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November 8, 2000


Workshops on bioinformatics and biosafety; Support for


Yahoo has a daily news site on Genetically Modified Food Debate at:


Includes link to our Agbioworld site and other biotech related sites plus
daily news on the issue. Worth book marking.

Also Check "Dispelling 'Frankenfear' at


From: Milt McGiffen
Subject: Re:The Trewavas article

I think that Dr. Trewavas makes some interesting points. Organic
agriculture may not be completely positive. In fact, the larger danger is
that thinking it is "all good" is black-and-white thinking, which is what
got us into many of our modern problems. And seems to get us into ever
more problems!

I work with both conventional and organic growers. I think that the
biggest thing organic agriculture has to offer are new ideas that can be
adapted by others. In the article I sent you introducing the Organic
Horticulture Colloquia, I noted how slow some of us were to adopt cover
crops. Walt Graves had experimented with them for the low desert for
years, and most of us paid little attention. But once growers began to use
them, the rest of us had no choice but to respond. And now we are on the
verge of taking those ideas to another level. For example, we are starting
to breed cover crop specific varieties to solve a problem of conventional
agriculture, the loss of soil fumigants.

I cannot see the logic in blindly following anything. It is a wonderful
experience to take the time to examine new ideas for what they may have to
offer. The organic agriculture movement has come to mean a lot of
different ideas. Taking a critical look at them, testing and verifying
them, and then adapting the results, is in all our interests.

Milt McGiffen, Department of Botany and Plant Sciences University of
California, Riverside, CA 92521-0124
From: Sherri Clark
Subject: Bioinformatics Workshop

Bioinformatics and Advanced Molecular Biology Techniques

January 3-5, 2001 The City College of CUNY, New York, NY presented by

The National Biotechnology Information Facility

This workshop is an overview of bioinformatics, advanced molecular biology
techniques, and the bioinformatics/computational molecular biology tools
available for use over the Internet.

To learn more about the
<http://www.nbif.org/education/post-sec/workshops/bioinform5.php>Bioinformatics and Advanced Molecular Biology Techniques workshop click on the link
or visit http://www.nbif.org/education/post-sec/workshops/bioinform5.php.

-- Sherri D. Clark, Ph.D., Leader, Education and Outreach Team The
National Biotechnology Information Facility New Mexico State University PO
Box 30002 Las Cruces, NM 88003-8002 Email: sheclark@nbif.org Phone: (505)
646-5033 FAX: (505) 522-9373

From: Giovanni Ferraiolo


The ICGEB Directorate has approved the new Calendar of meeting and courses
for the year 2001. Among the 19 scheduled events, the following three
biosafety workshops will be organized: * 5 ˆ 9 March, 2001 - Trieste,

BIOSAFETY 1 - Introduction to biosafety and risk assessment for the
environmental release of genetically modified organisms (GMOs):
theoretical approach and scientific background. Location: International
Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) Headquarters.
Organizer: Giovanni Ferraiolo (ICGEB). The Workshop is dedicated to those
scientists actively involved in environmental releases of genetically
modified organisms (GMOs). The main purposes of the Workshop are (i) to
supply basic information on risk assessment; and risk management and (ii)
to provide an overview on international biosafety regulations and the main
safety issues debated at an international level. * 2 - 6 April 2001 -
Florence, ITALY.

BIOSAFETY 2 - Advanced research in risk assessment and management for the
environmental release of genetically modified organisms (GMOs):
identification of main areas for future investigation Location: Istituto
Agronomico per l‚Oltremare (IAO). Organizers: Marcello Broggio (IAO) and
Giovanni Ferraiolo (ICGEB) This advanced Workshop is directed exclusively
to officers and/or designated experts, working in the area of GMOs‚ risk
assessment at an official level (governmental agencies, scientific
institutions, private sector etc.). The main purpose of the Workshop is to
provide participants with a forum for discussion of the current approaches
in risk assessment and to identify future areas for scientific
investigation. --- * 12 ˆ 16 November 2001- Caracas, VENEZUELA. BIOSAFETY
3 - Advanced issues in biosafety: risk monitoring and public perception of
biotechnology Location: Instituto Internacional de Estudios Avanzados
(IDEA) Organizers: Efrain Salazar (CENIAP) and Rafael Rangel (Centro
Technologico Polar) General aspects of biosafety and risk assessment, risk
monitoring of GMOs and public perception of biotechnology will be the
issues addressed by international experts in this workshop.

