers and packaging are safe."
  4. Food Standards Australia New Zealand, 2009-05. "BPA belongs to a group of substances which can act in a similar way to some hormones and as such are sometimes called ‘endocrine disruptors’. Some studies in laboratory animals suggest that low levels of (consumed) BPA may have an effect on the reproductive system.   Similar consequences in consumers at these low concentrations are considered unlikely because  BPA is rapidly inactivated and then excreted in the urine."
  5. Netherlands, 2008-11. The Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (VWA) stated in a newsletter that baby bottles made from polycarbonate plastic do not release measurable concentrations of bisphenol A and therefore are safe to use.
  6. NIOSH (part of CDC), skin notation profile, 2011.  "No studies of BPA in humans or experimental animals following dermal exposure were identified."
  7. UK: BPA not a concern.
  8. WHO, 2011: no need to regulate BPA.

Who says BPA is potentially dangerous

  1. Breast Cancer Fund. Link to page. Last accessed Apr 2, 2016. 
  2. Canadian gov't moves to take action, 2006. Canadian gov't takes action even though they say on this same page, paragraph 1, "the general public does not need to be concerned".
  3. Canadian gov't, 2010.  Canada adds BPA to toxic substances list.
  4. Environmental Defense of Canada. Last accessed Apr 1, 2016. "Bisphenol A (BPA) is a harmful chemical found in many products we use every day, including the linings of food and drink cans, cash register receipts, and reusable sports bottles made from hard plastic. More than 150 peer-reviewed scientific studies have found potential health effects from exposure to BPA, which include breast and prostate cancer, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and a wide range of developmental problems." Web page here
  5. CDC, 2003-2004. CDC finds BPA in almost all of 2500 urine samples tested. Fourth National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals (Fourth Report), National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) during 2003–2004. This PDF appears to be exactly how the NHANES urine study was conducted.
  6. Chemical and Engineering News, 2008-04. Canada proposes banning BPA in baby bottles. Full article not free. 
  7. Denmark, Belgium want to ban BPA in baby bottles. 
  8. Environmental Working Group's articles on BPA. 
  9. EU bans BPA in all baby bottles, 2011-01. 
  10. France, 2016-02. France announced that it intends to propose BPA as an EU Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH Regulation) candidate substance of very high concern (SVHC).
  11. Health Canada. Screening Assessment for The Challenge. Phenol, 4,4' -(1-methylethylidene)bis-(Bisphenol A). Chemical Abstracts Service Registry Number 80-05-7. Environment Canada. Health Canada. October 2008. Link to paper.  Last accessed Apr 2, 2016.
  12. Our Stolen Future. BPA. Link to site. Last accessed Apr 2, 2016.
  13. Bisphenol A. Toxipedia. Last accessed Apr 2, 2016. 
  14. Turkey bans BPA from baby bottles in June 2011.
  15. West Virginia School of Medicine. Anoop Shankar and Srinivas Teppala, “Urinary Bisphenol A and Hypertension in a Multiethnic Sample of US Adults,” Journal of Environmental and Public Health, vol. 2012, Article ID 481641, 5 pages, 2012. doi:10.1155/2012/481641.  Link to abstract. Full article is free and is available as EPUB, HTML, XML or PDF.  When controlling for variables, they found a positive correlation between BPA levels and hypertension rates.
As you can see, many people cannot agree if BPA poses a hazard or not. 

More Links

  1. HHS page on BPA
  2. Some info from Wikipedia article on BPA.

How a few giants limit science in journals

The scientific establishment, the majority who control what information people will get, especially journals, has a market share that is now held by just a few companies. Elsevier has a large market share of scientific journals, they own 294 journals that begin with "A" alone! These journals are often too costly for the average person to buy, and even for some professionals to buy. Journals can be $100-1200 per year EACH. Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry is $384usd per year. Papers that want to be published are vetted by only a few people, around 3-7 professionals. An important step in science is for the PUBLIC to review the actual articles themselves, and there currently are few options for that.

But it's changing. No wonder open access journals are becoming more popular. If more of the public professionals actually point out problems in a study, the scientists that did the study can actually learn from that. Learning as a community? What a concept!

