industryterm:chemical

  • Beyond the Hype of Lab-Grown Diamonds
    https://earther.gizmodo.com/beyond-the-hype-of-lab-grown-diamonds-1834890351

    Billions of years ago when the world was still young, treasure began forming deep underground. As the edges of Earth’s tectonic plates plunged down into the upper mantle, bits of carbon, some likely hailing from long-dead life forms were melted and compressed into rigid lattices. Over millions of years, those lattices grew into the most durable, dazzling gems the planet had ever cooked up. And every so often, for reasons scientists still don’t fully understand, an eruption would send a stash of these stones rocketing to the surface inside a bubbly magma known as kimberlite.

    There, the diamonds would remain, nestled in the kimberlite volcanoes that delivered them from their fiery home, until humans evolved, learned of their existence, and began to dig them up.

    The epic origin of Earth’s diamonds has helped fuel a powerful marketing mythology around them: that they are objects of otherworldly strength and beauty; fitting symbols of eternal love. But while “diamonds are forever” may be the catchiest advertising slogan ever to bear some geologic truth, the supply of these stones in the Earth’s crust, in places we can readily reach them, is far from everlasting. And the scars we’ve inflicted on the land and ourselves in order to mine diamonds has cast a shadow that still lingers over the industry.

    Some diamond seekers, however, say we don’t need to scour the Earth any longer, because science now offers an alternative: diamonds grown in labs. These gems aren’t simulants or synthetic substitutes; they are optically, chemically, and physically identical to their Earth-mined counterparts. They’re also cheaper, and in theory, limitless. The arrival of lab-grown diamonds has rocked the jewelry world to its core and prompted fierce pushback from diamond miners. Claims abound on both sides.

    Growers often say that their diamonds are sustainable and ethical; miners and their industry allies counter that only gems plucked from the Earth can be considered “real” or “precious.” Some of these assertions are subjective, others are supported only by sparse, self-reported, or industry-backed data. But that’s not stopping everyone from making them.

    This is a fight over image, and when it comes to diamonds, image is everything.
    A variety of cut, polished Ada Diamonds created in a lab, including smaller melee stones and large center stones. 22.94 carats total. (2.60 ct. pear, 2.01 ct. asscher, 2.23 ct. cushion, 3.01 ct. radiant, 1.74 ct. princess, 2.11 ct. emerald, 3.11 ct. heart, 3.00 ct. oval, 3.13 ct. round.)
    Image: Sam Cannon (Earther)
    Same, but different

    The dream of lab-grown diamond dates back over a century. In 1911, science fiction author H.G. Wells described what would essentially become one of the key methods for making diamond—recreating the conditions inside Earth’s mantle on its surface—in his short story The Diamond Maker. As the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) notes, there were a handful of dubious attempts to create diamonds in labs in the late 19th and early 20th century, but the first commercial diamond production wouldn’t emerge until the mid-1950s, when scientists with General Electric worked out a method for creating small, brown stones. Others, including De Beers, soon developed their own methods for synthesizing the gems, and use of the lab-created diamond in industrial applications, from cutting tools to high power electronics, took off.

    According to the GIA’s James Shigley, the first experimental production of gem-quality diamond occurred in 1970. Yet by the early 2000s, gem-quality stones were still small, and often tinted yellow with impurities. It was only in the last five or so years that methods for growing diamonds advanced to the point that producers began churning out large, colorless stones consistently. That’s when the jewelry sector began to take a real interest.

    Today, that sector is taking off. The International Grown Diamond Association (IGDA), a trade group formed in 2016 by a dozen lab diamond growers and sellers, now has about 50 members, according to IGDA secretary general Dick Garard. When the IGDA first formed, lab-grown diamonds were estimated to represent about 1 percent of a $14 billion rough diamond market. This year, industry analyst Paul Zimnisky estimates they account for 2-3 percent of the market.

    He expects that share will only continue to grow as factories in China that already produce millions of carats a year for industrial purposes start to see an opportunity in jewelry.
    “I have a real problem with people claiming one is ethical and another is not.”

    “This year some [factories] will come up from 100,000 gem-quality diamonds to one to two million,” Zimnisky said. “They already have the infrastructure and equipment in place” and are in the process of upgrading it. (About 150 million carats of diamonds were mined last year, according to a global analysis of the industry conducted by Bain & Company.)

    Production ramp-up aside, 2018 saw some other major developments across the industry. In the summer, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reversed decades of guidance when it expanded the definition of a diamond to include those created in labs and dropped ‘synthetic’ as a recommended descriptor for lab-grown stones. The decision came on the heels of the world’s top diamond producer, De Beers, announcing the launch of its own lab-grown diamond line, Lightbox, after having once vowed never to sell man-made stones as jewelry.

    “I would say shock,” Lightbox Chief Marketing Officer Sally Morrison told Earther when asked how the jewelry world responded to the company’s launch.

    While the majority of lab-grown diamonds on the market today are what’s known as melee (less than 0.18 carats), the tech for producing the biggest, most dazzling diamonds continues to improve. In 2016, lab-grown diamond company MiaDonna announced its partners had grown a 6.28 carat gem-quality diamond, claimed to be the largest created in the U.S. to that point. In 2017, a lab in Augsburg University, Germany that grows diamonds for industrial and scientific research applications produced what is thought to be the largest lab-grown diamond ever—a 155 carat behemoth that stretches nearly 4 inches across. Not gem quality, perhaps, but still impressive.

    “If you compare it with the Queen’s diamond, hers is four times heavier, it’s clearer” physicist Matthias Schreck, who leads the group that grew that beast of a jewel, told me. “But in area, our diamond is bigger. We were very proud of this.”

    Diamonds can be created in one of two ways: Similar to how they form inside the Earth, or similar to how scientists speculate they might form in outer space.

    The older, Earth-inspired method is known as “high temperature high pressure” (HPHT), and that’s exactly what it sounds like. A carbon source, like graphite, is placed in a giant, mechanical press where, in the presence of a catalyst, it’s subjected to temperatures of around 1,600 degrees Celsius and pressures of 5-6 Gigapascals in order to form diamond. (If you’re curious what that sort of pressure feels like, the GIA describes it as similar to the force exerted if you tried to balance a commercial jet on your fingertip.)

    The newer method, called chemical vapor deposition (CVD), is more akin to how diamonds might form in interstellar gas clouds (for which we have indirect, spectroscopic evidence, according to Shigley). A hydrocarbon gas, like methane, is pumped into a low-pressure reactor vessel alongside hydrogen. While maintaining near-vacuum conditions, the gases are heated very hot—typically 3,000 to 4,000 degrees Celsius, according to Lightbox CEO Steve Coe—causing carbon atoms to break free of their molecular bonds. Under the right conditions, those liberated bits of carbon will settle out onto a substrate—typically a flat, square plate of a synthetic diamond produced with the HPHT method—forming layer upon layer of diamond.

    “It’s like snow falling on a table on your back porch,” Jason Payne, the founder and CEO of lab-grown diamond jewelry company Ada Diamonds, told me.

    Scientists have been forging gem-quality diamonds with HPHT for longer, but today, CVD has become the method of choice for those selling larger bridal stones. That’s in part because it’s easier to control impurities and make diamonds with very high clarity, according to Coe. Still, each method has its advantages—Payne said that HPHT is faster and the diamonds typically have better color (which is to say, less of it)—and some companies, like Ada, purchase stones grown in both ways.

    However they’re made, lab-grown diamonds have the same exceptional hardness, stiffness, and thermal conductivity as their Earth-mined counterparts. Cut, they can dazzle with the same brilliance and fire—a technical term to describe how well the diamond scatters light like a prism. The GIA even grades them according to the same 4Cs—cut, clarity, color, and carat—that gemologists use to assess diamonds formed in the Earth, although it uses a slightly different terminology to report the color and clarity grades for lab-grown stones.

    They’re so similar, in fact, that lab-grown diamond entering the larger diamond supply without any disclosures has become a major concern across the jewelry industry, particularly when it comes to melee stones from Asia. It’s something major retailers are now investing thousands of dollars in sophisticated detection equipment to suss out by searching for minute differences in, say, their crystal shape or for impurities like nitrogen (much less common in lab-grown diamond, according to Shigley).

    Those differences may be a lifeline for retailers hoping to weed out lab-grown diamonds, but for companies focused on them, they can become another selling point. The lack of nitrogen in diamonds produced with the CVD method, for instance, gives them an exceptional chemical purity that allows them to be classified as type IIa; a rare and coveted breed that accounts for just 2 percent of those found in nature. Meanwhile, the ability to control everything about the growth process allows companies like Lightbox to adjust the formula and produce incredibly rare blue and pink diamonds as part of their standard product line. (In fact, these colored gemstones have made up over half of the company’s sales since launch, according to Coe.)

    And while lab-grown diamonds boast the same sparkle as their Earthly counterparts, they do so at a significant discount. Zimnisky said that today, your typical one carat, medium quality diamond grown in a lab will sell for about $3,600, compared with $6,100 for its Earth-mined counterpart—a discount of about 40 percent. Two years ago, that discount was only 18 percent. And while the price drop has “slightly tapered off” as Zimnisky put it, he expects it will fall further thanks in part to the aforementioned ramp up in Chinese production, as well as technological improvements. (The market is also shifting in response to Lightbox, which De Beers is using to position lab-grown diamonds as mass produced items for fashion jewelry, and which is selling its stones, ungraded, at the controversial low price of $800 per carat—a discount of nearly 90 percent.)

    Zimnisky said that if the price falls too fast, it could devalue lab-grown diamonds in the eyes of consumers. But for now, at least, paying less seems to be a selling point. A 2018 consumer research survey by MVI Marketing found that most of those polled would choose a larger lab-grown diamond over a smaller mined diamond of the same price.

    “The thing [consumers] seem most compelled by is the ability to trade up in size and quality at the same price,” Garard of IGDA said.

    Still, for buyers and sellers alike, price is only part of the story. Many in the lab-grown diamond world market their product as an ethical or eco-friendly alternative to mined diamonds.

    But those sales pitches aren’t without controversy.
    A variety of lab-grown diamond products arrayed on a desk at Ada Diamonds showroom in Manhattan. The stone in the upper left gets its blue color from boron. Diamonds tinted yellow (top center) usually get their color from small amounts of nitrogen.
    Photo: Sam Cannon (Earther)
    Dazzling promises

    As Anna-Mieke Anderson tells it, she didn’t enter the diamond world to become a corporate tycoon. She did it to try and fix a mistake.

    In 1999, Anderson purchased herself a diamond. Some years later, in 2005, her father asked her where it came from. Nonplussed, she told him it came from the jewelry store. But that wasn’t what he was asking: He wanted to know where it really came from.

    “I actually had no idea,” Anderson told Earther. “That led me to do a mountain of research.”

    That research eventually led Anderson to conclude that she had likely bought a diamond mined under horrific conditions. She couldn’t be sure, because the certificate of purchase included no place of origin. But around the time of her purchase, civil wars funded by diamond mining were raging across Angola, Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Liberia, fueling “widespread devastation” as Global Witness put it in 2006. At the height of the diamond wars in the late ‘90s, the watchdog group estimates that as many as 15 percent of diamonds entering the market were conflict diamonds. Even those that weren’t actively fueling a war were often being mined in dirty, hazardous conditions; sometimes by children.

    “I couldn’t believe I’d bought into this,” Anderson said.

    To try and set things right, Anderson began sponsoring a boy living in a Liberian community impacted by the blood diamond trade. The experience was so eye-opening, she says, that she eventually felt compelled to sponsor more children. Selling conflict-free jewelry seemed like a fitting way to raise money to do so, but after a great deal more research, Anderson decided she couldn’t in good faith consider any diamond pulled from the Earth to be truly conflict-free in either the humanitarian or environmental sense. While diamond miners were, by the early 2000s, getting their gems certified “conflict free” according to the UN-backed Kimberley Process, the certification scheme’s definition of a conflict diamond—one sold by rebel groups to finance armed conflicts against governments—felt far too narrow.

    “That [conflict definition] eliminates anything to do with the environment, or eliminates a child mining it, or someone who was a slave, or beaten, or raped,” Anderson said.

    And so she started looking into science, and in 2007, launching MiaDonna as one of the world’s first lab-grown diamond jewelry companies. The business has been activism-oriented from the get-go, with at least five percent of its annual earnings—and more than 20 percent for the last three years—going into The Greener Diamond, Anderson’s charity foundation which has funded a wide range of projects, from training former child soldiers in Sierra Leone to grow food to sponsoring kids orphaned by the West African Ebola outbreak.

    MiaDonna isn’t the only company that positions itself as an ethical alternative to the traditional diamond industry. Brilliant Earth, which sells what it says are carefully-sourced mined and lab-created diamonds, also donates a small portion of its profits to supporting mining communities. Other lab-grown diamond companies market themselves as “ethical,” “conflict-free,” or “world positive.” Payne of Ada Diamonds sees, in lab-grown diamonds, not just shiny baubles, but a potential to improve medicine, clean up pollution, and advance society in countless other ways—and he thinks the growing interest in lab-grown diamond jewelry will help propel us toward that future.

    Others, however, say black-and-white characterizations when it comes to social impact of mined diamonds versus lab-grown stones are unfair. “I have a real problem with people claiming one is ethical and another is not,” Estelle Levin-Nally, founder and CEO of Levin Sources, which advocates for better governance in the mining sector, told Earther. “I think it’s always about your politics. And ethics are subjective.”

    Saleem Ali, an environmental researcher at the University of Delaware who serves on the board of the Diamonds and Development Initiative, agrees. He says the mining industry has, on the whole, worked hard to turn itself around since the height of the diamond wars and that governance is “much better today” than it used to be. Human rights watchdog Global Witness also says that “significant progress” has been made to curb the conflict diamond trade, although as Alice Harle, Senior Campaigner with Global Witness told Earther via email, diamonds do still fuel conflict, particularly in the Central African Republic and Zimbabwe.

    Most industry observers seems to agree that the Kimberley Process is outdated and inadequate, and that more work is needed to stamp out other abuses, including child labor and forced labor, in the artisanal and small-scale diamond mining sector. Today, large-scale mining operations don’t tend to see these kinds of problems, according to Julianne Kippenberg, associate director for children’s rights at Human Rights Watch, but she notes that there may be other community impacts surrounding land rights and forced resettlement.

    The flip side, Ali and Levin-Nally say, is that well-regulated mining operations can be an important source of economic development and livelihood. Ali cites Botswana and Russia as prime examples of places where large-scale mining operations have become “major contributors to the economy.” Dmitry Amelkin, head of strategic projects and analytics for Russian diamond mining giant Alrosa, echoed that sentiment in an email to Earther, noting that diamonds transformed Botswana “from one of the poorest [countries] in the world to a middle-income country” with revenues from mining representing almost a third of its GDP.

    In May, a report commissioned by the Diamond Producers Association (DPA), a trade organization representing the world’s largest diamond mining companies, estimated that worldwide, its members generate nearly $4 billion in direct revenue for employees and contractors, along with another $6.8 billion in benefits via “local procurement of goods and services.” DPA CEO Jean-Marc Lieberherr said this was a story diamond miners need to do a better job telling.

