domingo, 28 de fevereiro de 2010

Transgénicos: nos EUA celebridades tomam iniciativas interessantes - Um Mês Sem Monsanto

February 28th, 2010 | Author: Christy Morgan

I had the pleasure of sitting down with April Davila to discuss her new project called Month Without Monsanto. For the month of March she is trying to go without Monsanto products in her life. That means not ingesting GMO foods, not wearing cotton clothing, or using any skin care products that may have been produced with GMO or biotech ingredients. She’s got her work cut out for her, but I think she can do it!

I’m excited to follow her journey so I too can become a better consumer. I personally don’t want to support Monsanto in any way, so April’s blog will make sure I know my stuff when it comes to being a consumer.

Here’s a little video that will tell you more about April and Month Without Monsanto. More interview questions are after the video. I really hope that you will join April and follow her during the month of March. (sorry the video quality kept getting dark then light again)

The Blissful Chef: What are some horrifying things you’ve found in your research on Monsanto?

The thing I have found the most shocking so far is this quote from Phil Angell, Director of Corporate Communication for Monsanto:

“Monsanto should not have to vouch for the safety of biotech food, our interest is in selling as much of it as possible. Assuring its safety is the FDA’s job.”

The Blissful Chef: Do you think there’s any hope of fighting the agriculture-evil that is Monsanto?

To answer this question I need to step back and say that I don’t think Monsanto is evil. Monsanto is an agricultural company that exists to make money. They’re good at it. I’m not interested in raging against their attempts to keep investors happy.

What does get me excited is the idea that we, as consumers, have the power to accept genetically modified organisms or not. There is absolutely hope for our future. A recent report from the ISAAA stated that only 2.7% of all agricultural land was devoted to GM crops last year, and most of those yields went to feed livestock. Of the 25 countries that currently allow cultivation of GM crops, seven of them saw a reduction in the number of acres devoted to GM crops in 2009.

The Blissful Chef: What can we do to help you on your quest or help our families & friends go “Without Monsanto”?

The best thing we can do is get involved in the conversation. My goal with the blog is really to open up a dialogue and get people talking about what’s in our food. The more we know, the more we can shop with confidence and feel good about what we’re eating.

The Blissful Chef: Is it possible for the everyday person to go Without Monsanto?

I certainly hope so. Ask me on March 31st.

Thank you again April for sitting down with me and taking on this month-long mission to go without Monsanto. I will be right along with you this month and hopefully some of you will join her too! Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog Month Without Monsanto and follow her on Twitter @WithoutMonsanto.

sábado, 27 de fevereiro de 2010

Pordata, a Base de Dados sobre Portugal Contemporâneo


Pordata, a maior Base de Dados sobre Portugal Contemporâneo (os últimos 50 anos): uma iniciativa tão pertinente como estratégica. Contudo, a rúbrica AMBIENTE não existe. Esperemos que o ICNB e outras entidades se pronunciem para que se corrija a tempo esta falha, num sector chave do desenvolvimento do País.

Aqui encontrará milhares de estatísticas e indicadores sobre os mais diversos aspectos da realidade portuguesa.

Existem várias maneiras de procurar a informação desejada. É possível fazer uma busca por palavra-chave, como no Google, no Yahoo, no Bing e noutras ferramentas similares. Pode-se aceder por etapas, o que permite visualizar várias possibilidades e ir seleccionando o que se pretende. O portal permite ainda executar consultas avançadas, incluindo através da selecção de intervalos de tempo ou de anos específicos. Poderá finalmente efectuar os cálculos que quiser e criar os seus próprios indicadores. Convidamo-lo a explorar este portal e experimentar todas as suas possibilidades: poderá assim compreender melhor um país que nem todos conhecem, o dos factos. A Fundação Francisco Manuel dos Santos agradece todos os comentários, sugestões e críticas. António Barreto Presidente do Conselho de Administração 

Parabéns à Fundação Francisco Manuel dos Santos!

quarta-feira, 24 de fevereiro de 2010

Iberia Change- sabia que Espanha e Portugal continental possuem mais de 50% da biodiversidade Europeia?

Mas uma parte desta biodiversidade encontra-se, actualmente, ameaçada pelas alterações climáticas e por modificações nos seus habitats. Será possível antecipar e mitigar estes impactos?

Iberia Change é um projecto, de grande escala, desenvolvido pelos governos de Portugal e Espanha (a parte Portuguesa é financiada pela EDP) e foi concebido para investigar os possíveis impactes das alterações climáticas sobre a biodiversidade Ibérica nos próximos 100 anos. Este projecto constitui a primeira iniciativa de carácter transnacional para implementar iniciativas comuns que ajudem a mitigar os impactos associados às alterações climáticas na biodiversidade.

