Category Archives: Science

TED Talk: The kill decision shouldn’t belong to a robot

Technology always brings unforeseen social changes

In Barbados we have zero transparency, zero accountability and the ruling political elites can do pretty well what they want. Author Daniel Suarez’s TED presentation predicts that as autonomous weapons become cheaper and more lethal, smaller governments and developing societies will have an advantage over larger, more developed societies. It seems far fetched to imagine Barbados wielding autonomous weapons and drones – but maybe not. Suarez also talks about private interests using the same weapons. Considering the Columbian and Mexican crime cartels, that’s not such an impossibility either.

The above YouTube video is brought to you by those friendly folks at Samsung. That’s right, the same folks that make your phone also make and deploy automatic killer machine guns for a very reasonable US$200,000 each. Just set ’em and forget ’em…

“This raises the very real possibility of anonymous war. This could tilt the geopolitical balance on its head, make it very difficult for a nation to turn its firepower against an attacker, and that could shift the balance in the 21st century away from defense and toward offense. It could make military action a viable option not just for small nations, but criminal organizations, private enterprise, even powerful individuals. It could create a landscape of rival warlords undermining rule of law and civil society. Now if responsibility and transparency are two of the cornerstones of representative government, autonomous robotic weapons could undermine both.

Now you might be thinking that citizens of high-tech nations would have the advantage in any robotic war, that citizens of those nations would be less vulnerable, particularly against developing nations. But I think the truth is the exact opposite. I think citizens of high-tech societies are more vulnerable to robotic weapons, and the reason can be summed up in one word: data. Data powers high-tech societies. Cell phone geolocation, telecom metadata, social media, email, text, financial transaction data, transportation data, it’s a wealth of real-time data on the movements and social interactions of people. In short, we are more visible to machines than any people in history, and this perfectly suits the targeting needs of autonomous weapons.”

Watch Daniel Suarez’s entire TED Talk here.

Thanks to an old friend for the suggestion.

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Genetically modified organisms (GMOs): Threat or salvation?

Hello BFP, Green Monkey here. You might find of interest the following article from Prison Planet:

GMOs could cause ‘irreversible termination of life’ on Earth, risk expert warns…

When discussing the issues surrounding genetically modified organisms (GMOs) — that is, organisms bearing the genetic traits of other species or bacteria — the focus is typically on how safe (or unsafe) these novel, food-like products are for humans. But distinguished risk engineer and two-time best-selling author Nassim Taleb thinks an even bigger problem with GMOs is their threat to the planet, and the statistical likelihood that they will eventually lead to the collapse of life on Earth.

In a new study, which is still in draft form, this professor of risk engineering from New York University uses statistical analysis to make the case that GMOs, by their very nature, will disrupt the ecosystems of this planet in ways that mankind is only just beginning to comprehend. Because they represent a systemic risk rather than a localized one — GM traits are known to spread unconstrained throughout the environment — GMOs will eventually breach the so-called “ecocide barrier,” leading to catastrophic ecosystem failure.

“There are mathematical limitations to predictability in a complex system, ‘in the wild,’ which is why focusing on the difference between local (or isolated) and systemic threats is a central aspect of our warnings,” Taleb is quoted as saying by Fool.com, noting that it’s essentially impossible to contain the inevitable spread of GMO traits far and wide.

“The [precautionary principle] is not there to make life comfortable, rather to avoid a certain class of what is called in probability and insurance ‘ruin’ problems,” write Taleb and his colleagues in their paper. “For nature, the ‘ruin’ is ecocide: an irreversible termination of life at some scale, which could be the planet.”

GMOs are not ‘scientific,’ and nearly every argument used in their defense is flawed…   Continue reading

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Dr. Victor Gooding: A Barbadian Living in Canada

Victor-Gooding-scientist Barbados

Barbadian Scientist living in Canada to deliver 2013 Sir Winston Scott Memorial Lecture

Frank Collymore Hall, Monday November 25, 2013 8pm

The Central Bank of Barbados today announced that a Barbadian whose pioneering work in telecommunications created a new narrative for Canadians of African descent will deliver the 2013 Sir Winston Scott Memorial Lecture.

Dr. Victor Gooding, Barbadian Olympian and Senior Satellite Systems Scientist at Telesat Canada, will speak on the topic “View from 45 years North: A Barbadian Living in Canada” at the Frank Collymore Hall on Monday, November 25 at 8:00 p.m.

“The unique perspectives of Barbadians abroad represent valuable and important contributions to the dialogue on the country’s social and economic development efforts”, Dr. Gooding commented days before his presentation.

This telecommunications specialist said his audience can expect a presentation on a series of issues ranging from science to education to the international economic crisis. Continue reading

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Finding Barbados when you are drunk on Royal Navy rum…

barbados-happy-marcus.jpg

You think it was difficult stumbling home from Christ Church last Friday night?

Try doing it without a mobile phone and GPS location.

God; how I miss you, my brother.

Cliverton

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Dr. Robert Lucas: Taking issue with the scientific illiterates

Barbados Sugar Cane.jpg

Tropical soils, Temperate soils: What’s the difference and does it matter?

