by Geoff Olson
This week, a roundup of recent news items about the body and biology, starting with a Monsanto cheerleader who blew both his feet off with a rhetoric-powered grenade (RPG).
In a March interview on French television, Dr. Patrick Moore was blindsided by questions about Monsanto’s flagship product, the herbicide Roundup. (Some background: the World Health Organization, a body not known for environmental scaremongering, has pegged the active ingredient in Roundup as a likely carcinogen. Other studies have claimed glyphosate disrupts the human endocrine in the parts per trillion range. )
“You could drink a whole quart of it and it won’t hurt you,” Moore said of glyphosate on CanalTV. The interviewer was prepared, however. “You want to drink some, we have some here,” he said.
“I’d be happy to, actually…not really, but,” Moore responded, his brain catching up with his talking points-powered piehole. The ex-Greenpeace member then claimed that farmers in India who commit suicide by drinking Roundup (in protest against Monsanto’s seed practices) do not in fact succeed in dying. But “I’m not stupid,” Moore added.
C’mon, just because the guy drank the GMO Kool-Aid doesn’t mean he’s dopey enough to guzzle the glyphosate.
In other health-related news, a “1,000-year-old treatment for eye infections could hold the key to killing antibiotic-resistant superbugs,” according to a BBC report. A 9th century Anglo-Saxon remedy found in an old English manuscript can wipe out methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
The ancient remedy includes, garlic, onion or leeks, wine and cow bile. (Wow. Next thing you know, they’ll be telling us that leeches are useful in reconstructive surgery.) Perhaps the yellowed pages of “Bald’s Leechbook” contain more surprises. Here’s hoping that includes a topical balm made from eye-of-newt and wing-of-bat that is effective at warding off imps, slyphs and GMO spokestrolls.
Sorry, Patrick, couldn’t resist.
Canadian media critic Marshall McLuhan once defined technology as an extension of the human body and its sensory apparatus. Consider the ‘selfie sticks’ that allow people to take pictures of themselves at greater than arms-length distances. It’s like having the elastic superpower of Reed Richards from The Fantastic Four, without the gamma ray bombardment downside, to fool viewers you had a friend present to record your rad moment standing before Baltimore’s Giant Fibreglass Pineapple or Vancouver’s A-maze-ing Laughter.
Alas, the Coachella and Lollapalooza festivals recently banned selfie sticks. Will churches, US military black sites, cuddle parties, and ayahuasca ceremonies also follow in restricting these McLuhanesque wands? Will the so-called “narcissticks” go the way of lawn darts, ant farms, and airline hijackings? We can only hope.
“Men are going nuts over lululemon’s ‘anti-ball crushing’ pants.” Nope, it’s not something from the satirical news website The Onion, or another billboard prank from Chip Wilson. It’s a headline from CBC News, which is apparently on a hiring blitz for frathouse members as digital copy editors.
In any case, lowercase Yogawear manufacturer lululemon athletica has finally addressed that burning question of healthy, breeding-age males: “where can I find something more comfortable to wear than my cosplay chainmail leggings, that won’t squash my gonads into genetically compromised Silly Putty?” Translation: “where do I find babe-friendly pants that make it look I’m smuggling a fruit basket through customs?”
Finally, an item on everyone’s favourite red planet, Mars. “Nasa finds evidence of a vast ancient ocean on Mars,” notes The Guardian. “A huge primitive ocean covered one-fifth of the planet’s surface, making it warm, wet and ideal for alien life to gain a foothold, scientists say.”
Double wow. Mars, now cold and dry, is just on the outside edge of the so-called “Goldilocks zone” for habitable life. But that zone was conceived back in the fifties, decades before scientists discovered primitive ‘extremophiles’ cavorting in deep-sea hydrothermal vents, floating high in the stratosphere, and stomping angrily out of television studios after retracting offers to drink poisonous substances.
Whoops, sorry again, Patrick.
Anyway, if there was an ocean on Mars, the odds are good there was life as well. Perhaps even multicellular life that evolved into intelligent beings. Are there any still around? God knows Monsanto could use a few sharper arrows in their quiver – and an extraterrestrial spokesthing might even have the biochemistry to withstand a glyphosate smoothie.
I know, I know. Now I’m just being hurtful.
The Vancouver Courier, Apr. 10