  1. Here's a site where 3-7 peer reviewers review an article before being published.  The processing fee just to have someone look at your article is $100-200usd, add another $100 for each additional author. They charge processing fees because they do not charge readers fees. It appears they support the Open Access movement.
  2. Another example: The cheaper digital rate for American Association for the Advancement of Science is $125 per year. This includes 51 issues.
  3. JAMA is $125 per year for non-medical professionals, online only, and one of the less expensive journals.
  4. A single article from Elsevier is $42usd.

Here is a page which has a list of sites for free and open studies, where you have access to more than just the summary.

If you want open access journals, the above link will help a lot, and you can do a search for "free journals", or get more specific with the topic of our choice, like "free journals algae". Support Open Access science. When information is shared, not cornered by greed, it helps more people. It's time everyone started acting like a larger community instead of a collection of independent companies.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

A history of "safe" products, bisphenol-A

Is BPA safe? That's hard to answer when official US agencies are in the pockets of big business. Can their assessments even be trusted? The concern with BPA started in 2008 with a study that made the US news.

Bisphenol-A is one of many plasticizers added to plastic products to make them flexible. It is used in a variety of plastics that touch food products. BPA is also used in carbonless paper and thermal paper, like for the printing of receipts. BPA is an endocrine disruptor, which means, it binds to estrogen receptors and acts like real hormones in the body, causing problems. While it's a known endocrine disruptor, the FDA and European Food Safety Authority both claim there is no problem with BPA even though the FDA banned BPA from baby bottles in 2012. (Inconsistency anyone?) From Wikipedia:
The FDA states "BPA is safe at the current levels occurring in foods" based on extensive research, including two more studies issued by the agency in early 2014.[5] The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) reviewed new scientific information on BPA in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2015: EFSA’s experts concluded on each occasion that they could not identify any new evidence which would lead them to revise their opinion that the presently known levels of exposure to BPA is safe; however, the EFSA does recognize some uncertainties, and will continue to investigate them.
The WHO also found no reason to ban BPA (source). Plastics marked with a recycle symbol 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 are very unlikely to contain BPA, but some plastics in category 7 may have BPA. Category 7 is the catch-all for plastic types.

A panel of experts also concluded, in 2006, that BPA was a problem (section Politics of Bisphenol-A):
In 2006, the first of two government-sponsored assessments of the BPA literature was coordinated by the Division of Extramural Research and Training at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. The meeting brought together 38 experts on endocrine disruptors and BPA in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The meeting's final product, the Chapel Hill Consensus Statement, concluded with certainty, on the basis of several hundred studies, that BPA at concentrations found in the human body is associated with “organizational changes in the prostate, breast, testis, mammary glands, body size, brain structure and chemistry, and behavior of laboratory animals.” (See Chapel Hill Consensus Statement. PMID 17768031. Secondary link here.)
In 2008, the Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction (CERHR, part of NTP which is part of NIH), sponsored an assessment of the literature, and released it's report of BPA.  The report found “some concern for effects on the brain, behavior and prostate gland in fetuses, infants and children at current human exposures to BPA.”

Even some doctors, after they read some studies about BPA, have gotten rid of all plastics that touch food in their house. 

Studies of BPA

While the FDA, EPA and EFSA all claim BPA is safe some studies say it can cause problems (from Wikipedia link below):
  1. BPA encourages blastoma
  2. Higher rates of breast cancer. Some breast cancers are susceptible to high levels of estrogen, which BPA mimics. There is correlation here but causation has not yet been proven. 
  3. In studies involving mice, BPA is associated with increased asthma problems. 
  4. On Wikipedia there is also a table showing doses of BPA and problems found with that does in lab animals. Each entry links to a footnote and then to a study. 
  5. From 1988-1994 the CDC found BPA in the urine of 95% of tested adults. Source
  6. In 2009 Consumer Reports found some canned foods exceeded the FDAs "Cumulative Exposure Daily Intake Limit".
  7. A study from 2011 found Americans had twice the BPA levels in their bodies as Canadians. Source.
So let's see how big government agencies are contradicting themselves. They admit BPA is an endocrine disruptor, but it's safe. Those two ideas are not compatible at all. Playing with hormones is not safe! Even doctors warn of complications from birth control pills or abusing testosterone. Yet ONE chemical (BPA) that acts exactly like a hormone is magically safe? "Absence of evidence is not the same as evidence of absence."