In the Advocate newspaper of 8th April 2013, there was an article captioned “Organic agriculture can boost restaurant sub-sector.” Immediately below the caption in bold font was the following statement: “In temperate countries like the UK, the organic matter content stood at 5%. In Barbados on the other hand….the organic matter content in most soils was less than one percent.” The statement also appeared in paragraph five of the article. In paragraph eight of the same article, the following appeared: “Conventional methods contribute to green house gas emissions and can cause inefficiencies in energy use..” The two statements were attributed to the National Co-ordinator of the United Nations Development Facility Small Grants Program (GEF SGP).

In biology there is a concept called the temperature quotient. The temperature quotient is a ratio of the velocity of a process at a given temperature to that at a temperature 10 °C lower. In biological systems the temperature quotient is about 2-3. This means that there is (using the lower figure) a doubling of the rate of a biological reaction for every ten degrees increase in temperature. This doubling effect occurs up to certain temperature beyond which, there is an adverse reaction due to effect of heat. Since tropical countries are hotter than temperate ones, one would expect tropical soils to have little or no soil organic matter. Obviously, if fresh vegetation or pen manure is added to tropical soils, initially, soil organic matter will be high. This, however, is only so for a short time. The duration of organic matter is further reduced in the presence of air and water. Another fact to be considered is the carbon /nitrogen ration of the added vegetation or manure. If the nitrogen content is too low, the rate of decomposition is retarded: the converse occurs if there is adequate nitrogen available. Pen manure or vegetation added to the soil is broken down by soil micro-organisms. Students of biology would have encountered in their studies the carbon and nitrogen cycles. Carbon dioxide and nitrogen are the ultimate products of the decomposition of manure and vegetation when added to soils as is the case when fertilizers are used.

I have stated in the past that, the majority of Barbadians are scientific illiterate and the article referred to, supports what I have been saying for years.

Sincerely

Robert D.Lucas, Ph.D.

Food biotechnologist.

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Barbados should be into Butanol, not Ethanol, to power autos – but we lack the vision and leadership

distillery butanol

“It would appear that, only certain persons in this society are founts of knowledge and that their opinions and ideas are adhered to, even when they are talking on subjects outside their area of technical competence.”

by Robert D. Lucas, PH.D.

There was an article entitled “Deal to turn whisky ‘leftovers’ into bio-fuels for cars”, in a local newspaper of Wednesday 26th September 2012. The same news item was aired on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) on Monday 24th September 2012. It was reported in paragraph five of the article that, ninety percent of the stuff which comes out of the distillery is not whisky. It is leftovers like daff and pot ales which are high in sugars. It is planned, as reported in the article, to utilize these leftovers for the manufacture of butanol (an alcohol) for use as a bio-fuel. I have some points and observations which I will now make.

In the past (letters to Advocate: 7th June, 1998; 31st July, 2002; 3rd August, 2004 and 18th May 2006) I have advocated that yeast by-products (which are a high quality source of protein) from rum manufacturing, be utilized in the manufacture of rations for livestock locally. As I pointed out then, alcohol is a toxic by-product of the metabolism of molasses by various strains of yeast Saccharomyces cervisisiae. Once a threshold level of alcohol is reached, the yeast die off; but considerable amounts of free molasses remain. The yeast can be separated and used as a source of high-protein input for animal rations. The cell-free extract can then be distilled to remove ethanol. The residual liquid can be fermented to obtain more alcohol. Alternatively, selective pressure can be used on S.cervisisiae, to obtain strains of yeasts with increased tolerance to ethanol. The same trait can be obtained using genetic engineering techniques, to obtain improve alcohol tolerance of yeasts.

Butanol beats Ethanol for vehicles!

In 2006, in a letter (“Ethanol not the only manufacturing solution”), I proposed that the alcohol of choice for use as a bio-fuel be butanol. Continue reading

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Eat your water bottle? Barbados scientist develops edible degradable plastic!

Barbados plastic molecule

Robert D. Lucas, Ph.D.

I have been doing some research on the development of degradable plastics locally. I have been able to develop an edible degradable plastic using glucose which is stable under certain conditions.  There are certain challenges which have to be over come when using glucose. It is necessary to give some background on the status of degradable packaging and on how I became involved in the present research.

At present, there are four other methods of making degradable packaging.  One of the methods, uses gelatinized starch which is molded under pressure with cellulose. In the second method, starch is extracted from maize, fermented to give lactic acid, which is then polymerized. Thirdly, there is the use of genetically modified bacteria, which are fed sugars. The latter process is complex and expensive. In the third method, use is made of methanotrophic (bacteria which utilize methane), in an aerated medium obtained from waste-water from plants (food, sewers etc.), to which has been added certain salts. Methane is then pumped through the system, and is polymerized by the bacteria.

