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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

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Second class action lawsuit against Monsanto for dicamba damage

2/16/2017

A new class action lawsuit against Monsanto, in US district court in Missouri, is about damage from dicamba. Even small amounts of dicamba are dangerous to crops, and can directions advise triple rinsing dicamba tanks and carefully disposing of rinse water. Even spray that drifts from one property to another can kill many crops costing the farmers a lot of money.

Monsanto's Xtend cotton and soybeans are resistant to dicamba, and so farmers spray them to control weeds. But spray drift can kill neighboring farmers' crops.

A Missouri bill wants to stop illegal dicamba use. And farmers must be careful about spraying in windy conditions.

Source
Progressive Farmer.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Research continues on non-exploding lithium batteries

Researchers at Tufts University continue to develop their lithium battery that does not explode or catch fire or even heat up when punctured or cut. Prof. Zimmerman does not use an electrolyte and instead uses a plastic barrier between the anode and cathode. This could be a great leap in safety, and storage capacity, for lithium batteries. But can they scale up production?

There was even a Nova show (Search for the Super Battery) with Prof. Zimmerman.

Source
Slashdot.
Prof Mike Zimmerman's page at Tufts. Zimmerman founded a company Ionic Materials to develop the battery.


Scientists call for ban on GMO mustard in India



Also: Kerala gov't wants to ban GMO mustard.
Bihar chief fights against GMO mustard.
Indian political party AAP against GMO mustard
Safety concerns over GMO mustard.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Low levels of Roundup cause liver disease in rats

A long-term, low-dose study by Seralini and others shows Roundup causes liver disease in female rats. The study took 2 years and...
The dose selected was below what people are commonly exposed to in the everyday environment and 75,000 times below what is permitted by EU regulators.
The study found Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease in the rates. NAFLD is found in 20% of the general population today, making people wonder if there's a link between Roundup (which contains more chemicals than just glyphosate) and NAFLD. Naturally, a study was warranted. In a previous study, even rats given 0.1ppb (parts per billion!) over 2 years showed liver damage. In the current study, 214 proteins out of 1906 were "disturbed". That's 11.2%. But hundreds of proteins being disrupted is still very bad.


Sources
EurActive. Jan 11, 2017.
The study in Nature. Backup link at archive.is.


Saturday, February 25, 2017

Thin film cell generates 6vdc.

This cell is no more than 1mm thick and about 2x2 inches. It generates 6vdc. I'd like to figure out how to make one to test how many amps it has.

This guy has been doing a lot of work over a year and he might be on to something if he can scale up production.

Youtube.

He also has a prototype called  mini generator. He uses a silicon graphite cell but with a slightly different electrolyte. These are not capacitors, they are generators that make their own electricity. The voltage is 3.5-v4dc, good enough to power 1-2 LED lights, or more with a voltage booster. Magnets are used to compress the layers to increase efficiency, but if he uses neodymium magnets the cost could go up to $10usd for the one cell he displays in this video. NDs are not cheap.



Thursday, February 23, 2017

China rejects tons of GMO corn

This is from 2014, but I list it just for the "hmmmm".
[SANTIAGO] China’s rejection on March 24 of 21,800 tonnes of US corn containing an unapproved genetically-modified organisms (GMO) strain takes the volume of US corn turned away by the Asian nation since November to 908,800 tonnes. The contamination detected by the Chinese has hit sales and corn prices, damaging US farmers growing GM-free crops.


Source
GMO Journal.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

New chicken lays eggs of different chicken varieties.

New genetically modified chicken lays eggs which hatch into different chicken varieties.

TLDR: Chicken lays egg. A camel hatches out.

Also, The Mirror uses hyperbole! Wait, that's not news.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Radioactivity spreads over Europe

No one can figure out where the radioactive Iodine-131 comes from. Wikipedia says:
It has a radioactive decay half-life of about eight days. It is associated with nuclear energy, medical diagnostic and treatment procedures, and natural gas production. It also plays a major role as a radioactive isotope present in nuclear fission products, and was a significant contributor to the health hazards from open-air atomic bomb testing in the 1950s, and from the Chernobyl disaster, as well as being a large fraction of the contamination hazard in the first weeks in the Fukushima nuclear crisis.
It was first found near the Norway Russia border in January 2017. Perhaps there is a nuclear site near there. It also appeared in Finland, Poland, Czechia (Czech Republic), Germany, France and Spain but details of the problem were only release recently.