Para publicações relacionadas com a biodiversidade e as alterações climáticas ver aqui.

terça-feira, 23 de fevereiro de 2010

A física quântica da fotossíntese

Segundo este estudo (3 de Fevereiro 2010), quase nenhuma energia é perdida no meio. Isso porque ela existe em vários lugares ao mesmo tempo, e sempre encontra o caminho mais curto.

domingo, 21 de fevereiro de 2010

Ciência: Portugal bem colocado (7º) , bem à frente dos EUA e GB, de acordo com Science Metrix

Who will be the next science and technology (S&T) superpowers?

Science growth by country Science Metrix

Por Walter Derzko

Want to know who will be economically stronger in the next decade or two? It will most likely be countries that have good emerging science and technology capabilities or what I call S&T bench strength.

Since it takes about a 5-15 or more years to take a scientific discovery and turn it into a commercial venture, we need to look at trends over several decades. Once upon a time, all you had to do was look to the US to find all the leading edge innovation in most industries. Not any more.

If we use the number of peer-reviewed academic scientific papers that are published annually as a proxy for S&T strength, then clearly the USA is still number one with about 250,000 -260,000 papers published per year. That's twice as much as China, who is in second spot with about 120,000 papers per year. Then we get a cluster of several nations at 50,000 to 60,000 paper such as Japan, the UK and Germany. The next cluster comes in a 30-35,000 paper range (ie France, Canada, India, Rep of Korea,historic FSU (ie Russia, Ukraine etc). Brazil rounds out the top ten at around 22,000 papers per year.

That list of academic titans correlates nicely with their relative economic strength.

But the gross numbers only tell half the story. If we look at growth rates over the last 30 years, we see a different picture.

Countries like US and Canada and even Europe as a whole, while high in gross total numbers have been fairly stagnant in growth over the past 30 years.

If we set the global average of the Growth Index (GI) at 1.0, then North America has a GI of 0.78 and Europe's GI is 0.95, less the 1.0 which is the global average.

Who are the S&T growth leaders in the past 30 years. You will be surprised. No it's no China.

  • Iran (GI = 14.4) (mostly nuclear research related)
  • Rep of Korea (GI= 9.8)
  • Turkey (GI=7.8)
  • Cyprus (GI=5.2)
  • Finally China (GI=5.1)
  • Oman (GI=4.8)
  • Portugal (GI=3.9)
  • Estonia (GI=3.4)
  • Tunisia (GI=3.2)

In contrast, the following are below world average growth.

  • Israel (GI=0.94)
  • UK (GI=0.86)
  • Canada (GI=0.82)
  • USA (GI = 0.77)

But then quantity may not always equate to quality (i.e frequency of science citations) and number of breakthroughs or milestone discoveries. A number of science watchers accuse China of doing alot of incremental copycat, me-to research.

There is also a distinct English language and western media bias to cover primarily western science and far less of a tendency to generally cover discoveries from around the world. So consequently, the politicians, business and the public doesn't have a clear view of the discoveries in other parts of the world, such as the Middle East or even countries from the former Soviet Union (FSU)

But in general, the moral of the story is: there's innovation and novel discovery all around the world and not just the USA any more.

Source: Science Metrix and The Web of Science (Thompson Reuters)

sábado, 20 de fevereiro de 2010

Curso de ilustração científica biológica, Lisboa


Duração | 24 horas, repartidas em três sessões semanais (terças e quintas das 17h30 às 20h00 e sábados das 10h00 às 13h00)

Datas | 2 a 20 de Março de 2010

Preço | 120 euros

Formador | Marcos Oliveira - Licenciado em História de Arte. Ilustrador profissional desde 1994, especializado em ilustração cientifica biológica.

Plano do curso

Sessão 1 | Introdução à Ilustração científica. O que é, para que serve. Explicação das técnicas mais utilizadas. Mostra de originais em diversas técnicas. Mostra dos materiais utilizados.
Sessão 2 | Anatomia animal. Apresentação em data show e breve explicação da anatomia das várias classes de animais.
Sessão 3 | Escolha de um modelo e execução do desenho preliminar em papel esquiço. Transferência do desenho preliminar para a folha de pintura.
Sessão 4 | Demonstração de pintura com aguarela, pelo formador. Início da pintura da ilustração pelos formandos.
Sessões 5, 6 e 7 | Pintura, acompanhada pelo formador

quinta-feira, 18 de fevereiro de 2010

Rokia Traore - Mouneissa

Canção do primeiro album de Rokia Traore Mouneissa (1998)Sítio oficialRokia Traore
Bio [uk]

