Scientific Earth Conscientious

Scientific progress makes moral progress a necessity; for if man's power is increased, the checks that restrain him from abusing it must be strengthened (Madame de Stael)

Archive for the ‘HUMAN RIGHTS AND SOCIAL/ TRIBAL PEOPLES’ Category

When the medicine and biotechnology transcend the bounds of decorum of respect and dignity for human ethics. Synthetic Biologist: Cloned Children, ‘Handpicked Genes’ Right Around the Corner

Posted by Scientific Earth Conscientious on November 6, 2012

If you’ve been following the sci-tech section of any major news site over the past few years, chances are you have seen more than a few stories discussing the possibility of extending the highly problematic act of genetic modifications onto the human race. A step that has been foretold by science fiction novels and simultaneously discounted as conspiracy for years. According to one leading synthetic biologist with a passion for eugenics (meaning ‘selective breeding’) and cloning technology, it may be just around the corner.

Scientist George Church envisions a world where traits are pre-determined by parents for their offspring — children created via cloning technology to create ‘better’ humans. He also claims to be creating Neanderthal cells within his laboratory, holding an inventory of Neanderthal ‘parts’ across the lab space. In the near future, he even plans to ‘create’ a Neanderthal baby within his lab.

You may think that Church is just some mad scientist cooped up in his lab experimenting with genetics in his spare time, but he actually is heavily recognized within the scientific community where like-minded eugenicists seek to push cloning technology into the moral and social stratosphere in order to fulfill their visions. Working as a professor at Harvard Medical School and an adviser to more than 20 major corporations, Church thinks that it’s only a matter of time until someone injects an argument into the mainstream media that allows for full-scale cloning technology to be unleashed upon the world.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in HUMAN RIGHTS AND SOCIAL/ TRIBAL PEOPLES, RESEARCH / ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS, Uncategorized | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Study: Conciliatory tactics more effective than punishment in reducing terrorism

Posted by Scientific Earth Conscientious on July 31, 2012

Photo by Gípics on Flickr (CC)

Policies that reward abstinence from terrorism are more successful in reducing such acts of violence than tactics that aim to punish terrorists, suggests a new study in the August issue of the American Sociological Review.

Titled, “Moving Beyond Deterrence: The Effectiveness of Raising the Expected Utility of Abstaining from Terrorism in Israel,” the study looked specifically at the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and found that between 1987 and 2004, Israeli policies and actions that encouraged and rewarded refrain from terrorist acts were more successful in reducing terrorism than policies focused on punishment.

“Our argument begins to challenge the very common view that to combat terrorism, you have to meet violence with violence,” said Erica Chenoweth, study co-author and Assistant Professor at the Josef Korbel School of International studies at the University of Denver.

The study is the first to empirically evaluate the potential of conciliatory tactics in reducing terrorism. It relies on data from the Center for the Study of Terrorism and Response to Terrorism’s (START) Global Terrorism Database (GTD) and from the Government Actions in a Terrorist Environment-Israel (GATE-Israel) dataset. The GTD records global terrorist attacks, including Palestinian terrorist acts, while the GATE-Israel dataset, which the study authors developed, identifies counterterrorism strategies that Israel used against Palestinian targets and places them on a seven point scale from violent acts resulting in death to conciliatory acts involving peaceful gestures.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in HUMAN RIGHTS AND SOCIAL/ TRIBAL PEOPLES, RESEARCH / ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS, Uncategorized | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Scandal of the ‘tomato slaves’ harvesting crop exported to UK. Across Italy an invisible army of migrant workers harvests tomatoes destined for our dinner plates. Paid poverty wages and living in squalor, medical charities have described conditions as ‘hell’. Andrew Wasley reports from Basilicata, southern Italy

Posted by Scientific Earth Conscientious on July 26, 2012

In the parched countryside outside the town of Venosa, in Basilicata, southern Italy, along a rough track fifteen minutes’ drive from the nearest road, you come to a series of ruined farmhouses. Overgrown and run down, the brickwork crumbling, and surrounded by the detritus of poverty – rubbish, abandoned water butts, washing draped out of windows, dogs roaming – at first glance it’s difficult to believe anyone lives here.

The slums are in fact home to several hundred migrant workers about to harvest the region’s abundant tomato crop. Every August, thousands of itinerants, mostly from Africa, some from Eastern Europe, descend on southern Italy to scratch a living picking tomatoes that will eventually be processed and exported across Europe – including to the UK – to be sold in tins, or as pastes, purees or passatas, or used as an ingredient in other food products.