Source
ScienceAlert.

EPA to reevaluate Neonics, as possibly responsible for bee deaths around the US

1/16/2017

EPA documents say that the EPA will reevaluate neonicotinoids as they are possibly responsible bee devastation around the US. Assessments to be finished in 2018.

On Jan 12, 2017, the EPA released its preliminary pollinator-only risk assessments for the neonicotinoid insecticides clothianidin (Poncho), thiamethoxam (Cruiser), and dinotefuran, a preliminary aquatic risk assessment for imidacloprid (Gaucho). The risk assessment plan is open to public comment until about Mar 12, 2017. The actual risk assessments wil be released in mid-2018.


Source
DTNPF.
EPA risk assessment for neonics. This is just a timeline that shows they are reassessing several pesticides. Alt link.
Comment on the EPA's risk assessment plan here.

Monday, February 20, 2017

DIY Magnesium, graphite, and salt water battery

Here's a Youtube video about making a DIY battery from magnesium, graphite, and salt water as the electrolyte.

  1. I got magnesium ribbon from Ebay. 
  2. Graphite is what's in most US pencils these days, it's not actually lead, the metal. So carefully cut away the wood from a pencil, and you are left with a graphite core. 
  3. Any saltwater solution can be made. You can start with a weak one: 100ml water, 1tsp salt. Take a voltage reading with a multimeter. 
  4. Add another 1tsp of salt and stir well. Take another voltage reading. 

  • How good is this battery compared to other DIY batteries in this series? 
  • What if you change the electrolyte to vinegar? Lemon juice? Soda? Do the volts go up or down?



Wednesday, February 15, 2017

DIY penny and nickel battery

This battery is made from some US pennies, and nickels. It also uses a saltwater electrolyte.



Source
Instructables.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Meijer cheese recalled

Meijer brand colby and colby jack cheese has been recalled. Contamination by listeria was suspected but there have been no known illnesses reported.

The product has deli packaging with  labels that begin with the UPCs 215927xxxxxx or 215938xxxxx.

Source
US Food Safety.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Canadian test: gluten free foods have high levels of glyphosate

The (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) tested 7600 foods for presence of Glyphosate and AMPA (a glyphosate metabolite). Some of the foods with the highest levels of this poison are: chickpeas, wheat, gluten free foods, lentils. 


Source
Tonu.org.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

More DIY battery links

Looking for more fun to make your own batteries at home? Here are some more links.

DIY battery from Scitoys.com. Uses copper and zinc in an acid electrolyte.


Saturday, February 4, 2017

India: spinach from Hyderabad contains pesticides

Spinach can be good for you, if it doesn't contain pesticides.

A survey by some research scholars of Jayashankar Agricultural University revealed this startling reality after testing the samples secured from Rythu bazaars in Mehdipatnam, Gudimalkapur and Shamshabad. The survey found that the leaf vegetable contains 11 types of pesticides, including five commonly used, like chlorpyrifos, triazophos, cypermethrin, deltamethrin and profenofos, Dr Narasimha Reddy, a scientist of Pesticide Action Networks India told The Hans India. He said the pesticides were found to have been sprinkled on the leaves of the vegetable to prolong its longevity post-harvest, after cutting.
Pesticides are in more foods than you think, which is why it's time to have a portable pesticide detector for consumers to check all food. Not all organic food is pesticide- or gmo-free.

Source
Freshplaza.

Friday, February 3, 2017

DIY aluminum air battery

This aluminum air battery is made from aluminum foil, and activated charcoal, with a paper towel between them soaked in an electrolyte.

Terms:
  • Cathode: the negative terminal
  • Anode: the positive terminal

To test the battery, follow the directions from the site. Then take a multimeter and put the negative (-, black) probe on the charcoal, and the positive end (+, red) on the aluminum foil.
  1. How many volts does it produce? 
  2. How many amps? 
  3. What happens if you crush the charcoal into a powder? Do volts or amps increase? 
Source
Exploratorium.