MastersConnection 2020
Issue 462 In This Issue January 23rd, 2016

Editors Corner

Did you know that, in September of last year, the California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) said it planned to include glyphosate in its list of chemicals “known to the State of California to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity”? Monsanto has filed a lawsuit against the OEHHA because of this. Click here

Speaking of health, do you know what epigenetics is? For those that don't, it is "...the study of how our genes can be read differently or turned on or off...". Scientists have apparently found that, in mice, they can detect the effects of an unhealthy diet 2 generations later. The "cause of this was not mutations in the DNA but epigenetics, the way the genes were expressed." Click here

Last week we published a story on the water problem in Flint, Michigan. Apparently, Mike Wilkinson, a staff writer at Bridge Magazine, got a spreadsheet from the state of Michigan that indicates there are other areas in Michigan where lead levels found in childrens blood exceed those in Flint. Click here

That's about it from me for this week. If you would like more articles of interest, visit our website where we post a new article daily.
See you next week.

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Something to Contemplate

Can you turbo-charge your genes to produce ‘designer babies’?
If you have bad skin or are losing your hair you might jokingly blame your parents for passing on the genes that cause these problems. Of course, most traits that you’ve inherited probably developed many generations ago. But research is increasingly revealing another level of inheritance at work that really could be down to your parents. Epigenetics is the study of how our genes can be read differently or turned on or off depending on external factors. It explains why identical twins are not completely identical. With time and age they begin to differ epigenetically, leaving them susceptible to different looks, different diseases and ultimately different causes of death (not including accidents). Our environment, diet – and even the people we interact with – can alter the epigenetics of the way our genes are expressed. The molecules of our DNA sequence remain the same in each type of cell, but the various epigenetic marks that tell cell proteins how to process certain parts of the DNA can do so in different ways. For example, through one of these mechanisms known as DNA methylation, tiny molecules bind to one element of DNA and can potentially shut neighbouring genes down, affecting the cell’s identity.

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Nature Watch

Blast from the past: 140 years later, strange tree frog rediscovered in India
Last sighted in 1870, Jerdon’s tree frog was thought to be long gone. But a three-year-old mission beginning in 2007 not only found the amphibian alive and well in India, new research also discovered that it belongs to a completely new genus of tree frog. Jerdon’s tree frog, also known as Frankixalus jerdonii, has a few unique quirks. The first is how the frog feeds its young. According to National Geographic, a female frog starts the process by laying her fertilized eggs in watery tree hollows. It isn’t until the eggs hatch into tadpoles that things get weird. Most tadpoles feed on plant material. However, The Verge reported that a female Jerdon’s tree frog will return to her tadpoles and feed her young unfertilized eggs. The biologist who led the expedition, Sathyabhama Das Biju, told National Geographic that “It is very clear that (the tadpoles) are feeding purely on their mother’s eggs.” Despite not actually seeing a mother frog feed her tadpoles, the female’s reproductive organs are uniquely designed to drop eggs. They contain an unusual, tube-like extension that allows them to lay eggs one at a time. This oddity is paired by an adaptation on the tadpoles’ end, The Verge reported.

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Climate Watch

2015 was record-busting hot, scientists say
It’s official: No year on record has ever been as hot as 2015. And it broke the temperature record, just set in 2014, by an unusually large margin. NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced the news on Wednesday morning, after both agencies separately analyzed global temperature data and came to the same conclusion. The record was set by a full tenth of a degree Celsius (or nearly a fifth of a degree Fahrenheit), a much larger margin than usual, as temperature records are commonly broken by just a few hundredths of a degree Celsius, according to Climate Nexus, a climate communications group. Last year, 2014 broke the global temperature record with an average temperature that was 0.78 degrees C (1.4 degrees F) above the average for all of the 20th century. Now, 2015 broke that same record by 0.9 degrees C (1.62 degrees F). Meanwhile, ten of 2015’s monthly global temperatures broke or tied with existing global heat records, too, the agencies announced.

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Technology Watch

Plant hackers trade software for DNA, still live with their parents
The modern-day “hacker,” as portrayed in popular culture, is a human subspecies native to basements, back rooms, and warehouses. They often sport multiple piercings and complicated hairstyles. They tend to wear perpetual looks of disdain and, indifferent toward mental or physical health, feed on fast food and vending machine fare — a peculiar preference, given the inconvenience of sticky fingers on keyboards. But this stereotype might be changing, the Wall Street Journal reports, because just as the hackers of yore co-evolved with the internet boom, there’s a new kind of hacker co-evolving with the biotech boom. Sebastian Cocioba, a 25-year-old resident of Queens, NY, is one such “biohacker.” Here’s more from the Wall Street Journal:

Born into an earlier generation, Mr. Cocioba might have spent hours writing computer programs. Instead he is at the vanguard of a millennial niche: do-it-yourself bioengineering. In place of a keyboard, he has a homemade “gene gun” that fires genetic material into plants on a blast of tiny tungsten particles.

