GMO Golden Rice: The Scourge of Asia

August 9, 2014 (Ulson Gunnar -NEO) - Asia's dependency on rice cultivation for both subsidence and income is intuitively understood. The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates the agricultural population of lowland rice cultivation in Asia to be over 470 million - larger than the entire population of the United States. Improvements in rice cultivation would stand to lift hundreds of millions from debt and poverty. Conversely, the disruption of rice cultivation would threaten to mire hundreds of millions in deeper debt, inescapable destitution, and all of the negative socioeconomic implications that follow.



Asia's rice farmers produce between 1-2 harvests a year depending on the climb and climate of any given region. They do so to sell their rice, generally to mills who in turn sell the final product to exporters or for domestic consumption. Out of each harvest, rice farmers keep a portion for their own consumption, but the vast majority of what they grow is for income.

The UK-based Rice Association claims there are up to 40,000 species of rice, with a wide variety of characteristics suitable for different markets and uses. Rice farmers grow those which local, national and regional markets are best suited to move. In nations where subsidies are offered for rice crops, cheap, easy to grow varieties are chosen. More desirable or exotic species are grown by independent farmers who have developed their own cooperative with millers, marketers and exporters. The rice Asians eat depends on both economic and market realities. The impoverished eat what is cheapest and most easily available, but not necessarily that which is healthiest.

Enter GMO: Problem, Reaction, Solution

Poor diet leads to vitamin deficiencies, a persistent problem among the impoverished. A lack of basic healthcare and education allows the otherwise easily rectified problem to continue unresolved. The World Health Organization (WHO) states on their website, "an estimated 250,000 to 500,000 vitamin A-deficient children become blind every year, half of them dying within 12 months of losing their sight." This statistic is global, not regionally specific to Asia, but Southeast Asia in particular suffers from such deficiencies.

WHO prescribes cheap vitamin supplements and the promotion of local gardens to produce a variety of fruits and vegetables that can easily solve not only vitamin A deficiency, but other deficiencies as well. WHO states, "for vulnerable rural families, for instance in Africa and South-East Asia, growing fruits and vegetables in home gardens complements dietary diversification and fortification and contributes to better lifelong health."

Golden Rice: GMO "Super Gruel" for the Masses

You don't need big-ag's Golden Rice, you just need a garden. 


July 16, 2014 (LocalOrg) - Corporate biotechnology monopolies like Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer, and others have met increasing resistance to their attempts to patent and control global agriculture. They have spent untold fortunes attempting to sway the public but to no avail. Local, organic agriculture is growing in popularity and proliferating across all social-strata. The introduction of technology to automate and augment organic farming is making it as competitive and accessible or more so than the capital-intensive models of monopoly employed by big-ag. 

In response, big-ag has attempted several distasteful public relation stunts, including "super bananas for Africa" and "Golden Rice" to allegedly feed Asia's poor.

They claim these initiatives are purely altruistic. Business Insider in its article, "A Miracle Rice Could Save Millions Of Lives," claims: 

Golden Rice, once it is widely released, will be much more cost-effective, as agricultural economist Alexander Stein has shown. Despite common misconceptions, no one stands to get rich when poor farmers start growing Golden Rice. Instead, it will represent a fundamentally different approach, an embodiment of the old "teach a man to fish" adage.
Business Insider's source? Big-ag giant Syngenta and the "Golden Rice Humanitarian Board." The board, of course, is stacked with big-ag-funded "NGOs," USAID representatives, and representatives of big-ag itself. The board represents the revolving door between corporate monopolies and big-government - and their combined efforts to use every means necessary to advance their collective self-interests.  


Walking Combat Robots Tested by US Marines

July 15, 2014 (LocalOrg) - The Pentagon Channel posted a video regarding RIMPAC exercises in Hawaii and the inclusion of walking robots being tested for future combat roles. The title of the video was, "Marines Bring Walking Robot to RIMPAC," and featured a version of what is known as the "Big Dog" robot developed by Boston Dynamics and now owned by IT giant Google. It reportedly can walk up to 20 miles and carry up to 400 pounds without a break.


The inevitability of this technology being developed and used in combat is a certainty. What is not a certainty is whether it is deployed solely by corporate-financier monopolies and a military-industrial complex that represents their interests alone, or takes to a battlefield where such technology has been mastered and democratized by many, creating a balance of power that favors the majority. 

It is important that people do not cower and complain in the face of such advances, but take up the challenge of understanding and mastering the technology so that Google, the Department of Defense, and the corporate-financier interests that seek to benefit from a technological divide between themselves and the rest of humanity cannot have their way.