Archive for June 4, 2009

FiveBest-AntiViralIf you’re inclined to use natural remedies to heal yourself or if you’re generally skeptical of conventional medicine or if you’re simply curious about another perspective on how to deal with influenza – here’s one. Mike Adams, self-declared Health Ranger, published “a special report the FDA doesn’t want you to read”.

It’s a story in part about Big Pharma interests and those of natural products industry leaders as well as the so called health ‘police state’. Some of the views might be a bit extreme but apart from the political expressions most of the report contains what seems useful information: on factors that promote influenza (including swine flu) as well as on anti-viral properties of herbs, superfoods and dietary supplements that might strengthen your immune system and help you to get rid of a flu. I found it for example quite interesting that antacids might advance pneumonia, one of the main causes for people dieing of influenza.

I’m not able able to falsify or verify any of the information, but find there’s enough food for thought in the report for me not to be too concerned about the even for me at times radical and dramatic language and thoughts 🙂 .

Report: Beat Influenza, Swine Flu, Bird Flu and SARS

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It sounds warm, fuzzy and kind of uplifting: those with musical talents also have a strong desire for social bonds. The following New Scientist article points to two variants of a gene correlating with musical ability, a gene that also is linked to bonding, love and altruism. It’s important though to note the word “variants”; it might explain the many exceptions from the hypothesis.

MUSICAL ability is linked to gene variants that help control social bonding. The finding adds weight to the notion that music developed to cement human relationships.

Irma Järvelä of the University of Helsinki, Finland, and her colleagues recruited people from 19 families with at least one professional musician in each and tested their aptitudes for distinguishing rhythm, pitch and musical pattern. These abilities – which are thought to be innate and unteachable – ran in families, consistent with their being under genetic control.

When the researchers scanned the volunteers’ genes, they found that two variants of the gene AVPR1A correlated strongly with musical ability (PLoS One, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0005534). AVPR1A codes for a receptor for the hormone arginine vasopressin and has been linked with bonding, love and altruism in people.

Järvelä thinks musical aptitude evolved because musical people were better at forming attachments to others: “Think of lullabies, which increase social bonding and possibly the survival of the baby.”

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Abhiyan (Seed Freedom Movement) protest against GM

By Priya Kumar
Global Research

“Over 100,000 farmers have committed suicide…” – a very comprehensive and insightful article on India’s agriculture and the immeasurable damage international trade rules, multi-national agro-business conglomerates and the Indian government have inflicted on the traditional farming culture and its people.


The reality for the average Indian remains the same: agricultural cultivation and the ability to farm is the bedrock of rural living. With its historical practices, values, and communal sentiments of respect, cultivation and the practice of farming has embedded roots. Farming for Indians is not only a source of income – it is a source of culture and identity. Since the late 1990s however, Indian governmental officials have wilfully compromised this sentiment for the ‘bright lights’ associated with the West.

After over a decade of trade liberalization and free market reforms, mainstream economic development has left rural India to fend for itself. Amidst great levels of industrialization and growth, the vast majority of Indians have been left behind. Agriculture is the primary source of livelihood for some 70% of Indians[1]. Considering the fact that only 1% of Americans and 2-3% of Europeans derive their livelihood from agriculture, this is a huge level of dependence[2].

India’s desire to become a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the adoption of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPs) specifically has compromised the livelihood of farmers. With the adoption of such neo-liberal policies, the sovereignty of rural India has been threatened. TRIPs in particular has created a gateway for agro-business conglomerates to engage in biopiracy and GM seed monopolization, effectively marginalizing rural communities. Through the manipulation of intellectual property rights (IPRs), conglomerates such as Monsanto have put rural farmers on the defensive. This paper highlights the manipulative nature and destabilizing affects of patents, IPRs and agro-business conglomerates in the context of rural India. Special focus is placed upon the infamous Basmati rice case, and Bt cotton, the first GM seed made available to Indian farmers.

Through these case studies, this paper will illustrate both the intent and impact of agro-business conglomerates and the associated costs incurred by farmers. Centuries of indigenous knowledge, tradition cultivation practises and sharing techniques are being compromised. Many farmers have lost their right to cultivate and control the agricultural production cycle. As a result, farmers increasingly find themselves indebt, disempowered and most alarming, suicidal. With approximately one in every four farmers globally being Indian, the rural lifestyle – the cultural origins of India are being threatened[3]. Agro-business conglomerates are promoting a cycle of dependence, which, if not stopped will carry with it disastrous affects for the entire country.