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Community Calendar

We do love to hear from you especially about community events that you think our readers ought to know about. So, thanks and keep the info flowing.

January 23rd, 10am to 4pm: The Center for Self Governance beginning class
The Center for Self Governance (CSG) is a non-profit, non-partisan educational organization dedicated to training citizens in applied civics. CSG teaches unconventional, tried and tested techniques in applied civics proven to Keep the Republic. CSG training puts you, the citizen, in the drivers seat of self governance. Click here for full text
This class will be held in Gig Harbor. Please contact Marian Clements at for details.

In The News

Monsanto sues California agency over plans to list Roundup as cancer-causing chemical
Agrochemical giant Monsanto has taken a fight for its leading weed killer to court in California, seeking to prevent glyphosate, the main ingredient in the Roundup herbicide, from making it on the state’s list of cancer-causing carcinogens. Monsanto has filed a lawsuit against California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) and the agency's acting director, Lauren Zeise, arguing that glyphosate is “a widely used herbicide” approved in 160 counties worldwide and does not “present a carcinogenic risk to humans.” Under California’s Proposition 65 law, enacted in 1986, the state is obliged to keep and publish a list of chemicals “known to the State of California to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity.” Last revised in early December, the entire list currently takes up 23 pages and includes over 800 chemicals, according to the agency.  In September, the OEHHA said it planned to include glyphosate to its “database,” adding that it does “meet the criteria for (Labor Code) listing mechanism.” “The law requires that certain substances identified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) be listed as known to cause cancer under Proposition 65,” it said.

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Goldman Sachs sends US into recession, promptly retracts report’s slide
Despite being “too big to fail”, America’s “most important bank” Goldman Sachs may have done so this week, at least for a few minutes, when it possibly tipped off a new economic recession. A slide in the “Markets do not ‘Take it Easy’ to start the year” report posted online showed the US in a recession according to Goldman’s Current Activity Indicator. “Although EM assets remain in the cross-hairs – and the outlook there remains tenuous in spots – growth concerns have impacted the market’s view of US and European growth as well, pushing our market-based measure of US growth risk to new post GFC lows (see Exhibit 8),” the report read. Shortly after the financial watchdog website Zero Hedge tweeted their response, Goldman Sachs posted an altered slide, moving the dark blue line from zero to closer to two. So if Goldman Sachs changed the chart, there’s no recession, right? Well, that’s where we get into a gray area. Economist Paul Samuelson once said “the stock market has predicted nine out of the last five recessions”, according to the Washington Post, which asked “Is the stock market telling us we’re headed for a recession?” on Wednesday.

Click here to read full article

Health Watch

Map shows how Michigan’s lead problem extends far beyond the Flint water crisis
Flint is Michigan’s poster child for environmental disaster — a crisis that could have been avoided. As my colleague Raven Rakia has pointed out, lead exposure, which causes an array of health problems and is especially bad for children, is completely preventable. But that doesn’t mean that those responsible for public health do their jobs. In Flint, a city that’s nearly 60 percent black and where more than 42 percent of residents live below the poverty line, officials switched to a cheaper water source. That source was cheaper for a reason: The water was polluted and corrosive. So it leached lead from the old pipes when they piped it in. That burdened local residents with water that’s been making them sick for more than a year. But high levels of lead aren’t unique to Flint. Mike Wilkinson, a staff writer at Bridge Magazine, got a spreadsheet from the state of Michigan that indicates areas where lead levels exceed those in Flint (he’s using data supplied for 2013; 2012 levels are available here).

Click here to read full article

Triad Theater
Calendar of Events

January 23rd @ 7pm: Nisqually Family Presentation and Exhibit
Come enrich your culture at this event from our tribal neighbors. Featuring an exhibit, premiere film, native food and a drumming presentation. Not to be missed. TIMING UPDATE DUE TO SCHEDULING CONFLICT WITH THE NISQUALLY FOLKS - Preshow starts at 3pm and the MAIN show at 7pm. Come to one or both - All for $20.
Tickets Available by clicking HERE

January 24th @ 2pm: VIDEO/ DOCUMENTARY – “The truth about Cancer”
Learn alternative approaches that doctors can’t tell you about... and why they can’t. $8.

January 27th @ 7pm: SKYPE – Clayton Nolte talks about Water and Consciousness and the importance of structured water in “The Immortality Talks”. $8.

January 30th @ 7pm: LIVE MUSIC – A live concert from Kissy Flick’s new CD “Look @ Life”
Starts at 7pm for $20 and includes one beverage. Hear a preview on their website
Tickets available for purchase by clicking HERE

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