Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Monday, 3 September 2012

Apple Granted Patent To Disable Cameras According To Location - prevents people taking video during protests or events -

Apple Granted Patent To Disable Cameras According To Location - prevents people taking video during protests or events - 

Apple was granted a patent last week that will enable it to wirelessly disable the camera on iphones in certain locations, sparking fears that such techniques could be used to prevent citizens from communicating with each other or taking video during protests or events such as political conventions and gatherings.
The camera phone has revolutionized the flow of information in the digital age. Any time a major event takes place, news networks and video websites are immediately inundated with footage and photographs from the scene.
That could all change in the future however, with a flick of a switch, according to U.S. Patent No. 8,254,902, published on Tuesday, titled, “Apparatus and methods for enforcement of policies upon a wireless device.”
It states:
Apparatus and methods for changing one or more functional or operational aspects of a wireless device, such as upon the occurrence of a certain event. In one embodiment, the event comprises detecting that the wireless device is within range of one or more other devices. In another variant, the event comprises the wireless device associating with a certain access point. In this manner, various aspects of device functionality may be enabled or restricted (device “policies”). This policy enforcement capability is useful for a variety of reasons, including for example to disable noise and/or light emanating from wireless devices (such as at a movie theater), for preventing wireless devices from communicating with other wireless devices (such as in academic settings), and for forcing certain electronic devices to enter “sleep mode” when entering a sensitive area.

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EPA changes rules to allow more toxic cleaning chemicals in mainstream food -

EPA changes rules to allow more toxic cleaning chemicals in mainstream food - 

Just in case you’ve forgotten, EPA stands for Environmental Protection Agency. That was sarcasm. You haven’t forgotten. But it appears the EPA has.
Reading alphabet soup can be confusing. The FDA, USDA and EPA all seem to cross over each other when it comes to what happens with food.
Recently, the EPA made a ruling on the use of a chemical that’s used for a variety of products, including sanitizing cleaners for facilities of food industry providers and restaurants. The chemical will show up in processed foods.
Government safety agencies safeguard industry profits, not health and safety
An August 22, 2012 Courthouse News edition contained a short article entitled “More Ammonia Now Allowed in Processed Food.” It was a reference to the EPA’s latest revision for limits using Didecyl Dimethyl Ammonium in the carbonate or bicarbonate form (DDACB). Focus on ammonia.
The former limit of 240 ppm (parts per million) was raised to 400 ppm. A petition to raise the allowed limit was issued to the EPA by a principle provider of the chemical, Lonza, according to the Courthouse News press release.
The reason for limiting DDACB is residual amounts of highly toxic ammonia used in food facilities are carried by the foods and consumed.

According to the EPA’s own document on the ruling, those industries affected (favorably) by the increased DDACB toxicity allowance are: Dairy, food manufacturing, beverage manufacturing, and pesticide producers.

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China denies kids are GM rice guinea pigs despite published research paper -

China denies kids are GM rice guinea pigs despite published research paper - 

Authorities in China's Hunan province denied recently that children in a rural school were guinea pigs in a United States research project on the effects of genetically modified rice.

A research paper involving 68 Chinese primary-school children in the province was published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition on Aug. 1, with Guangwen Tang at Tufts University in the US named as the lead author.

The unapproved experimental rice, widely referred to as "golden rice" and genetically engineered to produce provitamin A, was created by Ingo Potrykus at the Institute of Plant Sciences in the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and Peter Beyer at the University of Freiburg more than 10 years ago.

Chen Peihou, deputy director of the Hunan Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, confirmed that the second author of the paper, listed as Hu Yuming, is a researcher for the centre.

"I was aware of the project in Hengyang in 2008, which involved children and was mainly testing for beta-carotene bioavailability and bioconversion to retinol," or vitamin A, Chen said yesterday. "But as far as I know, no golden rice was used, and all the food involved was locally produced."

He also said that Hu was not asked by the journal to sign the paper before its publication.

"In the project, we just provided the site and assistance to the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and we have not dealt with any US institution," he added.

According to Chen, Yin Shi'an, listed in the paper as the third author, is with the China CDC.

Wang Lin, information director of the China CDC, declined to comment.

Chen said his centre will continue its investigation and contact the journal about the issue.

Andrea Grossman, a public-relations officer for Tufts University's Human Nutrition Research Centre on Aging, however, was quoted by Beijing Youth Daily over the weekend as saying that the month long research on golden rice was approved by authorities in both countries after an examination by ethics committees.

Feeding trials with human adults in China have also been carried out to measure the effect of fat in the diet, on bioconversion and bioavailability, according to the Golden Rice Project website, the official golden-rice homepage supported by the Rockefeller Foundation.

Last Thursday, Greenpeace, the international environmental campaign group, reported the study, backed by the US Department of Agriculture, which involved feeding golden rice to 6- to 8-year-old children in Hunan.

The study, assigned to the Hunan CDC by the China CDC in 2008, selected 68 primary-school children in a school in Hankou township of Hengyang city.

According to the Hunan CDC, the study was listed as on the Programme of National Natural Science Foundation of China.

After the discovery was posted on Sina Weibo, a Chinese micro-blogging website, the news received massive attention online.

After an investigation, the publicity department of Hengyang said over the weekend that there had been no such research project on golden rice. It said on its micro blog there was instead a study on the transformation of carotene in vegetables to vitamin A in children's bodies.

According to Chen Peihou, all results were submitted to the China CDC immediately after the experiment ended, and no paper on that has been published within the country.

Worldwide, debates on long-term safety for genetically modified (GM) food continues.

In China, the Ministry of Agriculture in 2009 issued bio safety certificates to two strains of pest-resistant GM rice and corn in what was considered a major development in promoting the research and planting of GM crops.

The strains still need registration and production trial - which will take three to five years - before commercial planting could begin, according to the ministry.

The certificates triggered concern among the public and professionals since there is still no consensus on whether such food is harmful to humans.

As early as 2001, the State Council introduced a regulation to ensure the safety of GM food, with strict provisions of its research, testing, production and marketing.

At present, the only three kinds of GM food crops that have been approved for commercial planting in China are sweet peppers, tomatoes and papayas, Shi Yanquan, an official at the ministry, was quoted as saying by china.com.cn during an online interview in April.

Also, the country has imported other GM crops, including soybean, corn and rape, from overseas market to satisfy domestic need. For instance, China imported more than 50 million tonnes of GM soybeans in 2011, most of which were processed to edible oil, he said.

"The country has launched strict transgenic safety and quality assessment system to ensure GM food in the market is as safe as conventional food," he added.

Yang Xiaoguang, a researcher at China CDC, was quoted in April as saying: "So far, we have received no report to show any genetically modified food on the market is harmful to human health. GM food that consumers purchase from the market is safe to eat."

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