    “The industry has undergone such changes since the Blood Diamond movie,” he said, referring to the blockbuster 2006 film starring Leonardo DiCaprio that drew global attention to the problem of conflict diamonds. “And yet people’s’ perceptions haven’t evolved. I think the main reason is we have not had a voice, we haven’t communicated.”

    But conflict and human rights abuses aren’t the only issues that have plagued the diamond industry. There’s also the lasting environmental impact of the mining itself. In the case of large-scale commercial mines, this typically entails using heavy machinery and explosives to bore deep into those kimberlite tubes in search of precious stones.

    Some, like Maya Koplyova, a geologist at the University of British Columbia who studies diamonds and the rocks they’re found in, see this as far better than many other forms of mining. “The environmental footprint is the fThere’s also the question of just how representative the report’s energy consumption estimates for lab-grown diamonds are. While he wouldn’t offer a specific number, Coe said that De Beers’ Group diamond manufacturer Element Six—arguably the most advanced laboratory-grown diamond company in the world—has “substantially lower” per carat energy requirements than the headline figures found inside the new report. When asked why this was not included, Rick Lord, ESG analyst at Trucost, the S&P global group that conducted the analysis, said it chose to focus on energy estimates in the public record, but that after private consultation with Element Six it did not believe their data would “materially alter” the emissions estimates in the study.

    Finally, it’s important to consider the source of the carbon emissions. While the new report states that about 40 percent of the emissions associated with mining a diamond come from fossil fuel-powered vehicles and equipment, emissions associated with growing a diamond come mainly from electric power. Today, about 68 percent of lab-grown diamonds hail from China, Singapore, and India combined according to Zimnisky, where the power is drawn from largely fossil fuel-powered grids. But there is, at least, an opportunity to switch to renewables and drive that carbon footprint way down.
    “The reality is both mining and manufacturing consume energy and probably the best thing we could do is focus on reducing energy consumption.”

    And some companies do seem to be trying to do that. Anderson of MiaDonna says the company only sources its diamonds from facilities in the U.S., and that it’s increasingly trying to work with producers that use renewable energy. Lab-grown diamond company Diamond Foundry grows its stones inside plasma reactors running “as hot as the outer layer of the sun,” per its website, and while it wouldn’t offer any specific numbers, that presumably uses more energy than your typical operation running at lower temperatures. However, company spokesperson Ye-Hui Goldenson said its Washington State ‘megacarat factory’ was cited near a well-maintained hydropower source so that the diamonds could be produced with renewable energy. The company offsets other fossil fuel-driven parts of its operation by purchasing carbon credits.

    Lightbox’s diamonds currently come from Element Six’s UK-based facilities. The company is, however, building a $94-million facility near Portland, Oregon, that’s expected to come online by 2020. Coe said he estimates about 45 percent of its power will come from renewable sources.

    “The reality is both mining and manufacturing consume energy and probably the best thing we could do is focus on reducing energy consumption,” Coe said. “That’s something we’re focused on in Lightbox.”

    In spite of that, Lightbox is somewhat notable among lab-grown diamond jewelry brands in that, in the words of Morrison, it is “not claiming this to be an eco-friendly product.”

    “While it is true that we don’t dig holes in the ground, the energy consumption is not insignificant,” Morrison told Earther. “And I think we felt very uncomfortable promoting on that.”
    Various diamonds created in a lab, as seen at the Ada Diamonds showroom in Manhattan.
    Photo: Sam Cannon (Earther)
    The real real

    The fight over how lab-grown diamonds can and should market themselves is still heating up.

    On March 26, the FTC sent letters to eight lab-grown and diamond simulant companies warning them against making unsubstantiated assertions about the environmental benefits of their products—its first real enforcement action after updating its jewelry guides last year. The letters, first obtained by JCK news director Rob Bates under a Freedom of Information Act request, also warned companies that their advertising could falsely imply the products are mined diamonds, illustrating that, even though the agency now says a lab-grown diamond is a diamond, the specific origin remains critically important. A letter to Diamond Foundry, for instance, notes that the company has at times advertised its stones as “above-ground real” without the qualification of “laboratory-made.” It’s easy to see how a consumer might miss the implication.

    But in a sense, that’s what all of this is: A fight over what’s real.
    “It’s a nuanced reality that we’re in. They are a type of diamond.”

    Another letter, sent to FTC attorney Reenah Kim by the nonprofit trade organization Jewelers Vigilance Committee on April 2, makes it clear that many in the industry still believe that’s a term that should be reserved exclusively for gems formed inside the Earth. The letter, obtained by Earther under FOIA, urges the agency to continue restricting the use of the terms “real,” “genuine,” “natural,” “precious,” and “semi-precious” to Earth-mined diamonds and gemstones. Even the use of such terms in conjunction with “laboratory grown,” the letter argues, “will create even more confusion in an already confused and evolving marketplace.”

    JVC President Tiffany Stevens told Earther that the letter was a response to a footnote in an explanatory document about the FTC’s recent jewelry guide changes, which suggested the agency was considering removing a clause about real, precious, natural and genuine only being acceptable modifiers for gems mined from the Earth.

    “We felt that given the current commercial environment, that we didn’t think it was a good time to take that next step,” Stevens told Earther. As Stevens put it, the changes the FTC recently made, including expanding the definition of diamond and tweaking the descriptors companies can use to label laboratory-grown diamonds as such, have already been “wildly misinterpreted” by some lab-grown diamond sellers that are no longer making the “necessary disclosures.”

    Asked whether the JVC thinks lab-grown diamonds are, in fact, real diamonds, Stevens demurred.

    “It’s a nuanced reality that we’re in,” she said. “They are a type of diamond.”

    Change is afoot in the diamond world. Mined diamond production may have already peaked, according to the 2018 Bain & Company report. Lab diamonds are here to stay, although where they’re going isn’t entirely clear. Zimnisky expects that in a few years—as Lightbox’s new facility comes online and mass production of lab diamonds continues to ramp up overseas—the price industry-wide will fall to about 80 percent less than a mined diamond. At that point, he wonders whether lab-grown diamonds will start to lose their sparkle.

    Payne isn’t too worried about a price slide, which he says is happening across the diamond industry and which he expects will be “linear, not exponential” on the lab-grown side. He points out that lab-grown diamond market is still limited by supply, and that the largest lab-grown gems remain quite rare. Payne and Zimnisky both see the lab-grown diamond market bifurcating into cheaper, mass-produced gems and premium-quality stones sold by those that can maintain a strong brand. A sense that they’re selling something authentic and, well, real.

    “So much has to do with consumer psychology,” Zimnisky said.

    Some will only ever see diamonds as authentic if they formed inside the Earth. They’re drawn, as Kathryn Money, vice president of strategy and merchandising at Brilliant Earth put it, to “the history and romanticism” of diamonds; to a feeling that’s sparked by holding a piece of our ancient world. To an essence more than a function.

    Others, like Anderson, see lab-grown diamonds as the natural (to use a loaded word) evolution of diamond. “We’re actually running out of [mined] diamonds,” she said. “There is an end in sight.” Payne agreed, describing what he sees as a “looming death spiral” for diamond mining.

    Mined diamonds will never go away. We’ve been digging them up since antiquity, and they never seem to lose their sparkle. But most major mines are being exhausted. And with technology making it easier to grow diamonds just as they are getting more difficult to extract from the Earth, the lab-grown diamond industry’s grandstanding about its future doesn’t feel entirely unreasonable.

    There’s a reason why, as Payne said, “the mining industry as a whole is still quite scared of this product.” ootprint of digging the hole in the ground and crushing [the rock],” Koplyova said, noting that there’s no need to add strong acids or heavy metals like arsenic (used in gold mining) to liberate the gems.

    Still, those holes can be enormous. The Mir Mine, a now-abandoned open pit mine in Eastern Siberia, is so large—reportedly stretching 3,900 feet across and 1,700 feet deep—that the Russian government has declared it a no-fly zone owing to the pit’s ability to create dangerous air currents. It’s visible from space.

    While companies will often rehabilitate other land to offset the impact of mines, kimberlite mining itself typically leaves “a permanent dent in the earth’s surface,” as a 2014 report by market research company Frost & Sullivan put it.

    “It’s a huge impact as far as I’m concerned,” said Kevin Krajick, senior editor for science news at Columbia University’s Earth Institute who wrote a book on the discovery of diamonds in far northern Canada. Krajick noted that in remote mines, like those of the far north, it’s not just the physical hole to consider, but all the development required to reach a previously-untouched area, including roads and airstrips, roaring jets and diesel-powered trucks.

    Diamonds grown in factories clearly have a smaller physical footprint. According to the Frost & Sullivan report, they also use less water and create less waste. It’s for these reasons that Ali thinks diamond mining “will never be able to compete” with lab-grown diamonds from an environmental perspective.

    “The mining industry should not even by trying to do that,” he said.

    Of course, this is capitalism, so try to compete is exactly what the DPA is now doing. That same recent report that touted the mining industry’s economic benefits also asserts that mined diamonds have a carbon footprint three times lower than that of lab-grown diamonds, on average. The numbers behind that conclusion, however, don’t tell the full story.

    Growing diamonds does take considerable energy. The exact amount can vary greatly, however, depending on the specific nature of the growth process. These are details manufacturers are typically loathe to disclose, but Payne of Ada Diamonds says he estimates the most efficient players in the game today use about 250 kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity per cut, polished carat of diamond; roughly what a U.S. household consumes in 9 days. Other estimates run higher. Citing unnamed sources, industry publication JCK Online reported that a modern HPHT run can use up to 700 kWh per carat, while CVD production can clock in north of 1,000 kWh per carat.

    Pulling these and several other public-record estimates, along with information on where in the world today’s lab diamonds are being grown and the energy mix powering the producer nations’ electric grids, the DPA-commissioned study estimated that your typical lab-grown diamond results in some 511 kg of carbon emissions per cut, polished carat. Using information provided by mining companies on fuel and electricity consumption, along with other greenhouse gas sources on the mine site, it found that the average mined carat was responsible for just 160 kg of carbon emissions.

    One limitation here is that the carbon footprint estimate for mining focused only on diamond production, not the years of work entailed in developing a mine. As Ali noted, developing a mine can take a lot of energy, particularly for those sited in remote locales where equipment needs to be hauled long distances by trucks or aircraft.

    There’s also the question of just how representative the report’s energy consumption estimates for lab-grown diamonds are. While he wouldn’t offer a specific number, Coe said that De Beers’ Group diamond manufacturer Element Six—arguably the most advanced laboratory-grown diamond company in the world—has “substantially lower” per carat energy requirements than the headline figures found inside the new report. When asked why this was not included, Rick Lord, ESG analyst at Trucost, the S&P global group that conducted the analysis, said it chose to focus on energy estimates in the public record, but that after private consultation with Element Six it did not believe their data would “materially alter” the emissions estimates in the study.

    Finally, it’s important to consider the source of the carbon emissions. While the new report states that about 40 percent of the emissions associated with mining a diamond come from fossil fuel-powered vehicles and equipment, emissions associated with growing a diamond come mainly from electric power. Today, about 68 percent of lab-grown diamonds hail from China, Singapore, and India combined according to Zimnisky, where the power is drawn from largely fossil fuel-powered grids. But there is, at least, an opportunity to switch to renewables and drive that carbon footprint way down.
    “The reality is both mining and manufacturing consume energy and probably the best thing we could do is focus on reducing energy consumption.”

    And some companies do seem to be trying to do that. Anderson of MiaDonna says the company only sources its diamonds from facilities in the U.S., and that it’s increasingly trying to work with producers that use renewable energy. Lab-grown diamond company Diamond Foundry grows its stones inside plasma reactors running “as hot as the outer layer of the sun,” per its website, and while it wouldn’t offer any specific numbers, that presumably uses more energy than your typical operation running at lower temperatures. However, company spokesperson Ye-Hui Goldenson said its Washington State ‘megacarat factory’ was cited near a well-maintained hydropower source so that the diamonds could be produced with renewable energy. The company offsets other fossil fuel-driven parts of its operation by purchasing carbon credits.

    Lightbox’s diamonds currently come from Element Six’s UK-based facilities. The company is, however, building a $94-million facility near Portland, Oregon, that’s expected to come online by 2020. Coe said he estimates about 45 percent of its power will come from renewable sources.

    “The reality is both mining and manufacturing consume energy and probably the best thing we could do is focus on reducing energy consumption,” Coe said. “That’s something we’re focused on in Lightbox.”

    In spite of that, Lightbox is somewhat notable among lab-grown diamond jewelry brands in that, in the words of Morrison, it is “not claiming this to be an eco-friendly product.”

    “While it is true that we don’t dig holes in the ground, the energy consumption is not insignificant,” Morrison told Earther. “And I think we felt very uncomfortable promoting on that.”
    Various diamonds created in a lab, as seen at the Ada Diamonds showroom in Manhattan.
    Photo: Sam Cannon (Earther)
    The real real

    The fight over how lab-grown diamonds can and should market themselves is still heating up.

    On March 26, the FTC sent letters to eight lab-grown and diamond simulant companies warning them against making unsubstantiated assertions about the environmental benefits of their products—its first real enforcement action after updating its jewelry guides last year. The letters, first obtained by JCK news director Rob Bates under a Freedom of Information Act request, also warned companies that their advertising could falsely imply the products are mined diamonds, illustrating that, even though the agency now says a lab-grown diamond is a diamond, the specific origin remains critically important. A letter to Diamond Foundry, for instance, notes that the company has at times advertised its stones as “above-ground real” without the qualification of “laboratory-made.” It’s easy to see how a consumer might miss the implication.

    But in a sense, that’s what all of this is: A fight over what’s real.
    “It’s a nuanced reality that we’re in. They are a type of diamond.”

    Another letter, sent to FTC attorney Reenah Kim by the nonprofit trade organization Jewelers Vigilance Committee on April 2, makes it clear that many in the industry still believe that’s a term that should be reserved exclusively for gems formed inside the Earth. The letter, obtained by Earther under FOIA, urges the agency to continue restricting the use of the terms “real,” “genuine,” “natural,” “precious,” and “semi-precious” to Earth-mined diamonds and gemstones. Even the use of such terms in conjunction with “laboratory grown,” the letter argues, “will create even more confusion in an already confused and evolving marketplace.”

    JVC President Tiffany Stevens told Earther that the letter was a response to a footnote in an explanatory document about the FTC’s recent jewelry guide changes, which suggested the agency was considering removing a clause about real, precious, natural and genuine only being acceptable modifiers for gems mined from the Earth.

    “We felt that given the current commercial environment, that we didn’t think it was a good time to take that next step,” Stevens told Earther. As Stevens put it, the changes the FTC recently made, including expanding the definition of diamond and tweaking the descriptors companies can use to label laboratory-grown diamonds as such, have already been “wildly misinterpreted” by some lab-grown diamond sellers that are no longer making the “necessary disclosures.”

    Asked whether the JVC thinks lab-grown diamonds are, in fact, real diamonds, Stevens demurred.

    “It’s a nuanced reality that we’re in,” she said. “They are a type of diamond.”

