How Monsanto Gained Huge Control of the World's Food Supply
The Undercurrent, an online news site that bills itself as the antidote to the mainstream media's five-second soundbite, made a five-minute video explaining how Monsanto came to have such a huge control over our food system. In this clever, satirical video, Dan Graetz of The Undercurrent explains that "nothing kills those bloody weeds better than Roundup from Monsanto—the famous makers of Joni Mitchell's favorite DDT, Agent Orange, which, aside from the occasional birth defect did a great job of destroying the rice fields during the Vietnam War, the cow-swelling bovine growth hormone and PCBs, everyone's favorite carcinogenic environmental pollutant."
"But with the revolutionary key ingredient in Roundup glyphosate, the folks at Monsanto have added not just enormous profits to their bottom line, but also the word 'probably' in front of the word 'carcinogenic,'" says Graetz. He's referring to the World Health Organization's (WHO) recent report which found that glyphosate is "probably carcinogenic," which Monsanto vehemently demanded the WHO retract.
Just how much power does Monsanto wield? Well, they control 80 percent of the U.S. corn market and 93 percent of the U.S. soy market, according to Graetz. So, it comes as no surprise that the National Corn Growers Association and the American Soybean Association are going to bat for them. These two trade organizations issued a statement last week that they are worried the WHO review of glyphosate and its soon-to-be released review of 2,4-D might create “confusion” about two weed killers that have been “mainstays for farmers for decades.”
At this point you might be wondering "how is this allowed to happen? How are farmers okay with this?" Two things real quick: market forces and political influence. Now, I know what your thinking: "Big Business controls politics. Tell us something we don't know." But the example I am about to give you is an absolute doozy.
Watch to find out:
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By Aaron W Hunter
A chance discovery of a beautifully preserved fossil in the desert landscape of Morocco has solved one of the great mysteries of biology and paleontology: how starfish evolved their arms.
The Pompeii of palaeontology. Aaron Hunter, Author provided<h2></h2><p>Although starfish might appear very robust animals, they are typically made up of lots of hard parts attached by ligaments and soft tissue which, upon death, quickly degrade. This means we rely on places like the Fezouata formations to provide snapshots of their evolution.</p><p>The starfish fossil record is patchy, especially at the critical time when many of these animal groups first appeared. Sorting out how each of the various types of ancient starfish relate to each other is like putting a puzzle together when many of the parts are missing.</p><h2>The Oldest Starfish</h2><p><em><a href="https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/216101v1.full.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Cantabrigiaster</a></em> is the most primitive starfish-like animal to be discovered in the fossil record. It was discovered in 2003, but it has taken over 17 years to work out its true significance.</p><p>What makes <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> unique is that it lacks almost all the characteristics we find in brittle stars and starfish.</p><p>Starfish and brittle stars belong to the family Asterozoa. Their ancestors, the Somasteroids were especially fragile - before <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> we only had a handful of specimens. The celebrated Moroccan paleontologist Mohamed <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2016.06.041" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Ben Moula</a> and his local team was instrumental in discovering <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0031018216302334?via%3Dihub" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">these amazing fossils</a> near the town of Zagora, in Morocco.</p><h2>The Breakthrough</h2><p>Our breakthrough moment came when I compared the arms of <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> with those of modern sea lilles, filter feeders with long feathery arms that tend to be attached to the sea floor by a stem or stalk.</p><p>The striking similarity between these modern filter feeders and the ancient starfish led our team from the University of Cambridge and Harvard University to create a new analysis. We applied a biological model to the features of all the current early Asterozoa fossils in existence, along with a sample of their closest relatives.</p>
Cantabrigiaster is the most primitive starfish-like animal to be discovered in the fossil record. Aaron Hunter, Author provided<p>Our results demonstrate <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> is the most primitive of all the Asterozoa, and most likely evolved from ancient animals called crinoids that lived 250 million years before dinosaurs. The five arms of starfish are a relic left over from these ancestors. In the case of <em>Cantabrigiaster</em>, and its starfish descendants, it evolved by flipping upside-down so its arms are face down on the sediment to feed.</p><p>Although we sampled a relatively small numbers of those ancestors, one of the unexpected outcomes was it provided an idea of how they could be related to each other. Paleontologists studying echinoderms are often lost in detail as all the different groups are so radically different from each other, so it is hard to tell which evolved first.</p>
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