Requests for information and applications directly to:

- for BIOSAFETY 1 and 2:ICGEB Programme and Training Unit, Padriciano 99,
34012 Trieste, Italy. Tel: +39-040-3757333; Fax:+39-040-226555;

- for BIOSAFETY 3: Dr. Efrain Salazar, Centro Nacional de Investigaciones
Agropecuarias (CENIAP),Zona Universitaria El Limon, Edif. 09, Maracay
2101, Venezuela. Tel. +58 43 471066; Fax: +58 43 471066, 831421;
mailto:efra63@hotmail.com The general approach in the workshops will
focus, with special emphasis, on case study presentations and discussion
of environmental releases of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Posters of the workshops, detailed programs and faculty members will be
available on the ICGEB Biosafety WebPages (see under "Events" at
http://www.icgeb.trieste.it/biosafety ). Application forms and the ICGEB
2001 Calendar of meeting and courses are available at
http://www.icgeb.trieste.it/TRAINING/CRS01/crsps01.htm Preference will be
given to applicants from developing countries. A limited number of grants
will be available for scientists from ICGEB Member Countries. These grants
will cover accommodation meals and incidentals for the duration of the
course; travel is NOT funded. Registration for the workshops is limited to
30 participants.

*** - "A discussion document: Release of Genetically Modified Organisms in
the environment: is it a health hazard?" The report from the WHO/EURO-ANPA
Seminar held at the WHO European Centre for Environment and Health, Rome
Division Rome, Italy, 7-9 September 2000 is now available at
http://www.who.it/Emissues/GMO/gmorpt.htm or through the ICGEB Biosafety
WebPages (Library section). *** -

New Journal Announcement: "Environmental Biosafety Research", a brand new
journal, edited at Elsevier, Paris. This journal will be dedicated to
publishing peer-reviewed research and review articles relevant to the
science-based safety evaluation of all type of genetically modified
organisms (GMOS) that are intended for release into the environment.
Editors-in-Chief: Mark Tepfer, David Andow and Klaus Ammann. Web page:

------- FURTHER INFORMATION is available on the ICGEB Biosafety WebPages
at http://www.icgeb.trieste.it/biosafety/.

From: Dr Eusebius Mukhwana
Subject: SUPPORT AND COLLABORATION for East African Agriculture

We are an NGO working in Kenya whose mission is to build a better Africa
by facilitating increased agricultural production, food security and
income while protecting and enhancing the environment. Our main area of
specialization is horticultural farming. We are involved in training,
research, home-based processing / value adding and marketing of
horticultural produce with poor rural and urban farmers. In doing all
these, we strive to use participatory community development approaches
which allow the farmers to identify areas of real need and how they can
improve their lives through various project activities. SACRED-Africa was
set up mostly in response to the increasing environmental destruction and
poverty that arose from over-population in Africa which in the past has
forced many farmers to migrate to cities and towns only to discover
garbage, crowded slums and squalor. the NGO facilitates rural and urban
farmers in practising environmentally-sound, market oriented sustainable
agriculture which has resulted in substantial rural and urban prosperity
through the flow of good quality food to increasingly cleaner towns and
cities. SACRED-Africa is working with both rural and urban poor people to
pursue a path where organic resources in the countryside and in towns are
creatively recycled and profitably processed and marketed. Through these
approaches we have been able to enable poor farmers to develop sustainable
mechanisms of tackling farming constraints and problems. However, we still
lack proper information in the are of sustainable soil fertility
improvements, effective bio-pesticides, home-based processing /
value-adding and local as well as international marketing. We are aware
that your work involves some elements of horticultural farming and we were
wondering if you can be in position to collaborate and support our
research, training and capacity building aspects of our projects. We are
confident and happy with the gains that we have made so far and believe
that with your collaboration, we shall move many more steps. And because
of increased demand for our services, we are in the process of
establishing a leading centre for training and research in horticultural
science in East and South Africa. Feel free to introduce us to others who
can assist and collaborate if you are personally not able to.

We are sincerely sorry if this inconveniences you in any way and end by
thanking you for taking time to read through this mail.

Yours faithfully, SACRED-AFRICA Dr. Eusebius J. Mukwhana, EXECUTIVE
DEV. IN AFRICA P O Box 2275 Bungoma Kenya, East Africa Tel
+254-337-30788/30293 Fax +254-337-20235

From: Malcolm Livingstone
Subject: MW Ho

Dear All,

Further to my correspondence criticizing MW Ho's article posted by Roger
Morton. I have contacted Professor David Doddrell FAA, Director of the NMR
spectroscopy unit at the University of Queensland and a respected
physicist. Here is his reply to the posting which follows:

"You can't link entropy to energy the Units are wrong!"

That seems fairly straight forward. Don't you think?

Here is a summarised version of one paper. This is from a paper Ho M.-W.
(1997) Towards a theory of the organism. Integr Physiol Behav Sci

The introduction starts:

"Organisms are so enigmatic from the physical, thermodynamic point of view
that Lord Kelvin, co-inventor of the second law of thermodynamics,
specifically excluded them from its dominion (Ehrenberg, 1967, Scientific
American 217:103-). As distinct from heat engines, which require a
constant energy supply in order to do work, organisms are able to work
without a constant energy supply, and moreover, can mobilize energy *at
will*, whenever and wherever required, and in a perfectly coordinated way.
Similarly, Schrodinger (1944 What is life? Cambridge UP) was impressed
with the ability of organisms to develop and evolve as a coherent *whole*,
and in the direction of increasing organization, in defiance of the second
law. He suggested that they feed upon "negative entropy" to free
themselves from all the entropy they cannot help producing. [Snip] "...
the idea that open systems can "self-organise" under energy flow became
more concrete in the discovery of *disipative structures* (Prigogine,
1967: Introduction to thermodynamics of irreversible processes. John
Whiley) that depend on the flow and dissipation of energy, such as the
Benard convection cells and the laser (Haken 1977: Synergetics. Springer
Verlag). In both cases, energy input results in a phase transition to
global dynamic order in which all the molecules or atoms in the system
move coherently.