I became involved in the research, as a result of a proposal of mine, which was entered in the National Council for Science and Technology (NCST’s) innovative competition. As a result, the Barbados Industrial Development Corporation (BIDC) became interested in my proposal. BIDC purchased some basic pieces of scientific equipment and the NCST allowed me the use of their forty-foot container which had previously been converted into a laboratory, located in the Ministry of Commerce’s yard. Apart from the BIDC’s equipment, I have funded all of the chemicals and other bits of equipment myself. I am not paid for doing the research; I want to make that absolutely clear. Continue reading

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Rats, Round-up herbicide and Genetically Modified Corn

What is happening to our bodies?

Everybody has an agenda, but the wonderful thing about the internet is that information is no longer restricted and controlled by ‘official’ gate-keepers. As a sovereign human being I am able to examine all the information and then make up my own mind.

What do I think about genetically modified organisms? I’m not sure yet… but I’m getting nervous with the more information I receive from all sides and from the observations I make myself.

Not that it’s related to GMO corn or Round-up, I am curious about the apparent drastic reduction in the age at which females usually experience their first menses. One of the girls in our extended family is just entering puberty. She’s eight years old, just turned.

Tell me if I’m wrong folks, but I don’t think that happened twenty or thirty years ago, at least not with the frequency we hear about now.

What is happening to our bodies… and why?

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France considers emergency ban on Monsanto’s genetically modified corn after study links cancer

Eating GMO foods dangerous?

by Green Monkey

In light of the recent news from France that Monsanto’s Roundup Ready variety of corn has been linked to significant increases in cancer in long term animal feeding trials (which Monsanto itself refused to perform).  I think it is important for Barbados Free Press readers to be fully aware of the risks they are potentially running by eating corn or processed foods from North American food manufacturers who now use large quantities of genetically modified crops from Monsanto and other GMO suppliers in their products.

Green Monkey

France to prove study linking GM corn to cancer

France has asked its national health body to verify a study released this week linking Monsanto’s NK603 genetically modified corn to cancer in rats, saying the results of the probe could lead to an “emergency suspension” of NK603 imports. Continue reading

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Why did our Minister of Works and Transport endorse this technology company? Does he own stock?

BREAKING HOT NEWS: Company paid up to $100,000 to certain websites to promote this stock! Did they pay anything to Minister of Transport John Boyce or any other Bajan? See end of story for details.

“Utilizing the Start FEED unit in Barbados on our government vehicles will result in tremendous fuel costs savings, in addition to major reductions of toxic automobile emissions and assist the government in accomplishing the goal of a cleaner and healthier Barbados.”

Hon. Mr. John Boyce, Minister of Works and Transport as quoted in a press release and stock prospectus for Great Wall Builders Ltd.

Did Barbados Minister John Boyce receive any gift or benefit from Start Technologies or Great Wall Builders Ltd.?

A new stock is in play. Press releases and a stock prospectus were sent out hyping new technology that is claimed to improve fuel efficiency by 20%. The miracle aftermarket gadget “uses a high-voltage electric current to break long-chain hydrocarbon molecules into shorter, lighter more volatile molecules.”

Why didn’t Detroit or Toyota think of this? Because they are stupid, that’s why! In 100 years of internal combustion engine development nobody has thought of this…

except… there have been many similar devices in history making the same claims about using electric current to modify the properties of fuel. There are even websites where engineers debunk this type of claim that electricity will change the molecular structure of fuel and result in significant mileage increases.

Not to worry though: the Barbados Minister of Transport attests that the technology works. And it’s not just Bajan citizen John Boyce saying this: he is a Minister of the Government of Barbados and representative of the entire country, so his claim must be true… right? It must be because the credibility of our country and the government rests upon Mr. Boyce’s endorsement.

Some engineers and scientists disagree with Minister Boyce. They say that claims of 20% increase in mileage are not scientifically possible and that these devices are scams…

“The unburnt fuel in the exhaust (even before the cat) represents 1 or 2% at most of the input fuel. If you factor in the energy in the CO emissions, the figure still only rises to 3% maximum. So even if the fuel “saving” device could totally eliminate unburnt fuel and CO in the exhaust, and give an absolutely 100% complete burn, you would only save 3% of fuel. Claims that 10%, 20% or even more of the fuel is not burnt and escapes into the exhaust are entirely false…”

From Tony’s Guide to Fuel saving gadgets

Why are my warning antennae up and pulsating?

The press release by GWBU reports that the Barbados Ministry of Transport and Works tested this new technology over a 2 month period and confirmed the claims of the company. Imagine what a 20% fuel saving could do for the world! With that kind of savings the West could tell the Arabs to shove it where the sun doan shine. That would be the end of the UK’s travel duty. Cruise ships will flock to Bim because they will use 20% less fuel.

This is big. Really big… and the stock price soared!

So the stock price of GWBU must go up… and up it went! Nine cents a share to a buck seventy three in a few of weeks!

I wonder if Transport Minister Boyce or his family members or close friends have any of this stock?

Good. That’s great to see entrepreneurship and progressive capitalism at its best: making money and saving the planet.

Hey… Minister Boyce… we are saving the planet with this device, right?

Just a few questions Minister Boyce. We know you’ll take the time to answer them because although your government promised to implement Freedom of Information Legislation within the first 100 days of office, your government didn’t do that in almost five years because you were really busy with (fill in the answer here.)