Rokia Traoré is a singer/songwriter/guitarist /dancer from Mali.
In many parts of West Africa, professional musicians are often from a certain lowly caste called the 'griots'. However, Traoré's family are from the Bamana ethnic group who do not observe this restriction so strictly. Therefore when Rokia was young she was able to sing with others at wedding celebrations, despite coming from a privileged background.
As Rokia's father was a diplomat, her family spent a lot of time in different countries while Rokia was growing up. She came into contact with many local and international styles of music, although her parents were reluctant for her to become a musician. When she was a bit older Rokia stayed at the lycée in Bamako while her parents were in Brussels and there she developed her voice and first performed in public.
In 1997 she met Ali Farka Toure who gave her quite a lot of guidance and then in 1998 she recorded her first album, Mouneïssa. The tracks on 2000's Wanita CD are all in Bamanan except 'Château de sable', which is in French. Her lyrics cover issues like respect, traditions and relationships. She is joined by Boubacar Traoré on the track 'Mancipera'. Coco Mbassi does the backing vocals on several tracks and Toumani Diabaté plays kora. Hauntingly beautiful gentle tracks make this a real treasure trove. The hallmark of Rokia's music is trance-like rhythms, in contrast to many of the other women musicians from Mali like Kandia Kouyate. The accompanying instruments Traore chooses are unique as they are traditional like the balafon (giant wooden xylophone) and the tiny n'goni, which are not normally heard together. She also uses kora and calabash percussion.

terça-feira, 16 de fevereiro de 2010

A Teoria do Superorganismo Humano

Albert Einstein once said that "The true value of a human being can be found in the degree to which he has attained liberation from the self".

For years our traditional view of 'self' was restricted to our own bodies; composed of eukaryote cells encoded by our genome.

However, in the era of omics technologies and systems biology, this view now extends beyond the traditional limitations of our own core being to include our resident microbial communities.

These prokaryote cells outnumber our own cells by a factor of ten and contain at least ten times more DNA than our own genome.

In exchange for food and shelter, this symbiont provides us, the host, with metabolic functions far beyond the scope of our own physiological capabilities.

In this respect the human body can be considered a superorganism; a communal group of human and microbial cells all working for the benefit of the collective - a view which most certainly attains liberation from self.

The human superorganism – Of microbes and men by João Soares

segunda-feira, 15 de fevereiro de 2010

Ensaio: As vantagens da Reprodução Sexual, por Matt Ridley (Inglês)

painting of amourous coupleessay: The Advantage of Sex by Matt Ridley

Why does sex -- that is, sexual reproduction -- exist? In many ways, asexual reproduction is a better evolutionary strategy: Only one parent is required, and all of that parent's genes are passed on to its progeny. In sexual reproduction, only half of each parent's genes are passed to the next generation. What's more, a mate must be found. Yet sex persists.

This essay offers possible explanations of this evolutionary paradox.

Matt Ridley is the author of The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature (1995), The Origins of Virtue: Human Instincts and the Evolution of Cooperation (1998), and Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters (2000). A former science editor and Washington correspondent of The Economist, he now lives in northeast England, where he is chairman of a science center called The International Centre for Life.

Adapted with permission from New Scientist, 4 December 1993, no. 1902 © 1993 by RBI. (Boldface added.)

Sexual reproduction, human style

A variety of theories have been proposed over the years to explain why sexual reproduction may be more advantageous than asexual reproduction, and, for that matter, why sexual reproduction even exists at all. For years everyone accepted the general proposition that sex is good for evolution because it creates genetic variety, which, in turn, is useful in adapting to constantly changing and challenging environments. But it may give organisms a very different kind of edge.

By the late 1980s, in the contest to explain sex, only two hypotheses remained in contention.
One, the deleterious mutation hypothesis, was the idea that sex exists to purge a species of damaging genetic mutations; Alexey Kondrashov, now at the National Center for Biotechnology Information, has been its principal champion. He argues that in an asexual population, every time a creature dies because of a mutation, that mutation dies with it. In a sexual population, some of the creatures born have lots of mutations and some have few. If the ones with lots of mutations die, then sex purges the species of mutations. Since most mutations are harmful, this gives sex a great advantage.   
                                                                                                         . Salamanders can reproduce sexually or asexually.

Mutations can result from one change in one nucleotide of 6 billion in a human cell. Can sex earn its keep?