    Change is afoot in the diamond world. Mined diamond production may have already peaked, according to the 2018 Bain & Company report. Lab diamonds are here to stay, although where they’re going isn’t entirely clear. Zimnisky expects that in a few years—as Lightbox’s new facility comes online and mass production of lab diamonds continues to ramp up overseas—the price industry-wide will fall to about 80 percent less than a mined diamond. At that point, he wonders whether lab-grown diamonds will start to lose their sparkle.

    Payne isn’t too worried about a price slide, which he says is happening across the diamond industry and which he expects will be “linear, not exponential” on the lab-grown side. He points out that lab-grown diamond market is still limited by supply, and that the largest lab-grown gems remain quite rare. Payne and Zimnisky both see the lab-grown diamond market bifurcating into cheaper, mass-produced gems and premium-quality stones sold by those that can maintain a strong brand. A sense that they’re selling something authentic and, well, real.

    “So much has to do with consumer psychology,” Zimnisky said.

    Some will only ever see diamonds as authentic if they formed inside the Earth. They’re drawn, as Kathryn Money, vice president of strategy and merchandising at Brilliant Earth put it, to “the history and romanticism” of diamonds; to a feeling that’s sparked by holding a piece of our ancient world. To an essence more than a function.

    Others, like Anderson, see lab-grown diamonds as the natural (to use a loaded word) evolution of diamond. “We’re actually running out of [mined] diamonds,” she said. “There is an end in sight.” Payne agreed, describing what he sees as a “looming death spiral” for diamond mining.

    Mined diamonds will never go away. We’ve been digging them up since antiquity, and they never seem to lose their sparkle. But most major mines are being exhausted. And with technology making it easier to grow diamonds just as they are getting more difficult to extract from the Earth, the lab-grown diamond industry’s grandstanding about its future doesn’t feel entirely unreasonable.

    There’s a reason why, as Payne said, “the mining industry as a whole is still quite scared of this product.”

    #dimants #Afrique #technologie #capitalisme

  • Athens’ air-raid shelters 1936-40

    I.Metaxa’s government, the “4th August” regime which came to power in 1936, considered conflict in Europe to be a real possibility. Moreover they realized that the airplane was going to dominate the fields of battle and as a consequence urban bombardments (provoking mass casualties) were more than probable (Εθνική Ένωσις Αεροχημικής Προστασίας/ National Association for Aero-chemical Protection 1936). This scenario drove Metaxa’s regime to conceive and implement a vast project of Civil Protection (Βλάσσης 2013) , focusing on the construction of numerous air–raid shelters. Noteworthy are the diversities in the type and size of the shelters that ranged from narrow underground galleries or small chambers, to organized shelters of hundreds of square meters including hygiene infrastructure, water tanks, numerous chambers and auxiliary rooms (Κυρίμης 2017).


    https://www.athenssocialatlas.gr/en/article/athens-air-raid-shelters-1936-40
    #Athènes #bunkers #guerre #histoire #WWII #seconde_guerre_mondiale #refuges #souterrain #Grèce #refuge #refuges
    ping @albertocampiphoto

  • The United Nations backs seed sovereignty in landmark small-scale farmers’ rights declaration

    On Dec. 17, the United Nations General Assembly took a quiet but historic vote, approving the Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and other People Working in Rural Areas by a vote of 121-8 with 52 abstentions. The declaration, the product of some 17 years of diplomatic work led by the international peasant alliance La Via Campesina, formally extends human rights protections to farmers whose “seed sovereignty” is threatened by government and corporate practices.

    “As peasants we need the protection and respect for our values and for our role in society in achieving food sovereignty,” said #Via_Campesina coordinator Elizabeth Mpofu after the vote. Most developing countries voted in favor of the resolution, while many developed country representatives abstained. The only “no” votes came from the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Hungary, Israel and Sweden.

    “To have an internationally recognized instrument at the highest level of governance that was written by and for peasants from every continent is a tremendous achievement,” said Jessie MacInnis of Canada’s National Farmers Union. The challenge, of course, is to mobilize small-scale farmers to claim those rights, which are threatened by efforts to impose rich-country crop breeding regulations onto less developed countries, where the vast majority of food is grown by peasant farmers using seeds they save and exchange.
    Seed sovereignty in Zambia

    The loss of seed diversity is a national problem in Zambia. “We found a lot of erosion of local seed varieties,” Juliet Nangamba, program director for the Community Technology Development Trust, told me in her Lusaka office. She is working with the regional Seed Knowledge Initiative (SKI) to identify farmer seed systems and prevent the disappearance of local varieties. “Even crops that were common just 10 years ago are gone.” Most have been displaced by maize, which is heavily subsidized by the government. She’s from Southern Province, and she said their survey found very little presence of finger millet, a nutritious, drought-tolerant grain far better adapted to the region’s growing conditions.

    Farmers are taking action. Mary Tembo welcomed us to her farm near Chongwe in rural Zambia. Trained several years ago by Kasisi Agricultural Training Center in organic agriculture, Tembo is part of the SKI network, which is growing out native crops so seed is available to local farmers. Tembo pulled some chairs into the shade of a mango tree to escape the near-100-degree Fahrenheit heat, an unseasonable reminder of Southern Africa’s changing climate. Rains were late, as they had been several of the last few years. Farmers had prepared their land for planting but were waiting for a rainy season they could believe in.

    Tembo didn’t seem worried. She still had some of her land in government-sponsored hybrid maize and chemical fertilizer, especially when she was lucky enough to get a government subsidy. But most of her land was in diverse native crops, chemical free for 10 years.

    “I see improvements from organic,” she explained, as Kasisi’s Austin Chalala translated for me from the local Nyanja language. “It takes more work, but we are now used to it.” The work involves more careful management of a diverse range of crops planted in ways that conserve and rebuild the soil: crop rotations; intercropping; conservation farming with minimal plowing; and the regular incorporation of crop residues and composted manure to build soil fertility. She has six pigs, seven goats, and 25 chickens, which she says gives her enough manure for the farm.

    She was most proud of her seeds. She disappeared into the darkness of her small home. I was surprised when she emerged with a large fertilizer bag. She untied the top of the bag and began to pull out her stores of homegrown organic seeds. She laughed when I explained my surprise. She laid them out before us, a dazzling array: finger millet; orange maize; Bambara nuts; cowpea; sorghum; soybeans; mung beans; three kinds of groundnuts; popcorn; common beans. All had been saved from her previous harvest. The contribution of chemical fertilizer to these crops was, clearly, just the bag.

    She explained that some would be sold for seed. There is a growing market for these common crops that have all but disappeared with the government’s obsessive promotion of maize. Some she would share with the 50 other farmer members of the local SKI network. And some she and her family happily would consume. Crop diversity is certainly good for the soil, she said, but it’s even better for the body.
    Peasant rights crucial to climate adaptation

    We visited three other Kasisi-trained farmers. All sang the praises of organic production and its diversity of native crops. All said their diets had improved dramatically, and they are much more food-secure than when they planted only maize. Diverse crops are the perfect hedge against a fickle climate. If the maize fails, as it has in recent years, other crops survive to feed farmers’ families, providing a broader range of nutrients. Many traditional crops are more drought-tolerant than maize.

    Another farmer we visited already had planted, optimistically, before the rains arrived. She showed us her fields, dry and with few shoots emerging. With her toe, she cleared some dirt from one furrow to reveal small green leaves, alive in the dry heat. “Millet,” she said proudly. With a range of crops, she said, “the farmer can never go wrong.”

    I found the same determination in Malawi, where the new Farm-Saved Seed Network (FASSNet) is building awareness and working with government on a “Farmers’ Rights” bill to complement a controversial Seed Bill, which deals only with commercial seeds. A parallel process is advancing legislation on the right to food and nutrition. Both efforts should get a shot in the arm with the U.N.’s Peasants’ Rights declaration.

    The declaration gives such farmers a potentially powerful international tool to defend themselves from the onslaught of policies and initiatives, led by multinational seed companies, to replace native seeds with commercial varieties, the kind farmers have to buy every year.

    Kasisi’s Chalala told me that narrative is fierce in Zambia, with government representatives telling farmers such as Tembo that because her seeds are not certified by the government, they should be referred to only as “grain.”

    Eroding protection from GMOs

    As if to illustrate the ongoing threats to farm-saved seed, that same week in Zambia controversy erupted over two actions by the government’s National Biosafety Board to weaken the country’s proud and clear stance against the use of genetically modified crops. The board quietly had granted approval for a supermarket chain to import and sell three products with GMOs, a move promptly criticized by the Zambian National Farmers Union.

    Then it was revealed that the board secretly was drawing up regulations for the future planting of GM crops in the country, again in defiance of the government’s approved policies. The Zambian Alliance for Agroecology and Biodiversity quickly denounced the initiative.

    The U.N. declaration makes such actions a violation of peasants’ rights. Now the task is to put that new tool in farmers’ hands. “As with other rights, the vision and potential of the Peasant Rights Declaration will only be realized if people organize to claim these rights and to implement them in national and local institutions,” argued University of Pittsburgh sociologists Jackie Smith and Caitlin Schroering in Common Dreams. “Human rights don’t ‘trickle down’ — they rise up!”

    https://www.greenbiz.com/article/united-nations-backs-seed-sovereignty-landmark-small-scale-farmers-rights-
    #ONU #semences #déclaration #souveraineté #souveraineté_semencière (?) #agriculture #paysannerie #Zambie #OGM #climat #changement_climatique
    ping @odilon

  • Cutting ammonia emissions from farming ‘could save thousands of lives’

    Cutting levels of ammonia in the air could prevent at least 3,000 premature deaths every year in the UK, according to new research following an investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, Channel 4 News and the Guardian.

    While most air pollutants have been cut dramatically in recent decades, levels of ammonia in the air have stayed high.

    Agriculture is the leading source of ammonia emissions and intensive livestock farming is particularly problematic, as the chemical leaks into the air from exposed animal waste and fertiliser.

    Ammonia causes fine particle pollution which can enter deep into the lungs and bloodstream, with significant consequences for cardiovascular and respiratory health.

    In 2017 researchers from the Max Planck Institute in Germany analysed data on air pollution and mortality. They estimated that a 50 per cent cut in agricultural ammonia emissions across Europe could avoid 52,000 deaths each year.

    Now, in new analysis for The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, they say a similar cut in the UK could prevent at least 3,000 premature deaths annually.

    Levels ‘unchanged for 25 years’
    Professor Alastair Lewis from the National Centre for Atmospheric Science said: “Almost all classes of pollutants [in the UK] have reduced very dramatically over the last 30 or 40 years.

    “The one that really stands out is ammonia, which is really unchanged over the last 25 years”. He puts that down, in part, to the complexity of the problem.

    Dairy farmer Abi Reader told Channel 4 News she supported moves to cut ammonia but was worried about the financial burden on the industry.

    She said it would cost around £50,000 to cover her farm’s slurry pit – the sort of measure farmers are being asked to adopt.

    She told Channel 4 News: “It’s certainly a good focus for us as an industry to make sure we do everything in our power….to reduce the emissions”.

    “The thing is we’re not seeing an extra return on our milk price to finance it” says Ms Reader, “so it’s something we would like to do but I can’t go broke for it”.

    In the Clean Air Strategy, the government says it is requiring farmers to adopt low-emission techniques and providing funding for equipment needed to cut pollution.

    https://www.channel4.com/news/cutting-ammonia-emissions-from-farming-could-save-thousands-of-lives
    #ammoniaque #agriculture #santé #industrie_agro-alimentaire

  • Les antibiotiques polluent désormais les rivières du monde entier
    https://www.latribune.fr/entreprises-finance/industrie/energie-environnement/les-antibiotiques-polluent-les-rivieres-du-monde-entier-818590.html


    Crédits : Pixabay

    Quatorze antibiotiques ont été retrouvés dans les rivières de 72 pays, d’après une étude britannique inédite révélée lundi 27 mai. Les concentrations d’antibiotiques trouvés dépassent jusqu’à 300 fois les niveaux « acceptables ». Un risque majeur puisque ce phénomène accentue le phénomène de résistance aux antibiotiques qui deviennent moins efficaces pour traiter certains symptômes.

    Aucune n’est épargnée. Une étude présentée lundi 27 mai révèle que, de l’Europe à l’Asie en passant par l’Afrique, les concentrations d’antibiotiques relevées dans certaines rivières du monde dépassent largement les niveaux acceptables. La nouveauté de cette étude résulte du fait qu’il s’agit désormais d’un « problème mondial » car si, autrefois, les niveaux tolérés étaient le plus souvent dépassés en Asie et en Afrique - les sites les plus problématiques se trouvent au Bangladesh, Kenya, Ghana, Pakistan et Nigeria - l’Europe et l’Amérique ne sont plus en reste, note le communiqué de l’équipe de chercheurs de l’université britannique de York responsable de l’étude.

    Les scientifiques ont ainsi analysé des prélèvements effectués sur 711 sites dans 72 pays sur six continents et ont détecté au moins un des 14 antibiotiques recherchés dans 65% des échantillons. Les chercheurs, qui présentaient leurs recherches lundi à un congrès à Helsinki, ont comparé ces prélèvements aux niveaux acceptables établis par le groupement d’industries pharmaceutiques AMR Industry Alliance, qui varient selon la substance.

    Résultat, le métronidazole, utilisé contre les infections de la peau et de la bouche, est l’antibiotique qui dépasse le plus ce niveau acceptable, avec des concentrations allant jusqu’à 300 fois ce seuil sur un site au Bangladesh. Le niveau est également dépassé dans la Tamise. La ciprofloxacine est de son côté la substance qui dépasse le plus souvent le seuil de sûreté acceptable (sur 51 sites), tandis que le triméthoprime, utilisé dans le traitement des infections urinaires, est le plus fréquemment retrouvé.

    • Est-ce que c’est des antibiotiques qu’on prescrit aux humain·es ou aux non-humain·es ?
      J’ai trouvé une liste des médicaments réservé aux humains et la métronidazole et la ciprofloxacine n’en font pas partie.

      ANNEXEII -MEDICAMENTS HUMAINS CLASSES AIC NON AUTORISES EN MEDECINE VETERINAIREFAMILLE D’APPARTENANCE DE LA SUBSTANCENOM DE LA SUBSTANCECéphalosporinesdetroisièmeoudequatrièmegénérationCeftriaxoneCéfiximeCefpodoximeCéfotiamCéfotaximeCeftazidimeCéfépimeCefpiromeCeftobiproleAutrescéphalosporinesCeftarolineQuinolones de deuxième génération (fluoroquinolones)LévofloxacineLoméfloxacinePéfloxacineMoxifloxacineEnoxacinePénèmesMéropènèmeErtapénèmeDoripénemImipénème+inhibiteurd’enzymeAcidesphosphoniquesFosfomycineGlycopeptidesVancomycineTeicoplanineTélavancineDalbavancineOritavancineGlycylcyclinesTigécyclineLipopeptidesDaptomycineMonobactamsAztréonamOxazolidonesCyclosérineLinézolideTédizolideRiminofenazinesClofaziminePénicillinesPipéracillinePipéracilline+inhibiteurd’enzymeTémocillineTircacillineTircacilline+inhibiteurd’enzymeSulfonesDapsoneAntituberculeux/antilépreuxRifampicineRifabutineCapréomycineIsoniazideEthionamidePyrazinamideEthambutolClofazimineDapsone+ferreuxoxalate

      http://www.ordre.pharmacien.fr/content/download/346633/1695541/version/2/file/Fiches-pratiques_pharmacie-v%C3%A9t%C3%A9rinaire.pdf

    • Le site de l’équipe qui a coordonné les travaux, Université d’York

      Antibiotics found in some of the world’s rivers exceed ‘safe’ levels, global study finds - News and events, The University of York
      https://www.york.ac.uk/news-and-events/news/2019/research/antibiotics-found-in-some-of-worlds-rivers
      https://www.york.ac.uk/media/news-and-events/pressreleases/2019/Global rivers feat.jpg

      Concentrations of antibiotics found in some of the world’s rivers exceed ‘safe’ levels by up to 300 times, the first ever global study has discovered.
      […]
      Researchers looked for 14 commonly used antibiotics in rivers in 72 countries across six continents and found antibiotics at 65% of the sites monitored.