But the DLP government is committed to transparency and accountability – with or without legislation – so we know that you will take the time to answer a few questions…

Dear Minister Boyce:

1/ Did you or your family members have any GWBU stock? How many shares? Waddya pay per share? Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Ethics, Freedom Of Information, Offshore Investments, Political Corruption, Politics & Corruption, Science, Technology

This is probably written by Colin Leslie Beadon – but if we remove a word, then what?

Bayes’s theorem of Inverse Probabilities.

by Colin Leslie Beadon

I’d not be surprised an editor would blank a script with such a heading as above. Yet in an attempt to continue encourage all our youth, in the pursuit of science, and mathematics, I can’t but press blindly ahead.

Thomas Bayes 1701-1761 was a clergyman from Tunbridge Wells in Kent. He was, as Bill Bryson writes in his newest book ‘At Home’ , a shy and hopeless preacher, but he was a singularly gifted mathematician.

The Rev Thomas Bayes somehow tripped upon an equation. And as has been often been the case with equations, he did not know what it could be used for.

Thankfully, Rev Bayes wrote it carefully down, but then he shelved it. That is right ! Rev Bayes shelved it away, and died two years later.

Two years after his death, a friend sent the equation to the Royal Society in London. It is a short equation. About 30 key strokes on a laptop could write it. The equation was published in the Royal Society’s ‘Philosophical Transactions’. But there were not any computers around in those days, to make head or tail of it.

‘Today that equation is used in modelling climate change, predicting the behaviour of stock markets, fixing radiocarbon dates, interpretation of cosmological events, and much else where the interpretation of probabilities is an issue.’

As I have said before in previous letters, this phenomena of a scientist/mathematician coming up with an equation that does not seem to fit anywhere, until a great many years have sailed by , never fails to bring up goose pimples. I don’t know how many times now, reading on science I have come across this extraordinary facet of long-delayed equation recognition.

I’m going to repeat my enthral of the other book by Bill Bryson. ‘ A Short History of Nearly Everything’.

If we are definitely serious about getting our young people interested in science, then the above book should be in every single classroom, and should have been read by every politician too, since it deals interestingly, and excitingly, in all the major knishes of science.

Reading such a book, would draw most of us out of the morose and blindness we swim around in concerning the world and the modern age in which we live.

Too many of us are being hoodwinked by sellers of modern technology dealing with climate change and alternative energy (for example), technologies most of us know extremely little about.

Wikipedia: Thomas Bayes

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Japanese company shows off Plastic to Oil machine

“This plastic is not garbage. It is oil, gasoline, kerosene.”

You must watch this video of a small machine – about the size of a large coffee maker – that converts plastic trash into usable oil. Akinori Ito’s company ‘Blest’ manufactures industrial plastic to oil conversion machines, but he wanted to make a small home version that anyone could use.

At US$9,000 a shot, the price will have to come down substantially – but do you remember what you paid for your first VCR or computer? It will happen.

Watch the video, read the article I’ve linked to below and dream of what might be if these machines become cost-effective to manufacture.

I’m getting chills of excitement watching the video and thinking about the future. Continue reading

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Large Dangerous Snake Alert In Barbados: “DO NOT allow your children to venture into the gullies…”

“I urge the Mt. Hillaby residents to exercise caution in remote areas, and DO NOT allow your children to venture into the gullies that surround you without an adult – and certainly not at night.”

16 Foot Burmese Python Foolishly Released Into Barbados Gullies

Barbados Free Press Article by Damon Gerard Corrie
Caribbean Herpetological Society

I did not intend on commenting publicly on the latest snake discovery and death in Barbados, but my phone line became so ‘hot’ with incoming calls since the Nation article of 29-12-2008 (Link Here) that I am surprised it has not melted yet. Personally I think my OAS and UN work for Indigenous Rights is more important and newsworthy, but that is just me.

I would just like to point out that it was I some years ago – who said that “There are possibly up to 10 escaped/released illegally imported pets that I was aware of that may or may not still be at large in Barbados”, the capture of the first one (an 11 foot long Burmese python – Python molurus molurus) by Inspector Wayne Norville of the RSPCA was not publicized (this occurred unbeknown to myself prior to my ’10 snake’ estimate statement), and I subsequently did my own ‘investigation’ and found out that the 3 Boa constrictors that were cut to pieces long before in cane fields before my estimate – were escapees from 3 different persons I had factored in to my 10 estimate. More recently one 6 foot escapee Boa constrictor (from a facility that does not admit to this truth) was captured in St. Andrew 2 hills away from where it was last spotted and I had last searched in vain for it (and it was well covered by the Nation Newspaper). Most recently – a 4 foot Boid was killed in the Mt. Hillaby area. So this accounts for 6 of the 10.

At the time I had made the statement – people in high positions in this country preferred to disbelieve me and were of the opinion that there were NO such large snakes ‘on the loose’ and the public was either concocting tales or imaging the sightings.

More recently a well known Radio personality was having a grand old time making fun of our efforts and asking where all the snakes have disappeared to in the last 2 years since there had been no further incidents.