Almost all the studies are based on animals. Animals are used in studies throughout the world and, with experience, certain animals are found to mimic specific human systems fairly closely. (I'm not saying it's right or wrong to use animals, I'm just informing.) The scientific community accepts results using animals in testing, except for certain chemicals like BPA. Isn't that another piece of inconsistency?

A more conservative plan must be implemented when it comes to the health of hundreds of millions of people. An item should be assumed dangerous (within reason) until proven safe. Absence of evidence of harm does not make an item safe.

Who says it's not safe

  1. Low doses of BPA are harmful. Includes table showing level of exposure, and the harm found at that level. 2007. 
  2. More studies on BPA. Has good references so you can find the actual study somewhere.

Other studies

  1. BPA found in many canned foods with plastic liners. 2007.
  2. Polycarbonate bottles leach BPA. 2009. 


  1. Chapel Hill Consensus Statement. 2007.
  2. Ourstolenfuture has more links to studies. 
  3. NIH page on BPA. With links to more articles and studies.National Toxicology Program (NTP) site. Part of the US NIH.
  4. The making and unmaking of BPA. A short history of BPA.
  5. Wikipedia bisphenol-A.
  6. Which agencies claim BPA is safe or unsafe

Monday, March 14, 2016

New data storage technologies

DNA storage can store 2000TB per gram

From Infostor. Scientists are still working on using DNA to store data. In the UK scientists have shown that data written to DNA can be read with 100% accuracy. This accuracy is important. And DNA is very stable, they have read woolly mammoth DNA that's thousands of years old. The DNA molecule is so dense 1 gram of DNA can store 2000TB of data. That's a lot of movies!

The Economist reports in 2013, that this started as a joke among friends at a bar. But soon the idea was fleshed out and seemed workable. The Economist also mentions that storage is now up to 2.2 petabytes per gram. But the current cost is $12,400usd per megabyte.

Current technology is binary, a position on a hard drive (or other media) can be either a zero or one. But I wonder, if they used DNA, they could have 4 choices to choose from for each position in the storage media: A, C, G and T.

Toshiba SSDs reach 1.92TBs

Infostor, Feb 24, 2016. Using 15nm MLC NAND chips, Toshiba is producing Solid State Drives in sizes from 240GB to 1.92TB. Data transfers are 6 gigabits per second with a SATA interface.

Samsung shipping monster 16TB SSD!

ExtremeTech, Mar 3, 2016. Reads/Writes in excess of 1200MB/s.Cost of the PM1633a, about $5000-8000 per TB.

Data storage crystal can hold 360TB

Around 2007 I read about a data storage crystal that used a 3d laser to read and write bits. I wonder if this is the same group of people.

ExtremeTech, Feb 17, 2016. Using nanostructured glass, scientists at University of Southampton's Optoelectronics Research Center have created a crystalline storage medium in quartz.

Data porn

Which hard drive is the most reliable? See this article from ExtremeTech. It uses 41,000 hard drives from Backblaze.

Most dense hard drive yet stores 500TB per square inch

2016-07-21. But it needs to operate in a vacuum at -321F, and there are other hurdles to get over first. It does store data at the atomic level and it has been several decades in the making.

What does magnesium do?

From the NIH page on magnesium:
  1. Magnesium helps regulate 300 enzyme systems in the body.
  2. One thing it's required for is energy and bone production. 
  3. It plays a part in nerve impulses, muscle contraction, and normal heart rhythm.
Who is at risk for magnesium deficiency?
  1. People with gastrointestinal diseases (Crohn's, Celiac, possible food allergies)
  2. People with type 2 diabetes. 
  3. Alcoholics.
  4. Older adults, as they seem to eat fewer magnesium-rich foods.

Magnesium has something to do with regulating the hunger response. I used to get sudden hunger as if my blood sugar dropped off a cliff, and I'd get pretty hangry. Now that I'm taking magnesium every morning, that has stopped. In fact, in my 36 hour fast the other day I felt hungry, but fantastic, and not hangry.If you're getting sudden hunger but you have tested your blood sugar (as I did) and it's normal, try taking magnesium each day.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Which are the most efficient solar cells?

Soitec and Fraunhofer Institute has produced PV cells with a 46% efficiency. These are called "concentrator quadruple-junction" cells. They are very expensive and are used in space applications where power is critical.

Sharp produces a type called triple-junction solar cells with an efficiency of 44.4%.