But why eliminate mutations in this way, rather than correcting more of them by better proofreading? Kondrashov has an ingenious explanation of why this makes sense: It may be cheaper to allow some mistakes through and remove them later. The cost of perfecting proofreading mechanisms escalates as you near perfection.

According to Kondrashov's calculations, the rate of deleterious mutations must exceed one per individual per generation if sex is to earn its keep eliminating them; if less than one, then his idea is in trouble. The evidence so far is that the deleterious mutation rate teeters on the edge: it is about one per individual per generation in most creatures. But even if the rate is high enough, all that proves is that sex can perhaps play a role in purging mutations. It does not explain why sex persists.
Strawberries reproduce asexually by vegetative propagation -- sending out runners.

The main defect in Kondrashov's hypothesis is that it works too slowly. Pitted against a clone of asexual individuals, a sexual population must inevitably be driven extinct by the clone's greater productivity, unless the clone's genetic drawbacks can appear in time. Currently, a great deal of effort is going into the testing of this model by measuring the deleterious mutation rate, in a range of organisms from yeast to mouse. But the answer is still not entirely clear.

The Red Queen is a metaphor for evolutionary change.

Enter the Red Queen
In the late 1980s the Red Queen hypothesis emerged, and it has been steadily gaining popularity. First coined by Leigh Van Valen of the University of Chicago, it refers to Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass, in which the Red Queen tells Alice, "[I]t takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place." This never-ending evolutionary cycle describes many natural interactions between hosts and disease, or between predators and prey: As species that live at each other's expense coevolve, they are engaged in a constant evolutionary struggle for a survival advantage. They need "all the running they can do" because the landscape around them is constantly changing.

The Red Queen hypothesis for sex is simple: Sex is needed to fight disease. Diseases specialize in breaking into cells, either to eat them, as fungi and bacteria do, or, like viruses, to subvert their genetic machinery for the purpose of making new viruses. To do that they use protein molecules that bind to other molecules on cell surfaces. The arms races between parasites and their hosts are all about these binding proteins. Parasites invent new keys; hosts change the locks. For if one lock is common in one generation, the key that fits it will spread like wildfire. So you can be sure that it is the very lock not to have a few generations later. According to the Red Queen hypothesis, sexual reproduction persists because it enables host species to evolve new genetic defenses against parasites that attempt to live off them.  Immune cells have receptors (locks) for binding proteins (keys) of viruses such as HIV, that allow them to dock and gain entry.

In sickle cell anemia, abnormal hemoglobin deforms blood cells to sickle shapes.

Keeping variety in store
Sexual species can call on a "library" of locks unavailable to asexual species. This library is defined by two terms: heterozygosity, when an organism carries two different forms of a gene, and polymorphism, when a population contains multiple forms of a gene. Both are lost when a lineage becomes inbred. What is the function of heterozygosity? In the case of sickle cell anemia, the sickle gene helps to defeat malaria. So where malaria is common, the heterozygotes (those with one normal gene and one sickle gene) are better off than the homozygotes (those with a pair of normal genes or sickle genes) who will suffer from malaria or anemia.
One of the main proponents of the Red Queen hypothesis was the late W. D. Hamilton. In the late 1970s, with the help of two colleagues from the University of Michigan, Hamilton built a computer model of sex and disease, a slice of artificial life. It began with an imaginary population of 200 creatures, some sexual and some asexual. Death was random. As expected, the sexual race quickly died out. In a game between sex and "asex," asex always wins -- other things being equal. That's because asexual reproduction is easier, and it's guaranteed to pass genes on to one's offspring. Sea anemones reproduce asexually.

The struggle of Daphnia water fleas and their parasites have been studied.

Adding parasites to the mix
Next they introduced several species of parasite, 200 of each, whose power depended on "virulence genes" matched by "resistance genes" in the hosts. The least resistant hosts and the least virulent parasites were killed in each generation. Now the asexual population no longer had an automatic advantage -- sex often won the game. It won most often if there were lots of genes that determined resistance and virulence in each creature.
In the model, as resistance genes that worked would become more common, then so too would the virulence genes. Then those resistance genes would grow rare again, followed by the virulence genes. As Hamilton put it, "antiparasite adaptations are in constant obsolescence." But in contrast to asexual species, the sexual species retain unfavored genes for future use. "The essence of sex in our theory," wrote Hamilton, "is that it stores genes that are currently bad but have promise for reuse. It continually tries them in combination, waiting for the time when the focus of disadvantage has moved elsewhere." Sexual species have variety on their side.