To these people I will say again – there are at least 4 more I suspect to already be out there, and from time to time, here and there, now and then – one by one (to make it as simple and concise as I can) the other 4 will be discovered; in the days, weeks, months and years to come.

Another Large Snake Killed In Barbados (Nation News Photo Dec 28, 2008)

Another Large Snake Killed In Barbados (Nation News Photo Dec 28, 2008)

In the interim – I can only advise the public that NONE of them are poisonous as they are all Boids (Boas and Pythons) and 3 of the 4 are too small in size to pose a threat to human beings, the only folks who should be cautious and not allow their children to venture into gully areas to explore and play are the good people of the Mt. Hillaby area – many of whom saw with their own eyes the 16 foot Burmese Python that a guy called ‘Otis’ had as a ‘pet’ and released in their area (VERY IRRESPONSIBLY) some years ago. It might be long dead (though I am not aware of a carcass ever having been found), if still alive it could be feeding infrequently by night on the Barbados Green monkeys (as the monkeys sleep blissfully unaware) that are common in the surrounding gullies that contain water all year round, it would need to feed only 6-8 times per year on an adult monkey to survive; residents of Mt. Hillaby said fowls have disappeared and a large piece of shed skin was found by a nearby Plantation owner, I recall being told via a phone call about this shed skin also but saw the gentleman who said he was bringing it for me.

Mr. Romeo Yarde (Caribbean Herpetological Society member) was good enough to venture to meet with the Mt. Hillaby folk and spent 2 hours answering their many queries and concerns (up to that point they told him no-one came to answer any of their questions and they were relieved that Mr. Yarde had come), he met with a fellow who’s nickname was ‘Smurf’, this fellow was the one who killed the 4 foot snake with a Hoe, residents told Mr. Yarde about ‘Otis’ and his large pet python (the one that many armchair critics here who know nothing at all are fond of saying ‘never existed’), he saw where the residents had burned the carcass of the 4 foot snake to oblivion – thereby rendering positive ID impossible, though from the Nation photo side profile of the specimen looks to be a Guyana Rainbow Boa (Epicrates cenchria maurus) – but until I see a top view photograph I cannot be 100% certain about the species.

Again, no-one wishes Barbadians to be any more ‘snake-phobic’ than they are already, but neither do I nor any Caribbean Herpetological Society member wish to see a child harmed by the ONE specimen that has the potential to do this (if it is still alive), that is why I urge the Mt. Hillaby residents to exercise caution in remote areas, and DO NOT allow your children to venture into the gullies that surround you without an adult – and certainly not at night.

Search Volunteers Needed

I am preparing to do day and night searches of the gullies surrounding Mt. Hillaby, but this will depend on me securing many volunteers from within the Caribbean Herpetological Society membership (anyone interested in joining can freely do so at www.corriebusinessgroup.com/PetDepot/hs) because from Mr. Yarde’s report there is a LOT of ground to cover, our goal would be to look for signs of the presence of a large Boid, tracks, scat, sleeping areas, shed skin etc. If fortune smiles on us we will find it (or remains thereof) and relieve the stress and fear that many Mt. Hillaby residents endure.

Yours sincerely,

Damon Gerard Corrie
Founder/President
Caribbean Herpetological Society (website link here)

Further Reading (Listed By BFP Editor)

Nation – Not Enough Information On Snake

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Disaster, Environment, Ethics, Freedom Of The Press, Health, Nature, Science, Tourism, Travel, Traveling and Tourism, Wildlife

More Melamine Poisoned Chinese Food: Hundreds, Maybe Thousands Of Babies Seriously Ill – Deaths Starting

Why Take The Chance With Food From China?

Not Worth It: Why Take The Chance With Food From China?

UPDATE:

– Product On Walmart Shelves!!!

– China Knew Since August 8, 2008 But Did Not Issue Recall For A Month!!!

– NEW STORY BREAKING: Pesticide Tainted Rice From China Consumed In Japan

Dr. David Estwick, Barbados Health Minister

Dr. David Estwick, Barbados Health Minister

Questions For Health Minister Estwick:

This Product Kills Children…

– Are There Any Milk Products Or By-products From China In Barbados Now?

– Have Any China Milk Products Been Imported To Barbados At Any Time?

– What Do You Intend To Do To Protect Bajans From The Continuing Threat From Contaminated Food & Drugs From China?

How many worldwide incidents of contaminated food from the People’s Republic of China does Barbados Minister of Health Dr. David Estwick need before he actually does something to ensure the safety of Bajans?

Barbados Government Should Ban Food Imports From China

News of the latest incident of melamine-poisoned China food products is just starting to break, and it looks like thousands of babies have been harmed by poisoned baby formula and milk powder. Melamine is a chemical used in plastics that was at the centre of a US recall of pet foods containing Chinese-made additives last year. One story by the Associated Press says that Chinese authorities and manufacturers knew about the contamination for many weeks and said nothing while babies died.