      Metronidazole, which is used to treat bacterial infections including skin and mouth infections, exceeded safe levels by the biggest margin, with concentrations at one site in Bangladesh 300 times greater than the ‘safe’ level.

      In the River Thames and one of its tributaries in London, the researchers detected a maximum total antibiotic concentration of 233 nanograms per litre (ng/l), whereas in Bangladesh the concentration was 170 times higher.

      Trimethoprim
      The most prevalent antibiotic was trimethoprim, which was detected at 307 of the 711 sites tested and is primarily used to treat urinary tract infections.

      The research team compared the monitoring data with ‘safe’ levels recently established by the AMR Industry Alliance which, depending on the antibiotic, range from 20-32,000 ng/l.

      Ciproflaxacin, which is used to treat a number of bacterial infections, was the compound that most frequently exceeded safe levels, surpassing the safety threshold in 51 places.

      Global problem
      The team said that the ‘safe’ limits were most frequently exceeded in Asia and Africa, but sites in Europe, North America and South America also had levels of concern showing that antibiotic contamination was a “global problem.”

      Sites where antibiotics exceeded ‘safe’ levels by the greatest degree were in Bangladesh, Kenya, Ghana, Pakistan and Nigeria, while a site in Austria was ranked the highest of the European sites monitored.

      The study revealed that high-risk sites were typically adjacent to wastewater treatment systems, waste or sewage dumps and in some areas of political turmoil, including the Israeli and Palestinian border.

      Monitoring
      The project, which was led by the University of York, was a huge logistical challenge – with 92 sampling kits flown out to partners across the world who were asked to take samples from locations along their local river system.

      Samples were then frozen and couriered back to the University of York for testing. Some of the world’s most iconic rivers were sampled, including the Chao Phraya, Danube, Mekong, Seine, Thames, Tiber and Tigris.

    • Le résumé de la présentation à Helsinki, le 28 mai

      Tracks & Sessions – SETAC Helsinki
      https://helsinki.setac.org/programme/scientific-programme/trackssessions

      3.12 - New Insights into Chemical Exposures over Multiple Spatial and Temporal Scales
      Co-chairs: Alistair Boxall, Charlotte Wagner, Rainer Lohmann, Jason Snape 

      Tuesday May 28, 2019 | 13:55–15:30 | Session Room 204/205 

      Current methods used to assess chemical exposures are insufficient to accurately establish the impacts of chemicals on human and ecosystem health. For example, exposure assessment often involves the use of averaged concentrations, assumes constant exposure of an organism and focuses on select geographical regions, individual chemicals and single environmental compartments. A combination of tools in environmental scientists’ toolbox can be used to address these limitations.

      This session will therefore include presentations on experimental and modelling approaches to better understand environmental exposures of humans and other organisms to chemicals over space and time, and the drivers of such exposures. We welcome submissions from the following areas:
      1) Applications of novel approaches such as source apportionment, wireless sensor networks, drones and citizen science to generate and understand exposure data over multiple spatial and temporal scales,
      2) Advancements in assessing exposures to multiple chemicals and from different land-use types, as well as the impact of an organism’s differing interactions with its environment, and
      3) Quantification of chemical exposures at regional, continental and global geographical scales.

      This session aims at advancing efforts to combine models and measurement to better assess environmental distribution and exposure to chemical contaminants, reducing ubiquitous exposures and risks to public and environmental health.

  • A New Diet Study Confirms Your Worst Suspicions About Ultra-Processed Foods
    https://gizmodo.com/a-new-diet-study-confirms-your-worst-suspicions-about-u-1834818556

    “When people were consuming the unprocessed diet, the levels of a hormone called PYY, which is an appetite suppressant hormone secreted by the gut, actually increased. And similarly, another hormone that’s known to induce hunger, called ghrelin, deceased on the unprocessed diet,” Hall said.

    At this point, though, the specific ingredients or chemicals commonly found in ultra-processed foods that could be causing this hormonal shift toward eating more are unclear.

    Another potentially major difference they noticed was that people ate ultra-processed food much more quickly than unprocessed food. That speed likely would have given their body less time to throw up the stop sign and make them feel full. The ease in eating ultra-processed food might have helped, too, given how much softer and easier to chew they were, on average, than unprocessed food.

    By contrast, one commonly suspected factor for why ultra-processed foods can cause weight gain that didn’t play any big role here was taste: The volunteers said that they enjoyed eating one diet as much as they did the other.

    #nutrition #aliments_ultra_transformés

  • Citrus Farmers Facing Deadly Bacteria Turn to Antibiotics, Alarming Health Officials - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/17/health/antibiotics-oranges-florida.html

    Since 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency has allowed Florida citrus farmers to use the drugs, streptomycin and oxytetracycline, on an emergency basis, but the agency is now significantly expanding their permitted use across 764,000 acres in California, Texas and other citrus-producing states. The agency approved the expanded use despite strenuous objections from the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which warn that the heavy use of antimicrobial drugs in agriculture could spur germs to mutate so they become resistant to the drugs, threatening the lives of millions of people.

    The E.P.A. has proposed allowing as much as 650,000 pounds of streptomycin to be sprayed on citrus crops each year. By comparison, Americans annually use 14,000 pounds of aminoglycosides, the class of antibiotics that includes streptomycin.

    The European Union has banned the agricultural use of both streptomycin and oxytetracycline. So, too, has Brazil, where orange growers are battling the same bacterial scourge, called huanglongbing, also commonly known as citrus greening disease.

    “To allow such a massive increase of these drugs in agriculture is a recipe for disaster,” said Steven Roach, a senior analyst for the advocacy group Keep Antibiotics Working. “It’s putting the needs of the citrus industry ahead of human health.”

    But for Florida’s struggling orange and grapefruit growers, the approvals could not come soon enough. The desperation is palpable across the state’s sandy midsection, a flat expanse once lushly blanketed with citrus trees, most of them the juice oranges that underpin a $7.2 billion industry employing 50,000 people, about 40,000 fewer than it did two decades ago. These days, the landscape is flecked with abandoned groves and scraggly trees whose elongated yellow leaves are a telltale sign of the disease.

    The decision paves the way for the largest use of medically important antibiotics in cash crops, and it runs counter to other efforts by the federal government to reduce the use of lifesaving antimicrobial drugs. Since 2017, the F.D.A. has banned the use of antibiotics to promote growth in farm animals, a shift that has led to a 33 percent drop in sales of antibiotics for livestock.

    The use of antibiotics on citrus adds a wrinkle to an intensifying debate about whether the heavy use of antimicrobials in agriculture endangers human health by neutering the drugs’ germ-slaying abilities. Much of that debate has focused on livestock farmers, who use 80 percent of antibiotics sold in the United States.

    Although the research on antibiotic use in crops is not as extensive, scientists say the same dynamic is already playing out with the fungicides that are liberally sprayed on vegetables and flowers across the world. Researchers believe the surge in a drug-resistant lung infection called aspergillosis is associated with agricultural fungicides, and many suspect the drugs are behind the rise of Candida auris, a deadly fungal infection.

    Créer du doute là où il n’y en a pas, au nom de la science évidemment... une science « complète » qui est impossible avec le vivant, donc un argument qui pourra toujours servir.

    In its evaluation for the expanded use of streptomycin, the E.P.A., which largely relied on data from pesticide makers, said the drug quickly dissipated in the environment. Still, the agency noted that there was a “medium” risk from extending the use of such drugs to citrus crops, and it acknowledged the lack of research on whether a massive increase in spraying would affect the bacteria that infect humans.

    “The science of resistance is evolving and there is a high level of uncertainty in how and when resistance occurs,” the agency wrote.

    Since its arrival in Florida was first confirmed in 2005, citrus greening has infected more than 90 percent of the state’s grapefruit and orange trees. The pathogen is spread by a tiny insect, the Asian citrus psyllid, that infects trees as it feeds on young leaves and stems, but the evidence of disease can take months to emerge. Infected trees prematurely drop their fruit, most of it too bitter for commercial use.

    Taw Richardson, the chief executive of ArgoSource, which makes the antibiotics used by farmers, said the company has yet to see any resistance in the 14 years since it began selling bactericides. “We don’t take antibiotic resistance lightly,” he said. “The key is to target the things that contribute to resistance and not get distracted by things that don’t.”

    Many scientists disagree with such assessments, noting the mounting resistance to both drugs in humans. They also cite studies suggesting that low concentrations of antibiotics that slowly seep into the environment over an extended period of time can significantly accelerate resistance.

    Scientists at the C.D.C. were especially concerned about streptomycin, which can remain in the soil for weeks and is allowed to be sprayed several times a season. As part of its consultation with the F.D.A., the C.D.C. conducted experiments with the two drugs and found widespread resistance to them.

    Although the Trump administration has been pressing the E.P.A. to loosen regulations, Nathan Donley, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity, said the agency’s pesticides office had a long track record of favoring the interests of chemical and pesticide companies. “What’s in the industry’s best interest will win out over public safety nine times out of 10,” he said.

    A spokesman for the E.P.A. said the agency had sought to address the C.D.C.’s and F.D.A.’s concerns about antibiotic resistance by ordering additional monitoring and by limiting its approvals to seven years.

    #Antibiotiques #Citrons #Agrumes #Pesticides #Conflits_intérêt #Pseudo-science

  • ‘How do they sleep?’ Roger Waters calls out US, UK & France over ‘faked’ Douma chemical attack — RT World News
    https://www.rt.com/news/459638-roger-waters-douma-opcw

    Citing newly leaked OPCW documents casting doubt on the April 2018 ‘chemical attack’ that triggered a bombing of Syria, rock star Roger Waters is calling out everyone who believed in the ‘murderous fairytale’ of the White Helmets.

    US, UK and France launched air strikes against Syria in April last year, after an alleged chemical attack in the city of Douma, northeast of Damascus. The claims came from the White Helmets, a self-styled ‘civil defense’ organization backed by Western governments and embedded with the Islamist militants in Syria.

    “The White Helmets probably murdered 34 women and children to dress the scene that sorry day in Douma,” Waters posted on his Facebook page on Thursday, next to a video of his April 2018 concert in Barcelona in which he challenged the group as “a fake organization that exists only to create propaganda for the jihadists and terrorists.”

    Waters added he hopes that those in the media and the governments in Paris, London and Washington that bought into the White Helmets’ “callous and murderous fairytale are suitably haunted by the indelible images of those lost innocent Syrian lives.”

    Internal OPCW documents leaked earlier this week cast doubt on the organization’s final report about the Douma incident, which claimed chlorine was ‘likely’ used against civilians. Syrian and Russian soldiers that liberated the town from militants found chlorine containers and a laboratory for producing chemical weapons. Moscow has suggested that the OPCW hedged its report because it did not want to contradict the US narrative.

    #syrie #propagande

    • Intéressant : Brian Whitaker a publié un assez gros point sur cette « fuite ». Leaked document revives controversy over Syria chemical attacks
      https://al-bab.com/blog/2019/05/leaked-document-revives-controversy-over-syria-chemical-attacks

      A leaked document which contradicts key findings of an official investigation into chemical weapons in Syria has surfaced on the internet. Described as an “engineering assessment” and marked “draft for internal review”, it appears to have been written by an employee of the Organisation for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) — the international body charged with the investigation.

      In April 2018 dozens of people were reportedly killed by a chemical attack in Douma, on the outskirts of Damascus, and western powers responded with airstrikes directed against the Assad regime.

      In March this year, after a lengthy investigation, the OPCW issued a report which found “reasonable grounds” for believing a toxic chemical had been used as a weapon in Douma and suggested the chemical involved was chlorine gas, delivered by cylinders dropped from the air.

      Although the investigators’ brief did not allow them to apportion blame, use of air-dropped cylinders implied the regime was responsible, since rebel fighters in Syria had no aircraft.

      The 15-page leaked document takes the opposite view and says it is more likely that the two cylinders in question had been “manually placed” in the spot where they were found, rather than being dropped from the air. The implication of this is that Syrian rebels had planted them to create the false appearance of a chemical attack by the regime.

      Whitaker, sur ce sujet, s’est régulièrement illustré par une dénonciation virulente de ce qu’il appelle les « truthers » sur la Syrie. Encore très récemment :
      https://medium.com/@Brian_Whit/how-a-yellow-cylinder-became-a-propaganda-weapon-in-syria-cc696a0bb0d9

    • Après, personnellement, le fait de conclure directement à l’analyse opposée (« les casques blancs ont fait le coup ») sur la foi d’un seul rapport minoritaire non retenu dans le rapport final, ça me semble excessivement prématuré.

  • Upgraded Russian SPY PLANE makes maiden flight over US nuclear & military sites – report — RT World News
    https://www.rt.com/news/457679-russian-spy-plane-us


    A Russian Air Force Tupolev Tu-214ON at Ramenskoye Airport in Moscow region.
    © Wikipedia / Oleg Belyakov

    A Russian Tu-214ON spy plane has reportedly made a reconnaissance tour over the southwestern US, taking a glimpse at an array of military bases as well as nuclear and chemical weapons depots as part of the #Open_Skies treaty.

    The Drive reported, citing FlightRadar 24 tracking service data, that the newest version of the Tu-214 observation aircraft graced US skies after taking off from Rosecrans Air National Guard Base in St. Joseph, Missouri on Thursday.

    The flight reportedly lasted six hours and saw the surveillance aircraft fly over a series of US defense and storage facilities scattered over the territory of West Texas, New Mexico and Colorado. The plane is reported to have flown over the Kirtland Air Force Base, which hosts the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center and functions as a nuclear storage site. In Colorado, the plane passed over the Pueblo Chemical Depot, one of the last two sites in the US with chemical munitions and materials.

    The flight itself had been authorized by the US under the Treaty on Open Skies, which allows its signatories to conduct short inspections of each other’s territory. The treaty was signed in 1992, but did not come into force until 2002. The US and Russia are among its 34 members.

    The Russian Defense Ministry has not commented on the details of the mission. Earlier, Sergey Ryzhkov, head of the Russian Center for Reduction of Nuclear Threat, announced that the Tu-214ON would be conducting surveillance from Missouri Airport between 22 April and April 27. Under the treaty, the flight has to be monitored by US specialists on board the plane.