A Spanish solar research institute (IES) produces a two-junction cell with 32.6% efficiency.

SunPower creates modules with a 21.5% efficiency.

Q-Cells hold the record for thin-film solar with a 17.4% efficiency.

First Solar creates thin-film cells with 17% efficiency, but they are the Cadmium Telluride (CdTe) type of thin-film cells.

There are even more categories and subcategories but this page (in Links below) has a great graph showing efficiencies over time for different categories and subcategories of PV cells.


  2. Wikipedia has a good page on many types of solar cell technologies. It also has a table of the price of PV cells in US Dollars per watt. The US is the most expensive right now. US prices of electricity run from 9 to 12 cents per kilowatthour. Keep in mind that in some countries solar power is heavily paid for by the gov't, i.e. taxpayers. This brings down the cost of solar power for the consumer.
  3. Wikipedia also explains solar cell efficiency.  
  4. NREL is the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory. It has a section on solar power, and is the source of the graph above. This page has an an updated graph direct from NREL. This links to the actual image. They also have solar maps which show you which areas get the most sunlight. More solar maps here.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

CdTe PV cell now at 22% efficiency

First Solar has created a photovoltaic cell (the common solar cells we all know) with an efficiency rate of 22%. As newer solar cells are produced in greater numbers they will become cheaper, and might even compete with electric utilities. Not all states have a plan to allow your solar cells to sell your excess energy back to the utility.

There are other PV cells which are more efficient, but this is the most efficient CdTe cell.

Friday, March 11, 2016

FDA and gluten-free labeling

In 2013 the FDA issued a final rule about the definition of products that are "gluten free". This definition said that food can be called gluten free if it contains 20ppm of gluten or less. For some people with Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, this is still too much gluten. I.e. they cannot rely on the label to help them.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

2014: 60% of bread in the UK contains pesticides

Even though this is older, people should still know about it.
Two in every three loaves of bread sold in the UK contain pesticide residues, according to a new analysis of government data by environmental campaigners. Tests on hundreds of loaves also showed that 25% contained residues of more than one pesticide.


  1. Guardian article
  2. The report PDF in the Guardian article was supposed to be available, but instead redirected me to here. I managed to find the PDF here.
  3. Pesticide Action Network, UK

Sugar: More on why it's bad for you

This letter from Harvard says too much fructose is bad for you because it makes fatty deposits in the liver. The liver takes sugar and converts it to fat. There are some images of a healthy liver, and fatty liver there. Some excerpts:
  1. Refined sugar, called sucrose, is half glucose and half fructose. High-fructose corn syrup is about 55% fructose and 45% glucose.
  2. Virtually unknown before 1980, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease now affects up to 30% of adults in the United States and other developed countries, and between 70% and 90% of those who are obese or who have diabetes.

This 2015 WHO report (PDF) says to limit calories from sugar to 10%.

And there's this post where a company in Australia says sugar is good for you, because they made a low glycemic index sugar: sucrose.

And another post from Harvard from 2014: "Too much sugar causes heart disease".

Take a look at this video of a presentation "Sugar: The Bitter Truth". It's 1.5 hours long but very interesting. A PDF of the slides is here.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Small invertor packs a punch

Invertors are used to convert DC electricity, created by solar panels or batteries, into AC electricity, used by many appliances. A Belgian company, Red Electrical Devils, managed to pack 142.9 watts per square inch into a 14 cubic inch box. The company ended up winning $1 million in Google's Little Box Challenge.

Smaller invertors means more portable power, which helps spread the non-polluting solar power.

Greentechmedia seems like a good source for green power news. The site is well-organized into subcategories.

Firefox addon: Grab web page as EPUB file

GrabMyBooks will grab a single webpage, or follow links to a depth you desire and then create an EPUB file for your portable device (or any device). This can be used for downloading online manuals, online books, online magazines, etc. But the address you specify must be an actual HTM, HTML, or other file, it will not grab items if the web address ends in a slash.

  1. Takes only one address at a time but you specify depth of grabbing, and whether or not you want to get pages external to the original address, or just similar to the original address. 

Also, Acrobat Pro X can download a website into a PDF, but it also needs a web file as a starting address. This does not work with the free Acrobat Reader, you must buy Acrobat Pro.