Reports say the contaminated baby formula and milk powder has been distributed and might even be on the shelves in Britain and the United States. Although some of the contaminated Chinese brands are known, what is not yet clear is whether any of the contaminated ingredients were shipped abroad to be used by manufacturers outside of China. (Breaking Sept 13/08 09:03am Bridgetown: Some bulk product was shipped abroad to Taiwan – from there, no one knows. So it looks like the original “assurance” from the Chinese Government that no contaminated bulk product was exported was false. No surprise there.)

We probably don’t know even the half of it and neither does Barbados Health Minister Estwick. And that is the key: Barbados Health Minister Estwick doesn’t know any more about this than does anyone else. The Chinese government certainly didn’t alert anybody about this latest incident, and even then they went into a mode of denial instead of immediately alerting the worldwide community so people could stop the harm.

“Made In China” Means “This Could Be Poison”

Let’s review what we have learned in the last few years about hazardous food, drug and manufactured products from China…

1/ China has a long history of scandals and incidents involving tainted food and pharmaceuticals. Likewise, hardly a week goes by that we don’t see another story of children’s toys or baby bibs containing high levels of lead or other deadly substances.

2/ The problem is not confined to products that are clearly marked as being “Made in China” as contaminated raw ingredients are often shipped in bulk to manufacturers on other continents including in North America and Europe.

3/ When another story breaks, the Chinese authorities exhibit a standard pattern of response that is slowly and reluctantly escalated as follows…

a/ Concealment of the problem by manufacturers, then government.

b/ Denial by government.

c/ Acknowledgment by government that there was a minor problem that was only local in scope.

d/ Where there are many deaths or extensive foreign news coverage, government makes a huge show of product recalls and announces an investigation. New inspection methods and routines are also announced.

e/ A “guilty” manufacturer or plant manager is quickly found, arrested and blamed for the event. He is usually executed within months, allowing the government to say “There. Fixed that. No more problem with contaminated food.”

f/ Everything goes back to normal until a month later when the next contaminated food or other health-related scandal erupts.

This is the standard pattern that we continue to see from China even though the incidents of contaminated food and drugs have risen dramatically in the last decade.

It is obvious that China lacks sufficient regulations and effective controls to ensure that their foods, drugs and other products are not hazardous. There is obviously a “wild west” atmosphere in Chinese manufacturing that their government has not been able to stop.

There is a price to be paid for cheap food from China and that price is paid by consumers all over the world – in deaths, illnesses and ruined health.

Barbados Minister of Health Dr. David Estwick knows that our country lacks the resources to test all shipments of human-consumables from China. Our population is at significant risk from dangerous and substandard made in China’s “wild west, anything goes” manufacturing environment.

In the absence of real changes in the quality of food and drugs from China, and considering our lack of ability to test products, and China’s history of cover-ups – Barbados should ban the importation of food and drugs from China, or products that were made with bulk ingredients from China.

Further Reading

Sept 13 2008 11:29 AM Bridgetown – AP: Chinese dairy knew milk fault weeks before recall

Sept 13 2008 12:00PM BST – Telegraph UK: Baby formula recall in China after infant death

Sept 13, 2008 6:49 AM (ET) – AP News (and photo above): 432 Babies Sick From Chinese Tainted Milk Product

Friday, 12 September 2008 07:47 UK – BBC News: China to punish baby milk makers

Sept 12, 2008 – (Walmart & August 8th Reference) Bloomberg: China Says Sanlu Milk Likely Contaminated by Melamine (Update1)

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Filed under Agriculture, Barbados, China, Environment, Health, Human Rights, Science

Thousands Of News Outlets Worldwide Mention Barbados Free Press, Credit Our Tiny Snake Story – Associated Press, CNN, Newsweek, NBC News, New York Times…

Welcome To The Thousands and Thousands Of New Visitors To Barbados Free Press

At the time I am writing this, the Associated Press story Barbadians slam discovery, naming of tiny snake is less than five hours old, yet an online search shows that thousands of news outlets worldwide have published the story. The online issues of the New York Times, Newsweek, Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC and many other major news outlets around the world are featuring the story on their front pages – and all of them quote from Barbados Free Press and Margaret Knight and give the BFP blog credit for contributing to the story.

The story originated with Associated Press writer Danica Coto in Puerto Rico and is now making its way around the world with the new day – first in North America and then in Hawaii, Australia and New Zealand. News outlets in Asia are starting to pick up the story now and we presume as the day breaks in Europe and the UK that outlets there will join in.

Of course, the Olympics and the Russian invasion of Georgia are the big stories of the day – but thousands of news outlets are already following this new development in the Barbados small snake story. If the visitor numbers we are seeing continue, Barbados Free Press will receive tens of thousands of additional first-time visitors to our blog in the next week as a direct result of the AP story. There will also be a long-lasting legacy of residual visitors who will come to BFP as a result of online searches.

To Our New Visitors – Barbados Needs International Pressure To Fight Corruption In Our Government, Justice System and Police!

You arrived at Barbados Free Press as a result of your curiosity about the world’s smallest snake, but please take the time to at least read this, and maybe look around for a bit – because Barbados citizens need you to know about our battle to reclaim democracy and to eliminate endemic corruption in our government, justice system and law enforcement.