    Washington eventually greenlighted the Tu-214ON flyover after initially refusing to certify the Russian “spy eye,” claiming that its digital surveillance equipment was more advanced than Moscow had declared and might manipulate digital data. After some back-and-forth, the US approved the plane for the flights over its territory in September last year.

    Tu-214ON is an updated version of the regular Tu-214. Its cockpit can fit two more people, which allowed the manufacturer to install more modern electronics. Its range has increased to a reported 6,500km (4,040 miles). The aircraft boasts three sensor arrays that include a digital photo camera, an infrared camera, and a TV camera complete with a sideways-looking synthetic aperture radar.

    • Il y a 2 mois, c’était en sens inverse.

      ‘Sign of good will’: US spy plane carries out 1st observation flights over Russia in 2 years — RT Russia News
      https://www.rt.com/russia/452169-us-open-skies-russia


      An American OC-135B taxiing to the runway
      © AFP / US AIR FORCE / CHARLES J. HAYMOND

      On Thursday and Friday, a US spy plane performs observation flights over Russia as part of the Open Skies pact, the first action of the kind in months. It can be also considered a sign of “good will” from Moscow, RT was told.
      The Pentagon has confirmed that an OC-135B plane, fitted with high-resolution cameras and infrared sensors, is indeed performing the flyovers, and that Moscow is fully aware of the action. The flights are the first since November 2017, according to spokesman Lt. Col. Jamie Davis.

      He said Russia is aware of the flight and the American spy plane has six of the country’s military observers on board to ensure the mission goes according to the treaty. The Pentagon did not expand on this, nor did the Russian military comment on it.

      Moscow “is demonstrating goodwill” quite apart from treaty obligations by allowing an American plane in its airspace despite major strains in relations, Konstantin Sivkov, a military expert and retired navy officer, told RT. The US is unlikely to stick to the treaty for very long, as accords like this are seen as unnecessary restraints in Washington, he believes.

      The Open Skies Treaty, a crucial multinational accord that allows signatories to perform mutual surveillance flights, has recently been placed in jeopardy by US lawmakers. In August of last year, Congress suspended US-Russia ties under the pact, citing alleged violations by Moscow. The latter denied all of the claims.

      Separately, Washington also curbed funding for any modifications to America’s own surveillance planes. Technical glitches on the ageing US Open Skies aircraft have left the country unable to carry out its missions over Russia. In 2017, only 13 of the 16 missions were actually flown.

      The OC-135B, specifically built for Open Skies missions in 1993, is based up the OC-135 Stratolifter cargo plane. It seats 35, including cockpit crew, aircraft maintenance staff, and foreign observers.

      Russia uses the Tu-214 ON and the Tu-154 ON derived from civilian versions of Tupolev airliners. The former was finally cleared for Open Skies flights over the US last year after months of political flip-flops and media frenzy, with numerous publications claiming Russia benefits too much from the Open Skies initiative.

    • L’article original de The Drive cité par RT

      Russia’s New Surveillance Plane Just Flew Over Two Of America’s Top Nuclear Labs - The Drive
      https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/27678/russias-new-surveillance-plane-just-flew-over-two-of-americas-top-nuclear-


      The route across Los Alamos National Laboratory.
      FLIGHTRADAR24

      One Russia’s two Tu-214ON aircraft has conducted what appears to be its first-ever flight over the United States under the Open Skies Treaty. This agreement allows member states to conduct aerial surveillance missions, with certain limitations in hardware and in the presence of monitors from the surveilled country, over each other’s territory. Today’s sortie took the Russian plane over parts of West Texas, through New Mexico, and into Colorado, including overflights of Fort Bliss, White Sands Missile Range, Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories, and finally hitting up the Pueblo Chemical Depot.

      et photos aériennes des différentes bases et sites avec trajectoire de l’avion de reconnaissance.

    • RF-64525 is set to depart Rosecrans at around 12:30 PM on Apr. 26, 2019 for another mission over areas of Colorado and Nebraska. This could take it over a number of other strategic sites, such as Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha and the Cheyenne Mountain Complex bunker outside Colorado Springs.

      The plane is then scheduled to head back to Russia on Apr. 27, 2019, but with Open Skies back in full swing, we could easily be seeing one of the Kremlin’s surveillance planes come back later in the year for another visit.

  • The family that took on Monsanto: ’They should’ve been with us in the chemo ward’ | Business | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/apr/10/edwin-hardeman-monsanto-trial-interview

    Becoming ‘the face’ of the fight
    Advertisement

    Edwin Hardeman and his wife, Mary, never expected that they would become de facto leaders of the federal court fight against the world’s most widely used weedkiller. They just wanted Monsanto to acknowledge the dangers – and potentially save other families from the horror they endured.

    “This is something that was egregious to me. It was my personal battle and I wanted to take it full circle,” said Edwin, whose cancer is now in remission. “It’s been a long journey.”

    Mary bristled when she thought about Monsanto’s continued defense of its chemical: “They should have been with us when we were in the chemo ward … not knowing what to do to relieve the pain.

    “I get angry,” she added. “Very angry.”

    Monsanto first put Roundup on the market in 1974, presenting the herbicide, which uses a chemical called glyphosate, as a breakthrough that was effective at killing weeds and safe. The product has earned the corporation billions in revenue a year, and glyphosate is now ubiquitous in the environment – with traces in water, food and farmers’ urine.

    Hardeman didn’t recognize the term glyphosate when he saw the news report about the Iarc ruling on TV. At that time, the chemotherapy side effects had devastated him – causing violent nausea, swelling that made his face unrecognizable and terrifying feelings of electric shocks jolting his body.

    But when he realized that glyphosate was the main ingredient in Roundup and that research suggested it could be responsible for his form of NHL, diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, it clicked: “It just hit me. There’s something going on here.”

    He filed a lawsuit in February 2016. So did hundreds of other cancer survivors and families who lost loved ones, and many of the parallel suits were consolidated as one case under federal judge Vince Chhabria in San Francisco.

    The judge selected Hardeman to be first – the so-called “bellwether” trial, meaning it would be the official test case that would inform future litigation and potentially impact settlements for others.

    It was a lot of pressure.

    “Learning I was going to be the plaintiff, the one, the face of the … litigation, was a shock,” he said.

    The unsealed emails and documents suggested that Monsanto had an aggressive PR strategy for years that involved attacking negative research and ghostwriting and pushing favorable studies.

    In one email, a Monsanto executive advised others in the company to be cautious about how they describe the safety of the product, warning: “You cannot say that Roundup is not a carcinogen … we have not done the necessary testing on the formulation to make that statement.”
    Edwin and his wife, Mary, never expected that they would become de facto leaders of the federal court fight against the world’s most widely used weedkiller.

    Edwin and his wife, Mary, never expected that they would become de facto leaders of the federal court fight against the world’s most widely used weedkiller. Photograph: Brian Frank/The Guardian

    Monsanto officials also privately talked about the company writing science papers that would be officially authored by researchers, with one email saying: “We would be keeping the cost down by us doing the writing and they would just edit and sign their names.” The internal documents also shined a harsh light on Monsanto’s cozy relationship with US regulators and its media campaign to combat the Iarc ruling.

    (The company has said it was open about its involvement in research.)

    One executive eventually revealed that the company had a roughly $17m budget for PR and public affairs related to Iarc and glyphosate.

    The unusual and severe limitations made the message of the victory all the more powerful, Wagstaff said in an interview: “We were forced, over our objections, to argue just the science. Any argument by Bayer or Monsanto that this was a sympathetic jury to Mr Hardeman … is just not supported by the facts.”

    Mary, who was home sick the day the jury announced, first saw the verdict on Twitter before her husband could break the news: “I let out a scream. It’s a wonder one of my neighbors didn’t come in.”

    With the cancer science proven, Hardeman’s legal team was finally allowed to present evidence and arguments about Monsanto’s “despicable” and “reckless” behavior – and that was a success, too. The jury ruled Monsanto was negligent and owed him $80m in damages.

    Within minutes of the final verdict, a Bayer spokesperson issued a response: The company would appeal.

    In US federal court, there are around 1,200 plaintiffs with similar Roundup cancer cases – and roughly 11,000 nationwide. Despite two jury rulings saying Roundup causes cancer, the corporation’s defense has not changed: Roundup is safe for use.

    “We continue to believe strongly in the extensive body of reliable science that supports the safety of Roundup and on which regulators around the world continue to base their own favorable assessments,” a Bayer spokesperson told the Guardian. “Our customers have relied on these products for more than 40 years and we are gratified by their continued support.”

    Bayer, which has faced backlash from investors and a share price drop in the wake of the Roundup controversy, could be pushed to negotiate a massive settlement with plaintiffs following Hardeman’s victory.

    Hardeman said the very least the company could do is warn consumers: “Give us a chance to decide whether we want to use it or not … Have some compassion for people.”

    Hardeman said it also disturbed him that Bayer and Monsanto still have not done their own study on the carcinogenicity of Roundup, even after all these years. (Monsanto has said the company has gone beyond what was required in testing glyphosate exposure risks.)

    “I worry about the younger generation,” Hardeman said. “Why haven’t you tested this product? Why, why, why? You’ve got the money. Are you afraid of the answer?”

    #Roundup #Perturbateurs_endocriniens #Pesticides #Monsanto #Bayer

  • The Challenge of Going Off Psychiatric Drugs | The New Yorker
    https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/04/08/the-challenge-of-going-off-psychiatric-drugs

    Laura had always assumed that depression was caused by a precisely defined chemical imbalance, which her medications were designed to recalibrate. She began reading about the history of psychiatry and realized that this theory, promoted heavily by pharmaceutical companies, is not clearly supported by evidence. Genetics plays a role in mental disorder, as do environmental influences, but the drugs do not have the specificity to target the causes of an illness. Wayne Goodman, a former chair of the F.D.A.’s Psychopharmacologic Drugs Advisory Committee, has called the idea that pills fix chemical imbalances a “useful metaphor” that he would never use with his patients. Ronald Pies, a former editor of Psychiatric Times, has said, “My impression is that most psychiatrists who use this expression”—that the pills fix chemical imbalances—“feel uncomfortable and a little embarrassed when they do so. It’s kind of a bumper-sticker phrase that saves time.”

    Dorian Deshauer, a psychiatrist and historian at the University of Toronto, has written that the chemical-imbalance theory, popularized in the eighties and nineties, “created the perception that the long term, even life-long use of psychiatric drugs made sense as a logical step.” But psychiatric drugs are brought to market in clinical trials that typically last less than twelve weeks. Few studies follow patients who take the medications for more than a year. Allen Frances, an emeritus professor of psychiatry at Duke, who chaired the task force for the fourth edition of the DSM, in 1994, told me that the field has neglected questions about how to take patients off drugs—a practice known as “de-prescribing.” He said that “de-prescribing requires a great deal more skill, time, commitment, and knowledge of the patient than prescribing does.” He emphasizes what he called a “cruel paradox: there’s a large population on the severe end of the spectrum who really need the medicine” and either don’t have access to treatment or avoid it because it is stigmatized in their community. At the same time, many others are “being overprescribed and then stay on the medications for years.” There are almost no studies on how or when to go off psychiatric medications, a situation that has created what he calls a “national public-health experiment.”

    Roland Kuhn, a Swiss psychiatrist credited with discovering one of the first antidepressants, imipramine, in 1956, later warned that many doctors would be incapable of using antidepressants properly, “because they largely or entirely neglect the patient’s own experiences.” The drugs could only work, he wrote, if a doctor is “fully aware of the fact that he is not dealing with a self-contained, rigid object, but with an individual who is involved in constant movement and change.”

    A decade after the invention of antidepressants, randomized clinical studies emerged as the most trusted form of medical knowledge, supplanting the authority of individual case studies. By necessity, clinical studies cannot capture fluctuations in mood that may be meaningful to the patient but do not fit into the study’s categories. This methodology has led to a far more reliable body of evidence, but it also subtly changed our conception of mental health, which has become synonymous with the absence of symptoms, rather than with a return to a patient’s baseline of functioning, her mood or personality before and between episodes of illness.

    Antidepressants are now taken by roughly one in eight adults and adolescents in the U.S., and a quarter of them have been doing so for more than ten years. Industry money often determines the questions posed by pharmacological studies, and research about stopping drugs has never been a priority.

    Barbiturates, a class of sedatives that helped hundreds of thousands of people to feel calmer, were among the first popular psychiatric drugs. Although leading medical journals asserted that barbiturate addiction was rare, within a few years it was evident that people withdrawing from barbiturates could become more anxious than they were before they began taking the drugs. (They could also hallucinate, have convulsions, and even die.)

    Valium and other benzodiazepines were introduced in the early sixties, as a safer option. By the seventies, one in ten Americans was taking Valium. The chief of clinical pharmacology at Massachusetts General Hospital declared, in 1976, “I have never seen a case of benzodiazepine dependence” and described it as “an astonishingly unusual event.” Later, though, the F.D.A. acknowledged that people can become dependent on benzodiazepines, experiencing intense agitation when they stop taking them.

    In the fifth edition of the DSM, published in 2013, the editors added an entry for “antidepressant discontinuation syndrome”—a condition also mentioned on drug labels—but the description is vague and speculative, noting that “longitudinal studies are lacking” and that little is known about the course of the syndrome. “Symptoms appear to abate over time,” the manual explains, while noting that “some individuals may prefer to resume medication indefinitely.”

    Audrey Bahrick, a psychologist at the University of Iowa Counseling Service, who has published papers on the way that S.S.R.I.s affect sexuality, told me that, a decade ago, after someone close to her lost sexual function on S.S.R.I.s, “I became pretty obsessive about researching the issue, but the actual qualitative experience of patients was never documented. There was this assumption that the symptoms would resolve once you stop the medication. I just kept thinking, Where is the data? Where is the data?” In her role as a counsellor, Bahrick sees hundreds of college students each year, many of whom have been taking S.S.R.I.s since adolescence. She told me, “I seem to have the expectation that young people would be quite distressed about the sexual side effects, but my observation clinically is that these young people don’t yet know what sexuality really means, or why it is such a driving force.”

    #Psychiatrie #Big_Pharma #Addiction #Anti_depresseurs #Valium

    • Le problème, c’est que les psychiatres ont surtout le temps pour prescrire, pas pour creuser. Et que le temps de guérison entre frontalement en conflit avec le temps de productivité.

      Le temps de guérir est un luxe pour les gens bien entourés et avec assez de moyens financiers.

      Et il manque toujours la question de base : qu’est-ce qui déclenche ses réponses psychiques violentes ?

      J’aurais tendance à dire : un mode de vie #normatif et étroit qui force certaines personnes à adopter un mode de vie particulièrement éloigné de ce qu’elles sont, de ce qu’elles veulent. Notre société est terriblement irrespectueuse et violente pour tous ceux qui ne se conforme nt pas au #modèle unique de la personne sociale, dynamique et surtout, bien productive !

      #dépression

  • Homeless asylum-seekers fall through the cracks in the UK

    When asylum-seekers register for asylum in Britain, having fled their home countries, they qualify for asylum support while their claim is assessed by the Home Office. This support should include safe, clean accommodation and a living allowance for food and other necessities.