The topminnow breeds both asexually and sexually at different times. View in QuickTime | RealPlayer Real-world evidence

In the years since Hamilton's simulations, empirical support for his hypothesis has been growing. There is, first, the fact that asexuality is more common in species that are little troubled by disease: boom-and-bust microscopic creatures, arctic or high-altitude plants and insects. The best test of the Red Queen hypothesis, though, was a study by Curtis Lively and Robert Vrijenhoek, then of Rutgers University in New Jersey, of a little fish in Mexico called the topminnow.

The topminnow, which sometimes crossbreeds with another similar fish to produce an asexual hybrid, is under constant attack by a parasite, a worm that causes "black-spot disease." The researchers found that the asexually reproducing topminnows harbored many more black-spot worms than did those producing sexually. That fit the Red Queen hypothesis: The sexual topminnows could devise new defenses faster by recombination than the asexually producing ones.
It could well be that the deleterious mutation hypothesis and the Red Queen hypothesis are both true, and that sex serves both functions. Or that the deleterious mutation hypothesis may be true for long-lived things like mammals and trees, but not for short-lived things like insects, in which case there might well be need for both models to explain the whole pattern. Perpetually transient, life is a treadmill, not a ladder. 

[via Evolution Society] 

sexta-feira, 12 de fevereiro de 2010

A Caça - Contra o Uso de Pêlo

Esfolado vivo @ China

Abdicar de matar

(Por Luís Portela. In “Jornal de Notícias”, 4 de Novembro de 2009)

Assassino é, segundo os dicionários, quem mata ou manda matar com intenção. O termo está relacionado com a ideia de morte provocada com violência, mais ou menos premeditada e/ou de forma traiçoeira.

Poderá colocar-se a questão se os perto de 300.000 portugueses que, às quintas-feiras e domingos, entre Agosto e Fevereiro, matam animais a tiro pelos campos deste país, normalmente conhecidos por caçadores, podem ou devem ser chamados de assassinos.

Matam com intenção, de forma premeditada, com violência, traiçoeiramente, seres indefesos e que nada terão feito para merecerem o sofrimento a que muitas vezes são sujeitos pela sensação de perseguição, pelo susto, a dor e a agonia provocados pelos tiros dos caçadores ou pelas dentadas dos seus cães. Seres pacíficos, belos, úteis, com direito à vida, que nada terão feito para merecerem a morte.

Não matam em defesa própria, nem por necessidade. Matam por prazer ou… por desporto. Não matam corajosamente, olhos nos olhos, quem tem meios de defesa e poder de contra-ataque. Matam seres inocentes, sem qualquer capacidade de defesa. E fazem-no por prazer ou… por desporto.

Mas os dicionários referem a palavra assassino relacionada com a morte de pessoas. Não costuma ser utilizada para quem comete o mesmo acto em outros animais, pelo que a sua utilização - pelo menos para já - é inadequada.

E digo "pelo menos para já" porque penso que, mais cedo ou mais tarde, a humanidade irá reprovar fortemente quem não respeite as mais diversas formas de vida. Não sei se os caçadores algum dia vão ser chamados de assassinos. Mas tenho a convicção de que a caça virá a ser reprovada por um cada vez maior número de pessoas e, eventualmente, proibida.

Entretanto, muito gostaria que as pessoas que criaram o gosto pela caça meditassem um pouco no que realmente fazem e se - face às leis universais - podem ou devem fazê-lo. Mais bonito que a proibição da caça, seria que cada um dos caçadores abdicasse do seu prazer ou… do seu desporto.

quinta-feira, 11 de fevereiro de 2010

What Really Happened in Copenhagen?

The iron fist of the market versus iron in the soul of the social movements

When the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) "negotiations" ended in Copenhagen, a colleague from ATTAC France remarked that we might have just witnessed the tipping point of the end of capitalism and the New World Order.

On one hand, there was the official conference representing a corporate- and market-driven system being propped up by governments responsible for this crisis. On the other, there were the thousands that gathered from across the globe to protest false solutions and promote real ones. The road to Copenhagen for many activists began on September 18, 2008 when over 100 people from 21 countries came together to discuss mobilizing for Copenhagen. Over the next year, meetings were held in Poznan, Poland (2008 UN Climate Conference), in Belém, Brazil during the 2009 World Social Forum, and in Copenhagen. Somewhere in the midst of those meetings, Climate Justice Action was formed and became the major network for organizing the demonstrations in Copenhagen. Other Danish organizations pulled together the alternative Peoples' Summit Klimaforum09, which featured workshops, debates, art, and serious discussions that a new world was not only possible, but necessary. An estimated 10,000 people took part each day in Klimaforum09 activities.