While that might not sound like the “Little Britain” Barbados you heard about, read on and you’ll see proof that the Barbados media is carefully controlled by government, and that opponents of government and the ruling elites are ruthlessly censored and harassed – even to the point of being fired or being threatened with murder, rape and arson by government power-brokers and insiders. The Rule of Law in Barbados is whatever the powerful say it is on a given day. (You don’t have to believe us about anything. Read on and you’ll see proof, photos, transcripts of recordings, court documents enough to make up your own mind.)

Police Arrest Barbados Reporter

Police Arrest Barbados Reporter

Police Corruption, Oppression Of Journalists

The Royal Barbados Police Force arrest and harass journalists – grabbing their cameras and erasing photos, assaulting and dragging them away for covering stories that the police don’t think the public needs to know about. The police have shot innocent unarmed citizens – even in the back of the head – and are never called to account. There are never any public inquests into deaths in police custody. Corrupt police are proven to use pre-signed blank search warrants as they act as debt collectors for powerful government officials like the Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr. Charles Leacock.

Once again, you don’t have to believe us, read the links at the end of this article and you will see photos and proof on various Barbados blogs and media outlets enough to make up your own mind.

Chief Justice David Simmons - Political Hack

Chief Justice David Simmons - Political Hack

Barbados Judicial System A Tool For Corrupt Government Officials

The Chief Justice of our Barbados is “Sir” David Simmons: a career politician and former Attorney General who was appointed by his best friend, then-Prime Minister Owen Arthur, to gain political control of our courts. With the appointment of David Simmons as Chief Justice, the separation of powers between the government, the judiciary and the police effectively disappeared in Barbados.

Major police investigations, government audits, court cases and criminal charges often strangely disappear in Barbados without the news media mentioning a word. Official government documents routinely disappear in Barbados when they are evidence against a member of the ruling elite. Foreign investors or ordinary citizens who foolishly turn to the Barbados courts for justice against an elite never win. Never.

PM Thompson Says His Conflicts Of Interest Are None Of Your Business

PM Thompson Says His Conflicts Of Interest Are None Of Your Business

Successive Barbados Governments Refuse To Adopt Anti-Corruption Laws, Freedom Of Information

In Barbados we have no laws against government officials receiving “gifts” – even money – from companies that the same officials award government contracts to! Successive governments including the current DLP government of Prime Minister David Thompson have refused to adopt rules that would prevent government officials from using their positions for personal profit.

Corruption in awarding government contracts, kickbacks to officials and overpayments to favoured relatives and friends are endemic. There is no transparency, oversight or accountability of how our government spends monies it borrows or receives from international sources and agencies like the World Bank and the EU Development Fund. There is little doubt that several hundred million dollars have been corruptly siphoned off over the years.

Thank you for visiting Barbados Free Press. We love our country and we want it to be the best it can be – but we must now appeal to the International Community to put pressure on our government and business leaders to stop the wholesale corruption and human rights abuses that threaten the very soul of our nation.

Please read a few of the below links, and remember what you have read the next time that someone talks about Barbados.

Proof Of Endemic Corruption & Human Rights Violations In Barbados

Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados News & Media, Blogging, Caribbean Media, Corruption, Ethics, Freedom Of The Press, Government, Human Rights, News Media, Offshore Investments, Police, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption, Science, Wildlife

31,000 American Scientists, 9,000 PhDs Say “No Convincing Scientific Evidence” For Man-Made Global Warming

Edward Teller

Huh? I Thought Global Warming Was Caused By People

Edward Teller was a scientist who died in 2003. Even folks who didn’t support his life’s work still consider him to have been a fairly smart individual. Besides having a PhD in physics, Teller was one of the scientific wizards behind the USA’s Strategic Defense Initiative of the 1980’s. He and the SDI team developed the technologies to shoot down multiple missile warheads during reentry. I can’t even begin to imagine the mathematical equations behind that solution. (As a pilot, I could barely perform celestial navigation calculations before GPS units became widespread in cockpits.)

As I said… Edward Teller was a pretty smart guy.

Oh yeah… Teller is also called “The Father of the Hydrogen Bomb”.

So, whether or not you have some trouble with the fact that he spent his life developing weapons, it is somewhat difficult to argue that Edward Teller was not an intelligent and serious scientist.

That is his signature at the top of this article, and here is what he and 31,000 other American scientists have signed…

“We urge the United States government to reject the global warming agreement that was written in Kyoto, Japan in December, 1997, and any other similar proposals. The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind.

There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other green house gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effect upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.”

… from the Global Warming Petition Project website (link here)

You can read what Edward Teller signed for yourself by clicking on the following image thumbnail…

The Kyoto Accord Is Primarily An Economic, Political & Social Strategy – Not An Environmental Initiative

Believing that global warming is caused by human activity and can therefore be controlled has become a matter of religion. No dissent is allowed, and as many scientists know – scientific data that does not support the global warming religion is excluded from the record and public discussion.

