Sci/tech

France casts doubts on timing of GMO evaluation
November 5, 2007 12:48 PM -

PARIS (Reuters) - It may take longer than expected to assess pest-resistant genetically modified (GMO) crops for use in France, the agriculture minister said in remarks published on Monday.

"I cannot be absolutely sure how long it will take to carry out the scientific evaluation," Michel Barnier told the farming publication Agra Press.

"I cannot say today that everything will have been completed in February," he added.

California Fire Codes Put Focus on Plastic Decking Concerns
November 5, 2007 11:15 AM - Stan Korthals Altes , BuildingGreen

A highly publicized series of wildfires has struck California in the last decade, putting a focus on homes in wildfire-prone areas and the flammable materials they are constructed from—including roofing, siding, and decking. Taking effect on January 1, 2008, the Wildland-Urban Interface Building Codes, developed by the California Office of the State Fire Marshal (SFM), aim to protect homes and the safety of occupants and firefighters. Among other provisions, the codes restrict relatively flammable decking, including wood-plastic composites.

The new codes affect “Fire Hazard Severity Zones,” identified by topography (fire spreads faster on slopes), vegetation that fuels fires, weather patterns, history of past wildfires, and likelihood of fire spreading from neighboring areas. Those zones affect a significant portion of the state, mostly in rural areas, but they also frequently intersect with populated areas. According to Kevin Reinertson at SFM, the standards have been projected to affect 8%–11% of new construction in California.

 

Wisconsin Leopold Center Earns LEED Platinum
November 5, 2007 11:04 AM - , BuildingGreen

Baraboo, Wisconsin -  Built in honor of one of the world’s most famed conservationists, the Aldo Leopold Legacy Center, located on Leopold’s farm near Baraboo, Wisconsin, has earned 61 out of a possible 69 LEED points, the most earned by any LEED-certified building to date and enough to qualify for a Platinum rating.

The net-zero-energy building produces as much energy as it consumes with a grid-tied photovoltaic system and a ground-source heat pump serving a radiant-floor heating system; wood stoves add additional heat.

Sweep of lung cancer genome reveals new gene
November 4, 2007 06:53 PM - By Julie Steenhuysen

CHICAGO (Reuters) - An effort to map the genetic landscape of lung cancer has turned up a host of new genes, including one that controls the growth of cells essential for lung function, an international team of researchers said on Sunday.

This study of aberrations in the genetic code of lung adenocarcinoma -- the most common form of lung cancer -- found 57 changes frequently associated with the tumors.

Only about a third of the changes are linked with the 15 genes already known to play a role in lung cancer.

U.S. to boost testing of imported Canada meat
November 3, 2007 11:50 PM - Christopher Doering, Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Meat and poultry products being imported from Canada will be subjected to increased testing and inspection after an outbreak of E. coli in several U.S. states traced to beef from a Canadian company, the U.S. Agriculture Department said on Saturday.

The USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service said it would increase testing for salmonella, listeria monocytogenes and E. coli O157:H7. The agency said it would require the products be held until testing shows they do not contain any of those pathogens.

The bacteria can cause abdominal pains, diarrhea and dehydration.

Monsanto’s rBGH Profits Down; More Dairies Go rBGH-Free
November 3, 2007 11:23 PM - Ken Roseboro, The Organic and Non-GMO Report

Monsanto Company recently announced that profits from its genetically modified bovine growth hormone, Posilac, also known as rBGH, will fall 16% in 2007 due to “pressure in the dairy business,” according to chief financial officer, Terry Crews.

Protecting Organic From GMO's - New Standards Proposed
November 3, 2007 11:15 PM - Ken Roseboro, The Organic and Non-GMO Report

Baltimore, MD - A draft standard for verifying the non-GMO status of natural and organic foods was introduced at a meeting held at Natural Products Expo East in Baltimore in September. The Board members of the Non-GMO Project, an industry initiative to verify the non-GMO status of natural and organic foods, discussed the draft non-GMO standard.

Single nanotube makes world's smallest radio
November 2, 2007 12:07 PM - UC Berkeley News Service

Berkeley, California  – Physicists at the University of California, Berkeley, have built the smallest radio yet -- a single carbon nanotube one ten-thousandth the diameter of a human hair that requires only a battery and earphones to tune in to your favorite station.

The scientists successfully received their first FM broadcast last year -- Derek & The Dominos' "Layla" and the Beach Boys' "Good Vibrations" transmitted from across the room. In homage to last year's 100th anniversary of the first voice and music radio transmission, they also transmitted and successfully tuned in to the first music piece broadcast in 1906, the "Largo" from George Frederic Handel's opera "Xerxes."

Mars Express probes the Red Planet's most unusual deposits
November 2, 2007 09:51 AM -

The radar system on ESA’s Mars Express has uncovered new details about some of the most mysterious deposits on Mars: The Medusae Fossae Formation. It has given the first direct measurement of the depth and electrical properties of these materials, providing new clues about their origin.

Diet, growth are major cancer causes: report
November 1, 2007 09:23 PM - Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - What people eat and how fast they grow are both significant causes of cancer, but many Americans still incorrectly believe that factors such as pesticides on food are bigger causes, experts reported on Wednesday.

Breastfeeding reduces the risk of cancer for mother and child, and tall people have a higher risk of cancer than shorter people, the report found.

"We need to think about cancer as the product of many long-term influences, not as something that 'just happens,'" Dr. Walter Willett, a nutrition expert at the Harvard School of Public Health in Massachusetts, told a news conference.

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