The Negotiations

Outrage, confusion, and disgust were the reactions around the Bella Center when Barack Obama waltzed into the main plenary of the UN climate talks on December 18 to announce that the U.S. had struck an accord with the governments of China, Brazil, South Africa, and India. Accord? What happened to the official process?

In typical U.S. fashion, after years of global negotiations to bring all of the countries of the world into a consensus on how to combat climate change as part of the second round of commitments under the Kyoto Protocol, the imperial U.S. bypassed the Kyoto Protocol and its legally-binding commitments to reduce emissions. In his speech, Obama stated, "Here is the bottom line: We can embrace this accord, take a substantial step forward, and continue to refine it and build upon its foundation.... Or we can choose delay, falling back into the same divisions that have stood in the way of action for years...."

Fidel Castro criticized the undemocratic process of Obama et al., stating, "[This] was an antidemocratic and practically clandestine initiative that disregarded the thousands of representatives of social movements, scientific and religious institutions and other participants in the Summit."

After the Copenhagen Accord was announced—the result of the private meetings of 26 unnamed countries—the push was on to get the rest of the countries to agree to it so that they could claim success. There was outrage among the excluded countries. "After keeping us waiting for hours, after several leaders from developed countries have told the media an agreement has been reached when we haven't even been given a text, you throw the paper on the table and try to leave the room," stated Venezuelan delegate Claudia Caldera.

Hugo Chavez explained what was at stake: "In Copenhagen, from the beginning, the cards were on the table for all to see. On the one hand, the cards of brutal meanness and stupidity of capitalism, which did not budge in defense of its logic: the logic of capital, which leaves only death and destruction in its wake at an increasingly rapid pace. On the other hand, the cards of the peoples demanding human dignity, the salvation of the planet, and for a radical change, not of the climate, but of a world system that has brought us to the brink of unprecedented ecological and social catastrophe."

It required significant arm-twisting and blackmail of developing countries to try to get them in line. The government of Lesotho, head of the Least Developed Countries, was told that decisions on extending $7 million in aid would be decided depending on its cooperation with the Accord. Likewise, Palau was told negotiations on a funding package with the U.S. would be decided soon, so it should support the U.S.'s emissions reduction target. Meanwhile, the UK told Bolivia its eligibility for funding could be determined by its cooperation, and it told Bangladesh that money for adaptation was dependent on its agreement to financing going through the World Bank.

Despite these strong-arm tactics, the U.S., UK, and EU did not get the outcome they wanted. The exact text of the final agreement was as follows: "The Conference of the Parties takes note [emphasis added] of the Copenhagen Accord of December 18, 2009." With the refusal of Venezuela and Sudan to knuckle under to U.S. pressure, the COP was unable to "adopt" the flawed Accord—and was relegated to "taking note" of it. In other words, there was no agreement in Copenhagen.

Earlier in the week, some text leaked from secret meetings held by the Danish government, initially dubbed the Copenhagen Agreement, led to a spontaneous protest by the African delegations. They marched through the Bella Center on December 8 chanting, "Two degrees is suicide. One Africa, one degree." This referred to a section of the leaked text that would allow for a global temperature rise of two degrees Celsius. The Copenhagen Accord cabal responded, and on December 15, French President Sarkozy organized a meeting with Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles. After this meeting and a phone call from President Obama, Meles announced that he was speaking for all of Africa when he agreed to the U.S./EU position.

Mithika Mwenda, of the Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), responded, "The IPCC science is clear—2 degrees globally means 3.5 degrees in Africa. This is death to millions of Africans. If Prime Minister Meles wants to sell out the lives and hopes of Africans for a pittance, he is welcome to, but that is not Africa's position. Every other African country has committed to policy based on the science. That means at least 45 percent cuts by rich countries by 2020 and it means $400 billion fast-track finance, not $10 billion."

The language in the Copenhagen Accord guarantees continued runaway climate change. It contains no legally binding targets for emissions reductions, which are selected by each country independently. In the U.S., for example, the target being bandied about in the Senate is for 17 percent emission cuts below 2005 levels by 2020. This translates to less than 4 percent emissions cuts below 1990 levels by 2020. (By comparison, even the grossly inadequate Kyoto Protocol called for 5.2 percent reductions below 1990 levels by 2012.) On top of that, there are many provisions for allowing use of forests and soils as carbon offsets and the introduction of new market mechanisms to create the appearance of emissions cuts. The UNFCCC Secretariat has calculated that the Accord's provisions will lead to a 3-degree rise in temperatures and CO2 levels of 550 ppm. In addition, the Accord calls for a pathetically small $10 billion per year for 3 years for adaptation and mitigation actions in developing countries. There are no references to Indigenous Peoples' Rights or the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The media made a lot of the announcement by Hillary Clinton at the COP on December 15 of a plan for the U.S. to contribute $100 billion toward adaptation and mitigation for developing countries. As usual, they didn't listen very well. What Clinton actually said was that the U.S. would participate in raising $100 billion per year by 2020 from a variety of sources—including the carbon market and even World Bank loans. Developing countries, meanwhile are calling for $400 billion in public funding (outside of the World Bank) to begin immediately.