How many people know that the earth experienced a tremendous period of global warming during the medieval period – and that the data has been systematically ignored by many Kyoto proponents? Why would scientists who have no agenda ignore such data? By all means scientists could dispute the data, dispute the analysis and argue against one position or for another… but when scientists deliberately ignore scientific data that does not fit their views, we should be asking why.

How many people have stopped to think about the actual economic, social and political results of implementing the Kyoto Accord?

Have you?

You should think about it, because our Barbados government and civil service bureaucrats have used global warming for years to justify all kinds of actions and spending on your behalf.

Now folks, don’t take my article or my questions as some sort of an indication that I think we should all drive monster SUVs, abuse the environment and continue to be held hostage by an addiction to oil-based energy. We cannot continue to waste and pollute – or to ignore the 80 percent (or whatever the figure is) of the world’s people who go to bed hungry every night.

But neither should we shut off our minds and unquestioningly accept the one-sided agenda-driven global warming religion that is being pushed by the mainstream media. There are serious problems with some of the agendas behind the religion – and the science itself is anything but settled.

But more important, no one is talking about the non-environmental agendas of Kyoto, and how those other agendas are impacting the impartiality and validity of the science and many scientists.

Again, I am not saying that the burning of oil-derived products is not seriously harming our environment in many ways. Any pilot will tell you that there is a permanent brown haze over much of North America and it is getting worse. There are times in New York City and London when you can hardly breathe because of pollution. Blow your nose in Beijing on most days and it comes out black.

But as we search for solutions to the world’s problems and consider how we should live together on this planet, we must not allow ourselves to be blinded to the fact that powerful entities are relying upon global warming and other issues in the public eye to further their economic, social and political agendas. They have a need for the concept of “global warming is caused by humans” to be true or at least publicly accepted – and they don’t really care whether the science is accurate or not.

The unquestioning public acceptance of “global warming is caused by humans” allows for the implementation of widespread societal changes without their proponents having to be up front about their motives, or having their ideas critically examined by the populace.

How many of the societal changes being proposed to “solve” global warming are really only tagging along for the ride on this popular cause?

That’s all for now. My next article will be about two airplanes that were trapped in glacial ice for hundreds of years – and if that sounds absurd, let me put it this way…

Not so long ago, scientists said that glacial ice in various locations was a thousand years old. They even took core samples and analyzed them to show all kinds of fancy theories about climate and volcanic activities way in the past.

Then out of that “thousand-year-old” ice popped some crashed airplanes that had been missing for sixty years.

And that, my friends, is an inconvenient truth.

Original article by Robert – edited by Marcus

Further Reading

The Global Warming Petition Project – Home Page

Harvard University Gazette – Global Warming Not So Hot

MIT Technology Review – Medieval Global Warming

London Telegraph – Medieval Era Warmer Than Today

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Filed under Barbados, Energy, Environment, History, Science

Expelled – Ben Stein’s New Movie Asks Some Dangerous Questions…

“Some of you may lose your friends or even your job because you watched this film”

… Ben Stein on his film “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed”

Where Did Life Come From?

One of the big questions I’ve struggled with is the Darwinian premise that everything made itself out of nothing – with no design, no purpose, no external energy or plan. No god or designer or creator or whatever label you will apply to the external energy that made everything and set the rules.

If Darwin and his followers are correct, the universe, everything, is nothing but an accident of random chance. Perhaps we are all here because mud was struck by lightning.

My reluctance to accept the mud and lightning myth, stems from my reluctance to take the next logical step. When one accepts that we are all an accident, if all is random chance – then humans as a species are nothing special, and individuals are lesser still. We have no innate rights or freedoms except that which we give ourselves – either through agreement, or by the imposition of force.

If there is no “god”, there can be no “right” or “wrong” except what we decide for ourselves as individuals or groups. Who is to say that your morality is wrong and mine is right? Me? You? The group?

And it all stems from that great first question: Where did everything come from?

But according to Mr. Stein, our friends at Cave Hill and academia in general don’t allow certain questions to be asked. Those who ask them are shunned and discredited.

Mr. Stein is correct – certain questions are not allowed…

Can’t wait to see this movie. Check out the long trailer if you have some time. Well worth it.

Expelled – No Intelligence Allowed: Official movie website

Short Movie Trailer #1 – Link Here

Short Movie Trailer #2 – Link Here

Long Movie Trailer – Link Here

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Filed under Abortion, Barbados, Religion, Science

Robot Dog Is The Scariest Thing I’ve Seen Since Mia Mottley!

robot-dog-drug-smuggler-mottley.jpg

(click on photo to watch YouTube)

You Must Watch This Video!

Ok, ok… we stuck Mia’s head on the robot dog for a laugh, but we had to do something because you won’t believe this technology.

Funded by (who else?) the United States military, this Boston Dynamics project is truly unsettling.

I have seen the future, and I don’t like it one bit!

(But darn, I wish I had the software and knowledge to put Mia’s head on the real video and have the thing walk around with her talking. Oh baby, that would be too funny!)

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Filed under Barbados, Cartoons, Military, Science, Technology