    If the asylum-seeker’s claim is granted, they then gain refugee status, which means they can live in the UK as a settled person – they can then take on work or study, as they wish.

    If their claim is refused however, the asylum-seeker is given a strict 14-day deadline in which to lodge an appeal. This deadline is usually even shorter in practice, as it corresponds with the date provided on the refusal letter, which is usually dated a few days before it is received. If they do not lodge this appeal in time, they lose their right to remain in the UK, along with all forms of asylum support.

    While many would argue that this process – on paper – makes sense, there are certain flaws it presents when put into practice and when considered alongside the British government’s current attitudes towards asylum and immigration.

    The number of initial asylum denials which are overturned at the appeal stage year-on-year is rising. While in 2017 the number of rejected asylum claims which were granted on appeal was 57%, in 2018 this figure rose to 75% – in other words, three-quarters of all the asylum claims that were denied were later found to be genuine.

    This number shows the frequency with which the Home Office misjudges asylum claims in the first instance, begging the question, what happens to all the genuine asylum-seekers who do not lodge an appeal in time?

    Unable to return to their home countries, many turn to the streets and become part of the ever-growing UK homeless community.

    Homelessness in the UK is steadily rising. Shelter released analysis this winter that showed an increase of 13,000 people becoming homeless in 2018, with an average of 1 in every 200 people across the UK now homeless (including those sleeping on the streets and in temporary accommodation).

    In 2018, the outsourcing giant Serco, which is responsible for housing many asylum-seekers across the UK, launched a mass-eviction policy for those it deemed to be “failed asylum-seekers”. The contractor changed the locks on hundreds of asylum-seekers’ doors, including many who still had a legal right to remain in the UK. The occupants, most of whom were Glasgow-based, were then left to fend for themselves and many slept rough on the streets.

    This is one instance which shows the severity of the impact that the “hostile environment” policy has had on vulnerable people. The policy, which was first introduced by (then Home Secretary) Theresa May in 2012, targeted “illegal immigrants” with the sole aim of making the UK so inhospitable and unwelcoming to them that they would choose to “leave voluntarily”. It culminated last summer with the Windrush scandal, which saw hundreds of Windrush-generation citizens threatened and deported by the Home Office after their documents had been lost and destroyed by the Government. Following this, Home Secretary Sajid Javid has rebranded the policy, replacing “hostile environment” with the phrase “compliant environment.”

    Despite this change in name, the programs developed under the policy continue to impact the lives of legitimate migrants, asylum-seekers and refugees.

    For example, asylum-seekers are still not able to work in most instances in the UK while they wait for the outcome of their claim. The only current exception to this is for those who are able to fill a role on the UK Shortage Occupation list. This list is a resource used by the British government showing the professions that cannot be filled with domestic workers. Roles on this list include chemical engineers, physical scientists and classical ballet dancers – all positions which most asylum-seekers (many of whom are from war-torn or less-developed countries where access to wealth and education is limited) cannot fill. Even if an asylum-seeker were able to fill one of these positions, that person could only do so after being in Britain for 12 months.

    It is this restriction that makes life even harder for vulnerable asylum-seekers, who are seeking much needed refuge in the UK. With no access to work, individuals are unable to save funds, making them entirely reliant on the GBP 5.50 per day that they receive as support. If they then have their initial claim refused, they have nothing to fall back on – no income and no network of work colleagues. It is no wonder then that asylum-seekers are turning to the streets, falling through the cracks of the system.

    It is vital that the asylum process is reviewed, to account for this issue. The UK is able to welcome those who are fleeing from persecution: we must continue to meet our responsibilities if we are to consider ourselves an ethical nation.

    http://rightsinexile.tumblr.com/post/183856311837/homeless-asylum-seekers-fall-through-the-cracks-in
    #UK #Angleterre #hébergement #logement #réfugiés #demandeurs_d'asile #migrations #asile #SDF #sans-abri

  • Breaking: Jihadist rebels attack northwest Hama with suspected chemical weapons, 20+ hospitalized
    https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/breaking-jihadist-rebels-attack-northwest-hama-with-suspected-chemical

    The jihadist rebels launched several rockets and artillery shells towards the government-held towns of Raseef and Aziziyah in northwestern Hama this evening.

    According to a military source close to the scene, over 20 people were hospitalized after the projectiles struck the civilian neighborhoods.

    The source said the Suqaylabiyeh Hospital reported that most of the victims were suffering from asphyxiation after one of the jihadist projectiles landed in a civilian area.

    He added that the Syrian military believes chemical weapons were used by the jihadist rebels during tonight’s attack.

    #syrie #gaz

  • Data is the New Oil
    https://hackernoon.com/data-is-the-new-oil-1227197762b2?source=rss----3a8144eabfe3---4

    “Data is the new oil. It’s valuable, but if unrefined it cannot really be used. It has to be changed into gas, plastic, chemicals, etc to create a valuable entity that drives profitable activity; so must data be broken down, analyzed for it to have value.”— Clive HumbyDeep Learning is a revolutionary field, but for it to work as intended, it requires data. The area related to these big datasets is known as Big Data, which stands for the abundance of digital data. Data is as important for Deep Learning algorithms as the architecture of the network itself, i.e., the software. Acquiring and cleaning the data is one of the most valuable aspects of the work. Without data, the neural networks cannot learn.Most of the time, researchers can use the data given to them directly, but there are many (...)

    #machine-learning #feifei-li #data-science #imagenet

  • Our Twisted DNA | by Tim Flannery | The New York Review of Books
    https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2019/03/07/carl-zimmer-twisted-dna

    As long as chimeras and mosaics were detected on the basis of physical manifestations or blood type, they were considered to be phenomenally rare—indeed freakish. By 1983, only seventy-five cases of human chimeras, as detected from blood type, were known, while mosaicism was mostly known from medical cases. Joseph Merrick, the “Elephant Man,” suffered from a form of mosaicism known as Proteus syndrome, which left parts of his body deformed by monstrous growths, while other parts remained completely normal. For decades, his sad example defined the condition for many.

    Recent advances in genetic analysis have revealed that chimerism is common. In fact, chimeric individuals may be the rule, rather than the exception, among mammals. One Danish study of the blood of 154 girls aged ten to fifteen discovered that around 13 percent of them had blood cells with Y-chromosomes. These cells probably originated from an older brother and had crossed into the mother, where they survived before crossing into, and taking root in, the daughter. A Seattle study of fifty-nine women who died, on average, in their seventies found that 63 percent had cells with Y-chromosomes in their brains.

    As bizarre as chimeras might seem, they represent only the surface waters of Zimmer’s deep dive into the nature of inheritance. Epigenetics, a fast-expanding area of science that explains how things experienced by individuals can influence the traits that are inherited by their offspring, seems to contradict our conventional understanding of genetics. The epigenome, “that collection of molecules that envelops our genes and controls what they do,” as Zimmer puts it, operates through methylation—the process whereby methyl-group molecules are added to the molecular envelope surrounding the DNA, and so inhibit certain genes from operating (and, in some cases, from operating in descendants as well).

    We owe one of the most penetrating insights into epigenetics to a laboratory accident. Michael Skinner of Washington State University was examining the impact of the anti-fungal agent vinclozolin on laboratory rats. He discovered that the offspring of rats exposed to the chemical produced deformed sperm. When a laboratory assistant accidentally used these offspring to breed a new generation of lab rats, researchers discovered that the grandsons of the poisoned rats also produced deformed sperm.

    Skinner’s rats sparked a flurry of new experiments that showed how methylation could lead to the inheritance of acquired traits. As some researchers commented, it was as if the work of Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (who famously posited that the necks of giraffes had lengthened over generations because they were stretched as the animals reached up to feed) had become reestablished. Science is rarely so simple—still, epigenetics has Zimmer wondering whether “poverty, abuse, and other assaults on parents also impress themselves epigenetically on their children.” The study of epigenetics is still in its infancy, so it may be years before we know the answer. With some recent studies showing that epigenetic effects fade over time, many researchers are unsure whether epigenetics is anything but an interesting codicil to the conventional genetic theory of inheritance.

    #adn #génétique #épigénétique

  • #EPA blasted for failing to set drinking water limits for ‘forever chemicals’ | Science | AAAS
    https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/02/epa-blasted-failing-set-drinking-water-limits-forever-chemicals

    After intense pressure from politicians and environmental and public health groups, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today published a plan to tackle industrial chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) that are showing up in drinking water supplies across the nation. But critics say the plan is vague and lacks regulatory teeth, and it will do little to reduce health risks.

    #corruption #eau #pollution #chimie #etats-unis

  • The Knesset candidate who says Zionism encourages anti-Semitism and calls Netanyahu ’arch-murderer’ - Israel Election 2019 - Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/elections/.premium.MAGAZINE-knesset-candidate-netanyahu-is-an-arch-murderer-zionism-e

    Few Israelis have heard of Dr. Ofer Cassif, the Jewish representative on the far-leftist Hadash party’s Knesset slate. On April 9, that will change
    By Ravit Hecht Feb 16, 2019

    Ofer Cassif is fire and brimstone. Not even the flu he’s suffering from today can contain his bursting energy. His words are blazing, and he bounds through his modest apartment, searching frenetically for books by Karl Marx and Primo Levi in order to find quotations to back up his ideas. Only occasional sips from a cup of maté bring his impassioned delivery to a momentary halt. The South American drink is meant to help fight his illness, he explains.

    Cassif is third on the slate of Knesset candidates in Hadash (the Hebrew acronym for the Democratic Front for Peace and Equality), the successor to Israel’s Communist Party. He holds the party’s “Jewish slot,” replacing MK Dov Khenin. Cassif is likely to draw fire from opponents and be a conspicuous figure in the next Knesset, following the April 9 election.

    Indeed, the assault on him began as soon as he was selected by the party’s convention. The media pursued him; a columnist in the mass-circulation Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper, Ben-Dror Yemini, called for him to be disqualified from running for the Knesset. It would be naive to say that this was unexpected. Cassif, who was one of the first Israeli soldiers to refuse to serve in the territories, in 1987, gained fame thanks to a number of provocative statements. The best known is his branding of Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked as “neo-Nazi scum.” On another occasion, he characterized Jews who visit the Temple Mount as “cancer with metastases that have to be eradicated.”

    On his alternate Facebook page, launched after repeated blockages of his original account by a blitz of posts from right-wing activists, he asserted that Culture Minister Miri Regev is “repulsive gutter contamination,” that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is an “arch-murderer” and that the new Israel Defense Forces chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, is a “war criminal.”

    Do you regret making those remarks?

    Cassif: “‘Regret’ is a word of emotion. Those statements were made against a background of particular events: the fence in Gaza, horrible legislation, and the wild antics of Im Tirtzu [an ultranationalist organization] on campus. That’s what I had to say at the time. I didn’t count on being in the Knesset. That wasn’t part of my plan. But it’s clear to me that as a public personality, I would not have made those comments.”

    Is Netanyahu an arch-murderer?

    “Yes. I wrote it in the specific context of a particular day in the Gaza Strip. A massacre of innocent people was perpetrated there, and no one’s going to persuade me that those people were endangering anyone. It’s a concentration camp. Not a ‘concentration camp’ in the sense of Bergen-Belsen; I am absolutely not comparing the Holocaust to what’s happening.”

    You term what Israel is doing to the Palestinians “genocide.”

    “I call it ‘creeping genocide.’ Genocide is not only a matter of taking people to gas chambers. When Yeshayahu Leibowitz used the term ‘Judeo-Nazis,’ people asked him, ‘How can you say that? Are we about to build gas chambers?’ To that, he had two things to say. First, if the whole difference between us and the Nazis boils down to the fact that we’re not building gas chambers, we’re already in trouble. And second, maybe we won’t use gas chambers, but the mentality that exists today in Israel – and he said this 40 years ago – would allow it. I’m afraid that today, after four years of such an extreme government, it possesses even greater legitimacy.

    “But you know what, put aside ‘genocide’ – ethnic cleansing is taking place there. And that ethnic cleansing is also being carried out by means of killing, although mainly by way of humiliation and of making life intolerable. The trampling of human dignity. It reminds me of Primo Levi’s ‘If This Is a Man.’”

    You say you’re not comparing, but you repeatedly come back to Holocaust references. On Facebook, you also uploaded the scene from “Schindler’s List” in which the SS commander Amon Goeth picks off Jews with his rifle from the balcony of his quarters in the camp. You compared that to what was taking place along the border fence in the Gaza Strip.

    “Today, I would find different comparisons. In the past I wrote an article titled, ‘On Holocaust and on Other Crimes.’ It’s online [in Hebrew]. I wrote there that anyone who compares Israel to the Holocaust is cheapening the Holocaust. My comparison between here and what happened in the early 1930s [in Germany] is a very different matter.”

    Clarity vs. crudity

    Given Cassif’s style, not everyone in Hadash was happy with his election, particularly when it comes to the Jewish members of the predominantly Arab party. Dov Khenin, for example, declined to be interviewed and say what he thinks of his parliamentary successor. According to a veteran party figure, “From the conversations I had, it turns out that almost none of the Jewish delegates – who make up about 100 of the party’s 940 delegates – supported his candidacy.

    “He is perceived, and rightly so,” the party veteran continues, “as someone who closes doors to Hadash activity within Israeli society. Each of the other Jewish candidates presented a record of action and of struggles they spearheaded. What does he do? Curses right-wing politicians on Facebook. Why did the party leadership throw the full force of its weight behind him? In a continuation of the [trend exemplified by] its becoming part of the Joint List, Ofer’s election reflects insularity and an ongoing retreat from the historical goal of implementing change in Israeli society.”

    At the same time, as his selection by a 60 percent majority shows, many in the party believe that it’s time to change course. “Israeli society is moving rightward, and what’s perceived as Dov’s [Khenin] more gentle style didn’t generate any great breakthrough on the Jewish street,” a senior source in Hadash notes.

    “It’s not a question of the tension between extremism and moderation, but of how to signpost an alternative that will develop over time. Clarity, which is sometimes called crudity, never interfered with cooperation between Arabs and Jews. On the contrary. Ofer says things that we all agreed with but didn’t so much say, and of course that’s going to rile the right wing. And a good thing, too.”

    Hadash chairman MK Ayman Odeh also says he’s pleased with the choice, though sources in the party claim that Odeh is apprehensive about Cassif’s style and that he actually supported a different candidate. “Dov went for the widest possible alliances in order to wield influence,” says Odeh. “Ofer will go for very sharp positions at the expense of the breadth of the alliance. But his sharp statements could have a large impact.”

    Khenin was deeply esteemed by everyone. When he ran for mayor of Tel Aviv in 2008, some 35 percent of the electorate voted for him, because he was able to touch people who weren’t only from his political milieu.

    Odeh: “No one has a higher regard for Dov than I do. But just to remind you, we are not a regular opposition, we are beyond the pale. And there are all kinds of styles. Influence can be wielded through comments that are vexatious the first time but which people get used to the second time. When an Arab speaks about the Nakba and about the massacre in Kafr Kassem [an Israeli Arab village, in 1956], it will be taken in a particular way, but when uttered by a Jew it takes on special importance.”