From these and other considerations, I have identified Schrodinger's
"negative entropy" as "stored mobilizable energy in a space-time
structured system" (Ho 1993 The rainbow and the worm: The physics of
organisms, World Scientific; Ho 1994 Towards and indigenous western
science - the organism as a coherent space-time structure In: New
Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Science, Institute of Noetic Sciences;
Ho 1995: Bioenergetics, S327 Living Processes, An open University Third
Level Science Course, Open University Press) which begins to offer a
possible solution to the enigma of living organization.

In this article, I outline a theory of the organism as a dynamically and
energetically closed domain of cyclic nondissipative processes coupled to
irreversible dissipative processes. This effectively frees the organism
from thermodynamic constraints so that it is poised for rapid, specific
intercommunication, enabling it to function as a coherent whole. In the
ideal, the organism is a quantum superposition of coherent activities over
all space-time domains, with instantaneous (nonlocal) noiseless
intercommunication throughout the system."
Dear All,

I have gone to the i-sis home page and discovered one of MW Ho's
revolutionary insights into the physics of life. What follows is David
Doddrell's critique of her understanding of basic physics. Following Prof.
Doddrell's remarks is the original MW Ho document. It is not easy to read
and I thank Prof. Doddrell for his efforts (although as he says one
doesn't to read further than the first sentence to see the flaws).

" As regards the thermodynamics, I can't get past the first sentence ---a
qualitative theory of---" means it can't be tested using the scientific
method. If this is the case then it has no creditability, full stop! You
can't argue for but importantly you can't argue against it as it is
qualitative and can't be measured. Let me give you an example that appears
to violate the second law; the birth of a child. Order has been created
from disorder. This appears to be a violation of the laws but the laws
only apply to a closed system. In isolation, the birth of a child or the
growth of a plant is an open system and the laws fail. So her mathematics
is simply wrong; I don't need to check it as the assumptions are wrong
(you can't apply laws for a closed system to an open one). What has to be
done to apply the laws is to invoke the Universe to close the system. In
the birth of a child example, disorder is created in the Universe. So any
theory that attempts to isolate the growth phase of an entity and apply
classical thermodynamics to it as an open system is doomed to fail. So
what I am saying is what she is doing is fundamentally flawed and shows a
complete misunderstanding of some vary basic ideas. The system is always
closed. You can consider parts open (and attempt to apply non equilibrium
thermodynamics, which she clearly has never hear of) but if it is left
open and use conventional equilibrium thermodynamics you will always end
up with logical inconsistencies; I have given you a good one." (Prof.
David Doddrell)


From: "Gordon Couger"
Subject: Re: more on manure use.

>From: Thomas Bjorkman

>;Wayne Parrott's recent post on P indicates a continued interest in
manure use. (And a continued >misperception about who is using it). I am
one of many scientists who have grants to study various aspects >of
managing P where high manure application has produced high soil P levels.
There is a long history of >research and education on how to manage the
problem Dr. Parrott raises, and the management is far more >sophisticated
than he implies.

If you have a N P ratio problem just add manure to the level of P needed
and make up the N with nitrogen.

The solution to the N P ratio problem and to the odor problem of livestock
operations is to find some way to quickly tie up the nitrogen in the
manure treatment system so it doesn't escape to the air or leach into the
ground but can be applied in a way crops can use it or be used in some
other way.

That is a lot easier said than done. The only way I know to store nitrogen
is to get it in a plant and get it in a state microbes won't grow. You can
dry it, ensile it, pickle it, salt it, make it in to jam or sterilize it
and keep it that way. None of those easy to do to the manure from 10,000
head of cattle every day.

Gordon Gordon Couger gcouger@couger.com


From: "Gordon Couger"
Subject: Organic farming the tulip mania for the 21 century

As I see the growing exuberance for organic produce with no definition of
what is organic and what isn't. With no way to prove the product is what
it claimed to be. In a world that will shortly need to feed 9 billion
people and a system that by it's own proponents claims only to be able to
feed 3 billion people. I am reminded of the Tulip craze of the 1600's or
the recent ostrich debacle in the United States.

I believe mister Barnum was right but now they are being born at a rate of
a but 3 a minute.

Perhaps I have missed some important point in this discussion. But how can
a farming method that won't feed the population be sustainable unless we
considerably reduce the population? If population control is the objective
war or disease is a far better way to die than starvation. But again I may
be missing the big picture.

Gordon Gordon Couger gcouger@couger.com