Space porn: These images are (quite literally) out of this world
Like vampire-hunters certain that they have finally found the magic stake that will annihilate their Satanic foe once and for all, Greenpeace and the Center for Food Safety are touting a new study purporting to show increased reproductive infertility in generations of mice that have been fed a steady diet of Monsanto’s genetically modified corn.
From a news alert released by the Center for Food Safety:
Mice fed the GE corn diet had fewer litters, fewer total offspring, and more females with no offspring, than mice fed the conventional corn. The effects were particularly pronounced in the third and fourth litters, after the mice had consumed the GE corn for a longer period of time. The authors attributed the reduced fertility to the GE corn feed, and said it might be related to unintended effects of the genetic modification process.
Greenpeace, in typical fashion, is breathless:
Mice! Forget about birth control — try GE maize instead!
The study, conducted by a team led by Dr. Jurgen Zentek, professor of veterinary medicine at the University of Vienna, and sponsored by the Austrian Ministry of Health, Families, and Youth, is a serious effort, and Monsanto isn’t ignoring it. A release posted to Monsanto’s home page on Tuesday notes that Zentek’s study has not been peer-reviewed, and maintains that Greenpeace’s press release “is inconsistent with over a decade of reputable, peer-reviewed, scientific studies, including multi-generational studies, which demonstrate and confirm the safety of GM crops.” Nonetheless, Monsanto promises to “examine” the report “fully.”
How the World Works does not consider either Monsanto or Greenpeace to be reliable narrators. Neither side has demonstrated any ability to approach the topic of genetically modified organisms with what I personally would consider to be an open scientific mind. While it is more than a little bit disturbing to learn that, according to Bill Freese, science policy analyst at the Center for Food Safety, no U.S. “regulatory agencies require any long-term animal feeding trials before allowing genetically engineered crops on the market,” it is also quite true that this is just one, un-peer-reviewed study. The leader of the research group, Dr. Zentek, was appropriately cautious in interpreting his own data.
The trial indicates that dietary interactions with the host organism have to be further evaluated. Regarding the sensitivity of the topic, studies are needed to extend the database using standardized feeding trials with clear endpoints such as reproductive performance and a backup by genomic, proteomic and metabolomic traits.
More study is required! Now there’s a conclusion How the World Works can fully support, before agreeing with Greenpeace’s declaration that Zentek’s study is “a good enough reason to close down the whole biotech industry.”
NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins
On December 28, 2013, Expedition 38 crew member Mike Hopkins participating in the second of two space walks to replace a degraded pump module on the International Space Station. (NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio is reflected in his helmet!)
The Soyuz TMA-10M
The Soyuz TMA-10M headed towards the International Space Station with crew members from Expedition 37 onboard.
40 years ago the Apollo 8 mission flew up to the moon, orbited it ten times and then returned to Earth. This picture was taken from that flight and shows the Earth as it seemingly rises in similar fashion to a sunrise.
Sunrise from Expedition 36
NASA Flight Engineer Karen L. Nyberg of Expedition 36 took this photo of the sun rising -- a sight they saw nearly 16 times per day due to the speed of the International Space Station's orbit around the earth.
A pair of NanoRacks CubeSats -- nanosattelite spacecrafts carrying experiments -- were launched by Expedition 38.