    He will be the cause of many attacks on the party.

    “Ahlan wa sahlan – welcome.”

    Cassif will be the first to tell you that, with all due respect for the approach pursued by Khenin and by his predecessor in the Jewish slot, Tamar Gozansky, he will be something completely different. “I totally admire what Tamar and Dov did – nothing less than that,” he says, while adding, “But my agenda will be different. The three immediate dangers to Israeli society are the occupation, racism and the diminishment of the democratic space to the point of liquidation. That’s the agenda that has to be the hub of the struggle, as long as Israel rules over millions of people who have no rights, enters [people’s houses] in the middle of the night, arrests minors on a daily basis and shoots people in the back.

    "Israel commits murder on a daily basis. When you murder one Palestinian, you’re called Elor Azaria [the IDF soldier convicted and jailed for killing an incapacitated Palestinian assailant]; when you murder and oppress thousands of Palestinians, you’re called the State of Israel.”

    So you plan to be the provocateur in the next Knesset?

    “It’s not my intention to be a provocateur, to stand there and scream and revile people. Even on Facebook I was compelled to stop that. But I definitely intend to challenge the dialogue in terms of the content, and mainly with a type of sarcasm.”

    ’Bags of blood’

    Cassif, 54, who holds a doctorate in political philosophy from the London School of Economics, teaches political science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Sapir Academic College in Sderot and at the Academic College of Tel Aviv-Yaffo. He lives in Rehovot, is married and is the father of a 19-year-old son. He’s been active in Hadash for three decades and has held a number of posts in the party.

    As a lecturer, he stands out for his boldness and fierce rhetoric, which draws students of all stripes. He even hangs out with some of his Haredi students, one of whom wrote a post on the eve of the Hadash primary urging the delegates to choose him. After his election, a student from a settlement in the territories wrote to him, “You are a determined and industrious person, and for that I hold you in high regard. Hoping we will meet on the field of action and growth for the success of Israel as a Jewish, democratic state (I felt obliged to add a small touch of irony in conclusion).”

    Cassif grew up in a home that supported Mapai, forerunner of Labor, in Rishon Letzion. He was an only child; his father was an accountant, his mother held a variety of jobs. He was a news hound from an early age, and at 12 ran for the student council in school. He veered sharply to the left in his teens, becoming a keen follower of Marx and socialism.

    Following military service in the IDF’s Nahal brigade and a period in the airborne Nahal, Cassif entered the Hebrew University. There his political career moved one step forward, and there he also forsook the Zionist left permanently. His first position was as a parliamentary aide to the secretary general of the Communist Party, Meir Wilner.

    “At first I was closer to Mapam [the United Workers Party, which was Zionist], and then I refused to serve in the territories. I was the first refusenik in the first intifada to be jailed. I didn’t get support from Mapam, I got support from the people of Hadash, and I drew close to them. I was later jailed three more times for refusing to serve in the territories.”

    His rivals in the student organizations at the Hebrew University remember him as the epitome of the extreme left.

    “Even in the Arab-Jewish student association, Cassif was considered off-the-wall,” says Motti Ohana, who was chairman of Likud’s student association and active in the Student Union at the end of the 1980s and early 1990s. “One time I got into a brawl with him. It was during the first intifada, when he brought two bags of blood, emptied them out in the university’s corridors and declared, ‘There is no difference between Jewish and Arab blood,’ likening Israeli soldiers to terrorists. The custom on campus was that we would quarrel, left-right, Arabs-Jews, and after that we would sit together, have a coffee and talk. But not Cassif.”

    According to Ohana, today a member of the Likud central committee, the right-wing activists knew that, “You could count on Ofer to fall into every trap. There was one event at the Hebrew University that was a kind of political Hyde Park. The right wanted to boot the left out of there, so we hung up the flag. It was obvious that Ofer would react, and in fact he tore the flag, and in the wake of the ruckus that developed, political activity was stopped for good.”

    Replacing the anthem

    Cassif voices clearly and cogently positions that challenge the public discourse in Israel, and does so with ardor and charisma. Four candidates vied for Hadash’s Jewish slot, and they all delivered speeches at the convention. The three candidates who lost to him – Efraim Davidi, Yaela Raanan and the head of the party’s Tel Aviv branch, Noa Levy – described their activity and their guiding principles. When they spoke, there was the regular buzz of an audience that’s waiting for lunch. But when Cassif took the stage, the effect was magnetic.

    “Peace will not be established without a correction of the crimes of the Nakba and [recognition of] the right of return,” he shouted, and the crowd cheered him. As one senior party figure put it, “Efraim talked about workers’ rights, Yaela about the Negev, Noa about activity in Tel Aviv – and Ofer was Ofer.”

    What do you mean by “right of return”?

    Cassif: “The first thing is the actual recognition of the Nakba and of the wrong done by Israel. Compare it to the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions in South Africa, if you like, or with the commissions in Chile after Pinochet. Israel must recognize the wrong it committed. Now, recognition of the wrong also includes recognition of the right of return. The question is how it’s implemented. It has to be done by agreement. I can’t say that tomorrow Tel Aviv University has to be dismantled and that Sheikh Munis [the Arab village on whose ruins the university stands] has to be rebuilt there. The possibility can be examined of giving compensation in place of return, for example.”

    But what is the just solution, in your opinion?

    “For the Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland.”

    That means there will be Jews who will have to leave their home.

    “In some places, unequivocally, yes. People will have to be told: ‘You must evacuate your places.’ The classic example is Ikrit and Biram [Christian-Arab villages in Galilee whose residents were promised – untruly – by the Israeli authorities in 1948 that they would be able to return, and whose lands were turned over to Jewish communities]. But there are places where there is certainly greater difficulty. You don’t right one wrong with another.”

    What about the public space in Israel? What should it look like?

    “The public space has to change, to belong to all the state’s residents. I dispute the conception of ‘Jewish publicness.’”

    How should that be realized?

    “For example, by changing the national symbols, changing the national anthem. [Former Hadash MK] Mohammed Barakeh once suggested ‘I Believe’ [‘Sahki, Sahki’] by [Shaul] Tchernichovsky – a poem that is not exactly an expression of Palestinian nationalism. He chose it because of the line, ‘For in mankind I’ll believe.’ What does it mean to believe in mankind? It’s not a Jew, or a Palestinian, or a Frenchman, or I don’t know what.”

    What’s the difference between you and the [Arab] Balad party? Both parties overall want two states – a state “of all its citizens” and a Palestinian state.

    “In the big picture, yes. But Balad puts identity first on the agenda. We are not nationalists. We do not espouse nationalism as a supreme value. For us, self-determination is a means. We are engaged in class politics. By the way, Balad [the National Democratic Assembly] and Ta’al [MK Ahmad Tibi’s Arab Movement for Renewal] took the idea of a state of all its citizens from us, from Hadash. We’ve been talking about it for ages.”

    If you were a Palestinian, what would you do today?

    “In Israel, what my Palestinian friends are doing, and I with them – [wage] a parliamentary and extra-parliamentary struggle.”

    And what about the Palestinians in the territories?

    “We have always been against harming innocent civilians. Always. In all our demonstrations, one of our leading slogans was: ‘In Gaza and in Sderot, children want to live.’ With all my criticism of the settlers, to enter a house and slaughter children, as in the case of the Fogel family [who were murdered in their beds in the settlement of Itamar in 2011], is intolerable. You have to be a human being and reject that.”

    And attacks on soldiers?

    “An attack on soldiers is not terrorism. Even Netanyahu, in his book about terrorism, explicitly categorizes attacks on soldiers or on the security forces as guerrilla warfare. It’s perfectly legitimate, according to every moral criterion – and, by the way, in international law. At the same time, I am not saying it’s something wonderful, joyful or desirable. The party’s Haifa office is on Ben-Gurion Street, and suddenly, after years, I noticed a memorial plaque there for a fighter in Lehi [pre-state underground militia, also known as the Stern Gang] who assassinated a British officer. Wherever there has been a struggle for liberation from oppression, there are national heroes, who in 90 percent of the cases carried out some operations that were unlawful. Nelson Mandela is today considered a hero, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, but according to the conventional definition, he was a terrorist. Most of the victims of the ANC [African National Congress] were civilians.”

    In other words, today’s Hamas commanders who are carrying out attacks on soldiers will be heroes of the future Palestinian state?

    “Of course.”

    Anti-Zionist identity

    Cassif terms himself an explicit anti-Zionist. “There are three reasons for that,” he says. “To begin with, Zionism is a colonialist movement, and as a socialist, I am against colonialism. Second, as far as I am concerned, Zionism is racist in ideology and in practice. I am not referring to the definition of race theory – even though there are also some who impute that to the Zionist movement – but to what I call Jewish supremacy. No socialist can accept that. My supreme value is equality, and I can’t abide any supremacy – Jewish or Arab. The third thing is that Zionism, like other ethno-nationalistic movements, splits the working class and all weakened groups. Instead of uniting them in a struggle for social justice, for equality, for democracy, it divides the exploited classes and the enfeebled groups, and by that means strengthens the rule of capital.”

    He continues, “Zionism also sustains anti-Semitism. I don’t say it does so deliberately – even though I have no doubt that there are some who do it deliberately, like Netanyahu, who is connected to people like the prime minister of Hungary, Viktor Orban, and the leader of the far right in Austria, Hans Christian Strache.”

    Did Mapai-style Zionism also encourage anti-Semitism?

    “The phenomenon was very striking in Mapai. Think about it for a minute, not only historically, but logically. If the goal of political and practical Zionism is really the establishment of a Jewish state containing a Jewish majority, and for Diaspora Jewry to settle there, nothing serves them better than anti-Semitism.”

    What in their actions encouraged anti-Semitism?

    “The very appeal to Jews throughout the world – the very fact of treating them as belonging to the same nation, when they were living among other nations. The whole old ‘dual loyalty’ story – Zionism actually encouraged that. Therefore, I maintain that anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism are not the same thing, but are precisely opposites. That doesn’t mean, of course, that there are no anti-Zionists who are also anti-Semites. Most of the BDS people are of course anti-Zionists, but they are in no way anti-Semites. But there are anti-Semites there, too.”

    Do you support BDS?

    “It’s too complex a subject for a yes or no answer; there are aspects I don’t support.”

    Do you think that the Jews deserve a national home in the Land of Israel?

    “I don’t know what you mean by ‘national home.’ It’s very amorphous. We in Hadash say explicitly that Israel has a right to exist as a sovereign state. Our struggle is not against the state’s existence, but over its character.”

    But that state is the product of the actions of the Zionist movement, which you say has been colonialist and criminal from day one.

    “That’s true, but the circumstances have changed. That’s the reason that the majority of the members of the Communist Party accepted the [1947] partition agreement at the time. They recognized that the circumstances had changed. I think that one of the traits that sets communist thought apart, and makes it more apt, is the understanding and the attempt to strike the proper balance between what should be, and reality. So it’s true that Zionism started as colonialism, but what do you do with the people who were already born here? What do you tell them? Because your grandparents committed a crime, you have to leave? The question is how you transform the situation that’s been created into one that’s just, democratic and equal.”

    So, a person who survived a death camp and came here is a criminal?

    “The individual person, of course not. I’m in favor of taking in refugees in distress, no matter who or what they are. I am against Zionism’s cynical use of Jews in distress, including the refugees from the Holocaust. I have a problem with the fact that the natives whose homeland this is cannot return, while people for whom it’s not their homeland, can, because they supposedly have some sort of blood tie and an ‘imaginary friend’ promised them the land.”

    I understand that you are in favor of the annulment of the Law of Return?

    “Yes. Definitely.”

    But you are in favor of the Palestinian right of return.

    “There’s no comparison. There’s no symmetry here at all. Jerry Seinfeld was by chance born to a Jewish family. What’s his connection to this place? Why should he have preference over a refugee from Sabra or Chatila, or Edward Said, who did well in the United States? They are the true refugees. This is their homeland. Not Seinfeld’s.”

    Are you critical of the Arabs, too?

    “Certainly. One criticism is of their cooperation with imperialism – take the case of today’s Saudi Arabia, Qatar and so on. Another, from the past, relates to the reactionary forces that did not accept that the Jews have a right to live here.”

    Hadash refrained from criticizing the Assad regime even as it was massacring civilians in Syria. The party even torpedoed a condemnation of Assad after the chemical attack. Do you identify with that approach?

    “Hadash was critical of the Assad regime – father and son – for years, so we can’t be accused in any way of supporting Assad or Hezbollah. We are not Ba’ath, we are not Islamists. We are communists. But as I said earlier, the struggle, unfortunately, is generally not between the ideal and what exists in practice, but many times between two evils. And then you have to ask yourself which is the lesser evil. The Syrian constellation is extremely complicated. On the one hand, there is the United States, which is intervening, and despite all the pretense of being against ISIS, supported ISIS and made it possible for ISIS to sprout.

    "I remind you that ISIS started from the occupation of Iraq. And ideologically and practically, ISIS is definitely a thousand times worse than the Assad regime, which is at base also a secular regime. Our position was and is against the countries that pose the greatest danger to regional peace, which above all are Qatar and Saudi Arabia, and the United States, which supports them. That doesn’t mean that we support Assad.”

    Wrong language

    Cassif’s economic views are almost as far from the consensus as his political ideas. He lives modestly in an apartment that’s furnished like a young couple’s first home. You won’t find an espresso maker or unnecessary products of convenience in his place. To his credit, it can be said that he extracts the maximum from Elite instant coffee.

    What is your utopian vision – to nationalize Israel’s conglomerates, such as Cellcom, the telecommunications company, or Osem, the food manufacturer and distributor?

    “The bottom line is yes. How exactly will it be done? That’s an excellent question, which I can’t answer. Perhaps by transferring ownership to the state or to the workers, with democratic tools. And there are other alternatives. But certainly, I would like it if a large part of the resources were not in private hands, as was the case before the big privatizations. It’s true that it won’t be socialism, because, again, there can be no such thing as Zionist socialism, but there won’t be privatization like we have today. What is the result of capitalism in Israel? The collapse of the health system, the absence of a social-welfare system, a high cost of living and of housing, the elderly and the disabled in a terrible situation.”

    Does any private sector have the right to exist?

    “Look, the question is what you mean by ‘private sector.’ If we’re talking about huge concerns that the owners of capital control completely through their wealth, then no.”

    What growth was there in the communist countries? How can anyone support communism, in light of the grim experience wherever it was tried?

    “It’s true, we know that in the absolute majority of societies where an attempt was made to implement socialism, there was no growth or prosperity, and we need to ask ourselves why, and how to avoid that. When I talk about communism, I’m not talking about Stalin and all the crimes that were committed in the name of the communist idea. Communism is not North Korea and it is not Pol Pot in Cambodia. Heaven forbid.”

    And what about Venezuela?

    “Venezuela is not communism. In fact, they didn’t go far enough in the direction of socialism.”

    Chavez was not enough of a socialist?

    “Chavez, but in particular Maduro. The Communist Party is critical of the regime. They support it because the main enemy is truly American imperialism and its handmaidens. Let’s look at what the U.S. did over the years. At how many times it invaded and employed bullying, fascist forces. Not only in Latin America, its backyard, but everywhere.”