But an Ecologist investigation has revealed how the lucrative trade is blighted by exploitation and abuse: workers – some of them illegal immigrants – are forced to toil for up to 14 hours a day picking tomatoes in harsh conditions for meagre wages, frequently under the control of a network of gangmasters who make excessive deductions or charge inflated rates for transport, accommodation, food and other ‘services’. Those complaining can face violence and intimidation.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in HUMAN RIGHTS AND SOCIAL/ TRIBAL PEOPLES, RESEARCH / ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

New research shows that despite more understanding, more resources, and policy recommendations, women continue to be largely marginalized and ignored or exploited in resource management processes throughout Asia – to the detriment of global climate and poverty reduction goals.

Posted by Scientific Earth Conscientious on July 21, 2012

BEIJING, CHINA – New research released today by the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) shows that despite more understanding, more resources, and policy recommendations, women continue to be largely marginalized and ignored or exploited in resource management processes throughout Asia – to the detriment of global climate and poverty reduction goals.

This suite of analyses, released today at the International Workshop on Gender and Forest Tenure in Asia and Collective Forest Tenure Reform in China, demonstrate that exclusion and inequality on gender grounds are still rife and complicated by the intersection of cultural and social norms, economic pressures, and inadequate legal and institutional frameworks. Authors of the studies call for emerging programs and policies to combat climate change or encourage sustainable development to incorporate lessons learned.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in HUMAN RIGHTS AND SOCIAL/ TRIBAL PEOPLES, RESEARCH / ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Belgian scientists of (ITM) After sequencing the complete genome of a parasite causing one serious tropical disease they identified a series of mutations specific of ‘superparasites’ and developed a simple assay that should allow tracking them anywhere

Posted by Scientific Earth Conscientious on July 20, 2012

Leishmania, unicellular parasite

Belgian scientists of the Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM) in Antwerp, Belgium made a breakthrough in bridging high tech molecular biology research on microbial pathogens and the needs of the poorest of the poor. After sequencing the complete genome of Leishmania donovani (a parasite causing one of the most important tropical diseases after malaria) in hundreds of clinical isolates, they identified a series of mutations specific of ‘superparasites’ and developed a simple assay that should allow tracking them anywhere. This EU-funded research was done in collaboration with the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in UK and clinical partners of the Banaras Hindu University (India) and the BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences (Nepal); it is published in the last issue of the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

Leishmania is a unicellular parasite that is transmitted through the bite of sandflies and occurs mainly in Latin-America, East-Africa, Asia and countries around the Mediterranean Sea. The parasite causes a disease called leishmaniasis which can range from self-healing cutaneous to deadly visceral disease, depending on the infecting species. Recently, the World Health Organisation estimated up to 1,6 million of new cases of leishmaniasis every year, affecting essentially the poorest of the poor. In comparison to these figures, the hundreds of imported cases reported among travelers appear a drop of water in the ocean. Some of these parasites are more dangerous than others, among them those causing visceral leishmaniasis, a clinical form which is lethal in the absence of treatment.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in HUMAN RIGHTS AND SOCIAL/ TRIBAL PEOPLES, RESEARCH / ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS, Uncategorized | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

News investigation Coca Cola challenged over orange harvest linked to ‘exploitation and squalor’. The manufacturer of Fanta is being urged to help address the poor conditions and low wages endured by some African migrant workers harvesting oranges in southern Italy.

Posted by Scientific Earth Conscientious on July 15, 2012

Oranges harvested in the Rosarno area of Calabria are mainly used for juice or concentrates

It is perhaps the worst address in Western Europe. A ramshackle slum with a noisy road on one side, a railway on another, and a stagnant-looking river flowing close-by. The camp itself consists of little more than a collection of shoddily-erected canvas tents and some abandoned buildings and sheds.

Behind the wire fence, fires burn amid piles of rubbish – discarded wholesale-sized tins of olive oil, plastic bottles, newspapers, food scraps and other unidentifiable filth. Woodsmoke stings your eyes. As the winter sun falls, the scene is almost apocalyptic; dozens of migrants swarm around us – cooking, chopping firewood, calling out, trying to keep warm – their figures silhouetted against the flames.

They are from Africa – Ghana, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast – and this squalid camp, where doctors say conditions are as bad, or worse, than in refugee camps in war zones, is currently home to at least two hundred itinerants.