Example valid web file:

Example invalid directory name:

If the web address ends with a slash, it's not a file and cannot be used with Acrobat or GrabMyBooks to download a site.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

A history of "safe" products, US food in the 1800s

It took 27 years to pass a law about food safety and purity, but in 1906, the Pure Food and Drug Act was passed. It was supposed to ban trafficking in adulterated or mislabeled food. Mislabeled food being claims that food contains X when it doesn't, or failure to mention the drug has poweful drugs like cocaine or morphine. The book The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair, played a big role in exposing fraudulent tactics of the food industry in the 1800s. Some examples:
  1. Ketchup sometimes contained rotten tomatoes, including maggots.
  2. Sausage used a lot of garlic to cover up the smell of rancid meat. The poorest people frequently got sick from this meat but it was all they could afford. 
  3. Coca-Cola used to contain cocaine, but when that was outlawed, Coke replaced it with high levels of caffeine. Coca-Cola replaced cocaine with caffeine in 1903. 
  4. Sodium benzoate was banned in the 1906 law but it is in use today. There are some accounts of sodium benzoate in sodas combining with another chemical, under the right conditions, releasing benzene, a highly toxic chemical. 
  5. This and the next 2 examples from the UK: To whiten bread, for example, bakers sometimes added alum (K2SO4.Al2(SO4)3.24H2O) and chalk to the flour. (Source.)
  6. Mashed potatoes, plaster of Paris (calcium sulphate), pipe clay and even sawdust could be added to increase the weight of their loaves. 
  7. Rye flour or dried powdered beans could be used to replace wheat flour and the sour taste of stale flour could be disguised with ammonium carbonate.
In 1938 this law was replaced with the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. Medicine and pharmacology was still in its infancy and "patent medicine" made all kinds of claims it could not prove, and they were also the target of the 1906 act. These "patent medicines" often contained high level of medicines (which was one way people got alcohol during Prohibition), morphine or opitate derivatives. If a baby got too much morphine it could kill her.

Examples of Ketchup

  1. The caption reads “Made from Decomposed Material. Prosecuted July 3, 1909. Fined $50. N.J. 388.” The Notice of Judgement on this product called for the condemnation of 745 cases of this tomato catsup. It was found to contain high levels of yeasts, spores, bacteria, and mold.
  2. "When the food law went into effect in North Dakota there was but one brand of catsup, so far as I am able to find by my records, which was pure-that is, free from chemical preservatives and coal tar coloring matters. Many of the catsups offered for sale in the State were made from the waste products from canners-pulp, skins, ripe tomatoes, green tomatoes, starch paste in considerable quantity, coal tar colors, chemical preservatives, usually benzoate of soda or salicylic acid, the whole highly spiced and not always free from saccharin. In other instances the basis for the catsup was largely pumpkin." From The Alarming Adulteration of Food and Drugs by Porter J. M'Cumber.

Examples of Meat Adulteration

From Porter J. M'Cumber. "The Alarming Adulteration of Food and Drugs," The Independent. 58: 2927 (January 5, 1905). 28-29, 31. 
  1. "More than 90 per cent of the local meat markets in the State were using chemical preservatives, and in nearly every butcher shop could be found a bottle of Freezem, preservaline or iceine, as well as Bull Meat Flour. The amount of borax or boracic acid employed in these meats varied to a considerable extent, and expressed in terms of boracic acid in sausages and hamburger steak would probably range from 20 grains to 45 grains per pound, while the medical dose is from 5 to 9 grains per day. The use of these chemicals is not confined to local butchers; scarcely a ham could be found that did not contain borax. In the dried beef, in the smoked meats, in the canned bacon, in the canned chipped beef, boracic acid or borates is a common ingredient."  
  2. "Ninety per cent of the so-called French peas which we have taken up in North Dakota were found to contain copper salts in varying quantities, and in a few samples, in addition to copper salts, there were present aluminum salts." 

As you can see, corruption in the US food industry has been going on for 150+ years. It was a similar problem in Britain. See "The Fight Against Food Adulteration" from


Book: "Swindled : the dark history of food fraud, from poisoned candy to counterfeit coffee."

The Fight Against Food Adulteration. Food problems in the UK. 
The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair. Exposing the fraud in the US meat industry in the 1800s. Free, in many formats including HTML, epub, and PDF. More sources of The Jungle from
Virtual Museum of Public Service.
Wikipedia, Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906.