    Venezuela is falling apart, people there don’t have anything to eat, there’s no medicine, everyone who can flees – and it’s the fault of the United States?

    “You can’t deny that the regime has made mistakes. It’s not ideal. But basically, it is the result of American imperialism and its lackeys. After all, the masses voted for Chavez and for Maduro not because things were good for them. But because American corporations stole the country’s resources and filled their own pockets. I wouldn’t make Chavez into an icon, but he did some excellent things.”

    Then how do you generate individual wealth within the method you’re proposing? I understand that I am now talking to you capitalistically, but the reality is that people see the accumulation of assets as an expression of progress in life.

    “Your question is indeed framed in capitalist language, which simply departs from what I believe in. Because you are actually asking me how the distribution of resources is supposed to occur within the capitalist framework. And I say no, I am not talking about resource distribution within a capitalist framework.”

    Gantz vs. Netanyahu

    Cassif was chosen as the polls showed Meretz and Labor, the representatives of the Zionist left, barely scraping through into the next Knesset and in fact facing a serious possibility of electoral extinction. The critique of both parties from the radical left is sometimes more acerbic than from the right.

    Would you like to see the Labor Party disappear?

    “No. I think that what’s happening at the moment with Labor and with Meretz is extremely dangerous. I speak about them as collectives, because they contain individuals with whom I see no possibility of engaging in a dialogue. But I think that they absolutely must be in the Knesset.”

    Is a left-winger who defines himself as a Zionist your partner in any way?

    “Yes. We need partners. We can’t be picky. Certainly we will cooperate with liberals and Zionists on such issues as combating violence against women or the battle to rescue the health system. Maybe even in putting an end to the occupation.”

    I’ll put a scenario to you: Benny Gantz does really well in the election and somehow overcomes Netanyahu. Do you support the person who led Operation Protective Edge in Gaza when he was chief of staff?

    “Heaven forbid. But we don’t reject people, we reject policy. I remind you that it was [then-defense minister] Yitzhak Rabin who led the most violent tendency in the first intifada, with his ‘Break their bones.’ But when he came to the Oslo Accords, it was Hadash and the Arab parties that gave him, from outside the coalition, an insurmountable bloc. I can’t speak for the party, but if there is ever a government whose policy is one that we agree with – eliminating the occupation, combating racism, abolishing the nation-state law – I believe we will give our support in one way or another.”

    And if Gantz doesn’t declare his intention to eliminate the occupation, he isn’t preferable to Netanyahu in any case?

    “If so, why should we recommend him [to the president to form the next government]? After the clips he posted boasting about how many people he killed and how he hurled Gaza back into the Stone Age, I’m far from certain that he’s better.”

    #Hadash

    • traduction d’un extrait [ d’actualité ]

      Le candidat à la Knesset dit que le sionisme encourage l’antisémitisme et qualifie Netanyahu de « meurtrier »
      Peu d’Israéliens ont entendu parler de M. Ofer Cassif, représentant juif de la liste de la Knesset du parti d’extrême gauche Hadash. Le 9 avril, cela changera.
      Par Ravit Hecht 16 février 2019 – Haaretz

      (…) Identité antisioniste
      Cassif se dit un antisioniste explicite. « Il y a trois raisons à cela », dit-il. « Pour commencer, le sionisme est un mouvement colonialiste et, en tant que socialiste, je suis contre le colonialisme. Deuxièmement, en ce qui me concerne, le sionisme est raciste d’idéologie et de pratique. Je ne fais pas référence à la définition de la théorie de la race - même si certains l’imputent également au mouvement sioniste - mais à ce que j’appelle la suprématie juive. Aucun socialiste ne peut accepter cela. Ma valeur suprême est l’égalité et je ne peux supporter aucune suprématie - juive ou arabe. La troisième chose est que le sionisme, comme d’autres mouvements ethno-nationalistes, divise la classe ouvrière et tous les groupes sont affaiblis. Au lieu de les unir dans une lutte pour la justice sociale, l’égalité, la démocratie, il divise les classes exploitées et affaiblit les groupes, renforçant ainsi le pouvoir du capital. "
      Il poursuit : « Le sionisme soutient également l’antisémitisme. Je ne dis pas qu’il le fait délibérément - même si je ne doute pas qu’il y en a qui le font délibérément, comme Netanyahu, qui est connecté à des gens comme le Premier ministre de la Hongrie, Viktor Orban, et le chef de l’extrême droite. en Autriche, Hans Christian Strache. ”

      Le sionisme type-Mapaï a-t-il également encouragé l’antisémitisme ?
      « Le phénomène était très frappant au Mapai. Pensez-y une minute, non seulement historiquement, mais logiquement. Si l’objectif du sionisme politique et pratique est en réalité de créer un État juif contenant une majorité juive et de permettre à la communauté juive de la diaspora de s’y installer, rien ne leur sert mieux que l’antisémitisme. "

      Qu’est-ce qui, dans leurs actions, a encouragé l’antisémitisme ?
      « L’appel même aux Juifs du monde entier - le fait même de les traiter comme appartenant à la même nation, alors qu’ils vivaient parmi d’autres nations. Toute la vieille histoire de « double loyauté » - le sionisme a en fait encouragé cela. Par conséquent, j’affirme que l’antisémitisme et l’antisionisme ne sont pas la même chose, mais sont précisément des contraires. Bien entendu, cela ne signifie pas qu’il n’y ait pas d’antisionistes qui soient aussi antisémites. La plupart des membres du BDS sont bien sûr antisionistes, mais ils ne sont en aucun cas antisémites. Mais il y a aussi des antisémites.

  • Israël: une société minière découvre un minéral inconnu

    Carmeltazite: A New Unique Gemstone From Israel
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidbressan/2019/01/14/carmeltazite-a-new-unique-gemstone-from-israel

    There are currently over 5,500 known minerals on Earth, with around 100 new minerals being added to the list each year. Most are quite unspectacular in appearance, with crystals too small to be used in jewelry or too rare to be of any economic interest.

    Last week, the International Mineralogical Association recognized carmeltazite as a new, distinct mineral. The mineral was named after Mount Carmel where it was found and the elements it contains - Titanium, Aluminum and Zirconium.

    Minerals | Free Full-Text | Carmeltazite, ZrAl2Ti4O11, a New Mineral Trapped in Corundum from Volcanic Rocks of Mt Carmel, Northern Israel
    https://www.mdpi.com/2075-163X/8/12/601

    The new mineral species carmeltazite, ideally ZrAl2Ti4O11, was discovered in pockets of trapped melt interstitial to, or included in, corundum xenocrysts from the Cretaceous Mt Carmel volcanics of northern Israel, associated with corundum, tistarite, anorthite, osbornite, an unnamed REE (Rare Earth Element) phase, in a Ca-Mg-Al-Si-O glass. In reflected light, carmeltazite is weakly to moderately bireflectant and weakly pleochroic from dark brown to dark green. Internal reflections are absent. Under crossed polars, the mineral is anisotropic, without characteristic rotation tints. Reflectance values for the four COM wavelengths (Rmin, Rmax (%) (λ in nm)) are: 21.8, 22.9 (471.1); 21.0, 21.6 (548.3), 19.9, 20.7 (586.6); and 18.5, 19.8 (652.3). Electron microprobe analysis (average of eight spot analyses) gave, on the basis of 11 oxygen atoms per formula unit and assuming all Ti and Sc as trivalent, the chemical formula (Ti3+3.60Al1.89Zr1.04Mg0.24Si0.13Sc0.06Ca0.05Y0.02Hf0.01)Σ=7.04O11. The simplified formula is ZrAl2Ti4O11, which requires ZrO2 24.03, Al2O3 19.88, and Ti2O3 56.09, totaling 100.00 wt %. The main diffraction lines, corresponding to multiple hkl indices, are (d in Å (relative visual intensity)): 5.04 (65), 4.09 (60), 2.961 (100), 2.885 (40), and 2.047 (60). The crystal structure study revealed carmeltazite to be orthorhombic, space group Pnma, with unit-cell parameters a = 14.0951 (9), b = 5.8123 (4), c = 10.0848 (7) Å, V = 826.2 (1) Å3, and Z = 4. The crystal structure was refined to a final R1 = 0.0216 for 1165 observed reflections with Fo > 4σ(Fo). Carmeltazite exhibits a structural arrangement similar to that observed in a defective spinel structure. The name carmeltazite derives from Mt Carmel (“CARMEL”) and from the dominant metals present in the mineral, i.e., Titanium, Aluminum and Zirconium (“TAZ”). The mineral and its name have been approved by the IMA Commission on New Minerals, Nomenclature and Classification (2018-103)

    Shefa Yamim’s Carmel Sapphire™ formed of a new and rare mineral
    https://www.shefayamim.com/shefa-yamim-s-carmel-sapphire-formed-of-a-new-and-rare-mineral

    Shefa Yamim (LSE: SEFA), a precious stone exploration company in Northern Israel, is pleased to announce that carmeltazite, a mineral found in one of its gemstones, the Carmel Sapphire™, has been recognised and approved as a new mineral by the International Mineralogical Association ("IMA") Commission on New Minerals, Nomenclature and Classification.

    The new mineral, first discovered by Shefa Yamim, was named carmeltazite due to its location of discovery on Mt Carmel ("CARMEL"), and due to its major chemical components, namely, Titanium, Aluminum and Zirconium ("TAZ"). The mineral is part of the remarkable mineral assemblage found as tiny inclusions inside Shefa Yamim’s unique gemstone, the Carmel Sapphire™.

    As stated in a published article entitled Carmeltazite, ZrAl2Ti4O11, a New Mineral Trapped in Corundum from Volcanic Rocks of Mt Carmel, Northern Israel, the mineral and its name have been approved by the IMA under the number 2018-103. The article was written by scientists from Macquarie University, the University of Western Australia, Università degli Studi di Firenze, Università degli Studi di Milano and Shefa Yamim.

  • Can We Really Inherit #Trauma? - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/10/health/mind-epigenetics-genes.html

    “These are, in fact, extraordinary claims, and they are being advanced on less than ordinary evidence,” said Kevin Mitchell, an associate professor of genetics and neurology at Trinity College, Dublin. “This is a malady in modern science: the more extraordinary and sensational and apparently revolutionary the claim, the lower the bar for the evidence on which it is based, when the opposite should be true.”

    Investigators in the field say the critique is premature: the science is still young and feeling its way forward. Studies in mice, in particular, have been offered as evidence of such trauma-transmission, and as a model for studying the mechanisms. “The effects we’ve found have been small but remarkably consistent, and significant,” said Moshe Szyf, a professor of pharmacology at McGill University. “This is the way science works. It’s imperfect at first and gets stronger the more research you do.”

    The debate centers on genetics and biology. Direct effects are one thing: when a pregnant woman drinks heavily, it can cause fetal alcohol syndrome. This happens because stress on a pregnant mother’s body is shared to some extent with the fetus, in this case interfering directly with the normal developmental program in utero.

    But no one can explain exactly how, say, changes in brain cells caused by abuse could be communicated to fully formed sperm or egg cells before conception. And that’s just the first challenge. After conception, when sperm meets egg, a natural process of cleansing, or “rebooting,” occurs, stripping away most chemical marks on the genes. Finally, as the fertilized egg grows and develops, a symphony of genetic reshuffling occurs, as cells specialize into brain cells, skin cells, and the rest. How does a signature of trauma survive all of that?

    #épigénétique

  • Five hundred glass negatives by Lucia Moholy | The Charnel-House
    https://thecharnelhouse.org/2018/12/07/five-hundred-glass-negatives-by-lucia-moholy

    https://i2.wp.com/thecharnelhouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Portrait-of-Lucia-Moholy.jpg?fit=1017%2C1017&ssl=1

    https://i2.wp.com/thecharnelhouse.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Lucia-Moholy-Architect-Walter-Gropius-Bauhaus-Building-Dessau-1925-1926-Detai

    In 1915, twenty-one-year-old #Lucia_Schulz wrote in her journal that she could imagine herself using photography as “a passive artist,” recording everything from the best perspective, putting the film through the chemical processes she’d learned, and adding to the image her sense of “how the objects act on me.”

    On her twenty-seventh birthday, at the Registry Office in Charlottenburg, a borough of Berlin, she married the Hungarian Constructivist painter #Lászlo_Moholy-Nagy and became, in the blink of a bureaucratic instant, #Lucia_Moholy. A few years later, when Moholy-Nagy was recruited to teach as a master at the #Bauhaus school, Lucia went with him — she, her camera, her technical skills, and her knowledge of the darkroom.

    #photographie

  • Sun-dimming aerosols could curb global warming - CNN
    https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/23/health/sun-dimming-aerosols-global-warming-intl-scli/index.html

    (CNN)Scientists are proposing an ingenious but as-yet-unproven way to tackle climate change: spraying sun-dimming chemicals into the Earth’s #atmosphere.

    The research by scientists at Harvard and Yale universities, published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, proposes using a technique known as stratospheric aerosol injection, which they say could cut the rate of global warming in half.

    The technique would involve spraying large amounts of sulfate particles into the Earth’s lower stratosphere at altitudes as high as 12 miles. The scientists propose delivering the sulfates with specially designed high-altitude aircraft, balloons or large naval-style guns.

    #climat #solutionnisme

  • Europeans Help ’Idlib Rebels’ To Equip Missiles With Chemical Warheads – Report
    https://southfront.org/europeans-help-idlib-rebels-to-equip-missiles-with-chemical-warheads-rep

    French militants-experts are helping Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) [former branch of al-Qaeda in Syria] to arm newly delivered missiles with chemical warheads, local sources familiar with the situation told the Russian news agency Sputnik on November 22.

    According to the sources, the White Helmets organization transferred five containers with toxic chemicals from one of HTS’ warehouses in the town of Kafr Nabl in the southern Idlib countryside to an underground facility in Idlib city, which has recently been built near the Central Prison.

    “The five containers were handed over in the underground facility to French experts, of the black ethnicity .. they arrived recently to modify missiles of an unidentified type, which were supplied along with their launchers through the border,” Sputnik quoted the sources as saying.

    South Front, Sputnik : rien que des complotistes contre la révolution en #syrie

  • Los Angeles, November 2019.
    https://hackernoon.com/los-angeles-november-2019-9194c6d4d588?source=rss----3a8144eabfe3---4

    Ballad of the CrytopunkLos Angeles, November 2019. A cityscape littered with an innumerable amount of lights, with a haze of pollution covering the sky. Perpetual lightning storms block the sun from ever reaching the ground floor of the city. Violent flames burst from the peaks of chemical factories. A lonely, single vehicle flies across the night sky.https://medium.com/media/b1d03eb5d9e524e0477ea460f79071a7/hrefThe decadence of pure technological achievement, driven by greed and profit at the expense of humanity, contrasted with the plight of the everyman: this is #cyberpunk.Along with being immersive windows into worlds of wondrous high #tech achievements and the struggle of living in such worlds, cyberpunk media provides us a glance at the sheer horror of a #future completely (...)

    #decentralization #cryptocurrency