The migrants are here in Rosarno, in Calabria, southern Italy, to harvest the region’s extensive orange crop. Each winter, as many as 2000 migrants travel to this small agricultural town to scratch a living picking oranges that will end up on sale in markets and supermarkets, or as juices or concentrates used in the manufacture of soft drinks.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in HUMAN RIGHTS AND SOCIAL/ TRIBAL PEOPLES, RESEARCH / ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS, Uncategorized | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Scientists have found that Native American populations from Canada to the southern tip of Chile descend from 3 key migrations

Posted by Scientific Earth Conscientious on July 12, 2012

Ceremonial Native American

Scientists have found that Native American populations — from Canada to the southern tip of Chile — arose from at least three migrations, with the majority descended entirely from a single group of First American migrants that crossed over through Beringia, a land bridge between Asia and America that existed during the ice ages, more than 15,000 years ago.

By studying variations in Native American DNA sequences, the international team found that while most of the Native American populations arose from the first migration, two subsequent migrations also made important genetic contributions. The paper is published in the journal Nature today.

“For years it has been contentious whether the settlement of the Americas occurred by means of a single or multiple migrations from Siberia,” said Professor Andres Ruiz-Linares (UCL Genetics, Evolution and Environment), who coordinated the study. “But our research settles this debate: Native Americans do not stem from a single migration. Our study also begins to cast light on patterns of human dispersal within the Americas.”

In the most comprehensive survey of genetic diversity in Native Americans so far, the team took data from 52 Native American and 17 Siberian groups, studying more than 300,000 specific DNA sequence variations called Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms to examine patterns of genetic similarities and differences between the population groups.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in HUMAN RIGHTS AND SOCIAL/ TRIBAL PEOPLES, RESEARCH / ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS, Uncategorized | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

New study maps hotspots of human-animal infectious diseases and emerging disease outbreaks is a heavy burden for 1 billion of world’s poor, new evidence on zoonotic emerging disease hotspots in US and Western Europe

Posted by Scientific Earth Conscientious on July 6, 2012

Map by Institute of Zoology (IOZ), published in an ILRI report to DFID: Mapping of Poverty and Likely Zoonoses Hotspots, 2012.

NAIROBI, KENYA —A new global study mapping human-animal diseases like tuberculosis (TB) and Rift Valley fever finds that an “unlucky” 13 zoonoses are responsible for 2.4 billion cases of human illness and 2.2 million deaths per year. The vast majority occur in low- and middle-income countries.

The report, which was conducted by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), the Institute of Zoology (UK) and the Hanoi School of Public Health in Vietnam, maps poverty, livestock-keeping and the diseases humans get from animals, and presents a “top 20” list of geographical hotspots.

“From cyst-causing tapeworms to avian flu, zoonoses present a major threat to human and animal health,” said Delia Grace, a veterinary epidemiologist and food safety expert with ILRI in Kenya and lead author of the study. “Targeting the diseases in the hardest hit countries is crucial to protecting global health as well as to reducing severe levels of poverty and illness among the world’s one billion poor livestock keepers.”

“Exploding global demand for livestock products is likely to fuel the spread of a wide range of human-animal infectious diseases,” Grace added.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in HUMAN RIGHTS AND SOCIAL/ TRIBAL PEOPLES, RESEARCH / ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS, Uncategorized | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Communities have all survived long years of violence and upheaval only to find their lands coveted by foreign investors and local elite. Still struggle to secure permanent rights. 2 year study helps African communities resolve conflicts, protect rights from land grab

Posted by Scientific Earth Conscientious on June 29, 2012

A new report released today by Namati and the International Development Law Organization (IDLO) details an effective and cost-efficient process to help rural communities work together to protect their lands and natural resources—a potential solution to the global land grab. The communities, located in Liberia, Mozambique, and Uganda, have all survived long years of violence and upheaval only to find their lands coveted by foreign investors and local elite.

In recent years, governments around the world have been granting vast land concessions to foreign investors for agriculture, mining and logging projects. From October 2008 through August 2009, transactions covering at least 56.6 million hectares—including 39.7 million hectares in sub-Saharan Africa, more than the size of Germany and Switzerland combined—were concluded or under negotiation, according to the World Bank.

In the face of this land grab, an innovative collaboration assisted rural villagers who leveraged national laws to document their community lands as a whole, protecting not only family lands—the focus of most efforts to strengthen land rights—but also common resources like forests, grazing lands and water bodies. These resources, which communities depend on for their survival and livelihoods, are particularly vulnerable to appropriation. But while the laws allowing for community land titling are on the books in several countries, they are not well implemented.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in HUMAN RIGHTS AND SOCIAL/ TRIBAL PEOPLES, RESEARCH / ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS, Uncategorized | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

The immigrant population tends to lead a rise in the crime rate ?