The inclusion of forests in the carbon market under the Accord will greatly intensify forest carbon projects and speculation, which critics charge will undoubtedly lead to land grabs, increased violations of Indigenous Peoples' rights and human rights in general, including forced displacements. It will also result in the rapid expansion of monoculture tree plantations (including genetically-engineered trees) as so-called carbon sinks.

In a bitter irony, on December 11 in the midst of the climate conference, U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced that the Obama administration had approved Royal Dutch Shell's plan to drill for oil off Alaska's northwest coast as early as next summer, endorsing drilling for fossil fuels in the climate-effected ecosystems of the Arctic, where global warming already impacts Alaska natives and entire villages are in danger of losing their lands and ways of life.

The Anti-Empire Strikes Back

While it is doubtful anyone predicted the Obama administration would so blatantly throw out the UN process, Climate Justice Action had wisely mobilized around the understanding that the talks would not, and could not, come up with any real, effective, or just solutions to the climate crisis. They mobilized to expose COP15 for the profit-driven, trade-focused sham that it had become. For Climate Justice Action, "no deal is better than a bad deal," a sentiment echoed by climate scientist James Hansen.

Even prior to the Copenhagen Accord, after the first week of the talks, disgust over the behavior of rich countries spilled over into the streets. On Saturday, December 12, an estimated 100,000 people marched the 6 kilometers in the bitter cold to the Bella Center in support of effective action on climate change. Climate Justice activists formed a bloc called "Change the System, Not the Climate." The only incident of the day occurred when police vans swooped in suddenly to surround several hundred black bloc marchers. They were corralled on the frozen street for several hours before being taken to jail. This was not the first pre-emptive arrest, however. Police had already raided several of the meeting and sleeping spaces of Climate Justice Action. By the end of the two weeks, approximately 2,000 people had been arrested—nearly all of them having committed no crime.

Four days later, thousands of people again marched through the streets of Copenhagen to the Bella Center, this time as part of the "Reclaim Power" protest organized by Climate Justice Action and Climate Justice Now! (networks that encompass organizations, social movements, farmers, and Indigenous Peoples from both the global North and the global South). Also, between 200 and 300 COP15 delegates marched out of the Bella Center to join the protests outside. The objective was not to close down the summit, but rather, for one day, to open a space for a People's Assembly where real solutions to the climate crisis and ways to expand the global climate justice movement could be discussed. When the group from inside attempted to cross a footbridge to meet their thousands of compatriots on the outside, however, they were met by police swinging truncheons. Accredited UN observers were beaten while chanting, "We're non-violent, why aren't you?"

Stine Gry Jonassen, a spokesperson for Climate Justice Action, explained, "We have no more time to waste. If governments won't solve the problem, then it's time for our diverse people's movements to unite and reclaim the power to shape our future. We are beginning this process with the people's assembly. We will join together all the voices that have been excluded—both within the process and outside of it." Stine and Tannie Nyboe, another Reclaim Power organizer, were brutally attacked by police while speaking from a sound truck. They were thrown off the truck and arrested.

Global Justice Ecology Project (GJEP) accredited Stine for the UN climate talks. She and another organizer, Dr. Tadzio Mueller, participated in a GJEP press conference the day before the action took place. Upon leaving the UN building, Mueller was grabbed by three plainclothes police, arrested pre-emptively, and taken back into the Bella Center to await transport to jail. He was released four days later.

Indigenous Environmental Network Director Tom Goldtooth explained why Indigenous Peoples led the march out of the Bella Center: "It's a sad situation that world leaders representing industrialized society have lost their understanding of the sacredness of Mother Earth. Before we can achieve global action, there needs to be international awareness of why we are really here. We marched out in support of our brother, President Evo Morales of Bolivia, and his demand that the rights of Mother Earth be recognized in the negotiating text here in Copenhagen."

Hundreds of UNFCCC-accredited observers were denied access to the Bella Center on the day of the Reclaim Power action, including the entire Friends of the Earth International and Via Campesina delegations. Anyone who participated in the Reclaim Power action was also banned from the Bella Center. In the days following the action, the exhibition and side event space where many of the NGOs had congregated was eerily quiet and empty. Many of the NGO booths were stripped of their materials and had simple white print outs posted that read "Civil Society Has Been Excluded From The Negotiations."

Climate Justice Now! issued a statement after Copenhagen which reads in part: "The only discussions of real solutions in Copenhagen took place in social movements. Climate Justice Now!, Climate Justice Action and Klimaforum09 articulated many creative ideas and attempted to deliver those ideas to the UN Climate Change Conference through the Klimaforum09 People's Declaration and the Reclaim Power People's Assembly. While Copenhagen has been a disaster for just and equitable climate solutions, it has been an inspiring watershed moment in the battle for climate justice. The governments of the elite have no solutions to offer, but the climate justice movement has provided strong vision and clear alternatives. Copenhagen will be remembered as an historic event for global social movements. It will be remembered, along with Seattle and Cancun, as a critical moment when the diverse agendas of many social movements coalesced and became stronger, asking in one voice for system change, not climate change."

What Are The Next Steps?

In response to the Copenhagen fiasco, Bolivian President Evo Morales announced that a world conference of social movements would take place in Bolivia on April 22, 2010—the International Day of Mother Earth. In Detroit, Michigan this summer, climate justice and other activists will come together for the U.S. Social Forum. Many hope that social movements in the U.S. will unite as an alternative to the farcical "democracy" in this country and work together to find real and just solutions to the climate crisis.

Despite the heavy handed and violent repression of the Reclaim Power action, participants considered it a tremendous success. "The solidarity we experienced today in the face of police intimidation and repression shows that people across the world are standing together to expose the failure of the COP to address the real causes of the climate crisis, and our determination to work together to bring about the changes needed to tackle climate change. The people feel strong together and we will go back home to build the movement for climate justice and for real solutions," said Kingkorn Narintarakul of the Thai Working Group for Climate Justice.

Anne Petermann is executive director of Global Justice Ecology Project (GJEP). Orin Langelle is the co-director/strategist of GJEP. They took the photos in this article. GJEP co-founded Climate Justice Now! in 2007 in Bali, Indonesia and Climate Justice Action in 2008 in Copenhagen. GJEP has its main office in Hinesburg, Vermont with desks in Berkeley, California and Porto Alegre, Brazil. GJEP is the North American Focal Point for the Global Forest Coalition.

Música do BioTerra: José Afonso- Tu Gitana

José Afonso "Tu Gitana" do álbum "Galinhas do Mato", editado em 1985
Voz - Helena Vieira
Produzido por Júlio Pereira e José Mário Branco

Tu gitana que adivinhas
Me lo digas pues no lo se
Si saldré desta aventura
O si nela moriré

O si nela perco la vida
O si nela triunfare
Tu gitana que adivinhas
Me lo digas pues no lo se

quarta-feira, 10 de fevereiro de 2010

Agricultura Familiar e Agroecologia

Fica aqui um Vídeo Educativo sobre Agro-Ecologia desenvolvido pela CEPLAC no Sul da Bahia, Brasil, em 2008

terça-feira, 9 de fevereiro de 2010

Cromossomas Y dos chimpanzés e dos humanos são muito divergentes na estrutura e no conteúdo genético

10 NAT Chimpanzee and Human Y Chromosomes.. Divergent.

O cromossoma Y humano começou a evoluir de um autossoma há centenas de milhões de anos atrás, adquirindo a função de determinação sexual e submetido a uma série de inversões que suprimiu o crossing-over com o cromossoma X.

Pouco se sabe sobre a evolução recente do cromossoma Y, porque só o cromossoma Y humano foi completamente sequenciado. As teorias mais prevalecentes sustentam que os cromossomas Y evoluiram pela perda do gene, a um ritmo muito rápido, acabou levando a uma escassez de genes, e à estase.

Estas teorias têm sido reforçadas por dados da sequência parcial de cromossomas Y mais recentes, mas eles não foram testados em cromossomas mais antigos , altamente evoluídos como o dos seres humanos.

Aqui nós terminamos a sequenciação da região específica do cromossoma Y (MSY) no nosso parente vivo mais próximo, o chimpanzé, alcançando níveis de precisão e conclusão semelhantes ao MSY humano. Ao comparar os MSY das duas espécies mostram que eles diferem radicalmente na estrutura e conteúdo de sequência de genes, indicando rápida evolução durante os últimos 6 milhões de anos.
O MSY chimpanzé contém o dobro de palíndromas que o MSY humano, ainda que tenha perdido grandes fracções de genes codificantes de proteína e famílias de genes presentes no último ancestral comum.