Posted by Scientific Earth Conscientious on June 25, 2012

There is a social perception that growth in the immigrant population tends to lead to a rise in the crime rate, but a study carried out by Universidad Carlos III of Madrid (UC3M) demonstrates that this cause and effect relationship cannot be inferred in the case of Spain, according to the Agency SINC.“The crime rate in Spain is low compared to those found in the rest of Europe. In the past few years, crime rates have risen slightly, while the immigrant population has increased at a much greater pace. This points to a positive, but very low, correlation between immigration and crime”, explains César Alonso Borrego, a professor in UC3M’s Economics Department and co-author of the study, together with Pablo Vázquez, of the Universidad Complutense of Madrid and Nuno Garoupa, of the University of Illinois (EEUU). In the article, which has been published in the journal American Law and Economics Review, they analyze “whether or not this correlation implies that there is a causal relationship between immigration and crime”. The conclusion is that it does not.

Posted in HUMAN RIGHTS AND SOCIAL/ TRIBAL PEOPLES, RESEARCH / ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS, Uncategorized | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Math model shows mapping the territories of street gangs

Posted by Scientific Earth Conscientious on June 25, 2012

Computerized map showing which street gangs at active near and within the city’s public schools. Above, the map for Gage Park High School shows that the Latin Kings (in yellow) control territory north of the school, which east and south of the school are controlled by various Disciple groups, which are traditionally in conflict with the Latin Kings.

A mathematical model that has been used for more than 80 years to determine the hunting range of animals in the wild holds promise for mapping the territories of street gangs, a UCLA-led team of social scientists reports in a new study.

“The way gangs break up their neighborhoods into unique territories is a lot like the way lions or honey bees break up space,” said lead author P. Jeffrey Brantingham, a professor of anthropology at UCLA.

Further, the research demonstrates that the most dangerous place to be in a neighborhood packed with gangs is not deep within the territory of a specific gang, as one might suppose, but on the border between two rival gangs. In fact, the highest concentration of conflict occurs within less than two blocks of gang boundaries, the researchers discovered.

The findings appear online today in Criminology, a peer-reviewed scholarly journal published by the American Society of Criminology, the world’s largest society of scholars conducting research on crime.

“Maps of gang territories provide police with a better understanding of how to allocate resources,” said research co-author George E. Tita, an associate professor of criminology, law and society at UC Irvine. “So figuring out the most accurate approach is really important for effectively deploying law enforcement.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in HUMAN RIGHTS AND SOCIAL/ TRIBAL PEOPLES, RESEARCH / ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS, Uncategorized | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

According to recent research, racial diversity increases, but segregation persists

Posted by Scientific Earth Conscientious on June 23, 2012

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

While census data shows racial diversity is increasing in major cities across the United States, highly diverse neighborhoods are still rare, newly arrived immigrants continue to settle in concentrated residential patterns, and many African Americans remain concentrated in segregated neighborhoods, according to recent research by Richard Wright, professor of geography and the Orvil E. Dryfoos Professor of Public Affairs.

Wright and two colleagues—Steven R. Holloway of the University of Georgia and Mark Ellis of the University of Washington—examined neighborhood tract data from the 1990, 2000, and 2010 U.S. censuses and created “cartographic visualizations” of 53 large metropolitan areas and every state in the United States. Their maps showing the changes in neighborhood racial configuration in these cities can be viewed here.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in HUMAN RIGHTS AND SOCIAL/ TRIBAL PEOPLES, RESEARCH / ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Almost half a billion women and children under 5 in the developing world are undernourished could increase by 20 percent

Posted by Scientific Earth Conscientious on June 20, 2012

This is the Share of Undernourishment in Women and Children under 5 Map.

On a planet with sufficient food for all, today almost half a billion women and children under 5 in the developing world are undernourished –a consequence of persistently limited nutritious food intake.

This number could increase by 20 percent, reaching one in five within a decade, compared to one in seven today, due to the impacts of climate change on global food production, according to a detailed analysis by The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (PMNCH), the World Health Organization (WHO), the UN System Standing Committee on Nutrition (UNSCN), 1,000 Days, World Vision International and partners.

“Food security is under threat by climate change. The linkages between its impacts on global food production, price volatility, population growth and nutrition need to be addressed in order to tackle undernourishment of these more vulnerable groups,” says Julio Frenk, M.D., Ph.D., Chair of the Board of PMNCH and Dean of the Harvard School of Public Health.

According to the analysis, it is this equation of climate change and its impacts on food production plus increased population growth that would result in a deficit of global food production versus demand, which could increase by 100 million the number of undernourished women and children by 2020.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in HUMAN RIGHTS AND SOCIAL/ TRIBAL PEOPLES, Uncategorized | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

The resources in the name of ‘green ‘ biofuels and Ecosystems being for profit is likely to cause dispossession and further poverty amongst already-poor land and resource users

Posted by Scientific Earth Conscientious on June 14, 2012

‘Green grabbing’ – the rapidly-growing appropriation of land and resources in the name of ‘green ‘ biofuels, carbon offsetting schemes, conservation efforts and eco-tourism initiatives – is forcing people from their homelands and increasing poverty, new research has found.

Ecosystems being ‘asset-stripped’ for profit is likely to cause dispossession and further poverty amongst already-poor land and resource users, according to a set of 17 new research case studies from Africa, Asia and Latin America, published in a special issue of the Journal of Peasant Studies.

“Green grabs are the dark side of the green economy,” said Professor Melissa Leach, director of the ESRC STEPS Centre. “If market-based mechanisms are to contribute to sustainable development and the building of economies that are not only green but also fair, then fostering an agenda focused on distribution, equity and justice in green market arrangements is vital.”

This means including meaningful local engagement and consultation based on transparency, accountability and free, prior informed consent. Yet green markets cannot do it all. In the rush to repair a damaged nature through trading and offset schemes, the political-economic structures that caused the damage in the first place must not be neglected.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in HUMAN RIGHTS AND SOCIAL/ TRIBAL PEOPLES, RESEARCH / ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS, Uncategorized | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

In countries where cooking can kill, trying to promote safer stoves

Posted by Scientific Earth Conscientious on June 12, 2012

A Bangladeshi woman stokes a flame under a traditional stove. Indoor air pollution from stoves like this have contributed to millions of deaths in the developing world.
Photo Credit: Lynn Hildeman

Preparing a meal in some of the world’s poorest rural areas can turn an ordinary activity into a deadly chore. Animal dung and crop scraps often fuel the indoor fires used for cooking. And before any food fills a hungry belly, thick black smoke fills a family’s lungs.

Pneumonia and other acute respiratory infections kill about 1 million people a year in low-income countries, making them the top cause of death in the developing world and the greatest threat to children’s lives. Makeshift stoves belch much of the polluted air leading to those illnesses. About 75 percent of South Asians and nearly half the world’s population use open-fire stoves inside their homes.

“The smoke is asphyxiating,” said Grant Miller, an associate professor of medicine at Stanford working on ways to get people to buy – and use – cleaner, safer stoves. “It burns your eyes and you can’t stop coughing.”

Governments and humanitarian organizations have urged people to trade their traditional stoves for safer models, many of which have chimneys that funnel smoke out of a home. But the switch from dangerous stoves has been slow to come, even though most people using them know they’re harmful.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in HUMAN RIGHTS AND SOCIAL/ TRIBAL PEOPLES, Uncategorized | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Benzocaine and Babies: in 2006 the agency has received 29 reports of benzocaine gel-related cases of methemoglobinemia

Posted by Scientific Earth Conscientious on June 4, 2012

Benzocaine and Babies: Not a Good Mix - (JPG)

The use of benzocaine gels and liquids for mouth and gum pain can lead to a rare but serious—and sometimes fatal—condition called methemoglobinemia

When a baby is teething, many a mom or dad reaches for a pain remedy containing benzocaine to help soothe sore gums. Benzocaine is a local anesthetic and can be found in such over-the-counter (OTC) products as Anbesol, Hurricaine, Orajel, Baby Orajel, and Orabase.

But the use of benzocaine gels and liquids for mouth and gum pain can lead to a rare but serious—and sometimes fatal—condition called methemoglobinemia, a disorder in which the amount of oxygen carried through the blood stream is greatly reduced. In the most severe cases, says FDA pharmacist Mary Ghods, R.Ph., methemoglobinemia can result in death.

And children under 2 years old appear to be at particular risk.

Since the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first warned about potential dangers in 2006, the agency has received 29 reports of benzocaine gel-related cases of methemoglobinemia. Nineteen of those cases occurred in children, and 15 of the 19 cases occurred in children under 2 years of age, says FDA pharmacist Kellie Taylor, Pharm.D., MPH.

The agency repeated the warning in April 2011 and remains particularly concerned about the use of OTC benzocaine products in children for relief of pain from teething, says Taylor. This concern is fueled by the serious potential outcomes and the difficulty parents may have recognizing the signs and symptoms of methemoglobinemia when using these products at home. These symptoms may not always be evident or attributed to the condition.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in HUMAN RIGHTS AND SOCIAL/ TRIBAL PEOPLES, Uncategorized | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »